What Black History Month means to ASU students

February 14, 2019

February marks Black History Month, a time in which Arizona State University students, faculty and staff will come together to celebrate black culture and reflect upon the many achievements and contributions of black people in American and world history.

A calendar of events animating these opportunities launched with a candlelight vigil held Feb. 1 on the lawn at Old Main, where 70 attendees paid tribute to Benton James, who was the first black student to graduate from ASU in 1924. Other Black History Month events and programs presented in the early weeks of the celebration have included the Trans Remembrance Display at the Tempe campus, a Peace Luncheon at the Polytechnic campus, a Poetry Night at the West campus, an R&B music night at the Downtown Phoenix campus and more.

2019 ASU Black History Month vigil at Old Main

Students participate in a vigil Feb. 1, 2019, honoring Black History Month outside of Old Main.

Eddie Chappell, a senior studying forensic science, said it meant a lot to him to be a part of the vigil.

“Coming here, just seeing all of the black students get together just to walk around the campus, it’s pretty great,” he said. “When all of the black students come out, it just shows that we are here. We are a face on this campus as well.”

Aysia Campbell, a freshman studying biology, said she came to the vigil to show recognition for Black History Month.

She said other people should come out to similar events in the future to honor black figures in history.

“It’s important to me because I just really embrace my culture, and I think that others should also be aware of it, too, because that’s something that I’m proud of,” Campbell said.

Tatiana Bell, a freshman studying computational mathematical sciences, said she’s excited for Black History Month because she gets to celebrate black excellence.

“Starting with Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and a lot of other black figures,” Bell said.

There are several upcoming Black History Month events for students to attend.

A music exhibit will feature artists celebrating healthy relationships Feb. 18 at the Downtown Phoenix campus, a new black history-themed mural will be unveiled at the West campus Feb. 25, a Black History Month Ball will be hosted Feb. 26 at the Polytechnic campus and a National Pan-Hellenic Council Yard Show will feature stepping and strolling on Feb. 28 at the Tempe campus.

Check out the full list of events to celebrate Black History Month at ASU.