What Does Black History Mean?

As we have entered March, many people have moved on from Black History Month as this historic month was left behind in February. But a new month beginning does not mean that we get to stop or at least hit pause on such important history.

Black History Month is honored in the month of February for 28 days (29 days if we’re in a leap year) across the United States. Many schools, jobs, and companies benefit from this month differently. Schools, for example, use this opportunity to educate students on historical events and figures such as the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

However, once March hits, many often leave behind the history we have just learned. The question is: “What does Black History Mean”? What can we take away from this month?

A flyer dealing with an event on Black History Month called “What Does Black History Mean To You?” (Source USG Weekly)

On February 27, I attended an event at USG called “What Does Black History Mean To You?”. Historian and Adjunct Professor at Towson University Steven K. Ragsdale spoke to students, staff, and faculty about Black history in the DMV and the impact that has on our community.

I took this event as an opportunity to learn more about the history of the African-American community here in this area. Professor Ragsdale gave a presentation on different time periods of the events that occurred in the Washington D.C. and Baltimore area. We learned that both of those cities have been historically Black for hundreds of years. Ragsdale also gave several statics throughout the presentation from slavery here in Maryland to the history of incarceration among the Black community. He also mentioned the book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson which details the eight pillars in that create caste systems.

The cover of Caste: The Orgins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (Source: The New York Times)

One thing that really struck me at this event was that there were over one thousand freed Black folks from Maryland who migrated to the Republic of Maryland which is in present-day Liberia. I had known that Liberia was created for African-American to move back to Africa, but I did not know that many of the people who settled in the country were from Maryland! I really did learn something new from that presentation that expanded my knowledge of something I had limited knowledge of. Since knowing a bit about the history of Liberia, I’ve wanted to continue learning more about the history of the country and the history of African and Black communities in general.

I wasn’t able to stay at the event for a discussion because I had a class to attend, but I left wanting to learn more about Black history in this country and beyond. In the end, I’m glad I got to attend Ragsdale lecture because I think that discussions like this one can have an impact on how we see diverse communities.

As an African-American, Black history means to learn more about where I’m from and the people who have fought hard to make an impact on others.

This entry was posted in Academics, Campus Activities, Life at USG, Student Event. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What Does Black History Mean?

  1. Steve Simon says:

    How wonderful a summary of the event, Aisha! Even though you were not able to stay the whole time, you captured some really great highlights. Thank you… great job!

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