Black History Month expo

Photo provided by Ashley Allen, Observer Photographer 

On February 28, Endicott College hosted an Black History Month Exposition, which featured student-led projects all around campus between 10am and 2pm. The exposition took place across campus, everywhere from Lower Callahan to the Manninen Center for the Arts. Gail Cantor, the co-chair of the diversity, equity, and inclusion taskforce, and Brandi Johnson, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer both played a big role in organizing this event. There were over 60 presentations featured in total that were spread among all of these buildings.


Since the Exposition was held all morning and afternoon and was across campus, students could browse various displays throughout the day whilst heading to class. Rachel Fleming, a member of the communications and marketing department at Endicott College was stationed in the Gerrish Business and Judge Science Center. ‘You Can Thank a Black Woman’ was the feature of her Expo. When asked to elaborate on the ideas behind her Expo she remarked, “Just think: in recent elections, political issues, women’s rights issues, and more, would not have happened without black women. Black women have always been on the forefront of many issues,” said Fleming. Flemings' table represented some of history's most famous Black female activists from Sojourner Truth and Marsha P. Johnson. Flemings described the efforts of these women to fight for rights that they could not necessarily even reap the benefits of themselves.


The Business & Science Center also featured a discussion of black experiences of healthcare in America. It discussed the higher death rates amongst African Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, and how, in general, the standard of healthcare amongst African American communities is poor when compared to white communities, among other examples.

In the Hempstead Commons building, the hallway was lined with tables set up by Education majors. One table featured posters about racially banned books. These books included The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Between the World and Me. The reasons for these books being banned were due to profane language, not discussing racism of all people, or political bias. The Hempstead Commons also featured student-made posters of famous African Americans, including Ruby Bridges, Claudette Colvin, and Naomi Wadler.


In Lower Callahan, there were posters on more famous African Americans who have made a huge and varied number of contributions to the development of the United States. For example, one poster featured Garrett Morgan who invented the stoplight. There were several other posters on a large number of contemporary issues facing African Americans: one such poster discussed the topic of the disproportionate incarceration for African Americans.


The News Literacy Across the Curriculum (NILAC) organization, put together a table that talked about misinformation in the black community. Allie Hastings, a member of NILAC, was sitting at this table. “Some African Americans feel like they can’t trust the vaccine due to news they have read.” said Hastings.


According to Hastings. The media is very misleading. Some of this misinformation includes the vaccine changing their DNA, doctors using them as guinea pigs for the vaccine, and being told that the pandemic is just a hoax. All of this information is not true, but because African Americans are being told conflicting information, they have a harder time trusting the media. This table had two posters featuring ways to recognize misleading content, and the other one showed the algorithmic bias that negatively impacts people of color.


In the library, there was a display of books and albums from black writers and artists. There was a large variety for students to browse. Additionally, they are doing a giveaway for books written by black authors that all students were eligible for. The Campus Activities Board also put together a poster for the event. Their poster featured the black community’s impact on the music industry.


Mari O’Shea, a member of CAB, helped design and set up this table. “CAB hosts a lot of music related events on campus like the EDM festival, so we wanted to honor black musicians and black people in the music industry,” said O’Shea. A lot of music today originates from black musicians. According to O’Shea, it is important to honor their contributions, and acknowledge their impact on the music industry. 


The students and faculty really appreciated all the beautiful history that surrounded them in most buildings. Everyone had the opportunity to learn something new and recognize the black community’s impact on America.


Students and faculty alike put a lot of effort into the entire event which marked an end to Endicott's official celebrations of Black History Month, yet the importance of diversity and inclusion will continue to be championed on campus.