Southwest celebrates Black History Month

Mar 03

The events during Black History Month at Southwest celebrated the leadership of and gifts from African Americans in our community and beyond.

A reception and show featuring local artists Chesiel Johns, John Langmore, Arline Polite, Naomi Richard, Jannifer Gleaspies Williams and Larry Williams kicked off the series. Guests were treated to conversation with the artists and the beautiful music provided by violinist Ms. Robin Burwell from the Austin Symphony.

Students planned a commemoration of Jonathan Myrick Daniels during a service of Holy Eucharist in mid-February. Mary Balfour Van Zandt, a senior MDiv student who helped plan the service, said "I don't think anyone should graduate from seminary without knowing who Jonathan Daniels was and what he did." Daniels was a white student at an Episcopal theological school (now Episcopal Divinity School) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who joined the civil rights movement in Alabama in 1965 and died protecting a young black woman, Ruby Sales, from a shooter.

Ending the observances was a service in Christ Chapel featuring the Huston-Tillotson University Choir under the direction of Dr. Gloria Quinlan. The preacher was Southwest alumna Canon Pastor Glenice Robinson-Como from Christ Church Cathedral in Houston, Texas. The service was followed by a reception and a public lecture by NASA Administrator Charlies F. Bolden, Jr. 

The Rev. Robinson-Como's sermon 

Administrator Bolden's lecture

Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.  

Planning committee: Scott Bader-Saye, John Culmer, T.J. Freeman, Ora Houston, Micah Jackson, Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, Vivian Orndorff, Granyon Perry, Lynwood Randolph, Glenice Robinson-Como, Judith Rhedin, Hunter Ruffin, Mary Balfour Van Zandt, and Sandra Ward.