By Kirsten Raper, Assistant News Editor—
As Black History month comes to a close, students reflect on its importance in society today.
Mark Britt, a sophomore from Lebanon, Tenn., said he thinks it is important to acknowledge the struggle African Americans have faced in society as well as their successes.
“I think Black History is very important. It’s good for us to acknowledge their struggle in society throughout history. There’s also been success in the African American community with, for example, Barack Obama,” said Britt.
Another student, Kevin Braziel, a senior from Nashville also thinks having Black History Month is important because he believes that February is the only time society really acknowledges the contributions of African Americans.
“I think it is important because without a push from the calendar, we probably wouldn’t have conversations about important black people in history or their contributions to society,” he said.
Braziel also said that he is hopeful that one day people won’t have to rely on Black History Month as being the only time of the year that conversations about the history of African Americans take places.
“I feel like since we live in a predominantly white culture, it’s easier for white people in general to be overrepresented in America for their contributions; however, it’s easier for minorities to be overrepresented in ways that aren’t as positive. I’m hopeful that things will change,” he said.
Like Braziel, Kayneice Williams, a sophomore from Chattanooga also said that Black History Month is about giving African Americans recognition for their efforts.
“African Americans don’t always get the recognition they deserve. I think this month is a great way to give them this recognition,” she said.
Some students said that Black History Month is an optimal time for people to become more aware history in general.
“I think Black History Month is important because I think history repeats itself,” said Kaylan Borton, a junior from Nashville. “I think we need to be more aware of our history in terms of where we came from and where we started,” she said.
Emma Lynch, a sophomore from Chattanooga, similarly echoed Borton’s belief of the significance of people understanding more about America’s history.
“I feel like we should learn more about different ethnicities, and even just more about history in general too. We can learn from history and use it to help with issues in the future. We shouldn’t live in ignorance,” she said.
Mitchell White, a freshman from Memphis, said “[Black History Month] is important because it’s a part of our country’s history.”
Students also acknowledged that Black History Month coveys a message of unity among all kinds of people.
Kathleen Polickoski, a freshman from Chattanooga, said she thinks Black History Month is a time for people to become more understanding of others.
“I think we need to understand each other and give credit to people who made a difference in the world,” said Polickoski.
While most students agree that Black History Month is significant, there are some students who do not know a lot about the historical context surrounding it.
“I think Black History Month is important, but I’ve never really thought about why,” said Dillon Falardeau a senior from North Smithfield, R.I. “It has always been something that has gone on since before I was born.”
Danielle Sims, assistant dean of students, who is involved with the Multicultural Center, explained why students should care, not only about Black History Month, but about black history in general.
“I think it’s important to celebrate black history throughout the year, not just in February,” Sims said. “I tell students all the time that Black History Month is not just for black people. It’s a way to celebrate the things that black people have accomplished, while realizing that there is still work that needs to be done.”
For more information about Black History Month, students can visit the Multicultural Center on the third floor of the University Center.