ULM Celebrates Black History Month | Southern Education Desk
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February is Black History Month, and universities across the South are marking it with lessons and events.
Faculty and students at the University of Louisiana at Monroe are contributing to the nationwide observance. And those connected with the events say there is no better time than the present to learn about Black History.
|Louis Nabors tunes up for a Black History Month performance; LaDonald Ensley accompanies on piano.|
Associate professor of music, Louis Nabors, practices a song with historical significance for African-Americans.Nabors says Black History month serves as a valuable educational tool.
“I am a child of the South. And, so of course, I have lived through a lot of the things that Black History tries to make us recognize and appreciate – maybe not enjoy, but understand from where we came from slavery to this point where we are now.”
Nabors says Black History Month offers powerful lessons, as well as a lens into the not very distant past.
“White only bathrooms to where you couldn’t go into the front door in my hometown and eat in the café. They had a little back room that the blacks went into to eat.”
Nabors will perform at ULM as part of Black History Month Celebrations.
Pulitzer Prize winning photo-journalist, Irwin Thompson graduated from ULM in 1984.
He will also participate in the historical marker, speaking to students about his work.
Thompson emphasizes education as the key component of Black History Month.
“I’m an African-American and I’m proud and I’m extremely blessed to be where I am. I think that any race can be all they can be if they have great parents and they educate them at the beginning of their lives and you basically stay out of trouble.”
ULM professor, Jeffrey Anderson, teaches African-American history.
He says a new generation of students now has an opportunity to delve into a complex component of the nation’s past.
“The African-American community of the past is a full, rounded community that did go through a great deal of hardships. But it wasn’t defined solely by the hardships, whether it’s slavery or Jim Crow laws, that instead the community survived – in certain ways, perhaps even thrived and continued to develop a unique culture.”
ULM’s Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Wayne Brumfield, calls the celebration of Black History Month a continually unfolding process.
“People who don’t remember their history are condemned to repeat it. And so I think that state of history – the evolution of African-Americans in the United States is great and I think it’s going to continue to blossom as historians find and write more books about these contributions and those tidbits that have been lost.
Professor Anderson says Black History Month offers a chance for people to gain a new respect for the African-American struggle for equality.
“I really hope that people will take away from it the value of the history of a group of people, and that even though the history you might see focused on the Civil Rights movement might not be something that you would identify with, that even if you don’t have the direct personal connection to it, you can still appreciate what it means for those who did have that personal connection – that you can really identify with it, even if it’s not your history.”
A government website lists a series of National Black History Month celebrations at the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress.
The events will recognize African-American contributions in poetry, art and military service.
Air Date: Fri, 02/03/2012