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Africana Studies Program

Statement on Black History Month


The 2023 theme for Black History Month is Black Resistance. Resist. Renew. Find your own resilience! The Black scholar Carter G. Woodson first established “Negro History Week” in 1926, and this celebration later became Black History Month in 1976. I think it’s good to remember that Africana Studies as a field celebrates Black History all 12 months, 365 days a year, 24-7, but Black History Month will always be an important annual celebration for raising awareness, raising visibility, and raising the spirit of Black history for all to recognize. You can take our weekly Black History Month trivia quizzes online to test your knowledge of Black history. Just check the AFRS homepage for the latest link every Thursday starting Feb. 2. In the spirit of Frederick Douglass, we recognize mental, cultural, and physical resistance as being all connected in the continuing struggle for racial justice and racial equality. As the late great John Lewis said: “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

In that spirit, I offer a brief roll call for Black resistance:

Joseph Cinque and the Amistad rebellion, David Walker, Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Harriet Tubman, Anna Julia Cooper, Ida B. Wells, Marcus Garvey, Zora Neale Hurston, Madame C. J. Walker, Oscar Micheaux, Richard Wright, Josephine Baker, Katherine Dunham, Robert Hayden, Ralph Ellison, Thelonious Monk, Amiri Baraka, Septima Clark, Gwendolyn Brooks, Medgar Evers, Rosa Parks, Diane Nash, Thurgood Marshall, John Lewis, SNCC, Robert Williams, NOI, Dr. King, Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Kwame Toure, the Black Panthers, Gil Scott Heron, Ruby Dee, Lorraine Hansberry, Shirley Chisholm, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Michael Harper, Etheridge Knight, Sonia Sanchez, George Jackson, Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, Michelle Alexander, Reginald Dwayne Betts, bell hooks, Spike Lee, Colin Kaepernick, Janelle Monáe, Edwidge Danticat, Public Enemy, Kendrick Lamar, Patrisse Cullors, Amanda Gorman, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and all victims of police brutality. 

Let Black History Month offer some lessons for resistance and resilience, for hope and struggle, for equality and justice, for inclusion and empowerment, for finding a way forward day by day. Keep on keepin’ on.


Dr. Meta L. Schettler, Africana Studies Program Coordinator


This is the list of our AFRS events for the month of February:

  1. Celebrating Black Resistance with film - The Sankofa Film Festival will present three films with a post-film discussion:
    • Mondays 6 pm at the Alice Peters Auditorium, UBC 191
      • February 6 - Maya Angelou, And Still I Rise
      • February 13 - One Night in Miami
      • February 27 - The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
  2. Celebrating 50+ Years of Black Studies with California Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber, Ph.D., 6 pm, Thursday, February 9 at the Peters Rec Center Auditorium
  3. Sanibonani Open Mic Night at the Ellipse Gallery in the Library, Thursday February 23 at 6 pm - Co-Sponsored by the Cross-Cultural and Gender Center
  4. Mardi Gras Amazing Race (Meet the New UDO), Tuesday, Feb. 21, race starts and ends south of the USU - look for the Africana Studies table, 11 am to 3 pm.*
  5. Weekly online trivia quizzes to test your knowledge of Black history, every Thursday online starting Feb. 2.*

 *We will have giveaways of $25 gift certificates for a random winner of the trivia quizzes every week AND for three teams who complete the Mardi Gras Amazing Race on Feb. 21.

Reference links:

NCBS statement regarding the Florida Department of Education's rejection of Advanced Placement African American Studies pilot

Africana Studies Program - Home Page