Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history.
To celebrate, Central Oregon Community College is hosting a series of events including a showing of “The Hate You Give” on Friday at 6:00 p.m. in Hitchcock Auditorium.
The movie, based on a book by the same name, is about a Black woman who attends a privileged white high school.
“The young lady who is in this story is similar to a lot of Black African American students here in Central Oregon,” said Marcus LeGrand, COCC Afrocentric Program Coordinator. “They go to predominantly white high schools and they have to deal with different issues and concerns, rather than some of the issues other kids don’t have to deal with.”
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Other local Black History events this month include a Black Excellence Talent Show Saturday, Feb. 11 at 6:00 p.m. at COCC’s Pinckney Center. Bend’s first Creative Laureate Mosley Wotta will be among the performers.
On Feb. 21, the college will host a remote discussion with Kim Johnson, author of the best-selling book “This is My America.”
The Black Excellence Art Showcase is open through February 24 in The Gallery at Pinckney Center
LeGrand says Black History is American History that many people simply don’t know.
“I asked you who created the blood transfusion and you go, ‘I don’t know.’ And I asked who created the refrigerated truck and you don’t know. But they help you get food and they help you get blood if you need it. Here’s the thing: They are two Black men.”
Frederick McKinley Jones invented the first portable air cooling unit in 1938. He got a patent for it in 1940. His company was a multi-million dollar interest by 1949.
It was Charles Drew who discovered that by separating plasma, the liquid part of blood from the whole blood and refrigerating them separately, made blood last longer. That invention alone saved the lives of thousands of soldiers in WWII.
Just two examples of things worth learning during Black History Month.