Letia Wyatt, Reinhardt University student activities coordinator, said the university’s month-long celebration is all about showing respect while remembering important history.
“It is important to recognize and embrace the differences of the world around us. Black History Month is to be celebrated not only in February but 365 days of the year, as it is a part of our American history,” Wyatt said Wednesday. “In 1926, Carter G. Woodson established the celebration of Negro History Week; in 1976, this celebration was expanded to a full month.”
Reinhardt has scheduled events throughout February for the celebration, and hopes to bring in students, staff and other members of the community for the various events.
“The Reinhardt University community will have a chance to celebrate life, express their creativity and remember the legacy with the events planned for this month,” Wyatt said.
The first event was a discussion with Gary Amir Windom, record and brand marketing executive of Atlantic Records and Sony Pictures, who spoke Tuesday about entrepreneurship, leadership development and career readiness at the university’s Bannister Glasshouse.
Wyatt said Windom’s discussion was one of the highlights of the month-long celebration, and a visit from Lonnie King Jr., one of the founding members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, promises to be another popular event.
King will speak at a civil rights symposium Tuesday, Feb. 18, from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Bannister Glasshouse on the lower level of The Hasty Student Life Center. The event is open to the public, Wyatt said.
“Lonnie King Jr. has served the African-American community as an activist for civil rights for more than half a century. Currently serving as a history professor at Georgia State University, King has an extensive background in African-American history and has been a part-time lecturer on the subject for a number of years at various institutions of higher education,” Wyatt said.
Reinhardt will also welcome poet Jon Goode for a slam poetry event Tuesday, Feb. 18. from 7 to 9 p.m., also at the Bannister Glasshouse.
Goode, who lives in Atlanta, is an Emmy-nominated writer who has shared the stage with performers including Mos Def, Alicia Keys, Jamie Foxx and others.
Wyatt said students are also encouraged to perform their own poetry and spoken word pieces.
Along with special guest speakers, Reinhardt University will also provide events focused on participation.
On Friday, Feb. 15, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Bannister Glasshouse, the university will put on the Black History Month Knowledge Bowl, with more than $200 in cash prizes to give away.
Also open to the public, this event will feature a TV game show atmosphere, with teams competing in a tournament to determine who knows the most about African-American history.
“The knowledge bowl is designed to educate the campus community on many of the achievements of African-Americans in American history,” Wyatt explained.
Wyatt said the university has seen great attendance at past Black History Month events, and students enjoy the on-campus activities.
“Students seem to enjoy the events because it gives them a chance to not only look at the past — civil rights movement, the bus boycott, March on Washington — but it allows them to form their own interpretation of what Black History Month means to them and how it should be celebrated,” Wyatt said. “Reinhardt has been hosting Black History Month events for more than 20 years. We take pride in celebrating and embracing the differences in everyone.”