BSU hosts photojournalist Mel D. Cole for Black History Month


Graphic courtesy by Black Student Union

Ayanna Allen, Staff Writer

“Picturing the World with Mel D. Cole” will be a talk featuring the influential photojournalist and his experiences capturing important moments in modern society. It will be held in Jamrich 1100 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Feb. 24. 

Black History Month was recognized in 1976 by President Gerald R. Ford. Even then, Congress did not federally recognize it until 1986 which was an entire decade later. 

“The last quarter-century has finally witnessed significant strides in the full integration of black people into every area of national life. In celebrating Black History Month, we can take satisfaction from this recent progress in the realization of the ideals envisioned by our Founding Fathers,” said Ford in his observance speech, “But, even more than this, we can seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

According to D’Mario Duckett, president of BSU, he feels that Black History Month provides him the opportunity to look back at the civil rights movement of the 60s and then reflect at where we are now as a society. 

“For me, it’s a time for recognition… an acknowledgment of everything that we have been through,” said Duckett. “Of everything that’s been happening in America for decades, well, for centuries actually so we can try to figure out how we can move forward from here.”

Black Americans have contributed many things to our society since being forcibly brought to the United States. For example, during the Industrial revolution, black Americans produced more patents than any other immigrant group with just under 50,000 patents between 1870 to 1940. 

This elevated number of inventions does not even consider what contemporary black Americans contribute to our modern society. 

Mel D. Cole, as an influential photojournalist has captured important moments in modern black history from photographing hip-hop icons and athletes to pivotal BLM protests. 

When asked about what Black History Month meant to him, Cole said, “Remembrance and connecting to the past and future.”

According to Cole, being able to speak at universities like NMU is humbling and allows him to see how his story inspires the people that he talks to. 

For those interested in attending “Picturing the World with Mel D. Cole”, register on the Hub. It is an in-person event only.