Student Awards Cap Off Black History Month Observance

Student Awards Cap Off the Inaugural Black History Month Assembly Festivities

The Mary McLeod Bethune Center for the Study of Women and Girls hosted the first school-wide in-person Black History Month convening since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as North Carolina A&T State University's Henry E. Frye Distinguished Professor of History, Jelani Favors, Ph.D., headlined the joyous assembly Wednesday in the Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center. 

Dr. Favors delivered impactful remarks on the legacy and impact of historically Black colleges and universities, highlighting the contributions of African-American women, from our Founder, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune to poet and writer Margaret Walker. 

“Black colleges have been a moral force for justice in our nation’s history,” said Dr. Favors to a packed house at the PAC. “Long before the phrase Black girl magic or Black boy joy existed, Bethune-Cookman carved out space where we could dream, where we could imagine, where we could create and be free in a world that sought to exploit and to extinguish our light.”

Students in attendance also competed for various prizes at the assembly. The inaugural Provost Cups rewarded student organizations with the highest attendance; organizations were divided into two divisions, based on membership size, and the winners of each division won $350 for their organization and walked away with the trophy. 

The Bethune-Cookman football team took home the prize for Division I (organizations with 100 or more students), and the university’s chapter of the National Council of Negro Women — which was originally founded by Dr. Bethune in 1935 — won the Division II Cup for organizations with 99 or fewer students.

The Bethune-Cookman football team took home the prize for Division I

Students in attendance were also automatically entered into a raffle to win a $750 scholarship.

Students in attendance were also automatically entered into a raffle to win a $750 scholarship. Nadiah James, a freshman criminal justice major; Baba Conate, a senior business administration major and a defensive end/linebacker on the Wildcats football team; and Javares Mikell, a junior social science education major were selected in a drawing held Thursday. 

“I am so proud of the way the Wildcat Nation turned out for this important observance,” said Dr. Crystal A. deGregory, the founding director of the Mary McLeod Bethune Center for the Study of Women and Girls. “Dr. Favors’ established expertise on historically-Black institutions continues to encourage dialogue about the impactful role our institutions play in shaping the nation at-large.”

“As we continue in our institutional mission to educate a diverse community of learners to become responsible, productive citizens and solution seekers, this assembly provided an opportunity to remind us who we are and the place that we hold in promoting faith, scholarship, creative endeavors, leadership and service, within the university community and beyond,” deGregory added.