Honoring Black History Month

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Gullahs of Achievement at St. Helena Library

Bring the family to the St. Helena Library as it hosts a free Black History Month celebration on Tuesday, February 20 from 6-7 p.m. Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation and Founder of the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition, will provide the keynote address for the program themed “Gullahs of Achievement.” The lecture will focus on the legacy of Gullah/Geechee native Robert S. Abbott who founded “The Defender” newspaper and how his publication altered the history of tens of thousands of people of African descent during the era that is now referred to as The Great Migration. Learn the impact that that period of time had on Gullah/Geechee land retention and how this influenced the work of the Gullah/Geechee Nation Wisdom Circle Council of Elders.

USCB Cultural Events

The University of South Carolina Beaufort has scheduled a broad series of cultural events to commemorate African History Month in February, including a candlelight vigil and screening of a documentary on the Orangeburg Massacre, Feb. 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Hargray lobby in Bluffton. All events are free and open to the public.

African American History Month at USCB is intended to accomplish three objectives, according to Najmah Thomas, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences at USCB. 

“There is a three-part purpose to the month,” she says: “To raise awareness of African American history in general, to acknowledge the importance of African American contributions to the country, and to encourage further study and application of lessons learned from the African American experience for all Americans.

“Cross-cultural awareness is valuable to everybody because it doesn’t matter what your discipline is, it doesn’t matter what your program focus is, it is valuable for you to be comfortable with culturally distinct individuals.

“What we’re trying to do,” Dr. Thomas adds, “is highlight the fact that even though it’s from the African American perspective, the month is for everybody. The lessons are for everybody. There are so many things that can be used from the African American historical perspective for everybody’s personal and professional development.”

The planning committee that organized the 2018 African American History Month agenda drew from a wide range of perspectives in selecting the events. Serving on the committee were:

  • Laura Bessent, Student Development
  • Brian Canada, Ph.D., Computational Science
  • Ron Erdel, Ph.D., Computational Science
  • Lynne Hutchison, DNP, FNP-BC, Nursing and Health Professions
  • Joleesa Johnson, Student Development 
  • Randy Lamkin, Ph.D., Sociology
  • J. Brent Morris, Ph.D., Humanities
  • Brandon Wright, Student Development

Dr. Thomas serves as chairperson of the planning committee and as the faculty member for African American Studies. 

Listing of Events

• On Friday, Feb. 9, the university will take students to a presentation of the Gullah Heritage Music Series featuring The Voices of El Shaddai at Queen’s Chapel AME Church on Hilton Head Island from 7 to 9 p.m.

• A presentation and discussion titled, “Segregation, Education & Self-Determination: Robert Smalls, Charlotte Forten Grimke and Septima P. Clark,” is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. in Campus Center 105 on the Bluffton Campus. 

• On Feb. 20, a student panel, “Too Woke for the American Dream…?” will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. in Campus Center 105. 

• The Divine 9 and Get Down II are scheduled for Feb. 22 from 7 p.m. to midnight in Campus Center 105.

• The month’s activities will end with a closing reception Feb. 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Hargray lobby in Bluffton.

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