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Black History Month at CNM

Black History Month is an opportunity for CNM to recognize the trials, triumphs and achievements of African people of the diaspora.
Black History Month at CNM
CNM Main Campus Library has an extensive collection of books that encompass the milestones of black history in the United States.

Jan 31, 2019

To kick off Black History Month, we first pay tribute to an event that occurred 59 years ago, on Feb. 1, 1960: The Greensboro sit-in.

"Black history is America's history. The impact of African-Americans can be seen from coast to coast. Embracing each other's cultures is exactly what makes us the melting pot America, truly, wants to be," said Interim Dean of the School of Health, Wellness & Public Safety, Dr. Carol Ash. 

A Brief History

In 1960, Jim Crow Laws, a strict set of mandates that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States since the time of Reconstruction, were still the law of the land.

In the late afternoon on Feb. 1, 1960, Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair Jr. and David Richmond gathered in the library of the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University to implement their plan that would shift the social paradigm in America forever.

At 4:30 p.m. the young college students later known as the “Greensboro Four” took a stand, by sitting down at the at the “Whites Only” lunch counter at the Woolworths in Greensboro, North Carolina where they waited to be served.

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A statue of The Greensboro Four. Photo by CEWATKIN.

The tale of their nonviolent techniques spread to Bennett College, a college for black women, also in Greensboro. The next day, 20 young women launched a peaceful protest of their own. The Greensboro sit-ins lasted a grueling six months.

Students in cities throughout the South staged protests at lunch counters that refused to serve them. The Greensboro sit-ins of 1960 helped change the course of Black lives in this country. This simple act of remarkable bravery resonates in every aspect of public life in the United States today.

Celebrate Black History

As we honor the past, we also look to the future by identifying and illuminating current successes as we create pathways to an inclusive and equitable future for all. 

"Celebrating Black History Month at CNM is important because it allows us an opportunity to reflect on the contributions of Black people to New Mexico, the United States and the world," said Dr. Ash. "When we take the time to acknowledge how sometimes people living their lives in ordinary ways led to extraordinary change, we can be inspired to aspire to greatness in our own lives.

For those interested in celebrating Black History Month, there are several ways to engage.

  • CNM Library has an extensive collection of books that encompass the milestones of black history in the United States and will display an in-depth timeline of literature in the main lobby. 
  • The New Mexico Black History Organizing Committee presents Kumbuka Celebration (free) at Kimo Theater, February 1. Visit their website-- they have  more than a dozen events scheduled throughout the month of February.
  • NM Jazz Workshop Celebrates the Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin on February 2. Their gala, R.E.S.P.E.C.T. will benefit NMJW’s youth music programming.
  • Santa Fe Community College celebrates Black History Month, February 4, from 11am to 1pm in the Jemez Rooms.
  • Friday, February 8 is African American Day from 9am until 2pm at the New Mexico State Capitol in Santa Fe.
  • At CNM, on February 19, experience the legacy of the extraordinary dance company founded by world renown choreographer and activist Alvin Alley. CNM will hosts a free talk with the Artistic Director Troy Powell of the Alvin Ailey II Dance Company, and his company of dancers at noon, in Room 204 of the Student Resource Center. In the evening, they will perform at Popejoy Hall. For ticket information visit the Popejoy Box Office.
  • The documentary film, Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church screens at The Guild Cinema, February 22-24.

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Martin Luther King Jr. books on display in the CNM Main Library.

Look for more Black History Month stories and events right here: CNM.edu/news.