The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Black History Month programming at Vanderbilt

The Vanderbilt community engaged in educational seminars and festivities honoring Black culture throughout the month.
Charlotte Mauger
A Black History Month sign featuring Hannah Bruns and Kayla Prowell, as photographed on Feb. 25, 2022. (Hustler Staff/Charlotte Mauger)

Throughout the month of February, the Vanderbilt community celebrated Black History Month with lectures on professional development, art and music events and festivities. 

Black History Month is an annual celebration of Black achievements and the role of African Americans in U.S. society. Black History Month at Vanderbilt holds various lectures and discussions, including the annual Murray Lecture named after Rev. Walter R. Murray, the first African American to serve on Vanderbilt’s Board of Trust. LaWanda W. M. Ward, assistant professor of education and research associate at Pennsylvania State College of Education, gave this year’s Murray Lecture, titled “Make it Make Sense: Racial Justice, Spirituality and Law.”  

I feel like there’s a sense, there’s a real sense of community around Black events, like the Black Students Association’s Black Affair,” first-year Rhylee Tucker said about Black History Month.

Student organizations, such as the Black Student Association (BSA) and the Caribbean Student Association (CSA), play roles in programming for Black History Month.

“We are planning Haiti Week, featuring music, dance and food, as well as important discussions on Haitian immigration and law,” Gabrielle Baugh, CSA first-year representative, said. “I think it’s great that we are shedding light on the Black diaspora, not only African Americans in the United States.”

The breadth of campus events promoting Black history and culture has been primarily driven by the work of the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center (BCC). 

“We start planning Black History month in October or November—the vendors and the line-up. We get calls from different student organizations or campus departments to get involved in February,” Dr. Roosevelt Noble, director of the BCC, said. “We always have our own ideas as to what we want to do, but we try to plan our events around what is already happening.” 

Noble also said these events are practical for students in terms of their college and career aspirations, such as the Buy Black Vandy event on Feb. 10. 

“[The] program focused on Black-owned businesses that are student or faculty or staff-based, and we gave some of these businesses the opportunity to showcase their projects or services to the community,” Noble said. “That’s been my favorite so far.”

Elizabeth Ebhogiaye, a first-year, discussed her engagement with events and activities highlighting various aspects of Black identity, such as art and music. 

I love how they’re [the BCC] doing a bunch of different diverse things,” Ebhogiaye said. “They  had this art gallery showcasing the art of Black artists in the Nashville community and an open mic night where anyone could perform something created by Black artists in the past, which I thought was really cool.”

Both Ebhogiaye and first-year Courtney Caglionatti attended BSA’s annual Black Affair Awards Gala on Feb. 10. This formal event recognizes Black excellence on campus with students and faculty being nominated for and winning various awards. The theme this year was New Orleans, and Ebhogiaye said she particularly enjoyed the gumbo-inspired catering. 

“There were also a lot of Black faculty from the African American Diaspora Studies Department,” Caglionatti said. “It was just a really fun event, where we presented awards and connected with other Black people on campus.”

However, according to Ebhogiaye, programming celebrating Black History Month should not be limited to just February.

It’s just a little sad that people outside of the Black community will only care about these events in February,” Ebhogiaye said. “I think we should be celebrating Black history year-round, celebrating the history of other marginalized communities around Vanderbilt.”

Leave a comment
About the Contributors
Ekta Anand
Ekta Anand, Former Staff Writer
Ekta Anand ('25) is from Atlanta, Ga., and is majoring in neuroscience and communication of science and technology in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her dancing with the Bhangradores, watching a good movie or grabbing her third cup of coffee for the day. She can be reached at [email protected].
Charlotte Mauger
Charlotte Mauger, Staff Writer
Charlotte Mauger ('24) is a student in the College of Arts and Science majoring in public policy with a minor in French. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her on FaceTime with her cats, watching movies or exploring all Nashville has to offer. You can reach her at [email protected].
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
All The Vanderbilt Hustler picks Reader picks Sort: Newest
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments