By Kaden Bryant/Staff reporter
Black History Month is turning 50. The idea of an annual celebration of African-American achievements was first proposed by students from Kent State University in 1969.
It was celebrated for the first time in 1970. Since then, February has become the month set aside for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history.
On Feb. 20, the Amarillo College diversity committee will hold an event celebrating Black History Month on the first floor of the Ware Student Commons. The gathering will feature food and entertainment.
Daneesha Gray, a general studies major, said that Black History Month means a lot to her because it is a time when people can connect to their roots and each other.
“Black History Month is about appreciation for the African-American heroes of the past, whether they be black or mixed like my siblings and I. There is something that is prideful to be born in my skin,” Gray said.
Luke Del Toro, a graphic design major, said that Black History Month is celebrated to give credit where credit is due, credit that has been denied for many years due to racism and oppression.
“Black History Month is a time where everyone can recognize the culture and legacy that African-Americans have created,” Del Toro said.
The month is a time of remembrance, said Melodie Graves, associate director of academic advising and chair of the AC diversity committee.
“To me, Black History Month is extremely important. It’s a time that I can celebrate my ancestors and explain to people, the impact that they’ve had on society. I think it’s definitely a crucial thing that we celebrate Black History Month,” Graves said.
Both Graves and Gray said that recognizing the contributions of black Americans should not just be relegated to a one month period.
“While it’s important to celebrate it during Black History Month, what we need to understand is that those contributions should be celebrated throughout the year,” Graves said.