Celebrating Black History Month & Black Historical Consciousness

Black History Month is a special tribute to a time of acknowledgment, reflection, and inspiration, and serves as a reminder of the importance of continued ongoing study and celebration of Black History throughout the year. The legacy of Black History Month dates back to 1926 when historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson recognized the lack of history and perspectives of African Americans in the nation's curriculum throughout his studies. Dr. Carter G. Woodson stated that African-American contributions were too often "overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them." To preserve Black history and to amplify Black voices, Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. While activism of Woodson worked to establish Black History Month, Woodson never considered Black History to be a week-long or month-long event; rather, his work and dedication represented an ongoing study of African American history, month after month, year after year.

Thus, while February is a month dedicated to celebrating and honoring the influences of Black people, communities, and histories, Black history cannot be contained in the 28 days of February. King (2020) states that many educators incorporate Black History as a mere act of inclusion rather than a critical act of justice to center Black Historical Consciousness to elevate Black voices and perspectives throughout history. 

King (2020) gives the example of an educational lesson on Brown vs. the Board of Education. While an educator may incorporate Black historical figures and events into the lesson, they may also simultaneously ignore the voices and experiences of Black people. Often, the historical narrative of Brown vs. the Board of Education is told as an uplifting story of racial integration, which systemically ignores the trauma and pain of Black students, parents, and community members, who experienced the echoes of racism and were inconvenienced and bused to white schools. This whitewashed narrative also ignores the academic rigor and success of predominantly Black schools before Brown vs. the Board of Education was signed into law.

To counter perpetuating whitewashed narratives of Black History, educators should strive to teach history through and from Black historians and Black people's narratives and perspectives. To do so, King (2020) shares a framework for Black Historical Consciousness, which is a pedagogical stance to (re)define the teachings of Black History towards recognizing Black people's humanity and nuanced narratives. The six components of the Black Historical Consciousness framework are outlined below. 

  • Power and Privilege. Black History cannot be taught without acknowledging the multifaceted systems of oppression, such as white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and racism, apparent in U.S. history and present society. 
  • Black Agency, Resistance and Perseverance. Black History cannot be taught without acknowledging the agency, resistance, and perseverance of Black people and communities who fought back against oppressive structures.
  • Africa and the African Diaspora. Black histories should stress that narratives of Black people should be contextualized within the African Diaspora. A course in Black history should begin with ancient African history and connect the various Black histories around the globe. 
  • Black Joy. Black History should include Black joy to include times of happiness, togetherness, and the fight for freedom for generations, both past and present.
  • Black identities. Black history should not only be about middle-class Black men, Christian, heterosexual, and able-bodied individuals. Rather, we should remember to uplift the multiple narratives of all Black identities across ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, religion/spirituality, nationality, and socioeconomic status.
  • Black Historical Contention. Black historical contention is the recognition that Black histories are not positive. Black histories are complex, and the difficult histories of slavery, racial segregation, and racial discrimination should not be ignored. 

To read King's (2022) article, please click the link below: 

King, L. J. (2020). Black history is not American history: Toward a framework of Black historical consciousness. Social Education, 84(6), 335-341. https://www.socialstudies.org/sites/default/files/view-article-2020-12/se8406335.pdf

Black History Events at Rowan University 

Join Social Justice, Inclusion, and Conflict Resolution (SJICR), Rowan Departments, and Student Organizations for Black History Month this month! 

Please see the flyer below, further information on each event is provided beneath the flyer. 






Download the Black History Month Events Flyer. 

Join Social Justice, Inclusion, and Conflict Resolution (SJICR) Events: 

Politics of Black & Brown Hair Symposium February 13th, from 4:00 - 9:00 p.m., Chamberlain Student Center

6th Annual program, “Politics of Black and Brown Hair,” creates a brave and loving space for Black & Brown community members to share their hair journey, styles, and stories which we acknowledge as both personal and many times political. We invite community members to join us for dinner, engage with Black-owned vendors, participate in the discussion, share stories with our Keynote speaker, and hear from community panelists.

  • SJICR would like to highlight Black & Brown community members (all genders) who are willing to share their hair journey, styles, and stories. We ask for meaningful photos of you unapologetically showcasing your hair (now or in the past), and a story, affirmation, or another message you'd like to share with your photo. If you do not have a picture we are happy to take some for you on our professional camera.
  • We will post your picture(s) on our Instagram with the message you share leading up to our event "Politics of Black & Brown Hair." Click here to submit. 

Soul Food Sunday -  Sunday, February 26th, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM, Chamberlin Student Center Pi

Celebrating Black Joy, SJICR invites community members to celebrate Black Joy by breaking bread and sharing stories with one another. There will be games and giveaways to create memories that last a lifetime. Food is free for all attendees. 

SJICR Table Talks Highlighting Black Stories (Lunch provided)

SJICR is bringing back “Lunch Breaks” with a twist! Community members are welcome to join us for our first Table talk Series, “Uplifting Black Voices, Black Stories,” with different topics each week centering Black voices, stories, and experiences. Break break, listen, and spread love. 

All are welcome, topics for each table talk are coming soon!

  • Wednesday, February 8th , 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
  • Thursday, February 16th , 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
  • Monday, February 20th , 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
  • Monday, February 27th, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Student Organizations and Rowan University Departmental Black History Month Events: 

Attend the Penny Executive Play! 

