The lights dim and the curtains draw back to reveal…Black History Month.
Butler University and the Black Student Union are putting on a series of events highlighting black history and the arts throughout the month of February.
Sophomore Aisha Townsend, BSU vice president of campus events, said she hopes highlighting the arts will enhance Black History Month.
“I hope that they get an experience that they’ve never had with Black History Month,” she said. “Usually we want to focus on history, but we want to show a different kind of history.”
BSU is focusing on this week, calling it “Black Curtain Week.”
Everyday this week, BSU is putting on a different event promoting black history.
Monday featured a speaker from the African American Genealogy Group that taught how to trace family histories.
Townsend said this event allows students to get back to their roots.
“It is important because a lot of people actually forget what we went through, what we came from and how we are doing what we do today,” she said.
Tuesday’s event was a trip to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra to attend a celebration of black history. It featured traditional music and an all-African-American orchestra.
Katie Carlson, a sophomore public relations and marketing major and Coffee House co-chair, said in the collegiate bubble, students tend to forget about the world outside of campus.
“We need these reminders of the world outside of our academic walls to keep us grounded,” she said.
Tonight BSU is sponsoring a trip to an Indianapolis theatre: dowtown’s Repertory Theatre.
The theater is putting on a production of “Neat,” the story of a woman and her struggles during the Civil Rights movement.
Townsend said she wanted to highlight the great events happening off-campus in the Indianapolis community.
“We just tried to think of different things going on in the Indianapolis area to give them immersion into Indianapolis, as well as do some things here for our students,” she said.
Thursday will kick off the African-American Cinema Series, which will feature a different movie each week with opportunities to discuss them afterwards.
Friday night’s poetry jam, called Love and Roots, on at Starbucks will finish out the week.
Carlson said Butler provides a lot of programming for students, but this event is going to be something no one will want to miss because she guarantees that most students have never attended anything like a poetry jam/underground hip-hop concert before.
“I want them to walk away with a sense of discovery finding themselves more curious about the world we live in,” Carlson said.
Townsend said she hopes everyone realizes how exciting these arts events are for Black History Month.
“We forget that people fought to do those kinds of things back then and had to go step-by-step or take what they could get until they got to the top,” she said.
She said she hopes the Butler community will end the month feeling a renewed appreciation for black history, especially in the arts.
“Hopefully they get to see a different side of things,” she said. “I hope they see the things that great African-Americans did.”