The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

Dickinson celebrates Black History Month

Why is it important to celebrate Black History Month at Dickinson?

Black History Month is an annual month-long celebration during February. While it originated in the United States, it is also recognized in places like Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Dickinson College is an institution built on the unceded lands of the Susquehannock nation. In 2023, Dickinson College reported that only 24% of students are students of color. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we celebrate February and spotlight the Dickinson organizations led by students and faculty of color. 

The Popel Shaw Center

The Popel Shaw Center for Race and Ethnicity (PSC) was named after Esther Popel Shaw, the first Black woman to graduate from Dickinson College. She was a published poet of the Harlem Renaissance Era, and an anti-racist and feminist activist.

This month, the Popel Shaw Center displayed a patchwork quilted blanket inside the Dickinson Library. This quilt is made up of 33 different patches, each with a symbol that represents an important event or person from African American history. One patch honors Clarence Morrison, a U.S. Navy veteran who ultimately became the first Black judge to serve in neighboring Dauphin County. There will also be an event looking at the quilting movement in Stern on Thursday, Feb. 29.

Rev. Yvette B. Davis

Rev. Yvette B. Davis is the current Director of PSC, which ensures that Dickinson has an inclusive and anti-racist learning environment. Davis has over 15 years of leadership experience in diversity & inclusion training and workshop design in non-profit organizations.

Davis oversees the MANdatory program for male-identified students of color at Dickinson, and also organizes the Black Girl Chronicles, a space for Black women (and other women of color) to have meaningful discussions on campus.

She is also the faculty advisor for the Afro-Diasporic & Cultural Collective (ADCC). ADCC is a cultural, social, and political organization that recognizes diversity of thought and experiences within the African diaspora at Dickinson College. ADCC also holds many events throughout the school year including baking events, movie nights, potlucks, dance formals, cookouts and  much more. 

Africana Studies at Dickinson

Dickinson College also has a major for those interested in learning about Africana studies. Chaired by Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies Benjamin Ngong, the department’s courses pull on humanities and social science lenses to analyze the experiences of people of African descent and the African diaspora. This major also offers study abroad options, including the recently reintroduced Dickinson in Cameroon program in Yaoundé, where students focus on better understanding critical issues in Cameroon and West Africa. Courses in Africana studies are well-rounded and are eligible to cover a wide range of graduation requirements, including the U.S. Diversity and Global Diversity categories.

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