VCU Celebrates Black History Month

Spike Lee to speak at sold-out event

VCU Celebrates Black History Month

Spike Lee’s provocative, critically acclaimed movies have made him one of the most prominent figures in the United States film industry. In February, Lee will visit campus to share his insight to a sold-out audience as the 2013 Virginia Commonwealth University Black History Month Speaker.

Lee is an Emmy-award winner and two-time Academy Award nominee. His production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, has produced more than 35 films, most of them exploring issues of politics, race, crime and the media.

VCU students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to hear about Lee’s progression in film and engage in a question-and-answer session with the filmmaker on Thursday, Feb. 21, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the University Student Commons’ Commonwealth Ballrooms. Ticket holders will need to present their VCU ID in order to enter the event. Tickets for the discussion are sold out.

The presentation is sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA), Black Caucus @ VCU, VCU’s Department of Media, Art & Text (MATX), the College of Humanities & Sciences and the VCU Division for Health Sciences Diversity.

Lee’s appearance is one of several events at VCU that are scheduled as part of Black History Month.

A Black History Month Kick-Off event will be held in the OMSA suite in the Commons from noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5. OMSA also is sponsoring a Brown Bag Lunch Series and a Diversity Film Series, as well as the Men of Color and Women of Color Discussion Groups. A full list of dates and times can be seen at

VCU Libraries
will host the 11th Annual Black History Month Lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. in the W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts. “Justice for All: Race, Wrongful Conviction and the Innocence Project,” will feature Peter Neufeld, co-director of the Innocence Project, and Marvin Anderson, who was exonerated of wrongful conviction through the use of DNA evidence, and will explore the relationship between race and wrongful conviction.

A book sale, signing and reception will follow. This event is free and open to the public, though registration is requested. The lecture is sponsored by the VCU Friends of the Library and the Francis M. Foster African-American History Endowment Fund.

VCU Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives also is featuring an online exhibit, as well as an exhibition on the fourth floor of the James Branch Cabell Library, depicting a timeline of Emancipation Proclamation Day celebrations in Richmond from 1863 through today. This site was begun in coordination with VCU’s “Year of Freedom.” As part of the year, a series of programs on both campuses will explore the meaning of emancipation and Civil War on this 150th anniversary.

Several student organizations also are commemorating Black History Month. The VCU African Student Union, in conjunction with OMSA, will present “Menaces to Society: Exploring the Era of Black ‘Gangster Movies’ and Their Impact on Crime and Violence,” on Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. in the Commons Theater. On that same day and time, NAACP @ VCU will host its Founders Day Dinner in the Commonwealth Ballrooms. In addition, NAACP will host a Soul Food Café at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15, in the Commons’ Forum Room.  Also on February 15, Filipino Americans Coming Together will host the Charity Ball in the Commons’ Richmond Salons at 7 p.m.

The Raise 5 Project, a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-funded HIV/AIDS and substance abuse prevention initiative that targets African-American college students at VCU, presents the 2nd Annual Battle of the Sexes Competition on Monday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. in the Commons Theater. On February 19, the Ethiopian Student Union, with OMSA, will host a Games and Movie Trivia Night at 7 p.m. in the Commonwealth Ballrooms. Black Caucus @ VCU will feature “Roots: I am…We Are…They Were…,” on Feb. 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Forum Room in the Commons.

Wrapping up the university’s Black History Month activities, the VCU Intercultural Festival will host its Spring Bash on Monday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. in the Commonwealth Ballrooms.

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Spike Lee
Spike Lee