Award-Winning Novelist’s Visit Kicks Off Marist’s Celebration of Black History Month

Bryan Terry, Assistant Director of Content Marketing & Communications
Novelist and storyteller Edwidge Danticat speaks with students in the Cabaret. Photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College.

February 6, 2024 — Black History Month is an annual recognition and celebration of the lives and contributions of African Americans and Black people globally. 

Throughout February, Marist has a full schedule of events, exhibitions, and conversations planned, shining a light on the richness and diversity of Black experiences. The monthlong recognition got started over the past week with the help of the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in partnership with departments and offices across campus.

“The impact of African American contributions is profound and far-reaching, ranging from science and politics to sports, music, literature, social movements, education, and many other aspects of society,” said Dr. Edward Antonio, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in a letter to the Marist community. “Black people have a presence on every continent, and their histories are not only local and global, but they are also deeply intertwined.”

The wide range of experiences and contributions is reflected in the events taking place on campus to mark this important month. Dr. Antonio says that community engagement at these events is crucial to fulfilling the goal of Expansive Community laid out in the Marist 100 strategic plan for the College’s future.

Events began on Feb. 1 with a visit by multi-award-winning novelist and storyteller Edwidge Danticat. Raised in Haiti and later immigrating to the United States, Danticat's writing intertwines themes of family, memory, and the historical struggles of the Haitian people.

Image of Edwidge Danticat.
Portrait of Edwidge Danticat. Photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College.

Danticat spent a full day on the Marist campus meeting students, faculty, and other members of the Marist community, and delivering a talk focused on her life, works, and thoughts on society.

“Culture can be a bridge across generations,” Danticat said. “I think on a college campus minds are open to ideas being exchanged and I’m very honored to be a part of that, particularly on the first day of Black History Month.”

Some of Danticat’s works are also featured in a special display commemorating Black History Month in the James A. Cannavino Library. The display includes books, graphic novels, and films that recognize the histories and experiences of African Americans and Black people across the globe.

Image of the Black History Month display in the James A. Cannavino Library.
Black History display on the second floor of the James A. Cannavino Library, featuring books, graphic novels, children's books, and films from the library's collection. Photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College.

Next up, the Fashion department hosts an information session today at 6 p.m. with Maison Black Founder Tori Nichelle and the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan students on what it takes to be a successful fashion designer.  Also, on Thursday at 4 p.m. in Lowell Thomas, Bentley Brown will discuss his father Frederick J. Brown’s career and the important history of Black creatives in Lower Manhattan. For the full list of events, click here.

Marketing and Communications intern Jadyn Lance contributed to this article.

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