Discovering Origins and Honoring Ancestors: Black History Month at Rio Salado College


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Friday, February 3, 2023
Black History Month Celebration 2023

February is Black History Month! At Rio Salado College we’re proud of our diverse study body, faculty, and staff. Each year Black History Month offers us space to contemplate, commemorate, and express gratitude for the immense contributions Black Americans have made (and continue to make) to our nation’s culture and history.

Celebrate With Rio

This year Rio Salado College is presenting a special event to commemorate Black History Month. The theme for this event is Discovering Origins and Honoring Ancestors. We will explore how tracing our family history and the legacy of those who sacrificed for our benefit can shape our identities and add meaning, a deeper sense of gratitude, and an increased appreciation of the sanctity of life. 

Rio Salado College Faculty Chair of Philosophy and Religious Studies Dr. Wanda Tucker will share her research, journey, and her experiences traveling back to Angola and being part of the 1619 Project. Watch a video about Dr. Wanda Tucker’s Journey Home.

Discovering Origins and Honoring Ancestors is happening on Thursday, Feb. 9, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. You can watch the event virtually live on YouTube.

Why We Celebrate BHM

President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, designating February as a time for honoring the cultural, political, artistic, scientific, and social contributions African-Americans have made throughout U.S. history and beyond. Ford’s decision didn’t emerge from a vacuum—generations of African-American activists and scholars had worked toward making BHM a reality.

The roots of BHM go back to 1915, when historian Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). The ASNLH was dedicated to researching and promoting achievements made by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent. Woodson and Moorland’s organization started celebrating a national Negro History Week in 1926, picking the second week of February because it aligned with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. The week-long celebration inspired other communities across the country to organize their own annual events, starting a grassroots movement that eventually grew large enough to earn national recognition on a federal level.

Black History Month offers us time as a nation to reflect the triumphs and tribulations of Black Americans. It’s a moment where we can honor and recognize the tremendous work of civil rights activists and pioneers like Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, Fred Hampton, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, and Rosa Parks. It’s also a welcome occasion to explore the rich artistic landscape carved out by Black Americans, who’ve made indelible contributions to music, literature, cinema, painting,  and the performing arts.

Learn More About BHM

The Rio library staff have put together a guide about Black History Month. It includes informative web resources, articles, poems, music, and historical knowledge that can give you a deeper understanding of Black History Month.

Visit the library guide for more information.


Article by Austin Brietta

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