As Black History Month continues through the month of February, students at UNC are celebrating through archival art and poetry.
The grand opening of the Student Life and Leadership’s Black History Month Art Gallery Exhibition was held on Friday in the Carolina Union Art Gallery.
The exhibition came after SLL held a Black History Month Art Contest, which encouraged students to submit pottery, photography, digitals, painted works or poetry for the chance to be featured in the gallery.
“The reason that we came to the idea of doing an art gallery is that there were so many things that you could include about the history of this University and about students,” Shawn Dawson, the diversity outreach coordinator at the SLL, said. “And there were ways to get interactive features that not only talked about history, but also represented the students today.”
The exhibition features archival work done by members of the SLL which showcases Black activists, specifically those related to UNC and the greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro community.
“When we were going through (the archives), we were all looking at each other like ‘I can't believe some of the things that we're reading.’ So, it was just really powerful,” Makenna Thuringer, the communications and marketing graduate coordinator at the SLL, said.
Some of the archival exhibits feature journal entries by Karen L. Parker— the first undergraduate Black woman to enroll at UNC — and historical representations of the Chapel Hill Nine and the Black Student Movement at UNC.
Senior Marsha’ll Betts, who attended the exhibition during the grand opening, described how seeing the representation of activists affected her.
“It's good to know that there was somebody who looked like that wanted me to have a fair chance at education, who wanted me to have a fair chance at every opportunity that everyone else has,” she said.