The Penny Executive is a one-woman play that tells the story of Maggie Lena Walker, a social entrepreneur, feminist, and activist who was the first woman president of a bank in the United States. She was also a descendant of enslaved Africans who lived her life as a social entrepreneur and leader during Reconstruction and Jim Crow in Richmond, Virginia.

Reserve your seat for The Penny Executive on Feb 1, 2 & 3, 2023

Show times and dates are:

  • 5:00 PM, February 1 and 2
  • 2:00 PM, February 3

All shows are in The Hub, Business Hall (ground floor lobby).

The play runs approximately 50 minutes, with the February 1 and 2 shows followed by panel discussions: the role of live theater in learning (Wednesday), and Maggie Lena Walker, Black economic empowerment, social justice, and The Black Women's Club movement (Thursday).

Seating is limited. Reserve your seat here today!

Follow The Penny Executive on Instagram.

Learn more about The Penny Executive Project here.
















NPHC “What it means to be in D9” — February 2nd, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM ; Discovery Hall 409

“This is Us”: The Experience – February 2nd, 9:00 PM - 1:00 PM ; Sc Pit 

Step into the world of the evolution of African American history! Join RAH and Love & Luxe for a night highlighting African American history and how past struggles created ground for our present. This event is open to Rowan undergraduate students only.

Rap and R&B Karaoke Night – February 9th, 9:00 PM - 1:00 AM ; SC Pit 

Celebrate Black History Month with us! Join RAH and Rowan’s NAACP for a fun-filled night of Rap & R&B Karaoke. Perform for your chance to win some great raffle prizes and don’t forget to hit up the food bar!

Douglass Day Transcribe-a-thon – February 14th , 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

For the first time, the History Department at Rowan University will host a Douglass Day Transcribe-a-thon event on Tuesday, February 14, 2023, from 12 pm-3pm. What is Douglass Day? Douglass Day is an annual program that marks the birth of Frederick Douglass. Each year, colleagues at Penn State and many participating university groups gather thousands of people to help create new & freely available resources for learning about Black history. Transcribe-a-thons are events in which people gather together to work side-by-side on transcribing historical documents so that they will be more easily accessible and searchable in the future. We frequently focus on important Black women’s archives, and this year we will be transcribing the papers of Mary Ann Shadd Cary. We always try to have food, music, and a fun time! To learn more about Douglass Day, visit the event’s website. For highlights of past Douglass Day events, check out the YouTube channel.

Speakeasy Night – February 16th, 9:00 PM - 1:00 AM; SC Ballrooms 

Let’s throw it back to the ‘20s to celebrate Black History Month. Join RAH and the Black Culture League for a night of jazz, dancing, casino games, food, fun, and more! This event is encouraged to be a black-tie event.

Mezzo-Soprano Opera Singer: Denyce Graves – February 18th, Concert at 6:00 p.m., Dinner at 8:30 P.M.; Wilson Hall/SC Ballrooms   


Join the Jersey Garden City Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, INC. in collaboration with Rowan University Department of Africana Studies for a Denyce Graves concert and after dinner. To register, please visit the link here. 


Eighteenth Annual Rosa Parks Scholarship Luncheon — February 28th, 11:00 AM ; Eynon Ballroom, Chamberlain Student Center

We are pleased to announce the Eighteenth Annual Rosa Parks Luncheon sponsored by the Africana Studies Program, Rowan University. This year, the luncheon will commemorate the Black History Month 2023 theme, "Black Resistance," which explores how "African Americans have resisted historical and ongoing oppression, in all forms. The luncheon has become one of Africana Studies' most highly anticipated and well-attended events. Year after year, hundreds of attendees from around the region gather to celebrate the legacy of Rosa Parks and raise funds for the Dr. Gary Hunter Scholarships (former professor of history and one of the founders of the Africana Studies Program) for deserving students from our undergraduate population. This year's keynote speaker is Dr. Kellie Carter Jackson, an Associate Professor in the Department of Africana Studies at Wellesley College. She is the author of the award-winning Force & Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence. Her book was listed among 13 books to read on African American History by the Washington Post. Carter Jackson is also co-editor of Reconsidering Roots: Race, Politics, & Memory. She is the co-host of the podcast "This Day in Esoteric Political History."

SUP Movie Night: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – February 28th, 8:30 PM - 11:30 PM; Eynon Ballroom, Chamberlain Student Center

Join the Student University Programmers for their bi-weekly movie night tonight! This week's movie is Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Doors open at 8:30 PM and the movie begins at 9:15 PM in the Student Center Ballroom. Come enjoy a night off with a great movie! The movie is FREE and will include a free raffle! For more information on upcoming SUP events, please follow @RowanSCCA on social media.​​


Resources for continued learning: 

Organizations on social media:


Podcast: Episode 11: Rethinking Black History with Dr. LaGarret King: https://visionsofed.com/2016/05/23/episode-11-rethinking-black-history-with-lagarrett-king/

Podcast: Episode 154: Black Historical Consciousness with Dr. LaGarret King; https://visionsofed.com/2021/02/08/episode-154-black-historical-consciousness-with-lagarrett-king