Black history month continues, students want their voices heard year-round

Black History Month is a time to highlight prominent African American history and people in the United States. However, students at the University of Central Oklahoma believe that black history is more than just one month and should be recognized perpetually through the year.

“If people are uneducated about our history, the generations after us are doomed. We can grow by having these uncomfortable conversations. Spreading accurate information in the educational curriculum will open the eyes of our youth and elders,” said Jaya Barnes, officer of the Black Student Association at UCO. 

The Black Student Association (BSA) at UCO serves as a voice and a safe space for the Black community and minorities in Edmond. It hosts events throughout the year for students of African descent and people interested in helping strengthen cultural bonds.

“Despite facing racism and present-day oppression, we are not our history. We are leaders, educators, activists, and so much more,” said Barnes. “We tend to shove black history in one month when black history is 365 days a year.”

Students this year can partake in Black History Month by educating each other and going to events on campus this month. Events during Black History Month include NAACP Founders Events through Valentine’s week, Feb. 14-17. On Feb. 15, UCO hosts the Enterprise MLK Oratory Finals, a speech competition in which students base a speech on a chosen Martin Luther King Jr. quote.

From 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 22, Nigh University Center Ballrooms will host Black Girl Magic, a celebration empowering Black women featuring discussions and workshops. And from 1 to 2:30 p.m.  Feb. 28, UCO and the Black Student Association are hosting the closing event of the month, Lift Every Voice, featuring musical performances by the African-American community and speaker Dr. Fred Hammond.

UCO prides itself in diversity and the Office of Inclusive Community provides equity resources for students of all races, ethnicities and religions.

African-American history can be learned throughout the year at UCO. Here are some classes in the Department of History and Geography at UCO, such as: 

HIST 1333 Africa Americas

HIST 2000 Civil Rights Movement

HIST 4253/5253 Black Power

HIST 4853 African American Experience

HIST 4763 Black Intellectual History

These classes and others present African American history on a variety of topics. For more information on BSA at UCO, visit

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