Black History Month almost unnoticed on campus

by Zach Leiser

February has been celebrated as Black History Month since 1926, but at Simpson it seems like such a celebration is almost non-existent.

“Out of all the schools I’ve taught at, Simpson engages in Black History Month the least,” said Nick Proctor associate professor of history.

Sophomore Dusty Thomas agrees with Proctor in his concern that not enough students are paying attention to the significance of the month.

“Because we’re a significantly white campus, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to learn more about minorities,” Thomas said. “But most people don’t view it as an issue here at Simpson.”

On the other hand, there are some who think Simpson is making a sincere effort to celebrate this important month.

“Here at Simpson, Black History Month serves as a reminder to celebrate diversity and the accomplishments of African Americans,” said Walter Lain, dean of multicultural and international affairs. “We want to bring a mix of programming and introduce this society to different cultural events.”

The Multicultural Student Alliance and the International Student Organization has been working with Lain in order to plan the activities for this tradition.

On Feb. 1, the celebration started with a salute to the African American society with a poster display in Brenton Student Center about various visions, dreams and the history of black culture.

Yesterday, there was a Soul Food Sampler in BSC that included samples of African American foods based on current black cultures around the United States. On Feb. 22, the movie “February One” will be played in a location to be later confirmed. This film discusses the lives of many historical figures who have attempted to promote black rights in the United States.

On Feb. 26, there will be a dance held in BSC. Although it hasn’t been confirmed yet, Lain and the two organizations are working to bring a Des Moines hip-hop group, The Spiders, to Simpson.

“Once things are planned, students will become more involved,” sophomore Emmanuel Mate-Kodjo said. “What should we expect, people walking around with posters and T-shirts?”

Something that Mate-Kodjo would like to see at Simpson is the Hip-Hop Summit held at Central College. This is an annual event where various dance and hip-hop groups come together and perform along with main stage speakers.

“I went there last year to promote the New Voter’s Project and the place was so packed I had to have somebody from inside escort me around,” Mate-Kodjo said. “It was awesome.”