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Black History Month

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History of Black History Month

In 1915 in a response to the lack of information on the accomplishments of Black people, Mr. Carter G. Woodson co-founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. In 1926, the group designated the second week of February to be “Negro History Week”; the weeklong event became recognized as a month in 1976 when President Gerald Ford extended the recognition period. Black History Month was created to focus attention on the contributions of African Americans to the United States. It honors all African Americans from all periods of U.S. History. 

For more information regarding Black History Month, visit the Association for the Study of African American Life & History (ASALH) website.

Black History Month Program

February 24, 2023 | 10 AM

Dr. Stephen PetersThe Office of International Student Programs and Cultural Affairs, along with The Cultural Diversity Council, present A Black History Program at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 24, at Bayou Pointe Event Center. The program is free and open to the public. This year’s program will highlight the talent of ULM students and youth within the community.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Stephen Peters. Peters has been a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, director of secondary education, and superintendent during his 37+ year career. Most of his experiences have been in schools that made significant growth in short periods of time, resulting in both National and State Blue-Ribbon distinction.  An avid sports fan and athlete, Stephen was inducted into the Colleton County basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. Stephen is the founder of the nationally recognized Gentlemen’s & Ladies Club programs, featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, which provide options for thousands of at-risk and honor students throughout the United States.  Dr. Peters is Past President of the Board of Directors of the International Literacy Association and President of The Peters Group, a national education consulting company. The Peters Group has a track record of creating and sustaining success in schools and districts by supporting educators through a three-step process of teaching and learning.

Stephen is also a best-selling author of several books: Choosing to Believe: Creating a Framework for School Success, Do You Know Enough about Me to Teach Me, Teaching to Capture and Inspire all Learners, Inspired to Learn: Why We Must Give Children Hope and One., A Process For Building Schools of Excellence For Every One and Everyone.

He received his B.S. from Hampton University, his M.Ed. from Old Dominion University, and his Ed.D. from South Carolina State University.



Soulful Wednesday

Soulful Wednesday

February 1, 2023 | 11:00 AM

In learning and exploring the many different cultures that we have represented here on campus, there are two things that seem to be a common theme: music and food. Please join us on February 1st from 11 AM - 2 PM as we kick off our Black History Month Celebration. We have teamed with Dining Services and The Campus Activity Board to present Soulful Wednesday… Music, Soul Food, and Fellowship are all things good for the soul! 

BHM Events

Valentine's Basket Raffle

February 1-14, 2023 

Find an NAACP member to be entered into a raffle to win a Valentine's basket! Tickets are $2.
Keldrick Dunn

Wrld Keeps Turnin

February 1-15, 2023 

The ULM Art Program and Bry Gallery are currently hosting an exhibition of works titled “Wrld Keeps Turnin” by Minden artist Keldrick Dunn. The exhibition runs from January 18th through February 15th. An artist’s talk will be given on Wednesday, February 15th in Sandel 236 at 2:00 p.m. with a reception following in Bry Gallery. 

BHM Events

CDC Movie Night

February 6, 2023 | 6:00 PM

Come out and join us for the film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. We'll bring the popcorn, you just bring your FRIENDS! Early arrival is encouraged.

BHM Events

Good Reads: Books by Black Authors

February 6, 2023 

Tune into our Instagram account (@ulmcdc) and find some great books written by black authors. These books are non-stop page turners. See what book you'll read next!

BHM Events

Evolution Of Black Music

February 7, 2023 | 6:30 PM

In honor of Black History Month, CDC will take students on a tour through the evolution of black music. From smooth sounds of jazz, to the soulful words of gospel, and the chilling sound of R&B. We presents the sound of yesterday paving the way for music of today.

BHM Events

Fundamentals of Hip Hop

February 8, 2023 | 6:00 PM

Unwind with NAACP and learn basic hip-hop moves. You can even show us your own moves that you got!

BHM Events

NAACP Breakfast Handout

February 9, 2023 | 9:00 AM


Start your day with us by stopping for a sweet morning treat!

BHM Events

NAACP Bon Fire

February 10, 2023 | 6:00 PM

Join us for our bon fire at the Wesley Foundation. Enjoy sweet treat like smores, music games and more fun.

BHM Events

CDC Jiggerobics

February 16, 2023 | 6:30 PM

Join us for a fun dancing exercise class! We can't wait to break a sweat with you. Join us for some fun and fitness.

BHM Events

Let’s Talk About It

February 28, 2023 | 6:30 PM

Join us in a panel discussion about real-world problems in the African-American community.





Black History at ULM

Sarah McCoy Abakwue

Sarah McCoy AbakwueIn June 1964, Sarah McCoy Abakwue enrolled at then Northeast Louisiana State College- now ULM- as the first female black student following the 1954 Supreme Court ruling against segregation of public schools. Abakwue registered as a fine arts major and was classified as a sophomore, since she had previously attended Southern University and Grambling State University.

