School of Humanities and Social Sciences hosts lecture as part of Black History Month celebrations
Dr. Cassandra Veney during the lecture. She spoke extensively about the African American women’s struggle for the vote in the United States of America.
By Alan Mwangi Kariuki and Sarah Masila
The Black History Committee, in conjunction with the School of Humanities and Social Sciences recently hosted a lecture by Professor Cassandra Veney (Professor and Chair of the Department of International Relations – SHSS) who discussed the African American women’s struggle for the vote in the United States of America.
Her lecture chronicled the sordid history of structural violence experienced by people of African descent living in America since the 17th century. It gave a contextual overview of African Americans’ civic condition in the United States of America from advent of slavery in the country to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. She pinpointed how African American women especially contributed to the fight for the abolition of slavery and for civil rights in the United States. African American women’s contribution was critical in what was long, long march for racial equality. Women of African descent like Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells Barnett, Mary Church Terrell, Ana Julia, Nannie Hellen Burroughs, Mary McLeod Bethune, and many others spurred what would later be considered the Civil Rights Movement during the middle of the 20th Century. Without their inspiration, many other women of a younger generation could not have kept up with the march for civil rights. During the 1950s and 1960s, women like Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker, Diane Nash, Gloria Richardson, Jo-Ann Robinson, Daisy Bates, Constance Baker Motley and countless others were instrumental in the cause for racial equality. Their stories along with those the others’ that came before are stirring and captivating, as Professor Veney recounted them with vigor and an excitement that only a person passionate about Black History could. We hope that those that came to the lecturer left motivated with a better understanding of how the intersection of race and gender played and continues to play a part of a universal struggle against racism and bigotry against people of African descent.
The event was part of the annual Black History Month celebration held at USIU-Africa during the month of February. The Black History Committee also hosted other events such as the launch of an edited book by Dr. Julie McArthur (University of Toronto) on February 21, and ran a Black History Film Series featuring Ida B. Wells: A Pasion for Justice, Hidden Figures, and Selma.
Black History Month as a period of international observance was proposed in 1926 by the African American Historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson with the aim of sharing the rich, cultural and historical contribution of peoples of African ancestry to the world, while promoting global self-actualization within black communities.