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Black History Month ends with hope for future change

Only a little over a year since the historic election of the nationís first African American president, the annual tradition of celebrating Black History Month continues to see great changes. Since 1976, the United States has recognized the month of February as a time to acknowledge and remember the contributions made by many famous African Americans throughout history. With February coming to a close, the 2010 black history month saw a monumental new beginning for one of the nationís most important groups.

On Feb. 20, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) announced that they had selected Roslyn M. Brock as the new chair of the Board of Directors. Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nationís oldest and largest civil rights organization.

Brock, aged 44, will be the youngest female ever to be Chair and also only the fourth woman. The NAACP is looking forward to Brockís more youthful outlook that she will be able to bring to the organization.

Brock said in her press release, ìWe have a 48-year old President in the White House, an NAACP President who was 35 at the time of his election, and a 44 year old Board Chair. The wisdom of those who stood the test of time got us to this point, and the youth will lead the future success of our movement.”

Currently, the NAACP is primarily interested in the youth. Their goal is to prioritize their most important issues to create a solid agenda for the next few years. Brock claims that ìpassing the baton” to the next generation is one of her top priorities as Chair.

At the College, students are actively taking an interest in receiving that baton. On Wednesday night, the Black Student Association (B.S.A.) held their final dinner discussion to exchange views on the relevance of Black History Month.

Although the general consensus of the group was in favor of promoting Black History Month, many members suggested that updates need to be made. Part of the discussion centered on the idea that what we are learning during the month of February does not encompass many important time periods that have been influenced by African Americans. Every year, people are hearing about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks during the Civil Rights era. However, there is never any information provided on the time period post-civil rights, making it seem as though racial equality had been achieved, which it clearly had not. The group discussed the fact that in order to make black history more relevant, it should be integrated into the rest of history, meaning it would be proportionally discussed in the 70s, 80s, 90s, etc.

What does the group propose to help address the racial incidents that still exist in society and at our school? Marcel Baugh í13 says we need ìrace transcendent prophets.” In other words, ìpeople who look at racial injustices as a prevelent issue and are active in doing something about it.”† He continues in advocating the idea that people need to be advocates for their race and diversity.

The B.S.A. is holding an alumni award event on Saturday from 3-5 p.m. in the alumni center and are extending an invitation to all people, group members or not.

Black History Month remains an important part of the year because as B.S.A. President Carmen Guess í12 puts it, ìThis is the only time we are able to hear about things from people who look like us.”

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