Honoring Black History

Spartanburg’s Unity March and SHS Black History Club


Photo courtesy M. Jack

Spartanburg High Schools Black History Club members join arms during the Unity Walk.

Ellie Schafer, Viking Voices Co-Editor

On the morning of Jan. 14, Spartanburg residents gathered outside the Spartanburg County Administration Building and began the annual “Walk as One” Unity March. The entire week was dedicated to honoring the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. The week consisted of multiple community events, including a family swim-in, Kindness Day, the Unity March, singing, prayers, speeches, humanitarian awards and much more. King did so much for equality, civil rights and this country as a whole; Unity Week is Spartanburg’s way of remembering him and his influence.

Samiah Lewis (12) is a member of the Black History Club and part of the Community Service Committee. Lewis plans, organizes and coordinates community service projects in which the Black History Club participates. Lewis participated in the Unity Walk for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, along with other Black History Club members.

“The Unity Walk demonstrated an opportunity for individuals of all races and ethnicities to join together and walk in unity to carry and bring awareness to Dr. Martin Luther King’s message,” Lewis said. “During the Unity Walk, many Spartanburg citizens walked, talked and laughed together. My favorite part was when Black History Club members locked arms with one another and walked together in unison.”

Social studies teacher Meredith Jack and math teacher Sherrina Black are the advisers to the Black History Club. Their job as advisers is to share their thoughts and ideas for celebrating Black culture with club members.

“The mission of Black History Club is to provide an environment which encourages discussions and activities of interest to those who wish to learn more about the history, contribution and accomplishments of the people of African descent. Our club reaches a wide ethnic audience and places emphasis on the development of philosophies and values which will benefit club members and our community,” Jack said.

For Black History Month, the Black History Club (BHC) planned a variety of events to raise awareness of Black history and celebrate Black culture. The BHC hosted a kickoff event on Wednesday, Feb. 2, where they sold doughnuts and hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles. There were also cookout-style games like corn hole that were available to play while enjoying hot cocoa during Viking Hour. On Tuesday, Feb. 7, the Black History Club focused on the importance of the Black church on a dress-up day they called “Sunday’s Best.” They encouraged students to wear their church clothes to school. Then on Wednesday, Feb. 8, the Black History Club hosted line dancing in Valhalla for anyone who wanted to show off their choreographed dancing skills with friends.

Richardson Sturkey (12) is the president of the Black History Club and does the announcements every morning to inform the school about what is going on for Black History Month that day. Sturkey has participated in all the events so far.

“I did the cookout games. I did it because I wanted to have fun with everyone and beat some people in spades.  But in all seriousness, every single event on the calendar has some type of significance to Black culture whether it be Sunday’s Best or Wobble Wednesday,” Sturkey said. “It’s important to educate people who don’t know black culture while having fun.  Our mission is to educate people about ‘Tha culture.’  Not only for education but for also bringing people together.”

The Black History Club plans on hosting events throughout the month of February in celebration of Black History Month. Event dates and details will be posted on their Instagram page along with photos.