Eureka College's Student Magazine Since 1889

The Eureka College Pegasus

Eureka College's Student Magazine Since 1889

The Eureka College Pegasus

Eureka College's Student Magazine Since 1889

The Eureka College Pegasus

Eureka College Celebrates Black History

Jurnee Flournoy

Every year Black History Month serves as a time to honor the accomplishments of African Americans and to acknowledge their crucial role in American history. Presidents of the United States have honored Black History Month with proclamations and festivities for many years, making it one of the country’s longest planned historical events.  

Carter G. Woodson, American historian, writer, and journalist, founded the Association for the Study of African American History. Woodson initially created the celebration of Black History Month, and he is recognized as the father of black history. He was born in Virginia in 1875 to parents who had been enslaved, thus his options for employment and education were restricted.  

Black History Month is celebrated in February because Negro History Week was observed by Woodson on the days that Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln were born. Douglass, a former slave who was unsure of his actual birthday, celebrated his birthday on February 14th. Lincoln was born on February 12th.  

Black History Month was supposed to be a one-week event until it was expanded to the entire month. Woodson decided that students needed to showcase their African American culture for more than one week. So, Woodson gave it a month, he wanted more out of the experience. Black History Month was officially proposed as a replacement for Black History Week by the civil rights and Black Power movements.  

Black History Month is celebrated in various ways by local organizations, companies, and educational institutions. It just so happens that awareness of Black History Month is growing in local schools and communities. Students can gain greater knowledge about their origins by being exposed to Black culture throughout the educational process.   

Most educational institutions show their support for students during Black History Month.

“We have a Black Student Union, we get support from Dean Chase, we have faculty that show their concern for our community, etc.,” senior Darnell Edwards said.

Eureka College offers numerous options and diverse approaches to demonstrate their support for Black students on campus, but there is a small Black student body at Eureka College and the members are aware that they attend a predominantly white institution (PWI). Black students at Eureka College may feel that they do not receive enough attention. However, this is not true for all Black students.

I feel that I am included at Eureka and given the same opportunities as all other individuals on campus,” sophomore Willie Cox said. 

Some students feel supported while other students feel there is a lack of ways to connect with one another.

“I honestly think that for us Black students to be more ‘supportive of each other’ we need more programs and activities to where we can interact with each other,” freshman Jade Dillard said.

Some Black students at PWI’s do not have the support, resources, and guidance. These students are treated horribly and are not made to feel welcome in their own institution. 

Due to the diverse student body of Eureka College, there are often conflicts and disagreements on various subjects. Black students on campus have access to several resources, including the Dean of Students, Dr. Norris Chase, and the President, Dr. Jamel Wright, who are free to answer any concerns.  

PWIs must also acknowledge how institutional racism in education has affected their lack of diversity. Eureka takes the time to honor and elevate the voices of Black and African American individuals. Although PWIs are unable to change the past, they can start to change the story. In addition to providing an environment for communities to learn about the significant work and achievements of their diverse students, Eureka College works to uphold the belief that these students are part of the school community. 

Students who take part in Black History Month celebrate a variety of different lifestyles, in addition to the figures found in educational institutions. Black people everywhere can get inspiration from Black history. Examples of Black culture are used by members of the Black community in their daily lives.  

Black History Month is an opportunity for all people to honor life and its greater good.

“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.” –Martin Luther King Jr.  

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About the Contributor
Alexis Smith
Alexis Smith, Staff Contributor

Alexis Smith (Peoria, IL) is a sophomore majoring in Communications and Media Studies. Alexis has been interested in writing and has also been looking for more photography opportunities. Alexis has a lot of interests, but photography and writing are at the top of her list.