Black History Month Celebrated With Student Academic Showcase

Black History Month is a time dedicated to honoring all African Americans from a variety of time periods in the United States. Not only is it something to proudly celebrate throughout the country, but also at BSU.

The Latin American & Caribbean Studies, African American Studies, and African Studies united to present the Black History Month Student Academic Showcase.

“The intention [of this event] is to feature and showcase the scholarship of BSU students and to flush out the human stories of Black History Month,” said Dr. Allyson Ferrante (she/her), associate professor of English and the program coordinator for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies.

She went on to share that most students often think of Black History Month as a time of remembering oppression and suffering. However, it is truly a time to recognize exceptional individuals and their accomplishments.

Invited students and prominent professors arranged presentations to discuss crucial topics in modern society, including pre-colonial West African politics, how Langston Hughes is taught in high schools, Caribbean short fiction, Black women’s maternal health, and visual artworks of the Obamas. Also included in the event was an inspirational, public poster viewing in the Dana Mohler-Faria Science and Mathematics Center atrium.

Dr. Vignon Oussa (he/him), a professor of mathematics, presented as a keynote at the Student Academic Showcase describing the history of Black mathematicians. As an African who immigrated to the United States while a teenager, Dr. Oussa discussed race from his unique perspective. The goal of his presentation was to contrast some observations in how Black diaspora performs when compared to white society. He also reviewed some of the Black pioneers and trailblazers of mathematics in the U.S.

“There seems to be a silence that indicates that being Black as a mathematician is some form of contradiction,” stated Dr. Oussa. “Culturally, we put mathematics on a certain pedestal… It seems like mathematics is for a selected few, so that is one of the reasons I wanted to talk about Black mathematicians.”

The Student Academic Showcase was powerful and inspiring. As stated by Dr. Emily Donaldson Field (she/her), coordinator for African American Studies: “I am so proud of these students for their conscientious academic work and their willingness to share it with the BSU community.”

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