Lea County Celebrates Black History Month

Lea County Celebrates Black History Month

Zora Asberry
NewsWest 9

HOBBS, N.M. - Black History Month was created to shed light on the many accomplishments African Americans have had throughout American History.

Although there are 28 sometimes 29 days in the month, the Center of the Arts in Lea County decided to make Saturday, February 21, a day to honor and celebrate black history through artistic expression.

Andrew Akufo, Executive Director for the Center for the Arts in Lea County, says, "A lot of American history stems from black history. It influences music, it influences dance, there's something for everybody. Really it's not even just African Americans who are performing, we have Caucasians, we have Hispanics. There's something for everybody."

The celebration included artists, singers, musicians and dancers of all different backgrounds who came together to highlight this month that is dedicated to recognizing African American history.

Joseph Cotton, President of the Hobbs Branch of NAACP, said, "People always say why black history month, what I would tell people mainly about Black History Month and why it's so important to continue to celebrate Black History Month is for our younger people, because if not, it's going to be a lost generation with lost history. It's not to re-live history but to keep it alive."

Black History Month was declared in 1976 by President Gerald R. Ford to honor the hard earned accomplishments African Americans have made throughout history.

Evelyn Risen, University of New Mexico Health Outreach Worker, said, "That's what it's all about. Understanding and recognizing that I came from a great people, that I am a great person and that whoever is coming after me know that they are great and they have something to contribute to which every one will love to have or be a part of, that's what's it's all about."

Cotton wants the community, especially the youth, to use this month as a time to learn about black history and culture.

"Leave with something, take something with you. Don't just say I went to a black history event, it was nice. During this month, take that extra step, go to the library, Google it, open your doors to that adventure I think that's important," Cotton said.

The Lea County Center of the Arts' mission is to make Black History Month a time to remember and for people from all over the nation to honor black history.

"We want people to be aware of it, we want people to tell their family and friends. We want it to be something they can look forward to every year," Akufo said.

Black History Month will continue to be celebrated throughout the remainder of the month. If you missed this years' Center of the Arts celebration, you are encouraged to celebrate the annual Black History Month celebration in Lea County next year.