Elon’s First Black History Celebration

Shaunta Alvarez
February 1, 2012

National Black Heritage Week was first celebrated at Elon in February 1975. The newly-established Black Cultural Society (BCS) sponsored activities throughout the week:

  • – a program of hymns and poetry by BCS members
  • – a talk by Dr. Raymond McLaughlin, professor of history at North Carolina A &T State University, titled “What it Means to be Black in the Twentieth Century”
  • – a talk by Rev. Marvin Morgan ’71, a Burlington minister, titled “The Standpoint of Theology in the Black Society”

Black Cultural Society, 1979

The Black Cultural Society, created by Elon’s black students under the advisement of campus minister Professor Steve Caddell and Dean William G. Long, was the first student organization at Elon to specifically address the concerns of black students.  Its purpose was to “promote understanding and a sense of unity among Black students; encourage Elon College to achieve a greater awareness and appreciation of the culture and achievements of Black people; attack with vigor all injustices and inequalities that may exist on the campus of Elon college with respect to Black people; and support and assist in any way possible the communities immediately surrounding Elon College.”  Membership was open to all regularly enrolled full or part-time students.

The first BCS chair and co-chair were Rodney Evans ’75 and Don McLaughlin ’76.

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