NAU celebrates Black History Month

March on Washington, 1963

Do you know the ways Black history has shaped Flagstaff and NAU?

“Knowing that the first Black person to enroll NAU was Cleo Wilson Murdoch in 1929, or that Beaver School was a segregated school populated by Black, Indigenous and Hispanic students acknowledges the diverse founding and history of our institution,” said Sheena Hale, assistant director of multicultural student services at the Office of Inclusion (IMQ).

During Black History Month, NAU recognizes this important heritage with a variety of inclusive events all month long. Black History Month is an annual observance designed to honor and celebrate the contributions to society made by African Americans in the past, present and future while simultaneously acknowledging and raising awareness of the hardships that the Black community has endured.

To stay up to date on all BHM celebratory events at NAU, visit the Office of Inclusion website at  

Hale said IMQ is committed to recognizing, celebrating and bringing people together to create a robust month of events and experiences during Black History Month. Their efforts are in collaboration with the Black Student Union, Ethnic Studies, Cline Library and other groups dedicated to commemorating Black stories, experiences and activism.

“As a campus community, we should celebrate the brilliance of our Black community and stand in solidarity in their continued fight against injustices plaguing our nation.”

Hale said the significance behind engaging and educating individuals on the issues and events involved with Black History Month goes beyond a quiet acknowledgement of history.

“Tyre Nichols. Eric Garner. Sandra Bland. Breonna Taylor. Trayvon Martin. Emmett Till. And too many, many more. Recent events remind us of the importance of acknowledging and affirming the lived, Black experience throughout our history,” Hale said. “Black History Month is a time to reflect on the rich history and impact Black and African American people have had on our country. We honor their achievements, legacies and contributions. It is also a time we learn from the past and current injustices committed.”

Read President Cruz Rivera’s recent message on this subject.

Lastly, Hale said creating equity through education does not, should not and cannot stop at the end of February. She encouraged everyone in the NAU community to use this time to renew the hope that we can learn from our past in order to create a better future.

For a complete list of Black History Month celebratory events, visit the Office of Inclusion website at For more information on Black History Month and its leadership, visit the resource guide curated by the NAU Cline Library.

Top photo: View of the huge crowd from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument, during the March on Washington. Original black and white negative by Warren K. Leffler. Taken Aug. 28, 1963, Washington D.C. Colorized by Jordan J. Lloyd. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.


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