“We were interested in giving us more of a worldview of Blackness, rather than, [our usual] focus on America for Black History Month,” thesis student and Black History Month (BHM) committee member Andre Ayers said. “The African Diaspora is a global phenomena. We decided that it would be best to try to include a bunch of different perspectives. They complicate the narratives and the way we understand each other, but ultimately that’s for the better.”
New College’s fourth Black History Month celebration is a combined effort of the BHM Committee and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). According to Professor of Sociology Queen Zabriskie, the President of Manasota ASALH and President Donal O’Shea had been in touch about getting ASALH involved. Students from New College and local middle and high schools attended a golf tournament fundraiser that ASALH hosted for scholarships and from there, conversation began about this year’s programming.
“Most of the folks from ASALH were from the U.S. while most of the students in the room either were from the Caribbean or Latin America or were second-generation folks, so we just decided this was what we wanted to do,” Zabriskie said. “The theme, “Dimensions of Blackness,” came out of that conversation.”
Zabriskie explained that ASALH member Lonneta Gaines came up with the exact title of “Dimensions of Blackness: Exploring the African Diaspora.”
New College’s BHM programming was started by Zabriskie and a dedicated group of students in 2015 who identified the need for this celebration and acknowledgement of Black experiences on campus.
“And then saying, ‘Hey, this is a great campus and here is how we want to contribute to the community so that we feel a sense of belonging on campus and that we are able to share some of the rich history and culture of Africans with the larger community,’” Zabriskie said, of the inspiration behind creating BHM programming on campus.
Professor of History and BHM committee member Brendan Goff decided to get involved when he saw all of the effort that Zabriskie and Nasib McIntosh (‘12) were putting into these events.
“It has become one of the most meaningful investments of time and effort I’ve made while at NCF,” Goff said in an email interview.
“Please come out and come to events and if people want to get involved contact any of us and we will be happy to plug you into the planning process once it gets started,” Zabriskie said.
Zabriskie asked that students look into attending the “Language of Racism and Intolerance” panel discussion on Feb. 21. Students can reserve seats on NovoConnect. Two of the panelists will also present at the Feminist Friday on Feb. 22.
To view the Black History Month calendar, visit news.ncf.edu. Any photos from a BHM event can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured in a gallery on the website at the end of the month.