We’re halfway through Black History Month, and the Davidson community has been busy commemorating Black history. As a predominantly white institution (PWI), celebrating Black History Month is one small way the Davidson community can not only show support to marginalized student communities, but celebrate them.
“As a minority on campus and in the Davidson community, it is important to celebrate this month so others like me feel welcomed and appreciated in a space that is predominantly white,” stated Black Student Coalition (BSC) officer Kenzie Leonard ‘24.
Additionally, Black History Month is an opportunity to put anti-racist efforts at the forefront of conversations. According to BSC officer Bernice Saladin ‘24, “As a Black person, your activism never stops.” Because our school is a PWI, it can be easy to believe students live in a bubble-free from racial violence. “However, Black students constantly see and carry these social justice issues.” Black History Month is another method of recognizing these differences and educating oneself about racial justice matters.
The BSC has been hard at work planning events for all of Davidson’s students: a service event for breast cancer awareness, a Black-ish brunch with the Upsilon Mu Deltas, and Candles, Candy, and Crafts on Valentine’s Day. These events have been a great source of community, as well as pride. After attending the Caribbean Family Dinner Night, Saladin stated that “it was nice to see a bridge between my race as an African-American woman and my ethnicity as a Haitian woman.” These events create the opportunity to celebrate both community and identity.
All BSC events are open to the entire Davidson community. “We don’t want anyone to feel like they aren’t welcome,” said BSC’s Black History Month Chair Kennedy Petties ‘23. “Our primary goal is to serve the Black students of Davidson, but there’s no reason to say that we can’t involve the rest of the Davidson campus.” Black or not, all students have a place at Black History Month events. Allies can voice their support by showing up for the BSC and Davidson’s Black community.
All BSC events have community and culture in mind, aiming to create conversations about what it means to be Black at Davidson. In addition to Family Dinners, movie screenings, and trivia, the BSC is planning a handful of events to display Black culture to the rest of Davidson’s campus. On Saturday, February 19th, the BSC will host the Black History Month Fashion Show in the Student Union. From hoop earrings to sneaker culture, Blackness and fashion have been intertwined since as early as the Harlem Renaissance. This fashion show will highlight how the college and fashion have been intertwined since as early as the Harlem Renaissance. This fashion show will highlight how the college and student fashion is shaped by that history.
“Attending this fashion show is a great opportunity to witness culture at Davidson,” said Petties.
The BSC is also organizing the R.O.O.T.S. Showcase for February 27th in the Lilly Gallery. The R.O.O.T.S. Showcase will take Blackness and culture a step further by highlighting Black talent and art. From poetry and spoken word to dance and photography, art has historically been an integral medium for cultivating community, joy, and even resistance.
“At the R.O.O.T.S. Showcase, you can see what the Davidson students have to offer,” Petties added.
All events will be announced on the Davidson BSC Instagram @davidsonbsc, so be on the lookout for more information on their page.
Though events for Black History Month have surpassed expectations so far, it has not been without struggle. Navigating Davidson’s policies regarding COVID-19 has proven both difficult and contradictory. According to Pettie, “there are no guidelines to what a ‘large event’ is, and places like the BSC seem to have separate rules to follow than communal spaces like Union or even [Patterson Court] organizations.” Specifically, the BSC has had trouble securing permission for food events. “Even so,” said Pettie, “everyone has been very accommodating, especially the Student Activities office.”
Black History Month is only 28 days, so spend each day acknowledging blackness. Celebrate with Davidson’s Black community by attending BSC’s Fashion Show and R.O.O.T.S. Showcase, or do your part to deconstruct your own privileges by educating yourself on racial justice issues and anti-blackness.
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