|Collaboration uses virtual programing to highlight CIAA history|
|Celebration debuts during Black History Month|
|Published Saturday, January 16, 2021 12:00 pm|
|PHOTO | TROY HULL|
|The CIAA is partnering with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History on virtual programming to celebrate the league's history for Black History Month.|
The league is partnering with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History on the 2021 Black history theme "The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity" for Black History Month. The CIAA is the nation’s oldest Black athletic conference and ASALH founded Black History Month.
They will use virtual programing to highlight the CIAA’s history—it was founded in 1912—as well as the legacy of Carter G. Woodson, who is often referred to as the “Father of Black history” and founder of ASALH in 1915.
“During Carter G. Woodson’s lifetime (1875-1950), the nation’s larger racial ‘playing field’ was anything but fair and equal, and yet African Americans revealed through sports their ability to challenge and visibly refute claims to white superiority,” ASALH national president Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham said in a statement. “It is to Dr. Woodson’s credit that his Associated Publishers brought out Edwin Bancroft Henderson’s “The Negro in Sports” (1939), the first book in sports history on the role of African Americans and a significant forerunner to the scholarship taught in today’s college courses on American sports history.”
Negro History Week started in 1926 and eventually expanded to Black History Month. ASALH continues to incorporate a theme with the month annually.
“The ASALH theme resonates with the CIAA because we’re a family,” CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams said. “For generations, our Black families have attended our member institutions and supported this conference. The CIAA mission, its tradition, leadership, and legacy align perfectly with Dr. Woodson’s vision. We are excited about the future as we join ASALH to ensure his legacy will not only be expressed in February but throughout the entire year.”
The ASALH collaboration with the CIAA emerged due to member institution Bowie State’s work with ASALH in 2020, which was the centennial year of the Negro National League and the 81st anniversary of “The Negro in Sports.” They intend to create education opportunities beyond the month of February to work together to ensure Black athletes and pioneers who are often excluded from textbooks are known.
“As educators, we owe much to Dr. Woodson and his legacy of elevating the achievements of African Americans across many generations,” Bowie State President Aminta H. Breaux said. “This year’s theme resonates greatly with our university – the first HBCU in Maryland – and the need to create greater awareness of the contributions African American families have made to education, athletics and American culture throughout our nation’s history.”
Said McWilliams: “History has shown that athletics is more than just entertainment but can also be the impetus for change. The role and the impact of the Black athlete is a powerful and instrumental theme throughout Black History as well as in the social justice movement."
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