University News

WNE Black History Month 2023

Published: February 07, 2023 | Categories: All News

A Message from Dr. Johnson

The WNE Rock painted for Black History Month


We often talk about the contributions that have been made across the nation and throughout the world within the Black community, but we don't talk often enough about the things that have taken place right here in the Springfield community.

Springfield was home to the abolitionist John Brown, where he met with Frederick Douglass right here in this community in 1847.

Also, this is where the Grammy award-winner Taj Mahal grew up and performed right here in Springfield.

Former NBA point guard, Travis Best, was born and raised right here in Springfield.

Did you know that Ruth E. Carter in 2019 won an Academy Award for costume design? She won an award for "Black Panther." She was born and raised here. Her mother still lives here. Think about that. Black history in the making in real time.

Did you know that the Paramount Theatre in the North End was a key stop for the Underground Railroad. At the time, the building housed the Massasoit House, which had a predominately Black waitstaff. It was a safe haven for those who were trying to find their way to freedom.

Springfield Massachusetts and Western New England University are still places where people can come to discuss the possibilities of people working together from all walks of life – no matter who you are, no matter where you're from, this is a place where you can belong.

Overall Black History month is an opportunity to celebrate. I hope that you will join me in celebrating this month and all of the contributions that people have made from all walks of life.

One last thought. As we go forward in the world today, let us remember to promote civility, civil discourse, and mutual respect in all that we do. Our generation of young people today represents the best that the world has even seen. They will go out and transform the world with a sense of humanity unlike anything this planet has ever experienced.