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February 1, 2023

Let’s Celebrate Black History Month

Every year since the 1920’s, the month of February has been recognized as Black History Month. History shares that it was Carter G. Woodson, known as the father of Black History, who set out in 1926 to designate a time to promote and educate people about Black history and culture.

Now in the year 2023, there is a continued need to promote and educate the greater community on the essential reasons to celebrate Black History. There are innumerable reasons to celebrate and in keeping with the spirit of Roberts Wesleyan University to recognize and acknowledge the heritage of the “Imago Dei,” those made in the image of God. Join our community in celebrating Black History Month by:

  1. Remembering the past and look to the future - During Black History Month, it is crucial to educate about the past to understand, reflect on, and learn about the oppression inflicted on Black people and the difficulties they faced in order for history not to be repeated.  In doing so, we are not only remembering the past for this purpose but also looking to the future by helping to shape and form better future generations.

  1. Looking to the future with hope - Stories you hear about during Black History Month have had a positive impact on people by giving them hope and have helped shape the world to what it is today. This is not to say that there still isn’t work to do and systems that need to be changed so that the future of Black people is offered on a level playing field. If we all desire fairness, then we need to create environments where inequality is not tolerated. Environments that have a clear commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential. Roberts Wesleyan University and Northeastern Seminary are devoted to these values and desire to be held accountable to these beliefs by our community to assist with our growth and change for the better. 

  1. Sharing the rich heritage of Black history which is not just about slavery - In our education system, we tend to only explore a glimpse of Black history which usually looks at slavery and the related events that took place. Instead, it is essential to illustrate Black history that is balanced and also focuses on the kings, queens, nations, scientists, inventors, artists, entrepreneurs, pioneers, etc. who have made favorable contributions to the United States and the world and have forever positively influenced our lives and culture. At Roberts Wesleyan and Northeastern Seminary, we seek to offer this balance and the sharing of the rich legacy and advancements of Black people by implementing more inclusive curriculums that consistently highlight the work of Black professionals in our STEM and liberal arts fields as well as proposing to offer an African American Studies course and launching the Black Church Studies certificate program.      

The challenge and opportunity for all of God's Imago Dei is to be intentional and transparent to express the transformative power of God to bring cultures and generations back to God and in relationship with one another. As we celebrate Black History Month and beyond, look for the various opportunities to celebrate Black History at churches and community events and at Roberts Wesleyan University and Northeastern Seminary. 

Dr. Fredrick Johnson Sr.
Assistant Professor of Christian Ministry
Director of Field Education & Black Church Studies

Dr. Sonnette M. Bascoe
Special Advisor to the President for Diversity & Belonging


Dr. James Wright, manager of the Rochester Public Library's Phillis Wheatley branch, commissioned a project to record the oral histories of African-American Rochesterians in the 1970s and early 1980s.   The oral history can be found at:

African American Oral Histories - Rochester Voices



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