Celebrating Black History Month

Celebrating Black History Month

April 12, 2023 | By Al-Amin A.

In February the Cultural Diversity Club helped us celebrate Black History Month here at the Academy. The Cultural Diversity Club had a series of videos: interviews, informative videos on fashion and hair in the African diaspora, and a food tasting.

The first of the interview videos was shown during the assembly period on the first Friday of February. The volunteer students in the video shared their experiences and feelings about Black History Month and Black culture in general. The interviewed students explained the possibility of using Black History Month as a time for conversation amongst people of the diaspora and those outside of it rather than a time of decorative hallway posters, like some institutions tend to do. The students also expressed their wanting for more African American, Afro Latin and African history course in academic spaces. The students highlighted prominent black figures and historical events they believed more people should be aware of. An extensive list was created dating back to The Tulsa Oklahoma Massacre of 1921 to contemporary writers like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

students sitting around table talking

The following Friday, the 10th of February, the club shared an informative video on fashion and hair in African American history. The fashion topic video highlighted clothing worn by black soldiers during WWII and The Harlem Renaissance. Popular hairstyles worn by African Americans throughout different decades were shown in the 4-minute video, by Allure. The video explained how throughout African American history hair has been used as a form of resistance against eurocentric beauty standards. During the civil rights era, Black men and women often wore their hair in an afro (a hairstyle, worn predominantly by Black people, in which naturally kinky or tightly curled hair is styled in a rounded shape). The afro was and is still seen by many as the ultimate symbol of Black beauty and empowerment.

students watching a video on projector in auditorium

Following hair and fashion, on Friday the 17th, The Cultural Diversity Club shared mac and cheese with the student body and faculty. The club wanted to give the school a taste of a prominent part of African American culture: soul food. The foods considered soul food today have a history that goes back to the 17th-century Antebellum period. Today, soul foods such as fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and cornbread are used as a staple of love for one's Black brothers and sisters.

February concluded with a second interview done by students of the boy's school. In the video, the students discussed what it meant to be a young Black man in America. The students discussed what their hair meant to them and how the process of getting one's hair done “is almost spiritual.” Zahir T., one of the interviewed students, described getting his hair done by his mother as, “an intimate form of bonding.”

This concludes how Black History Month was celebrated here at the Academy. A special thank you to everyone involved in celebrating Black History Month this year!

Black history is American history. Black history is every day, 24/7, all 365 days of the year.