Black history to be celebrated year round

Kirsten Beverley

As part of the speaker series for Black History Month, Reginna Williams spoke on freedom and Chinese connections last night in the Student Center.

Credit: Andrew popik

February may be designated as Black History Month, but as Regennia Williams, professor at Cleveland State University explained last night to students, it has become a year-long celebration.

“The real victory is in the fact that the celebration is now year-long,” Williams said. “Pan-African Studies was William Edward Burghardt DuBois leading light, and now it is the means for continual recognition of black history.”

The Honors College, history department and Graduate Student Senate invited Williams to speak in conjunction with Black History Month. Williams spoke on the African American Freedom and the Chinese Connection from 1949 to 1974.

“Coming of age in the Cold War, where I was told that the communists were the enemy, made me obsessed with this topic,” Williams said.

Since the establishment of the People’s Republic in China in 1949, “many African American scholars and political activists have looked for solutions to race problems and erasing the color lines,” Williams said.

W.E.B. DuBois was the benchmark in exploring these global problems of racism.

“DuBois wasn’t an ideologue. Rather, he looked for solutions to the American race problems,” Williams said. “DuBois posed many questions over the anti-communism that flourished throughout the country.”

Williams found it very difficult to understand the problems of communism when “this great thinker (DuBois) was always in the company of these radicals. If communism was bad, then why was this great thinker drawn into it?”

Leonne M. Hudson, associate professor of history, questioned Williams about DuBois continuously changing views.

“DuBois would say if society did this, then he was a socialist, and if they believed this, then he was a communist, so their argument is valid,” Williams said.

Williams also considered the work of Robert Williams, James and Grace Boggs, and Shirley Graham DuBois when researching influences on young activists today.

Many voices have already been silenced because of death, but the history lives on, Williams explained. It is moving toward a more self-determined, self-reliant society that is colorblind, and Black History Month encourages people to seek, Williams said.

If students wish to find out more information, Williams encourages students to check out Lexis-Nexis Black Power Connection articles.

For more information, contact Honors College/Graduate Studies reporter Kirsten Beverley at [email protected].