Black History Month @ HELP CAT

Black History Month @ HELP CAT

The speakers- US Embassy staff Stacey Hopkins (left), Information Management Officer, and Victoria Toussaint, Office Management Specialist, Regional Security Office.

The speakers: US Embassy staff Stacey Hopkins (left), Information Management Officer, and
Victoria Toussaint, Office Management Specialist, Regional Security Office.

Black History Month is observed in February every year in the United States in remembrance of prominent personalities and events in the history of the African diaspora. At HELP CAT the event was marked by a joint lecture delivered to students of the American Degree programme at HELP CAT by two officers from the US Embassy in KL. It was also attended by American degree programme students from HELP University.

The lecture was titled “Black History Month: A Deeper Look into American History.” It explained the significance of Black History Month and its relevance to the international community. It dealt with topics like the African diaspora, ie the people largely from west and central Africa who were enslaved and transported to North, Central and South America to work on plantations and mines between the 16th and 19th centuries, whose descendants today are found all over the Americas and beyond.

Of all these areas, the story of black people in the USA is particularly important because it deeply divided the nation, caused a war to be fought (the American Civil War), stirred the conscience of Americans into enacting laws to grant equal rights to blacks. Much progress has been made since the days of the Civil Rights movement, but racial bias still exists and rears its ugly face from time to time, eg the numerous cases of shooting of black people by the police on the slightest provocation.

Landmarks in the struggle for social justice and equality

Law- Thurgood Marshall was the first African American to be appointed a judge of the US Supreme Court.

Law: Thurgood Marshall was the first African American to be appointed a judge of the US Supreme Court.

Civil Rights- Rosa Parks, a civil rights activist, made history by refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, as required by law.

Civil Rights: Rosa Parks, a civil rights activist, made history by refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, as required by law.

Invention: George Washington Carver created 300 products from peanuts.

Invention: George Washington Carver created 300 products from peanuts.

The issues raised by Stacey and Victoria sparked keen questions and lively comment from the audience…

...which continued even after the lectured ended.

…which continued even after the lectured ended.

A group picture with the guests marks the close of a day of greater understanding of American history and society.

A group picture with the guests marks the close of a day of greater understanding of American history and society.

ADP students and staff from HELP University were welcomed to the lecture.

ADP students and staff from HELP University were welcomed to the lecture.

Dr Choong Yeow Wei, President of HELP CAT, took early leave of the event after his opening speech, but not before he posed for a picture brimful of warmth with Stacey and Victoria.

Dr Choong Yeow Wei, President of HELP CAT, took early leave of the event after his opening speech, but not before he posed for a picture brimful of warmth with Stacey and Victoria.