Black History Month is underway at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
Coordinators have planned a full month of events, thought-provoking speakers, lectures, conversations, musical performances, film screenings and other activities to engage students, faculty, staff, alumni and guests on campuses and communities over the next three weeks. This year’s Black History Month theme is African Americans and the Arts: Past, Present and Future.
“What we want the nation to see is that the arts are more than what we see on the surface today,” said Alphonso Simpson, Ph.D., director of African American Studies and associate professor in the department of sociology. “These people who represent the arts in their purest forms stand on the shoulders of some giants, who, for lack of a better term, had it hard, had it rough.”
Simpson said the 2024 Black History Month national theme is intended to “celebrate what it is that makes not just Black people Black but Americans American.”
The rich calendar of events was also developed in collaboration with students representing UWO’s African American Studies Club, the African American Studies Advisory Board, Black Student Union, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and the department of history.
On Wednesday, Feb. 28, the Oshkosh campus will host the 4th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration and Awards and Oshkosh 94 Scholarship Programs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Reeve Memorial Union Theater, Room 307. The event features keynote speaker and UW-Whitewater Chancellor Corey A. King, who is also a member of Sigma Upsilon Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Simpson said Black History Month also serves as an opportunity for students to get a sense and sample of African American Studies at UWO, a program that now boasts more than 70 students pursuing its minor.
“It gives students an opportunity to be immersed in an aspect of American culture that they would not normally do if they were left to their own devices,” Simpson said.