APU Celebrates Black History

by Melissa Nicholas '05

"History can be a beautiful and enlightening thing," said sophomore and Black Student Awareness (BSA) member Jessica Barron. "Choose to educate yourself, and in turn educate others." February 2003 was the first sponsored Black History Month at Azusa Pacific University, and was filled with many events and forums in honor of African Americans.

Black History Month was sponsored by BSA, Multi-Ethnic Student Awareness, and the Offices of Multi-Ethnic Programs, the Provost, Chapel Programs, and Communiversity. February began with an African Diaspora display in the MEP office, featuring informative posters on great kings of Africa, and historical figures of the past. Lining the Cougar Walk were remembrances of the insightful Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and every chapel program for the month of February included an inspiring quote from a past African American figure.

Students participated in many activities throughout the month, from celebrating the many features of the Civil Rights Movement to Gospel Music to discussion forums. In support of Black History Month, Promise Keepers Vice-President Ed Barron came for the final week of February, speaking at chapel in the mornings and then sharing his life with students at mealtimes.

One of the most popular events was APU’s traditional Coffeehouse, sponsored and put together by BSA for the month of February. The night served to celebrate black influence through the arts, and was filled with spoken word, poetry, singing, dancing and music.

Honoring Black History Month at APU is the beginning of a tradition for current and future students. As MEP Director Joy Hoffman stated, "This month gives people the chance to learn about the accomplishments of many African American individuals who are doctors, singers, lawyers, teachers, administrators, astronauts, and the like."