January 30, 2023

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Recognizes Black History Month with Series of February Events


VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University honors the historical and cultural contributions of African Americans and recognizes 400-plus years of perseverance in the African American pursuit for equality during Black History Month.

“Black History Month is an annual opportunity for the VSU community to celebrate the achievements and sacrifices of African Americans, to highlight the contributions they have made in shaping our nation, and to recognize the ongoing pursuit for social justice that continues today,” said Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, president of VSU. “It is also a time to reflect upon the contributions African Americans have made in shaping our university.

“This Fall VSU will commemorate 60 years of integration. In September 1963, Valdosta State welcomed its first two African American students to campus. Through their courage and resilience, Robert Pierce and Drewnell Thomas forged a path toward the more diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus community we have today. With a focus on continuing this growth moving forward, VSU remains committed to educating on diversity, enhancing equity, and embracing inclusivity.”

VSU has a number of activities scheduled for Black History Month, including game, movie, and trivia nights; guided stories; open conversations about issues impacting the African American community; an art presentation; a 30-minute play production; a night of praise and worship; career-related workshops; a Blazer Pitch competition for entrepreneurs; a black-owned business showcase; and more.

Black History Month activities are presented free of charge by VSU’s Africana Studies Program and Office of Diversity and Inclusion, with the support of students, faculty, and staff from various offices and organizations on campus. A complete schedule may be found at https://www.valdosta.edu/diversity/black-history-month.php.

The story of Black History Month began in 1915 when historian Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans. The organization sponsored the first national Negro History Week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

Negro History Week was expanded to Black History Month in 1976, the nation’s bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Today the Association of the Study of Negro Life and History is known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Its mission is to promote, research, preserve, interpret, and disseminate information about black life, history, and culture to the global community.

In September 2022, U.S. News and World Report included VSU on its list of the Best Colleges for Ethnic Diversity, recognizing VSU’s efforts to expand opportunities and offer a learning environment that is welcoming to students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Embracing diversity benefits all students by fostering innovation and encouraging collaboration.

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