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Black History Month

Focusing on Black history, this guide highlights electronic databases, journals, and books published in 2022-2023 and held in the E. H. Butler Library collection.

About Black History Month

Black History Month is widely celebrated in American popular culture during the month of February. The purpose of the month-long event is to continually recognize the achievements of African American people throughout the history of the United States. The widespread attention given to black history and culture that emerged after the Black Arts Movement of late 1960s and 1970s spurred all Americans to recognize the important role African Americans played in the development of the U.S. In 1976, President Gerald Ford became the first president to officially observe Black History Month. Ford did so as part of that year's bicentennial celebrations. Since that time, every subsequent U.S. president has decreed February as Black History Month.

Smith, J. C. (2023). Black History Month. The American Mosaic: The African American Experience. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from

2024 Events at Buffalo State


Film Screening and Panel Discussion: 848: The Criminalization of America
Thursday, February 15
5:00 p.m.
Campbell Student Union Social Hall
A special screening of the documentary 848: The Criminalization of America, featuring a panel with director Thomas Freeman. 848: The Criminalization of America looks at drug laws like the “King Pin” statute, inequities, and how Black and Brown communities have been affected. This event is sponsored by Equity and Campus Diversity and the Africana Studies Program, and co-sponsored by the Erie County Bar Association and the Minority Bar Association of Western New York. Refreshments will be provided.


Beyond Boundaries Film Screening and Panel Discussion: Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power (2022)
Thursday, February 15
7:00 p.m.
Burchfield Penney Art Center’s Tower Auditorium
The passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 represented not the culmination of the Civil Rights Movement, but the beginning of a new, crucial chapter. Nowhere was this next battle better epitomized than in Lowndes County, Alabama, a rural, impoverished town with a vicious history of racist terrorism. In a town that was eighty percent Black but had zero Black voters, laws were just paper without power. Through first-person accounts and searing archival footage, the documentary tells the story of the local movement and young Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organizers who fought not just for voting rights, but for Black Power in Lowndes County. The documentary was directed by Sam Pollard and Geeta Gandbhir. The film will be followed by a discussion panel. Beyond Boundaries is sponsored by the Buffalo State Center for Social Justice, the Office of Equity and Campus Diversity, the Communication Department, and the Burchfield Penney Art Center and is curated by Ruth Goldman and Meg Knowles, associate professors of communication.


‘Shout Outs & Storytelling’: DJ Rhetoric and the Inspiration for ‘K for the Way’
Friday, February 16
4:30–6:00 p.m.
LoRusso Alumni and Visitor Center
As we celebrate over 50 years of hip-hop, come and hear writer and educator Todd Craig as he explores DJ culture, rhetoric, and its impact on contemporary writing. This event is sponsored by Equity and Campus Diversity and the Africana Studies Program. Refreshments will be provided.


Film Screening and Discussion: Rustin (2023)
Thursday, February 22
7:00 p.m.
Upton 230
Bayard Rustin, advisor to Martin Luther King Jr., dedicates his life to the quest for racial equality, human rights and worldwide democracy. However, as an openly gay Black man, he is all but erased from the civil rights movement he helped build. Open to the campus community! Sponsored by the Muriel A. Howard Honors Program.

2024 Theme: African Americans and the Arts

African American art is infused with African, Caribbean, and the Black American lived experiences. In the fields of visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression, the African American influence has been paramount. African American artists have used art to preserve history and community memory as well as for empowerment. Artistic and cultural movements such as the New Negro, Black Arts, Black Renaissance, hip-hop, and Afrofuturism, have been led by people of African descent and set the standard for popular trends around the world. In 2024, we examine the varied history and life of African American arts and artisans.

Association for the Study of African American Life and History. (n.d.). Black history themes.

Buffalo State University Resources

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