Black History Month: UNO Celebrates African American Culture


Ciara Watson

A celebration is coming. A celebration of culture and diversity right here on campus. The celebration is Black History Month. The University of Nebraska at Omaha is celebrating Black History Month in the form of a gospel extravaganza, an open mic night and a social gathering for UNO’s student body. Guest speaker Chris Rodgers will also host a discussion on politics in the black community.

Black History Month is an annual holiday in which we as a country observe the contributions African Americans have given to our country. Created in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASALH), Black History Month has become more than a celebration for African Americans.

For the past ninety years, Black History Month has grown from a remembrance holiday celebrated for one week in mid-February, to a worldwide holiday observed for the entire month of February. Through the years, Black History Month has become a festival, a glorification and a jubilation of events honoring all people of color.

Photo Courtesy of DC Public Library
Photo Courtesy of DC Public Library

“This year at UNO, the Office of Multicultural Affairs in collaboration with The Department of Black Studies and the Urban League of Nebraska will be working together with several student and community organizations by putting on events commemorating Black History Month,” said Assistant Director of Mulitcultural Programs and Outreach Taricka Fairgoer.

Although the celebration kickoff event of The Gospel Extravaganza was canceled because of the weather, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and The Department of Black Studies still plans to host three more events honoring the month long celebration. Mime performer Tamika Nauden was scheduled along with other students here at UNO to perform at The Gospel Extravaganza.

Nauden said with all of the things going on pertaining Black history and the Black culture itself, these events throughout this month celebrating Black history are a good thing.

“I feel like a lot of minorities like myself don’t get to see a lot of things like this on campus, so hopefully this will be a way to bring all of us together,” Tamika said.

The Gospel Extravaganza event has been postponed for a later date in the future. The second planned event called the Kick Black will be held on Wed, Feb. 10 from 6p.m.- 8p.m. inside the Multicultural Affairs Office located on the first floor of the Milo Bail Student Center. This event is an open activity welcoming all of UNO’s students. Serving refreshments with a side of brotherly love, Kick Black will be a relaxing end to your mid-weeks’ homework agony.

The third event planned for the celebration of Black History month is a formal discussion entitled Politics in the Black Community. A most anticipated event hosted by the Douglas County Commissioner and President of the National Association of County (NaCo), speaker Chris Rodgers will discuss the dynamics of politics within the Black community.

“At the end of the day, I want to make sure people are able to get a fair shot. If you work as hard as you can, I want to make sure the system is as fair as possible for you,” Rodgers recently said in Revive! Omaha magazine.

The Politics in the Black Community discussion will be held on Wed., Feb. 17 from 7p.m.-8p.m. inside the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center.

The final event held in celebration of Black History Month will be held on Monday, Feb. 22 from 6pm-8pm. Located inside the Thompson Alumni Center, Open Mic And The Divine is an open event welcomed to all of UNO’s student body. Students and staff are encouraged to bring family and friends to an evening filled with poetry readings, artistic displays of African American culture, and camaraderie.

As the Office of Multicultural Affairs and The Department of Black Studies prepares to welcome many guests to campus this next month, Nauden said she wants these events to continue for years to come at UNO and for other minorities to celebrate their own rich heritage in other months as well.