Dibya Choudhuri

Greetings to all our members. As Black History Month rolls around again, I have to say that I am so glad that this is not the only time this year we have referenced the leadership and legacy of the Black Community in its struggle for justice, equity, innovation, art, and resilience. The vibrancy, passion, diversity and engagement with the Black Lives Matter movement has been inspiring on a global level.  Partnering with fellow ACA Divisions of AMCD, CSJ, SAIGE and others, ASGW was part of several events as well as individual events memorializing the too-long litany of those who had died in the course of daily living simply because of being Black, as well as recommitting the ongoing fight against structural racism and oppression.

The founders of this month long celebration dating from the 1920s, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, has designated the 2021 theme as The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity. As you all know, the family is the original group that we grow up in and learn roles in.  The Black family is a microcosm of the richness and diversity in the U.S. in its members, histories, diasporic roots, challenges, achievement and aspiration. On a societal level, the Black family is the macrocosm of a people enslaved, demanding freedom, liberating themselves, and in the midst of all these trials, enriching the world with invention, leadership, and divine art and music. Ubuntu, the concept of “we-ness” lies at the heart of group work, which means that Mother Africa as also our Association’s origin story.

I invite you, this Black History Month to set yourself projects to learn about the multifaceted histories that have been hidden from you, and offer the words of the poet, Langston Hughes to enrich this invitation.

I, Too, Sing America
I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.

They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”


They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed–

I, too, am America.

Langston Hughes
From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, published by Knopf and Vintage Books. Copyright © 1994 by the Estate of Langston Hughes. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated.

Devika Dibya Choudhuri, 2020-2021 ASGW President