The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Black Student Association President speaks to significance of Black History Month

Ivy Rose Ball
Sydney Smith serves as President of the Black Student Association at Mississippi State University.

Black History Month holds a profound significance on Mississippi State University’s campus, as it serves as a time to honor the past, engage in critical dialogue and work toward a more just and equitable future. It was created by Carter G. Woodson, an African American historian, who sought to recognize and commemorate the contributions of Black Americans throughout history. Established in 1926 as “Negro History Week,” it evolved into a month-long celebration in 1976.

When we celebrate Black History Month, we use it to highlight the African American culture and history that we carry with us and embrace within us daily. Throughout the campus of MSU, we see how the success of the people before us is constantly shown in the many achievements of African American students on campus. It also serves as a time to reflect on the struggles and triumphs of those who paved the way for progress and social justice, especially on a predominantly white campus.

Black History Month serves as one of our many reminders that diversity adds to our experience while we go through our academic journey. In classrooms, lecture halls and community events, we engage in critical conversations about race, identity and the ongoing fight for equality. Through lectures, panel discussions, film screenings and artistic performances, we confront uncomfortable truths, challenge stereotypes and amplify marginalized voices.

It provides an opportunity for our diverse student body to come together, acknowledging and appreciating the invaluable contributions of Black individuals to various fields, including science, literature, art, politics and social justice. By doing so, we not only honor the past but also recognize the significance of a diverse and inclusive present and future. Through service projects, general body meetings and social events, members of our campus community come together to address issues such as racial inequality and economic injustice. Black History Month empowers us to be voices of change and to work towards a more just and equitable society for all.

Black History Month reminds us that diversity is not just a checkbox but a fundamental value that enriches our community and strengthens our collective resilience. As we continue to celebrate Black History Month and even for the months following, we use this time to acknowledge some of the adversities such as racism, discrimination and inequality that we as black young adults are facing out in the world.

As president of the Black Student Association, it is my job, as well as my executive board’s job, to create an environment that allows African American students on campus to feel as though they have a space for their voice to be heard as well as a place for them to unapologetically be themselves. We host social events along with our general body meetings which I aim to shift the focus and allow us to further our discussions about things going on in the black community as well as any issues we are facing on campus.

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    Mary FranklinFeb 7, 2024 at 1:41 pm

    Well stated. An excellent job. Congratulations