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Black History Month at VCU aims to spark dialogue, celebrate black excellence

Keith Knight
Keith Knight

Virginia Commonwealth University will celebrate Black History Month with a variety of events throughout February that are meant to provoke thought and conversation.

We have a month full of thought-provoking educational and social programs designed to engage and celebrate black excellence.

“I am truly excited for this year’s Black History Month events and the dialogue that may come as a byproduct of these programs,” said Yolanda Avent, director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs in the Division of Student Affairs, which coordinates VCU’s Black History Month activities. “We have a month full of thought-provoking educational and social programs designed to engage and celebrate black excellence.”

All of the events will be free and open to the public, though registration may be required for certain events.

Political cartoonist Keith Knight will deliver the 14th annual VCU Libraries Black History Month Lecture, titled, “They Shoot Black People, Don't They? From Ferguson to NYC, Political Cartoonist Keith Knight on Police Violence in the U.S.” He will speak on Feb. 4 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Lecture Hall (room 303) of James Branch Cabell Library.

Knight is known for creating funny, politically astute comics strips that touch on many divisive issues, including racially motivated police violence. His talk will be followed by a book sale and signing, as well as a public reception.

“Keith Knight is a cartoonist for the modern age who deftly uses his humor to address often divisive political, social and racial issues,” said Cindy Jackson, library specialist for comic arts with VCU Libraries, which is sponsoring the lecture. “His comics will make you laugh, but most importantly they will make you think.”

For more details or to register for Knight’s lecture, go to www.library.vcu.edu/about/events/2015-16/black-history-month-lecture-2016.html.

Lawrence Ross, author of the new book “Blackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America’s Campuses,” will give a talk on Feb. 11 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Depot, 814 W. Broad St.

Ross will speaking about “Blackballed,” which explores the present and historical issues of racism on American college campuses, and how that ties into the Black Lives Matter movement.

Also on Feb. 11, Velma P. Scantlebury, M.D., associate director of the kidney transplant program at Christiana Care Health System in Delaware and the first black female transplant surgeon in the United States, will visit VCU to give a talk titled “Health Equity in Kidney Transplantation: Experiences from a Surgeon's Perspective.”

Scantlebury will speak from 3 to 4 p.m. in the University Student Commons Theater. Her talk is sponsored by the Black Education Association.  

The second annual Diversity Scholars in Research Week, which celebrates the diversity of scholarship and research among VCU's undergraduate, graduate and professional students, will be held from Feb. 22 to Feb. 25.

The week will include an exhibition, panel discussions, workshops, networking opportunities and other activities that will highlight the diversity of scholarship at VCU.

The Diversity Scholars in Research Week is a collaborative effort by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, the Department of African American Studies in the College of Humanities and Sciences, the University Career Center, the Center on Health Disparities, University College, the Office of Research and Innovation, the Division for Health Sciences Diversity, the Division of Community Engagement, and the National Scholarship Office and VCU LSAMP (the Virginia-North Carolina Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation).

The Birth of a Nation
The Birth of a Nation

On Feb. 18, VCU Libraries and the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture will host an event exploring the reaction by African-Americans in Virginia and across the country to D.W. Griffith’s 1915 silent film “The Birth of a Nation,” from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Lecture Hall (room 303) of James Branch Cabell Library.

The event, “Birth of a Nation, Birth of a Movement: The African American Outcry in Virginia and Nationwide,” will feature Avi Santo, Ph.D., associate professor of communication and theatre arts at Old Dominion University, and Van Dora Williams, assistant professor of journalism and communication at Hampton University. The moderator for the event is Clarence W. Thomas, Ph.D., a VCU professor of mass communications.

To register for the event, go to www.support.vcu.edu/event/birthofanation.

On Feb. 23, a panel discussion will be held on “Race and Education, K-16 and Beyond: Past, Present and Future Possibilities.” The discussion, which will be moderated by Ravi Perry, Ph.D., associate professor of political science in the College of Humanities and Sciences, will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the University Student Commons Theater.

The panel will feature Rev. Benjamin Campbell and student leaders from Black VCU Speaks and the Black Graduate Students Association, and will explore how Black Lives Matter and the movement for racial justice on campuses have put the spotlight on race and education, from grade school to graduate school. The panelists will discuss past, present and future efforts to transform race relations in schools and society.

