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Atlantic Cape Kicks Off Black History Month Festivities with Educational Events and Entertainment at All Three Campuses

02/02/2023 | Media Contact: David Zuba, Public Relations Manager and Copywriter | (609) 343-4933
Black History Month Pan-African flag raising

MAYS LANDING — The words to the song reverberated throughout the chilled crowd and rose high to the sky above for all to hear, “facing the rising sun of our new day begun, let us march on till victory is won.” During that stirring rendition of Lift Every Voice and Sing, Atlantic Cape Community College raised the Pan-African flag on the Mays Landing campus Quad and officially began a month-long celebration of Black History Month across the college’s three campuses.

“This is Atlantic Cape’s 2nd Annual Pan-African flag raising to celebrate the opening of Black History Month and it’s important to bring our community together to share this time to try to bring enlightenment and education,” said Student Engagement Manager Lisa Givens. “This is a time to celebrate the good and be aware of what we all need to do together as we continue to uplift through music, art, information, history and culture throughout this month at each of our three campuses.”

The Pan-African flag’s red, black and green colors symbolize freedom, pride and power for Black Americans. The flag was created as a unifying symbol in 1920 by political activist, journalist and speaker Marcus Garvey and members of his United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).

“I think it’s amazing that we get to raise the flag and have it out there for everyone to see,” said Haniyah Bey, a sophomore Studio Arts major from Egg Harbor Township and president of Atlantic Cape’s Black Student Alliance. “It’s really important to me because I like that I can celebrate my culture.”

Signed into law by President Gerald R. Ford in 1976, Black History Month was first conceived as an idea in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson and members of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History as Negro History Week. The month of February was selected to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln, the father of the Emancipation Proclamation, and abolitionist, author and orator Frederick Douglass.

The eloquent words from Lift Every Voice and Sing, sung during the flag raising ceremony by Atlantic Cape’s Student Support Services Director Rashawn Martin, were originally written as part of a poem by former National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) leader James Weldon Johnson in 1900 and adopted as the Black national anthem during the height of the civil rights movement in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Following the ceremony, members of the group Hip Hop Fundamentals, a diverse professional award-winning team of break-dancers, entertained the crowd gathered in the Student Center lobby with a history lesson on and live performance of the dynamic decades-old dance form.

Ralph E. Hunter, Sr., founder of The African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey, brought his museum’s “A Time for Change: Civil Rights in South Jersey” exhibit to the Student Center to educate today’s younger generation on the civil rights struggles of the past. Hunter acknowledged that this is the 15th year he and his staff have come to Atlantic Cape to share what they do at the museum on a daily basis.

“Bringing this exhibit to the college makes a great difference to me because these are young faces, people of different nationalities having the opportunity to envision what it would have been like back in the 60’s when I was growing up,” Hunter said. “We had problems with immigration, segregation and Jim Crow laws around the country then and now we are able to turn that into a public exhibit.”

At the Charles D. Worthington Atlantic City campus, a Pan-African flag raising ceremony was held, as well. Student Service Navigator Vita Stovall presented a short history lesson on Black History Month and then led the students in a black history Jenga game. Winners were awarded a $25 Amazon gift card. Joining the festivities were Professor Gwen McIntyre and her English as a Second Language class.

At the Cape May Court House campus, details about “The Food and the Folks of the Great Migration” was presented by storyteller Michelle Washington Wilson.

“Michelle is a terrific storyteller and this is a great opportunity for our community to take advantage of these free events and hear her passion for African American culture because she makes it fun and interesting,” said Cape May County campus and Community Outreach Director Krista Fitzsimons.

Visit for a schedule of Black History Month events at Atlantic Cape’s three campuses throughout the month of February. All programs and events this month are free and open to students, faculty and staff.

Rashawn Martin singing Ralph Hunter at ML campus

Michelle Washington Wilson at CM campusHip-Hop at ML campus

Black History Month Jenga winners


About Atlantic Cape Community College

Atlantic Cape is a comprehensive two-year community college serving the residents of Atlantic and Cape May counties. The college offers over 40 career, transfer and workforce development programs to more than 8,000 students annually at three campuses in New Jersey: Atlantic City, Cape May Court House and Mays Landing.