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The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Pathfinder

The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Pathfinder

Opening the door to Black history

Clubs celebrate Black History Month through creative door decorations
In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month as a national timeframe to honor the legacies and accomplishments of African Americans throughout United States history. However, Black history has influenced the world since far before Ford’s announcement, bringing modern society to the place it is today. “[Black excellence] is about the people that meant a lot to the world, [who] succeeded in life and really dedicated themselves to doing this for us. [Door decorating] shows how much we appreciate them and shows the world how we couldn’t do any of this without these people in our lives,” Black Student Union member and sophomore Nemo Moye said.
Risa Cidoni
In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month as a national timeframe to honor the legacies and accomplishments of African Americans throughout United States history. However, Black history has influenced the world since far before Ford’s announcement, bringing modern society to the place it is today. “[Black excellence] is about the people that meant a lot to the world, [who] succeeded in life and really dedicated themselves to doing this for us. [Door decorating] shows how much we appreciate them and shows the world how we couldn’t do any of this without these people in our lives,” Black Student Union member and sophomore Nemo Moye said.

As the month of February begins, an important aspect of American culture is celebrated by millions across the nation. Black History Month marks an annual commemoration of African American achievement, serving as a period of recognition for the various parts of this nation that stem from African American revolutionaries. And while this month highlights the past of Black history, the present of the community continues to benefit from its teachings. 

The path of African American history has undeniably encountered many struggles worth remembering, including slavery, segregation and misrepresentation. However, a great part of African American history includes significant outstanding figures who altered the course of their field of work for the better. These figures were showcased throughout various door decorations by clubs during this past month. 

From Black poets and authors to Black female revolutionaries to simple Black excellence, club door decorations observed the gems of Black history. For example, Black Student Union highlighted influential rapper Tupac Shakur and his accomplishments as a legendary hip-hop artist, as well as his advocacy for the Black community. A different door decoration displayed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. alongside other prominent Black historical figures under the words “fulfilling the dream,” referencing King’s famous speech during the March on Washington in 1963. Feminist Club focused particularly on impactful Black women, often discredited for their exceptional efforts in social justice work, such as the woman behind the planning of the March on Washington, Septima Clark. Throughout history, it has been common for Black talents to be disregarded; to show them, prideful and joyous, on each of these doors, communicates the strength of these significant historical figures despite their lifestyles of adversity, as well as the collective strength of the African American community.

“You can learn a lot of things from the past through Black History Month — one important thing being that no matter [the] skin color, race [or] gender, everyone is equal. No one should be put above or below because of what they believe or who they are,” BSU member and sophomore Jariyah McCalister said.  

However, the doors’ focus wasn’t placed solely on icons of the past. New modern African American innovators in music and literature were the focus of several doorways. French Club’s door displayed current African musicians topping the French charts, including several national icons such as Belgian rapper Stromae and French singer Aya Nakamura. Currently, Black artists are finding a lot of success in French airwaves, as French audiences favor hip-hop and jazz more than any other country in Europe. Because of this, the role of Black music in France is incredibly significant. Similarly, one BSU door featured current Black celebrities such as singer-songwriter SZA, actor Michael B. Jordan and television host Oprah Winfrey. And in the realm of literature, the National English Honors Society captured designs of specific books and writers; examples included poet Jericho Brown and author Alice Walker. Needless to say, Black culture and accomplishment continue to uphold a great legacy in the modern world as well. 

“We have negative connotations [about] certain parts of our culture, but at the same time, we can celebrate those and put those out to the mainstream demographics that have those negative connotations against us. That’s what we wanted to achieve through those door decorations,” BSU member and senior Anijah Wilson said.

The creativity of these decorations goes to show that the concept of Black History Month is not limited only to the celebration of those from the past, but also the history currently witnessed in the present. No matter what field of work they concern, whether highlighting figures of the past or present, the people featured on these door decorations prove instrumental to current navigation in today’s world. Moreso, BSU’s goal to spread the value of Black History Month fosters a space of community for students, committed to acknowledging both the struggles and the triumphs of the past. 

These door decorations provide an environment where walks through the school hallways surround and remind the community of the unforgettable and powerful black individuals who worked to make the present the way it is today. In the end, hanging up these decorations means ensuring that the door to Black history remains wide open. 

“Our decorations are one of the ways that we can get the whole school to participate in Black History Month. Our goal moving forward is to make Black History Month in our school a celebratory thing for everybody, not just us,” Wilson said. “As I’m leaving this year, I want to say to make these coming years much more participatory. Just celebrate more, everybody.”

 

 

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About the Contributors
Risa Cidoni, Features Editor
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 11 Years on staff: 3 What is your favorite piece of literature? "Where the Crawdads Sing." Who is your hero? My grandma. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Green grapes.
Cindy Phung, A&E Editor
Pronouns: they/she Grade: 11 Years on staff: 3 What is your favorite piece of literature? "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky. Who is your hero? My dad. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Sushi.
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    Samir ShaikFeb 16, 2024 at 10:42 pm

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