Since 1976, every February has been designated as Black History Month, approved by every president since the 38th President Gerald Ford.
“Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history," according to History.com. "Also known as African American History Month.”
Each year, the president endorses a specific theme for February as Black History Month. This year, the theme is "African Americans and the Vote."
According to History.com, this theme is "in honor of the centennial anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment (1920) granting women’s suffrage and the sesquicentennial of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) giving black men the right to vote."
Throughout the month of February, Ames and Iowa State alike have been celebrating Black History Month. From book displays, to film screenings, lectures and more, multiple organizations contributed to making this month memorable.
Taelore Spann, freshman in political science, partook in events across Iowa State this February such as film screenings and lecture events.
Black History Month means something different to everyone who identifies as black, but to Spann she said it is “a time where African Americans can be proud of the strides we have made both within our history and within our place in this country.”
In predominantly white spaces like Iowa State, it is particularly important to not lose sight of diversity and celebrating our differences, Spann said.
“It’s important to celebrate this heritage month as well as all other heritage months here on campus because they are represented here on campus and deserve the right to be celebrated and embraced,” Spann said.
While Iowa State and other predominantly white institutions are making efforts to support and appreciate marginalized communities, there are always opportunities to grow in this support. In particular, there are various students, faculty and staff members at Iowa State that would like to see more being done.
For Spann, she has begun to have these conversations on these possible improvements.
“I have spoken with the Multicultural Student Affairs office about potential partnering with them and student orgs like ASA or BSA to form events all month or even a program,” Spann said.
African Students Association (ASA) and Black Student Alliance (BSA) are official Iowa State organizations, open to students.
ASA has the goal to “build a community that celebrates African cultures and heritage, while promoting diversity, intellectual empowerment, and academic success and advancement,” according to its website.
BSA was created to benefit black students at Iowa State.
BSA commits to, “uplifting and empowering students of African descent through academic, professional, cultural, and social programs,” according to its website.