Celebrating Black History Month


Max Beitzel, asst. features editor

Although Black History Month takes place during the month of February every year, many Black Americans celebrate their culture everyday, Andrea Ball-Ryan, Black Student Union (BSU) Sponsor, explained.

Ball-Ryan appreciates Black History Month as the celebration of all aspects of Black people and Black culture. 

“[Black History Month highlights contributions] that Black Americans have made to this country,” Ball-Ryan said. 

To celebrate and spread awareness about Black history throughout the month, BSU hosts a number of events aimed to educate students and staff, Ball-Ryan explained. In the first week of the month, statistics regarding the number of Black students and staff members were showcased in the halls to highlight the numerical racial disparity at South, she said. On Feb 8, BSU hosted a screening of the movie Hidden Figures, which features Black American women who worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, to spread awareness on the scientific achievements of Black Americans. In addition to other informative events occurring throughout the month, senior Yemisi Olujare, BSU Co-President, is looking forward to the Soul Food Fest available to students in the Student Activities Center during all lunches on Feb 28. 

“[The Soul Food Fest] is when [BSU] has a bunch of different Black foods that [BSU members bring in and] serve for free to the entire school,” Olujare said. “[Students and staff] typically love it, so I’m really excited.”

The food provided at the Soul Food Fest includes chicken wings, sweet potato pie, collard greens, plantains, and peach cobbler, senior, Nathaniel Betts, Black Student Union Co-President, said.

“[Soul Food Fest] is a sample of [Black] culture,” Betts said. 

Black History Month is also important because of the acknowledgement it brings to every aspect of Black culture, Ball-Ryan explained. 

“Oftentimes, we only hear certain aspects [of Black culture],” Ball-Ryan said. “[BSU during Black History Month tries] to make [students and staff] as well [informed] as possible.”

Every African American student has distinctly unique experiences of being Black in the United States, but Black History Month is a time to connect based on the shared culture of all Black Americans, Betts explained.

“[Due to the fact that] my mom is Black [and] my dad is white, my sister and I grew up in a mix of cultures,” Betts said. “For a lot of individuals, Black History Month [personal experiences] coming together.” 

BSU values spreading awareness during Black History Month, especially since there is a small Black community at South, Olujare said. Although Black culture is highlighted during the month, Ball-Ryan believes that all should become better informed year-round.

“[Although people need to] recognize that these conversations [with Black students] are not [representative] of all Black culture, I think conversations [to become better informed is really valuable],” Ball-Ryan said.

In addition to attending BSU events and immersing yourself in Black culture during Black History Month, having a better understanding of Black culture can happen year-round, Ball-Ryan explained.

“I think reading [through online resources] and getting [yourself] better educated [on Black culture] is important,” Ball-Ryan said.