Community Column: Celebrating Black History Month at Palo Alto College
February 5, 2019
The late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote in a 1947 article for Morehouse College's Maroon Tiger, "It seems to me that education has a two-fold function to perform in the life of man and in society: the one is utility and the other is culture." What Dr. King says is what I believe to be true at Palo Alto College: that we teach our students the knowledge needed to successfully complete a degree or certificate, but more importantly, we provide the tools and resources for our students to become well-rounded individuals that will change the trajectory of their lives.
In celebration of Black History Month, Palo Alto College will provide our South Side community with free exhibits, musical performances, cultural events, and literary readings. We kicked off Black History Month on Tuesday, with a live performance from Dr. James Polk, a world-renowned jazz musician and two-time Grammy nominee.
Palo Alto College will host a free reception and book signing on Feb. 21, with Morgan Jerkins, the award-winning author of "This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America," a collection of essays on her experiences of being a black woman in America.
The Ozuna Library will host a traveling exhibit through Feb. 28 titled "Opening Doors: Contemporary African American Academic Surgeons," which profiles pioneers in medicine such as Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, who performed the world's first heart surgery in 1983. All Black History Month events are open to the community, and a full list of events are at alamo.edu/pac/BHM.
With 83 percent of Palo Alto College students identifying themselves as part of an ethnic or racial minority group, we encourage our diverse community to draw inspiration and guidance from the past to help shape our future. By recognizing the achievements and remembering the struggles faced by individuals who came before us, students at Palo Alto College and our community will gain a better perspective of our nation's history to help guide our future.
This column by Dr. Robert Garza, president of Palo Alto College, was originally published in the San Antonio Express-News' Southside Reporter and on mysanantonio.com.