The month of February brings many things to mind. Valentine's Day, or the birthdays of presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. But for the 50 or so people who gathered in the Glass Pavilion last Friday there was an additional celebration in mind. February marks the beginning of Black History Month.
At the opening ceremonies for Hopkins's Black History Month, the atmosphere was described as "very intimate; most of the people knew each other and it was very nice," according to Rasheedat Yussuf, sophomore co-chair for the Black History Month Committee. This intimacy was beneficial for the speeches by Provost Kristina Johnson, Yussuf and her committee co-chair sophomore Justin Jones.
"Let me just say that it was a great honor to be able to make a few remarks to open Black History Month - in particular, it was an terrific to honor the African-American inventors and innovators that have contributed greatly to our culture and prosperity of this country," Johnson said.
"I believe this is one of the most comprehensive Black History Months in years, and I am inspired by the efforts of all the faculty, staff and students that worked as a community to pay homage to the history of a strong people," said Joseph Colon, assistant director for the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, the office which helped Jones and Yussuf organize the event.
"Black history is important because it is a rich, diverse, and often ignored history. For some it becomes a point of pride and an aid in discovering the self," Jones said.
"I believe it's necessary for not only the Hopkins community, but everyone, to appreciate and to remember the achievements of all the people who have come before us," Yussuf said.
Adding additional importance to the presence of Black History Month on campus is the great support that both Jones and Yussuf were able to receive from the larger Hopkins community.
"I think it has a little more relevance at Hopkins. The black community is small here and when you consider that Hopkins is in the center of a predominantly black city it's useful for this campus to understand more about the people that they live with," Jones said.
"It is extremely important that Black History Month is celebrated and appreciated on campus ... Our students can learn so much about the city of Baltimore, the nation and the world by learning about black history," said Jason Heiserman, director of Student Involvement.
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