Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman Ushers in Black History Month

Black History Month at Furman saw increased student involvement as it highlighted Black excellence in the arts and beyond.
Evi-Jane Garnett
Students perform at the Celebrating Black Excellence on Feb. 7.

Student organizations such as the Student League for Black Culture (SLBC), NAACP and Center for Inclusive Communities featured a wide variety of events to highlight Black History Month on campus this year.

After kicking the month off outside Trone Student Center, the SLBC Black Excellence Talent Show on Feb. 7 highlighted the artistic talent within the African American community. Complete with songs from Ella Fitzgerald and Boyz II Men to original poetry and dance routines, the event was a comprehensive showcase of the talent found at Furman. 

The national theme of the 2024 Black History Month is “African Americans and the Arts,” which seeks to acknowledge the power in creative expression found in generations of African American artists.

“It’s amazing how much we can branch out from that one central idea of black excellence,” said Jaedyen Hill-Mims ‘24.

Hill-Mims co-led the NAACP Founders’ Day Banquet on Feb. 12 alongside Miles Baker ‘24, which acknowledged the founding of Furman’s own chapter. The banquet included a number of speakers including Baker himself and concluded with a relaxed discussion portion on the chapter’s future. 

“What I’ve learned throughout my time here is that rest is resistance,” Baker said. “The event really gave us a space to just be comfortable and enjoy ourselves.”

The banquet contained a performance from the Furman University Gospel Ensemble, who played a complete concert as a CLP a few days later.

“You cannot talk about Black History without acknowledging the contribution of the Black Church and Gospel Music,” Ensemble President Myla Crosby ‘24 said.

The ensemble played a variety of songs, including “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is commonly referred to as the Black National Anthem.

“As you can see, Gospel music has been engrained in Black History, from the slave trade to current day,” Crosby said.

The theme of African American artistry continued in the screening of Drumline as the final event associated with Black History Month, which Hill-Mims says “highlights the culture of HBCUs and Black music in general.”

The 2002 hit stars Nick Cannon, a musical figure, displaying the musical prowess evident in historically Black colleges.

Students say Black History Month celebrations at Furman have seen significant change since COVID.

“I think the greatest change has been that it’s now more student-led, which is really good,” Baker said. “The events are much more intentional.”

The CIC put on the State of DEI in Corporate America CLP a week later, immediately followed by Afrikiya’s Sip ‘n Paint: BHM Edition. Drumline will act as the closer for BHM, occurring in early March.

“That was such a good sign for me at least, that we have so many events planned that we can’t even fit it all into one month.” Hill-Mims said.

As February ends and these seniors look beyond college, they leave a legacy for future generations of black students at Furman.

“I want to continue to build something that’s known. I want future black students to know that you’re not just a student walking through the halls, you’re a leader,” Hill-Mims said. “I just hope that I have provided a foundation for them to build upon more and more in the years to come.”

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About the Contributors
Carter Ozburn
Carter Ozburn, Assistant News Editor
Carter is a freshman English major on the pre-law track. He loves writing and working with the wonderful staff on the Paladin, and is so excited for his first year on the board. Outside of his work on the Paladin, he also writes poetry and prose for the Echo and works as a PAL tutor. He’s a bit of an art junkie if you couldn’t tell: he loves music, movies, books, and talking about books that he hasn’t read. Find him running begrudgingly, banging on the piano in Furman Hall or talking too loudly in the library.
Evi-Jane Garnett
Evi-Jane Garnett, Social Media and Photography Director
Evi-Jane Garnett is a sophomore from Winter Park, Florida studying French and Communication Studies. Evi-Jane has a passion for photography that began in high school when she was an avid photographer for the school’s yearbook. She served as the yearbook Photography Editor during her senior year of high school. At Furman, she has taken various photography courses and contributed to The Paladin. Evi-Jane is the current Social Media Director and Photo Editor of The Paladin and is excited to continue to share her love of photography.
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