Black Student Union leaders preview Black History Month


Photo credit: Lola Lamberg

Black Student Union senior-leader Madison Tyler reads the poem “Won’t You Celebrate With Me” by Lucille Clifton to the upper school, staff and faculty in the dining hall. Tyler and her co-senior-leader MaeLea Williams said “supporting black businesses” is one way to celebrate “Black History Month.”

Archer’s celebration of Black History Month kick-started in Wednesday morning’s community connections.  In the assembly, senior-leaders of Archer’s Black Student Union [BSU] Madison Tyler and MaeLea Williams gave a presentation to preview the upcoming Archer events revolving around Black History Month, which will officially begin Feb. 1.  

Tyler and Williams began the presentation with an explanation of the origins of Black History Month in the United States. Established by black historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926, Black History Month was originally known as “Negro History Week.” It is annually observed in February due to the birthdays of two “influential” people in the black community: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln

Tyler noted that it is “important” to celebrate black history month because “black history is American history.”

“To me, Black History Month is extremely important, especially for the black community, so that we can understand the greatness we come from as well as understand the struggles our community has had to go through,” Tyler said. “I think that the past helps to define ourselves as a community, challenge preconceived notions of who we are and figure out a path of where we need to go in terms of equality.”

Williams and Tyler informed students of how they can individually celebrate the upcoming Black History Month: read books by black authors, watch films made by black filmmakers and listen to music by black artists.

The two senior-leaders also played a clip from “The Arsenio Hall Show” show that featured Ernestine Morrison performing a poem titled “The Average Black Girl.” 

Williams hopes the events conducted by BSU will bring more “awareness” surrounding Black History Month to the Archer campus. 

BSU and “Sisters Talking About Race Relations” [S.T.A.R.R], Archer’s middle school branch of BSU, will be celebrating with “Music Friday” every other week in February, “Black Excellence Panels” and fundraising for “Brown Bag Lady.”

“We will be hosting a variety of events throughout the month just to promote the fact that black people are continuing to do things [that] contribute to American history,” Williams said.

Audience member Vaughan Anoa’i ’22 revealed why she believes in the importance of celebrating Black History Month, not only on campus but elsewhere too.

“I think it’s extremely important to celebrate [Black History Month] because it’s such an important part of our culture,” Anoa’i said.” There are so many amazing philosophers and leaders that have achieved so much, and we should recognize and celebrate them.”

One of the board members of S.T.A.R.R, sixth grader Sydney Curry, was supposed to perform the poem “Won’t You Celebrate With Me?” by Lucille Clifton during the presentation. Due to communication issues, Tyler read the poem aloud instead. Curry chose the poem, however, because she felt that “all kinds of people would be able to connect to it” and that it had a “strong message.”

“I really wanted to choose a poem by a black female because it’s Black History Month,” Curry said. “We’re all females here at Archer, so I thought that was a really important poem to read.” 

One of Tyler’s main goals of the upcoming BSU events is for the Archer community to “recognize” current and historic black excellence.

“I hope that the black girls at Archer realize that they are not alone in the world,” Tyler said. “Black excellence has been the norm for a while — I just think that the greater community has kind of forgotten that, and when black people do amazing things it’s like, ‘Wow,’ but it really shouldn’t be a surprise.”

BSU meets Thursdays at lunch in the Human Development room. S.T.A.R.R meets once a month on Thursday in the Human Development room.