The celebration’s history and SDSU events

by Staff

The year was 1926, and African-American educator Carter G. Woodson was looking for a way to honor black Americans. The Harvard-educated historian founded Negro History Week to commemorate the birthday of former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, born Feb. 14, 1817.

In the 1970s, the name of the event was changed to Black History Week. Fifty years after its inception, in 1976, the celebration grew to the month-long Black History Month.

In 1912, Woodson had been the second African-American to receive a doctorate at Harvard. He spent much of his life gathering information about the history of African-Americans in America, and was inducted into the Black Academy of Arts and Letters. Woodson died in 1950.

In honor of Black History Month, the Afrikan Student Union at San Diego State University has planned a whole slate of events. The ASU will host a bone marrow and blood drive from noon to 4 p.m. on Feb. 12 in Aztec Center. Then, on Monday, Feb. 17 in Quetzalcoatl, the ASU will observe the birthday of the late Huey P. Newton, a co-founder of the Black Panthers. A panel will discuss the Panthers’ 10-point program, and whether it still works today. Newton died in 1989.

On Wednesday, Feb. 19, ASU will host a panel discussion about Mumia Abu Jamal and the 1960s protest group MOVE, in Calmecac. One of the panelists will be an SDSU student. In 1982, radio journalist Jamal was convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer. His supporters contend that he was railroaded by an unfair judge, and that someone else committed the crime. He is currently on Pennsylvania’s death row and was granted an indefinite stay of execution in August 1995. In 1985, MOVE’s Philadelphia headquarters were bombed by police during a drug raid and 11 people were killed.

During the week of Feb. 24 through Feb. 28, the ASU will host Hip Hop Week. Students interested in performing can call the ASU office at 594-6533 before Feb. 20.

In addition, on every Friday in February, the ASU will sponsor special activities to commemorate Black History Month. Also on Fridays, the ASU will host the Sankofa Lecture Series from 1:30 to 3 p.m., with featured speaker Sam Livingston, a professor in the Africana Studies department. For more information, call the ASU office at 594-6533.