R.U.N. MSU Position on Black History Month:
In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, that great historian whose life and work the nation celebrated during the 1990 Black History Month Celebration, did a great thing in establishing Negro History week, to bring to the forefront of the nation’s conscience the contributions made by African-Americans to the building of this nation.
In 1979, fifty-three years later, the organization which Dr. Woodson founded, renamed the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History, expanded that celebration to include the entire month of February (the month in which Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were born), declaring that the accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans were too significant to be confined to a one-week celebration.
In September of 1989, over fifty years after Woodson’s pioneering effort and a decade after the establishment of National African-American History Month, Morgan State University-in an initiative as bold and as visionary as that of its two antecedents-declared that the history and culture of African-Americans should not be confined to a one-week or a one-month celebration. Instead, this rich history and vibrant heritage should be treated with reverence and respect each and every day of the year.
So Morgan State University established, at the beginning of the 1989-90 academic year, a year-long celebration of African-American History and Culture to be marked by monthly convocations at which the Morgan Community reminds itself of the achievements of its past and the imperative for even greater triumphs in its future and at which it honors the great contributors to African-American history and culture. The year-long convocation calendar consists of the Matriculation Convocation (September), the Performing Arts Convocation (October), the Founders Day Convocation (November), the Bills of Rights Convocation/TransAfrica Day (December), the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,–Malcolm X Convocation (February), the Mitchell-Quarles African-American History Month Convocation (February), the Frederick Douglass Memorial Convocation (February), the Women’s History Month Convocation (March) and the Honors Convocation (April).
Morgan’s trail-blazing initiative in establishing this year-round celebration comes at a propitious moment in the University’s history-at a time when the student body, with the fervor and the enthusiasm of the students of the sixties and the seventies, reaching out for self-knowledge and self-identity, has urged the University to teach it more about itself. The University has responded admirably, not only by expanding the observance of African-American History Month, but also by including a course in African Diaspora History as a General Education requirement for all Morgan Students.
In an effort to assist Morgan State University’s initiative to celebrate African-American history and culture, the student government plans on contributing by promoting the institution’s position on Dr. Woodson’s pioneering efforts. After researching the purpose and history of Morgan State’s convocations the R.U.N. MSU administration strongly recommends that more can and should be done in order to educate the community about the purpose of African American history month and the accomplishments of African-Americans. Furthermore, the R.U.N. MSU administration would also like to assert that the celebration of African-American history should not be limited to a 28 day interval. In lieu of the shortest month of the year, students believe that celebration should be at the discretion of the individual, and encouraged year-round.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson created Negro History Week in 1926 in an environment that was socially, politically, and culturally different from modern day society. The implications of Dr. Woodson’s work have lead members of the R.U.N MSU administration to believe that the pioneer would have wanted the events of Negro History Week to eventually be extended to a yearlong opportunity for African-Americans to learn and celebrate their history. While different, contemporary society also has an abundance of similarities to the time period in which Dr. Woodson conceived Negro History Week. African-Americans still face major discrimination in various institutions of society. From educational opportunities and their portrayal in mass media, to the feminist movement and the prison system, African-Americans continue to experience high levels of concealed and institutionalized oppression.
In 1979, 53 years after the inception of Negro History Week, the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History extended the weeklong celebration to include the entire month of February, based on the premise that the contributions of African-Americans were too significant to be confined to one week. And in 1989, some 63 years after Dr. Woodson’s initial contribution, Morgan State University acted valiantly as the institution created a series of convocations to educate the Morgan community about past achievements of African-Americans. While both of these initiatives were steps in the right direction, the R.U.N. MSU administration proposes that after 86 years of benefitting from Dr. Woodson’s great feat, the students of Morgan State University participate in the celebration of the African-American culture on a daily basis.
Though the convocations provided by the university are informative, these events occur merely eight (8) times throughout the year. Moreover, the celebration of African-American history and culture continues to be limited to a month: which is a problem that still deserves a solution…
Black History Month 2012: Black By Popular Demand:
Hoping to provide both immediate and long-term solutions to the limitation of African-American history celebrations, the R.U.N MSU administration has established Black by Popular Demand, a comprehensive calendar of initiatives to be completed throughout the month of February 2012 that highlights the history (both progression and regression), and accomplishments of the African-American culture, in addition to the plight of institutionalized discrimination African-Americans continue to face in the 21st century.
Black by Popular Demand (BBPD) will feature a series of community service initiatives that will educate the youth of Baltimore as Morgan students will travel to local elementary, middle, and high schools promoting African-American history and hosting discussions about the current state of the African-American community. Along with the vast amount of historical information, the initiatives will also provide the students of Morgan State with valuable insight in reference to the institutionalized discrimination African-Americans struggle with in contemporary society.
 *Excerpts provided by Morgan State University’s Convocation History webpage (via http://www.morgan.edu/About_MSU/University_Convocation/Convocation_History.html)