16:06 PM

UHD Celebrates the Legacy With Black History Month Events


By Sheryl E. Taylor

Did you know if you search for the beginnings of Black History Month (BHM), you learn that the first recognition of Black Americans in the U.S. began with Negro History Week in 1926, thanks to the “father of Black history,” Carter G. Woodson, according to historian W. Marvin Dulaney?

“Woodson’s goal from the very beginning was to make the celebration of Black history in the field of history ‘a serious area of study’,” said Albert Broussard, professor of Afro-American History at Texas A&M University. Fast forward to 1976 – the country’s bicentennial, President Gerald R. Ford recognized Black History Month to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor through our history.” (History.com)

Kent University was the first to celebrate a month-long celebration of Black History in 1970. Almost a 100 years after the first Negro History Week, Black Americans’ contributions to the fabric of America are recognized across U.S. colleges and universities. The BHM celebration tradition continues at UHD with a robust calendar of events in February. (See list of events below.)

One event to note is the Marilyn Davies College of Business (MDCOB) inaugural Black History Month event on Feb. 2. The focus of the event will be highlighting MDCOB’s partnership with NABA Inc. (formerly National Association of Black Accountants), a nonprofit membership association dedicated to bridging the opportunity gap for Black business leaders in accounting, finance, business, and  entrepreneurship. 

portrait-Hershel-FriersonThe Chair of NABA Inc.’s National Board of Directors, Herschel Frierson, is the Strategic Networks Leader and a Principal at Crowe LLP, a leading accounting firm in the U.S. A lifetime member of Kappa Alpha Psi Inc. (the century-old, historically Black fraternity), Frierson serves on the diversity committee for Financial Executives International. He also works with companies and organizations throughout the U.S. on their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts while mentoring students and young professionals. Frierson was named by Accounting Today as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting in 2020. He’s committed to promoting NABA Inc. whenever he has the chance because, he notes, “Without NABA, I would not be where I am today.” 

When Frierson started his career at Crowe as a 22-year-old, there were not a lot of Black Americans in the accounting industry. “No one looked like me,” he said. "And when someone recommended I attend a NABA meeting, I went—and that was it, I fell in love with the organization. I met people like me who had been through the same struggles I had. I found people to lean on, to get advice from. I started to hear my calling of trying to help the accounting profession bring in more diversity.” Frierson served in a number of officer capacities within NABA before being named Chair of the National Board of Directors.

“During our networking event, Mr. Frierson will have the opportunity to meet with our merit scholarship recipients, our student leaders, and key MDCOB officials,” noted Christine Poleski, J.D., Assistant Dean at MDCOB. “This is a great opportunity to show off the quality of UHD students and our campus to someone who is not only an inspiring figure, but who has the ability to encourage his corporate colleagues to recruit at UHD, creating potential opportunities for our students.” 

Frierson will be on campus between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. A formal presentation will take place at 11:30 a.m., followed by lunch and distribution of free commemorative T-shirts while supplies last.

Several state and national elected officials have been invited to the event, including State Representative Christina Morales, according to Poleski.


2023 BHM Events*

February 1* 
Black Student Association & Campus Activities Board 
Black Lives Matter Luncheon

February 2 
Black Student Association and Marilyn Davies College of Business Inaugural Black History Month Event featuring NABA Inc. Chairman of the Board Herschel Frierson
Black History Month Kickoff 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

February 9* 
Black Student Association and Center for Diversity & Inclusion 
Black Excellence Panel 
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Black Excellence Luncheon 
12:45 – 2 p.m.  (Invitation only)

February 14* 
College of Humanities & Social Sciences/Departments of English and History, Humanities & Languages 
Center for Critical Race Studies’ Annual African American Read-In 

February 15* 
Center for Critical Race Studies and Black Student Association 
Black Women’s Empowerment Brunch 

February 17* 
Center for Diversity & Inclusion and Department of Urban Education 
Elementary School Read Aloud: African American Readings 
Lockhart & MacGregor Elementary Schools 

February 21 
Center for Diversity and Inclusion 
“Harlem Nights: A Harlem Renaissance-Themed Showcase” 
A celebration of Gator creatives honoring BHM 
3 p.m. 
One Main Building, 11th Floor

February 22
Cultural Enrichment Center, Department of English, Center for Critical Race Studies 
Poet Ross Gay Workshop & Reading 
11:30 a.m.: Multi-Genre Creative Writing Workshop (online event) 
2:30 p.m.: Reading and Q&A (in person)

February 23* 
Center for Critical Race Studies, Center for Latino Studies, Men of L.E.G.A.C.I. 
“My Superhero is BLACK: Afrofuturism and the Power of Creating a Space Where Black Lives Matter”

Center for Diversity & Inclusion, Black Student Association 
 “Bring It to The Table”: The State of the Black Student at UHD

February 27* 
Center for Critical Race Studies and College of Humanities & Social Sciences 
The Future of Black Studies at UHD Mixer 

February 28 
Office of Disability Services and UHD Counseling Services 
Crown X Glory: Health Mind, Healthy Body, Healthy Life 
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. 
Welcome Center Milam/Travis Rooms 

Black Student Association and UHD Student Affairs* 
Black History Month Block Party 
2 – 5 p.m.

*As of press time, event locations and times have not been finalized. Check the UHD Events Calendar or check with the sponsoring department before attending an event.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.