On Feb. 1 the Black African Coalition and the Interfaith Coalition hosted a candlelit vigil honoring black ASU alumni including Benton James, who in 1924 became the first black person to graduate from the University.
This event was the first in a series of events ASU is presenting as part of Black History Month, which will end with the reveal of the 2018 Black History Month mural on the West campus.
Carol A. Sumner, senior associate dean of students, said that Black History Month is a celebration of "history, of strength and perseverance."
Sumner said it is important to recognize the contributions of people of different cultures, and that black history is an important part of the collective history of the United States.
The BAC has also collaborated with other ASU organizations to schedule events such as screenings of the Marvel film “Black Panther,” which has a predominantly black cast and has contributed to a discussion about race issues in contemporary society and film.
Nicole Taylor, deputy vice president of Educational Outreach and Student Services said the events vary from somber periods of reflection to celebrations of black culture.
“The students are deciding what’s important and what parts of their history they want to celebrate,” Taylor said.
Sumner and Taylor said student coalitions are taking the lead on organizing events that celebrate the histories and cultures of ASU students.
The Black African Coalition is one of several student coalitions that represent different communities at ASU. Sumner said celebrations like Black History month have evolved to be more intersectional and cooperative.
“The coalitions are helping each other. They go to each other’s events. They band together,” Taylor said.
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Editors note: A previous version of this photo caption stated that the photo was taken in 2018. The photo was taken in 2017.