by Lucy Kuchma ’18
Twenty years ago, Sherwood did nothing more than putting up a few posters to celebrate Black History Month, although the school’s demographics were almost exactly the same back then as they are now. This year, students from the Black Student Union (BSU) are combining their passions for the appreciation of black culture to really show their fellow students what it means, and has historically meant, to be a black person in America.
“It’s important to remember the achievements and contributions that African-Americans have made in American history despite the discrimination that our race has dealt with. In order to move forward as a nation, it is important that we observe this month to reflect and inform others.” said senior BSU president, Alex Nnabue.
From celebrations of African dance in the International Show to memorialization of black musicians through playing classic black hits on the announcements each morning, students are provided with a plethora of elements of black culture they may not normally be exposed to or truly appreciate. Although the International Show showcases many cultures beyond African-American, black students use the spectacle as an opportunity to highlight traditional and modern forms of music and dance that are a significant part of their culture and identity, according to the show’s supervisor, Christiane Locke.
Black History Month celebrations have been left almost entirely up to the efforts of the BSU and other ardent students this year. A meeting was held at the end of January during which BSU students brainstormed what elements of black culture they wished to highlight and how to go about doing so. It was decided that, in addition to playing music on the announcements, which has been done in years past, they would arrange for poems by famous black poets to be read on the morning announcements in effort to display not only social elements of culture but also academic ones.
At some point in the month of February, the BSU also plans to have a spirit week that may include African heritage day and black figure day, which is open to all students who wish to participate.