The Division of Institutional Diversity at Oklahoma State University has been helping make Black History Month a meaningful experience for students at Will Rogers Elementary in Stillwater by sharing the rich diversity, talents, knowledge, cultures, and insights of individuals from campus.
“We were happy to accept an invitation from Dr. Susan Poppellwell, the school’s principal, to plan and participate in its celebration,” said Dr. Jovette Dew, director of diversity academic support at OSU. “We also appreciate the students, staff, and faculty members who volunteered their time to make this possible.”
Miss Oklahoma Latina, Angela Vivar, recently visited students to read to them and answer questions. Raven Crisp, a freshman in the Retention Initiative for Student Excellence Program (RISE), read black history children’s books to second grade students, as did Kaiya Fletcher, inclusion leadership coordinator at OSU, whose readings focused on black athletes.
Dr. Toby Nelson, assistant professor of chemistry, offered the elementary students an attention-getting presentation on slime. OSU students with the TRIO program volunteered for various projects and read to several grade levels at the school, and Dew provided two presentations, one on the production of potato chips and another on family genealogy.
Since 1976, February has been designated as Black History Month by every U.S. President to celebrate the achievements of black Americans and recognize the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event began in 1926 as “Negro History Week,” which was initiated by black historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. The second week in February was designated for the earliest celebrations, because it included the birthdays of both President Abraham Lincoln and African-American leader Frederick Douglass. Canada and the United Kingdom also devote a month to celebrating black history.