The University of Illinois Springfield will celebrate Black History Month in February with a variety of events designed to educate and raise awareness. The following is a list of planned events that are free and open to the public.
Thursday, February 2
Dr. Corey D.B. Walker, author of A Noble Fight: African American Freemasonry and the Struggle for Democracy in America will discuss his book and hold a signing. The event will take place on Thursday, February 2 in Brookens Auditorium starting at 7 p.m. Walker’s book examines the metaphors and meaning behind the African American appropriation of the culture, ritual, and institution of freemasonry in navigating the contested domain of American democracy. He is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of African American Studies at Brown University.
Friday, February 10
Join the African Student Association for “Taste of the Motherland” on Friday, February 10 in the SLB Gym from 7 to 9 p.m. The event will feature food, dance, stories, and fellowship.
Sunday, February 12
A Valentine’s Day event called “The Heart of a Collegiate Man" will be held on Sunday, February 12 from Noon to 4 p.m. in the Diversity Center. Come enjoy food, games, and couples/friendship therapy. Have fun with your partner and allow them to show you that chivalry isn't dead!
Wednesday, February 15
Dr. Isatou Touray will speak on “The Controversies of Female Genital Mutilation” as part of an ECCE Speakers Series event on Wednesday, February 15 in Brookens Auditorium at 7 p.m. Touray is a women’s rights activist and the Executive Director and Senior Consultant for The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP). Founded in 1984, GAMCOTRAP is a leading non-governmental organization in The Gambia. It group works tirelessly in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and children.
“Are We Colored Struck?” is the topic of a conversation being held in the LRH Great Room on Wednesday, February 15 at 9:30 p.m. The event is targeted toward breaking the barrier between light skinned and dark skinned. The discussion will explore the many stereotypes and prejudices when it comes to men and women. Open up and speak on it!
Friday, February 17
The second annual “Know Your Heritage Bowl” will be held on Friday, February 17 from 7 to 10 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium. The trivia event is designed to test student’s aptitude of historical events and individuals in America. The bowl is sponsored by the Black Male Collegiate Society at UIS.
Sunday, February 19
A Black History Month “Showcase of Gospel Music” will be held on Sunday, February 19 from 5 to 7 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium. Come and enjoy as presenters take you through the history of gospel music. The event will feature a special performance by the Voices in Praise Gospel Choir.
Wednesday, February 22
National Recreational Sports & Fitness Day will be celebrated on Wednesday, February 22. This day was established to focus on the positive benefits of recreational sports. In 1950, Dr. William Wasson organized twenty African-American men and women intramural directors from eleven historically black colleges to form the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association.
Thursday, February 23
LGBTQ Tea will focus on “Identities in the Harlem Renaissance” examining the life of Langston Hughes. The event will take place on Thursday, February 23 from 4 to 6 p.m. in SLB 22.
The ECCE Speakers Series presents “Hair Raising Women: The Politics of Good Hair in Black America” featuring Dr. De Anna J. Reese of California State University, Fresno on Thursday, February 23 at 7 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium. Dr. Reese's presentation will examine the politics of hair in black America through the historical development of black hair culture and the work of black female entrepreneurs to create networks of salons and shops for educational and employment practices as well as charitable and political purposes. Dr. Reese’s current research explores black women’s social welfare activism in St. Louis during the age of Jim Crow, and the career of beauty pioneer and entrepreneur Annie Turnbo Malone. This event is co-sponsored by the African American Studies Department, Diversity Center, Kinky & Curly Natural Hair Empowerment, Women & Gender Studies Department, & Women's Center.
Friday, February 24
The ECCE Speakers Series presents “Bridging the Generations: A Foot Soldier for Civil Rights” on Friday, February 24 at 7 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium. The event will feature civil rights leader and author Thomas Armstrong. Born in Silver Creek, Mississippi, Armstrong was 14 in 1955 - the same year another African-American 14-year-old, Emmett Till, was kidnapped, tortured, and killed in Mississippi for whistling at a white woman. Three years later, as a student at Tougaloo College, Armstrong got involved with civil rights work. He organized black Missippians to register to vote, despite threats on his life. In 1961, he and three other Tougaloo students took part in the Freedom Rides, a campaign to integrate interstate buses. Though they were arrested in a whites-only waiting room before they could even board their Trailways bus to New Orleans, the so-called Tougaloo Four inspired dozens of others to make the dangerous trips. His book is titled Autobiography of a Freedom Rider: My Life as a Foot Soldier for Civil Rights. This program is being co-sponsored by the UIS Black Male Collegiate Society, Kinky & Curly: Natural Hair Empowerment Club, and the Diversity Center.
Saturday, February 25
The UIS Black Male Collegiate Society presents the first annual “Black Male Conference” on Saturday, February 25 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Public Affairs Center (PAC). The objectives of the conference are to build character, stimulate growth, set an example for black males to follow, and educate guests on the various plights that African American Males face. The conference will consist of, various workshops, keynote speakers, and panels hosted by dynamic leaders from the African American community. Tickets are $20 for students and $30 for adults. Please register online at www.thebmcs.org. Guest Speaker Christopher "Play" Martin will speak in Brookens Auditorium at 4 p.m. Martin is nationally known to many Hip Hop music and movie fans as 1-Half of the rap and acting duo Kid N’ Play – starring in New Line Cinema’s House Party series.
Tuesday, February 28
Zarfia Robertson, founder of i.d.e.a.l. Magazine for urban young people with disabilities will be speaking at Brookens Auditorium on Tuesday, February 28 at 7 p.m. The magazine talks about issues that other publications do not address such as sexuality, education, lifestyle and culture, music and highlights people with disabilities.
Wednesday, February 29
The fifth annual “Women’s Herstory” will be held in the Public Affairs Center (PAC) Conference Rooms C/D on Wednesday, February 29 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The luncheon is free, but you must register at www.uis.edu/diversitycenter. Meet some of UIS’ very own unsung heroines. Through their stories, learn how their past, education, culture, environment and social issues have helped them achieve success. Special guest speakers include Dr. Susan Koch, UIS chancellor; Dr. Heather Dell, associate professor & chair of the Department of Women and Gender Studies; and Dr. Tiffani Saunders, instructor in the Department of Sociology/Anthropology.