Chatham Hall’s Black Student Union (BSU) created and hosted an overnight in collaboration with the Lee Library and Librarian Kaykeel Dillard to celebrate Black History Month.
With the theme “Black Resistance,” the event included a scavenger hunt to find items created by Black inventors, a dance/step class, soul food snacks, viewings of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and The Woman King, and much more.
All Chatham Hall community members were able to drop in for a little while or stay overnight in the library. Overall, more than 50 students and faculty and staff members participated.
"The Black History Month overnight enriched the community with six events: Don't Touch My Hair, Uncomfortable Conversations, Soul Food, Paint and Sip, Movie Night, and the Scavenger Hunt," said Dillard.
"The students and faculty members who attended roamed the floors of the Lee Library asking questions, reflecting, and having fun celebrating Black History Month together. Whether you stopped in to learn about the time and effort it takes to do African American hair with Ms. Anderson, or sat in and asked some uncomfortable conversations to Mr. Smith and Ms. Witkowski, you were met with zero judgement. If you went downstairs and chose to paint, you were putting your own style and spirit on a canvas - sketched by BSU members and Library Assistants - of artwork influenced by phenomenal Black artists Kehinde Wiley and Jean-Michel Basquiat. And if you chose to sit with Mr. Witkowski on the main floor you were watching The Woman King, which was about the all-female warrior unit that protected the West African kingdom of Dahomey during the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. The scavenger hunt was a race between the students to find inventions created by African Americans that we use daily. The floors were scorched by the speed of the students burning rubber to find the hidden names and fill up their sleeping area in order to win a gift card."
Homemade soul food offered an opportunity for community bonding, with delicious items contributed by Chatham Hall staff member Ms. Tammy Anderson and Meriwether-Godsey employees Mr. Cheyenne Barksdale and Ms. Stasia Gabrielle. Among the items on the menu were chicken, potatoes, deviled eggs, macaroni and cheese, green beans, collard greens, corn pudding, and more.
“We had a bunch of different, fun activities that incorporated Black History Month,” said BSU Co-President Riquel Owusu '23. “From all of this, I hope the community understands that we are all different people, but we are all one community and we wanted to have a sense of togetherness, and for everyone to have fun.”
This year's BSU is sponsored by Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Deborah Glymph and Ms. Christa Anderson.