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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Black History Month Comes to a Close

Smooth jazz jived through the air of the Student Activities Center Ballroom A during the closing ceremony of Black History Month on Thursday.

“I’ve been on the university committee since 1990 and since then Black History Month has been celebrated,” said Cheryl Chambers, associated dean and director of Multicultural Affairs.

How Black History Month came to be was an important topic brought up. Prior to 1976, Black History Month was celebrated as Negro History Week, the second week in February, which marked the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas. It was a time when Blacks could celebrate their accomplishments.

For the black community, a week was not enough time to cover all the ground that started with gaps in equality and ended with the Emancipation Proclamation that marked a new era. Black History Month was created shortly after, opening doors that led to change and progress.

Ashley Aluklo, a junior and double major in history and political science, expressed lament for the need of a month-long celebration to show these accomplishments.

“It is sad that it’s still needed, but I’m proud that it’s so active, and something that I care about,” Aluklo said. Without hesitation she also expressed that Black History Month brings the thought of loyalty to her mind.

As the end of the ceremony drew closer, performances by some university groups and special guests captured the attention of the audience. Deborah Lasassier, a poet and author, perfomred some of her own poetry. The  sequence of poems, ranging anywhere from the struggles of the African American community to the discrimination among them, caused the audience to concentrate on the passion with which Lasassier spoke.

Her reading was followed by a poem recited by Black Womyn’s Weekend, a university group that concentrates mainly on the struggles of  black women.

The end of the ceremony had come, but talk of accomplishments and memories of the past grew stronger.

Lisa Marie Lord, a sophomore and psychology major spoke of the pride this month brings her every year, but in particular the past two years of her life.

She leaned over, gripping the table in front of her as she whispered, “We have a black president.” She  resumed shortly with a more assertive tone, stating that although it was a big accomplishment, there is still a lot of work to be done. “I’m not saying that it’s the end, but it’s a step toward where we want to be.”

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