Black History Month is a celebration of the cultures, people, and events surrounding Black history.
Each day in February, Godwin’s library shared facts about well-known Black Virginians on the announcements.
“We put together a resource list for faculty to bring into their classes for warm ups or other activities,” said librarian Brooke Davis.
Librarian Suzanne Stockman researched famous Black Virginians to include in the daily spotlights this year.
“She tried to include people students and staff may find interesting from a variety of fields and disciplines,” said Davis.
One spotlight for Black History Month was James Farmer.
“He was a civil rights leader who helped organize the Freedom Riders movement and founded the Congress of Racial Equality. Farmer spent the latter part of his life in Fredericksburg, captivating students at the former Mary Washington College with firsthand accounts of the fight to desegregate the South. Born in Texas, Farmer was the last surviving member of the “Big Four” leaders of the civil rights movement when he died in 1999,” said Davis.
Some other spotlights from Black History Month included Ralph Sampson, who played basketball for the Houston Rockets, Dr. Robert Walter “Whirlwind” Johnson, the force behind integrating tennis, and Russel Wilson, the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks.
On Feb. 26, the library hosted a virtual program during common study. It had been postponed twice due to school cancellations from the weather.
“The contributions and achievements of Black Americans are underrepresented in our history textbooks, the media and in our curriculum. We want to draw attention to some of the people and events that are important to understanding American history,” said Davis.
The event started with songs of different Black artists such as “Shining Star” by Earth, Wind, and Fire and “Just Fine” by Mary J Blidge.
Then a video was played called “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” by Emmanual Acho. In this video he explained how white people can help by becoming allies.
Learning about these problems “can increase [the] level of compassion and lead ultimately to change,” said Acho in the video.
“I personally was very struck by how aware Acho is when he is in his own neighborhood checking his mail, on an elevator or out exercising that white people could find him intimidating and that he changes his course to prevent conflict,” said Davis.
The event ended with the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” sung by Alicia Keys.
This year’s Black History Month was different because it was virtual.
“Last year, the [Black Student Union] hosted a video and discussion in the auditorium one [common study] in February. The library was not in charge, but we assisted with the technology and publicity for the event,” said Davis.
The conversation was limited due to time constraints, but Mrs. Davis hopes that an opening was created to continue talking about racism.
“I am hoping that the virtual event caused the students to think about some of Acho’s messages and perhaps to want to learn more,” said Davis.