The Department of Anthropology at The University of New Mexico is celebrating Black History Month in February with a website page full of resources that include the history of Black History Month, Black scholar biographies, the African-American community at UNM, events, videos, research, and more.

The Africana Studies Program at the University of New Mexico gives students of all races, ethnicities, genders, and backgrounds a full understanding of the global linkages between peoples of Africa and other African descended people in the Southwest, the contiguous United States, and throughout the Black Diaspora in Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Africana Studies provides an excellent university experience in a discipline that investigates African descended peoples' experiences from the perspective of their interests, aspirations, possibilities, and envisioned destinies.

Waiting for the Hour
Waiting for the Hour by William Tolman Carlton, 1863. Courtesy: The White House Historical Association

Black History Month – also known as African American History Month – is an opportunity to refocus attention on the issues facing Black people today as well as their significant accomplishments and perseverance over oppression.

This year’s page quotes Garnett S. Stokes, president of UNM, on the history of Afro Studies at UNM:

In 1970, following the lead of our students, faculty, and staff, UNM created its Afro Studies program, as it was called then, which was the first ethnic studies research program at UNM, and it remains one of the oldest Black studies programs in the nation.

"Over the next decade, Afro Studies would grow and evolve, becoming African American Studies in 1982, and then a degree-granting program in 1993. Designated today as the Africana Studies Program, the program is in its sixth remarkable decade of facilitating academic freedom of Black faculty and building Africana, African Diaspora, and African American Studies as viable and vibrant academic disciplines. I am delighted that it is soon to become its own department, and I want to welcome and congratulate Dr. Kirsten Buick, who is presently serving as the interim director of Africana Studies and will soon step into the notable role as The University of New Mexico’s inaugural chair of our Africana Studies Department."

President's Weekly Perspective, 1/31/2022

The page also highlights Dr. Kirsten Pai Buick, Chair of the Department of Africana Studies at UNM, Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Chair of Africana Studies Kathy Powers, UNM African American Student Services, Dr. Barbara Brown Simms, Black History Month events and news at UNM, Black scholars, and much more.

 “Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.”

Dr. Carter G. Woodson
Dr. Carter G. Woodson

― Carter G. Woodson

Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson believed that truth could not be denied and that reason would prevail over prejudice. His hopes to raise awareness of African American's contributions to civilization was realized when he and the organization he founded, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), conceived and announced Negro History Week in 1925.

The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The response was overwhelming: Black history clubs sprang up; teachers demanded materials to instruct their pupils; and progressive whites, not simply white scholars and philanthropists, stepped forward to endorse the effort."

In his proclamation for Black History Month 2023, President joe Biden declares, “This National Black History Month, we celebrate the vast contributions of Black Americans to our country and recognize that Black history is American history and that Black culture, stories, and triumphs are at the core of who we are as a Nation…”

To find more resources for Black History, go to the Anthropology website.