Celebrating Black History Month

Capriccia Thomas, Health Editor

California State University, East Bay celebrates Black History Month with a hybrid event featuring keynote speaker Dr. Michael Eric Dyson

In celebration of Black History Month, California State University, East Bay held a hybrid event on Feb. 10 featuring keynote speaker, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.

Black History Month is an annual month-long observance, recognizing the contributions of African Americans. Founded by Carter G. Woodson, the celebration draws awareness to Black History and those who continue to overcome barriers, defy odds, break glass ceilings, and forge paths to open doors for others coming after them. 

Dyson, an acclaimed professor, pastor, speaker, writer, and media personality, earned his Ph. D. in Religion from Princeton University. 

As a professor and lecturer, he has taught at some of the most prestigious institutions including Vanderbilt University, where he is the Distinguished University Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, and Centennial Professor. 

In his 30-minute speech, Dyson discussed the deep rooted history of America. Some of the other topics he addressed included: Black Lives Matter and Critical Race Theory. Dyson noted that Black history is American history and that everyone should learn about the history and contributions of Black Americans. 

“Black History Month is good for everybody. Studying about what Black people have done and continue to do is American history. Where would America be without Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Ella Fitzgerald, Sara Vaughn or Louis Armstorng, Duke Ellington, or Old Dirty Bastard. Where would America be? Where would America be without Ralph Ellison, without W.E.B. DuBois, without Joanne Robinson, without Frederick Douglas, without Harriet Rubman, without Sojourner Truth. Where would America be? Black History Month is a way of centering the contributions of African people in America to make America a greater democracy and nation,” stated Dyson. 

Dyson also discussed critical race theory. Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been a trending topic throughout the United States as many institutions have banned the teachings and readings promoting CRT such as segregation and Jim Crow, legacies slavery, patterns of racism is systemic in America. “CRT is about taking seriously the critical presuppositions that are unconsciously integrated into the fabric of American identity and social thought. If Black kids are not too young to be the victim of White supremacy then young White kids are not too young to learn about it,” continued Dyson. 

Black History Month celebrates the resiliency of African Americans. The history in which Black Americans have cemented their legacies and stories within the framework of America. It’s important to learn, grow, and have open and inclusive dialogues about its significance with people from all walks of life. 

“Discourse and dialogue is essential to learning. We can’t operate in a bubble. We really need to continue discussion and discourse outside of where we are. So bringing in speakers who are bringing in perspectives that differ from what’s practiced here in our own institution is absolutely necessary; not only for students, but necessary for administrators and campus leadership” stated Dr. Anndretta Lyle Wilson, an assistant professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at CSUEB. 

For more information on how to participate and learn more about Black History Month events at East Bay, please visit here.