Abakwue was enrolled under a federal court order passed on June 5th, 1964 at the 5th United States Circuit Court of Appeals in Houston, Texas.

In a 1964 interview with KNOE news, Sarah was asked why she wanted to go to Northeast, she responded, “I am a citizen of Monroe, of the State, and of the United States and have the right to go to school at Northeast. Monroe is my home, and Northeast is located here. There is no reason why I couldn’t go”.

Sarah McCoy Abakwue persevered and became the first black female to graduate from NLSC on January 26, 1968 with a Bachelor’s of Music in Voice. It was through Abakwue’s steadfastness and determination that the opportunity to study in Northeast Louisiana opened up for all African American students.
Donald Wayne Smith, Ed.D.
Donald Wayne Smith, Ed.D.
Donald Wayne Smith, Ed.D. was an incredible man and lifelong educator. He was born in Monroe and raised by John and Annie Smith along with five siblings. Smith graduated from Carroll High School in 1958 and joined the U.S. Marines thereafter. After returning home, he enrolled in then Northeast Louisiana State College, now University of Louisiana Monroe. He was the second black student to enroll in ULM.
Smith graduated in January 1967 with a B.S. in Health and Physical Education and a minor in Social Studies. In 1972, he earned a Master of Education, in 1974 his Plus 30 and in 1978 his Education Specialist. Later, Smith went on to earn a Doctorate of Education at Grambling State University in 1995. His career ranged from teaching to coaching to assistant principal between both the Ouachita Parish School System and Monroe City Schools.
His time at ULM brought many accomplishments for him and the black community. Being the first black male graduate was an enormous success and a testament to the importance of Black History Month.
Regina Carmon
Regina Carmon
In 1976, Regina Carmon, a sophomore from Lake Charles, was the first Black woman elected homecoming queen at then-Northeast Louisiana University.
Regina is quoted in the Oct. 22, 1976 issue of The Pow Wow, saying, "I'm just excited and I want to thank all the students that voted for me."
She earned a bachelor's degree from ULM and lived for many years in New Jersey. She married and had four children. Regina Carmon Adkins died in 2004 at age 47.
Louis A. Nabors Jr.
Louis Nabors 
Louis A. Nabors Jr., a man known for his commanding voice and powerful presence in the classroom, on stage, and in person, bestowed his gifts to the University of Louisiana Monroe for 40 years.

Nabors, Associate Professor of Music and Voice Department Chairman, was highly regarded for his repertoire of spirituals and impossibly deep, resonant timbre, taught and performed across the country and internationally.

He appeared at the Kennedy Center and top opera companies and symphonies in Arizona, Houston, Los Angeles, Fort Worth, Louisiana, West Germany, the Philippines, and the Bahamas. He also appeared in musical theater nationwide.

Nabors created and directed ULM's Interdenominational Ensemble choral group that sang a variety of musical styles, including gospel, spirituals, and African-American Broadway musicals and operas.

His annual "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" performance delighted audiences at the university's annual holiday celebration.

Nabors died July 30, 2013, in Salerno, Italy, where he was performing. His funeral was held at Brown Auditorium.

Nabors is remembered at ULM with a tree planted in his honor in front of the SUB.
Clarease L. Isby
Clarease Isby
In 1973, Clarease L. Isby was the first Black assistant professor to join then-Northeast Louisiana University. Clarease was already an established educator when she came to the university's education program.
Clarease was at ULM for more than 30 years. In addition to being an assistant professor, she served as supervisor of teaching, social worker, coordinator, education consultant, and instructor of undergraduate and graduate students.
In 2008, more than 500 attended a surprise dinner honoring her 50 years of trailblazing in education.
In a 2006 article, Clarease stated, "The most important thing in life is to help everybody feel as though they're somebody."
Clarease L. Isby died on November 23, 2022.
Dr. Alex John, Jr.
Alex Johns
Dr. Alex John, Jr. was an early champion for diversity and inclusion at ULM. As a faculty member, John advised and encouraged Black students to persevere in their quest for a college education when there were few supportive resources for Black students. He was one of the first faculty and administration members who promoted diversity and inclusion at the university.

John (1943-2018) joined ULM, then-Northeast Louisiana University, in 1971 as an instructor in psychology. He later became a tenured assistant professor. In 1974, John was appointed assistant to the vice president of Student Affairs.

In 1980, John was named Dean of the Office of University Relations, becoming the first Black to hold an executive position at ULM. He left the university in 1982 and went on to become successful in several business ventures.

John received his bachelor's and master's degrees from McNeese State University. John earned his Doctor of Education from ULM. He also studied at Southern University, Howard University, and Columbia University.