The Meaning Behind the Month
Black history is happening every day through the lives of Gordon students, and Black History Month gives us an extra chance to spotlight their stories. The Bell caught up with four students to find out what this month means to them.
Miriam (Mo) Desrosiers ’21
Kinesiology major | Born and raised in Connecticut
What does your Black history mean to you? Black history is my life; it’s what made me who I am today. Black history paved the way for me to gain access to my future. Without it, I would be nothing.
Do you have a favorite book by a Black author? Yes, I love Beloved by Toni Morrison; it was a book that I had to read for an AP English class in high school. Beloved was a journey that was so necessary, especially at a time when I was very surrounded by white people (both in school and in my neighborhood) and almost completely unaware of the beauty and suffering that came with Black love and slavery. It was hard to read at times, but the story was a necessary one to push through.
What are some of your beloved family and community traditions that originate from Black history and Black cultures? A new tradition for my family is celebrating Juneteenth instead of July 4, but one that I’m more familiar with is the celebration of Haitian Independence on January 1.
What’s your favorite Haitian meal? Diri ak sos pwa nwa (legume).
Evangelina Opoku-Nyarko ’21
Social work major, English minor | Born and raised in Ghana
What does your Black history mean to you? For an African, moving to the U.S. means being handed an identity that you were previously unfamiliar with. It was in the U.S. I first identified as Black and so for me, Black history is a chance to learn more about the untold stories of this resilient race I so proudly identify as.
How are you planning to celebrate Black History Month? I’d like to think that my history is a part of me every month of the year . . . I join the rest of the Gordon community to echo loudly the stories I read and study the rest of the year.
Elizabeth Barnes ’23
Political science and social welfare double major | Born and raised Connecticut
What does your Black history mean to you? Black history means a significant deal to me. It’s not only the celebration of the triumphant victories of difficult obstacles that Black men and women beautifully overcame, but the acknowledgment of the trials that aren’t left in the past, that are still prevalent in our present. You cannot appreciate the successes of Black people without acknowledging the obstacles they have faced. It’s about appreciating the Black people who made history and widening our perspective to give them the recognition they never received. Additionally, I love how Black history is so diverse and vast in achievements. The more I study and educate myself about Black history, the more I see the inherent multifaceted characteristics my community has. We aren’t just proficient in one aspect; we are adaptable, well-educated human beings who deserve recognition for our achievements.
What’s your favorite Haitian meal? Diri, sos pwa and oxtail.
Caleigh C. Williams ’24
Social welfare major, sociology minor | Born in Oregon and raised in Washington
What does your Black history mean to you? Celebrating the accomplishments made by Black people and respecting those who have paved the way for us.
Do you have a favorite book by a Black author? She Got Game: My Personal Odyssey by Cynthia Cooper.
What are some of your beloved family and community traditions that originate from Black history and Black cultures? My church will take one Sunday when we have different members of the congregation dress up and tell the story of historical figures of Black History Month as if they were that person.