In celebration of Black History Month in February, Springfield Technical Community College will share stories about STCC graduates who have made an impact.

Black History Month in February is an annual celebration of the achievements of African Americans.

From the Library of Congress:

National Black History Month has its origins in 1915, when historian and author Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. This organization is now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). Through this organization, Dr. Woodson initiated the first Negro History Week in February 1926. Dr. Woodson selected the week in February that included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two key figures in the history of Black Americans. In 1975, President Ford issued a Message on the Observance of Black History Week urging all Americans to “recognize the important contribution made to our nation’s life and culture by black citizens.” In 1976, ASALH expanded this commemoration of Black history in the United States from a week-long observance to Black History Month, which also has been known as African American History Month. In the same year, President Ford issued a Message on the Observance of Black History Month. In subsequent years, presidents continued to issue messages honoring Black History Month. 

Many African-Americans have studied at STCC and/or earned degrees since its founding in 1967. We will share videos and stories about some of these alumni during the month of February. They include the following (click on their names to watch videos):

Julius Lewis

Julius Lewis ’98 earned his degree from STCC and went on to start JDL Financial and is the creator and co-host of “The Lewis and Morrow Financial Hour.” “I want to take this moment to say how proud I am to be an alumnus of Springfield Technical Community College. Back in 1998, I was student trustee which gave me experience in working in government affairs here as well as working with the (STCC) president.”

Dr. Vanessa Hill

Dr. Vanessa Hill, a professor in the Mathematics Department at STCC. She attended STCC when she turned 30. “I finally decided I needed to go back to school and figure out my life,” she said. “I was a math major here, and the faculty inspired me to go on. After finishing at STCC, I went on to Mount Holyoke College to get my bachelor’s. I received my master’s in mathematics at UConn, and my Ph.D. in mathematical education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. This is a school that is near and dear to my heart.”

Dr. Ishmael Ali

Dr. Ishmael Ali ’77 said, “I have never forgotten the learning and teaching I received from STCC.” He is married to Medina Ali, whom he met at STCC. She is the principal of Frank H. Freedman Elementary School. “Without a college like STCC, many of us would never be able to go to school to get a formal education,” Ishmael Ali said. “I was fortunate to come here years ago, and it helped carve my life.”

Check STCC’s social media channels, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram throughout the month for more stories we will be sharing.

Black History Month at the Amy H. Carberry Fine Arts Gallery

The Amy H. Carberry Fine Arts Gallery at Springfield Technical Community College will present the never-before-seen exhibition “I Just Wanna Surf” by California photographer Gabriella Angotti-Jones throughout February in celebration of Black History Month. Throughout this immersive exhibition of text, images and home videos, Angotti-Jones, who grew up in one of the only mixed-race Black families in a small Orange County beach town, reflects on how her early relationship with the ocean and Californian surf culture became intertwined with her identity as a Black woman. This spring semester, the gallery expanded its hours:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Other Black History Month Events

Black Resistance Movies That Matter: 12: 15 PM Student Learning Commons (Building 19), Forum
Monday, February 13: Black Panther
Monday, February 27: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

“Get into Good Trouble: Read a Banned Book”: February 1-February 27
The Office of Multicultural Affairs and the STCC Library invite everyone to read a banned book by an African American author this February in honor of Black History Month. You can also stop by the library and check out the Periodic Table of Banned Books which will highlight African American authors, trailblazers and pioneers.