African-American History Month officially began at Brookdale with the raising of the Pan-African flag outside Collins Arena on February 4.

Diamond Bullock, president of Brookdale’s Black Student Union (BSU), opened the ceremony and cited the achievements and contributions of numerous African-Americans in our nation’s history. Ovian Anderson, BSU vice president, provided an overview of the Pan-African flag’s history. President David Stout noted that the Pan-African flag has a deep meaning as a symbol of unity among all of African descent, regardless of geography.

“Certainly, the African-American community knows all too well the pains caused by injustice and discrimination in our own history as a nation in the struggle for civil rights,” said President Stout. “African-Americans in disciplines too numerous to mention are part of the mosaic that is America. Their contributions have and continue to shape our lives and experiences.” In conclusion, President Stout added that “there’s a lot more that binds us together, despite differences in culture, language and political borders.”

Attendees sang the first verse of James Weldon Johnson’s Lift Every Voice and Sing while the flag was raised. First performed in 1900 on President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) later adopted Johnson’s song as its official song. Originally published as a poem, Lift Every Voice and Sing is often referred to as the Black National Anthem.

Following the flag-raising ceremony, the Brookdale community was invited to participate in the ThinkFast Gameshow in the Student Life Center. The interactive, rapid-paced quiz show posed questions to attendees on various figures in African-American history and culture.

The Black Student Union and Brookdale’s Student Life and Activities Office sponsored the day’s events, with several others planned throughout February for African-American History Month.

Photo Caption (top): Diamond Bullock, president of the Black Student Union, with President David Stout at the flag-raising ceremony

Photo Caption (middle; left to right) Nancy Kegelman, Diamond Bullock, Ovian Anderson, President David Stout, Joshua Santil, Khalil Walker and Kelli Sanders

Photo Caption (bottom) Contestants compete in the ThinkFast Gameshow in the Student Life Center