By: Madeline Marriott ’23

In partnership with the Association of Black Collegians (ABC), the Office of Intercultural Development (OID) will commence Black Heritage Month celebrations with a kickoff event in Farinon Atrium Feb. 1, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. The festivities will include a DJ, a book giveaway, participation from local vendors, and a flag display representing the Black diaspora. 

The office will also host a bus trip for students to see Bob Marley: One Love, the new Bob Marley biopic, in theaters Feb. 15. 

Skillman Library will host two Black Heritage Month lectures: one by assistant professor of Africana studies Aaron Pride on Feb. 9, and one on the history and importance of the Juneteenth holiday on Feb. 29. Both will be hosted in Skillman’s Gendebein Room. 

Finally, ABC, which celebrated its 54th anniversary on Lafayette’s campus Jan. 31, will close the month with the Black Arts Festival. A 1990s ABC tradition revived, the festival will feature the talents of Black students from across campus. 

Three students wearing Association of Black Collegians (ABC) tshirts smile in Farinon College Center.

Shahking Gomez ’25, Paris Francis ’26, and Jermaine Grant ’25

For Shahking Gomez ’25, vice president of ABC, this month is a time to reclaim previously unavailable spaces. 

“This month is about maneuvering a space that was not created for us and ensuring that we are making it a space for us in the future,” Gomez says.

Jermaine Grant ’25, president of ABC, emphasizes that these events are open to everyone on campus.

“Hopefully through having the opportunity to inquire about another person’s culture and background, that interest can possibly spark new connections that people didn’t ever think would happen,” Grant says.

According to Rob Young ’14, director of intercultural development, the month of February is just a start. 

“We should be having these conversations 365 days a year,” he says. “You shouldn’t wait to acknowledge and celebrate somebody in a particular month, and you should immerse yourself in these communities throughout the year.”

Want to learn more about Black history? Young recommends these resources:

Podcasts

  • Code Switch (NPR)  A podcast that tackles race, ethnicity, and culture issues with engaging discussions and storytelling.
  • The Nod This podcast, hosted by Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings, explores Black culture’s diverse and nuanced experiences.
  • 1619 (The New York Times) This audio series examines the legacy of slavery in America and its ongoing impact on the nation.
  • Still Processing (The New York Times) Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris discuss the intersection of culture, race, and identity in a changing world.

Movies and TV Shows

  • When They See Us (2021) – A gripping miniseries by Ava DuVernay that tells the story of the Central Park Five and the injustices they faced. 
  • Moonlight (2016) – Directed by Barry Jenkins, this Oscar-winning film presents a coming-of-age story about a young Black man’s struggle with identity and sexuality.
  • 12 Years a Slave (2013) – This powerful historical drama, available on various streaming platforms, tells the true story of Solomon Northup, a free Black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.
  • Lovecraft Country (2020) – A captivating horror-drama series that weaves supernatural elements with the struggles of a Black family in 1950s America, tackling racism and Lovecraftian monsters.
  • 5. 13th (2016) – Available on Netflix, this documentary explores the intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States.

Books

  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates – A powerful letter from a father to his son, exploring the realities of being Black in America.
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead –A novel that reimagines the Underground Railroad as a literal train, exploring the horrors of slavery.
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – A multi-generational saga that traces the impact of slavery on two half-sisters and their descendants.
  • The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois – A classic work that delves into the experiences of Black Americans in the post-Civil War era.

Music

  • “To Pimp a Butterfly” by Kendrick Lamar– A critically acclaimed album that explores complex themes of race, identity, and societal issues.
  • “A Seat at the Table” by Solange An empowering album that addresses issues of race, feminism, and self-discovery.
  • “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye A classic album that addresses social and political issues, capturing the spirit of the 1970s.
  • “Lemonade” by Beyoncé An album exploring infidelity, empowerment, and Black womanhood themes.
Categorized in: Campus life, Featured News, Intercultural Development, News and Features, Students

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