Jacksonville celebrates Black History Month


Haitian Ibo Club celebrated Black History Month in 1983.

Ethan Szymanoski, Contributing Writer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Over the past 100 years, the inclusion of African Americans in society has evolved immensely.

Black History Month began to be officially recognized in 1976. Since then, the month has undergone quite the transformation.

Patrice Abner, director of student inclusion, has seen her fair share of Black History Months over the years.

“Fortunately, I have been able to be a part of numerous amounts of different celebrations and festivities celebrating my culture and the way it has evolved over the years is truly tremendous,” said Abner.

Black History Month has always held significance in Duval county, since over 33 percent in the area is from African-American descent.

Abner’s participation in a Divine Nine organization, Delta Sigma Theta, has also allowed her to experience Black History Month from a Greek standpoint.

Black History Month has steadily developed over the course of time. It is this gradual change that has allowed present-day festivities to be as successful as they are.

Joshua Young, the SGA president of Edward Waters College, has undertaken the 154th anniversary celebration of Florida’s first historically black college or university.

“Students, faculty, community, and I are all extremely excited about everything that has been going on and everything to come in the next few weeks,” Young said. “We are really trying to blow it up this year.”

EWC has a number of events to attend, including “Too Turnt Thursday” and various weeks designated to the different fraternities and sororities.

It is usually around Martin Luther King Jr. Day that festivities for Black History Month begin, such as the annual parade.

These events have helped bring about awareness in the past and has paved the way for a bright future.

Dorian Sullivan, president of the Black Student Union, has been proactive in preparing the community for the future.

“I feel like we have done a lot of good on this campus in the past and it has really set us up well for what we have going on right now,” Sullivan said. 

“People sometimes forget the work that has to go in to allow an entire culture of people to be successful in today’s age.”

Sullivan has made it one of his top priorities to foresee the direct success of the Black Student Union and to ensure they continue to do great things for the community.

“The work will never be done, as no matter how much you put in there is always a little more to give when it comes to an organization that you hold in such high regard,” says Sullivan.

Black History Month’s role has undoubtedly left a historic mark on not only the campus of Jacksonville University, but the community of Jacksonville.

“The Jacksonville community will continue to be great in the recognition of Black History Month,” says Young. “No matter what I have to do, I will leave my mark on this city.”