The panel discussion is sponsored by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of the School of Education.

On Feb. 26, VCU Libraries and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs will host an African-American read-in from noon to 4 p.m. As part of the read-in, attendees will hear featured readers from academic departments and student organizations read from works by or about African-Americans.

For more on the read-in, go to www.library.vcu.edu/about/events/2015-16/read-in.html.

The full list of Black History Month activities at VCU can be found below:


Unity Mixer
Date: Feb. 1
Time: 4–5:30 p.m.
Location: Richmond Salons C-D, University Student Commons
Sponsor: Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, Black VCU Speaks

14th Annual VCU Libraries Black History Month Lecture: “They Shoot Black People, Don't They? From Ferguson to NYC, Political Cartoonist Keith Knight on Police Violence in the U.S.”
Date: Feb. 4
Time: 7–9 p.m.
Location: James Branch Cabell Library, Lecture Hall (Room 303)
Sponsor: VCU Libraries

Black History Month Trivia
Date: Feb. 4
Time: 5–7 p.m.
Location: University Student Commons, room 215
Sponsor: Office of Multicultural Student Affairs

First Friday
Date: Feb. 5
Time: 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
Location: University Student Commons, room 215
Sponsor: Office of Multicultural Student Affairs

Microaggressions: Empowering the Student in the Classroom
Date: Feb. 10
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: University Student Commons, Forum Room
Sponsor: Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and VCU SGA

Celebration of the Success of the Dr. Francis Foster/Student National Dental Association Scholarship Fund
Date: Feb. 10
Time: 6:30–8:30 p.m.
Location: Cabell Library
RSVP by Feb. 5 to Megan Nance, 804-828-9245 or mnance@vcu.edu
Sponsor: School of Dentistry

Public Lecture with Velma Scantlebury, M.D., associate director of the kidney transplant program at Christiana Care Health System in Delaware
Date: Feb. 11
Time: 3-4 p.m.
Location: University Student Commons Theater
Sponsors: Black Education Association

“Know Better/Do Better” with author Lawrence Ross
Date: Feb. 11
Time: 7–8:30 p.m.
Location: The Depot
Sponsor: Office of Multicultural Student Affairs

Real Life Film Series “The Angry Heart: The Impact of Racism on Heart Disease among African-Americans”
Date: Feb. 11
Time: Noon–1 p.m.
Location: Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences, basement-level Miller Room
Sponsor: VCU Libraries

Film Preservation Series: “The Eagle and the Lion”
Date: Feb. 12
Time: 5–7 p.m.
Location: Common Ground, University Student Commons
Sponsor: Office of Multicultural Student Affairs

Black History Month Celebration and Service
Date: Feb. 12
Time: Noon–1:30 p.m.
Location: Jonah L. Larrick Student Center, 900 Turpin St.
Sponsor: University Student Commons and Activities

Hump Day Dialogue on “Race/Mental Health Stigma” featuring Shawn Utsey, Ph.D., professor, Department of Psychology in the College of Humanities and Sciences
Date: Feb. 17
Time: 3 p.m.
Location: University Student Commons, room 215
Sponsor: Office of Multicultural Student Affairs

“Birth of a Nation, Birth of a Movement: The African-American Outcry in Virginia and Nationwide”
Date: Feb. 18
Time: 7–9 p.m.
Location: James Branch Cabell Library, Lecture Hall (Room 303)
Sponsors: VCU Libraries and the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture

Diversity Scholars Research Week
Date: Feb. 21–Feb. 25
Time: Various Times (Please see www.omsa.vcu.edu for more information)
Location: University Student Commons
Sponsors: Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, the Department of African American Studies in the College of Humanities and Sciences, the University Career Center, the Center on Health Disparities, the University College, the Office of Research and Innovation, the Division for Health Sciences Diversity, the Division of Community Engagement, and the National Scholarship Office and VCU LSAMP (the Virginia-North Carolina Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation)

FLASH performance – a collaboration in hip hop and butoh, created and performed by Rennie Harris and Michael Sakamoto
Date: Feb. 21
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: Grace Street Theater
Sponsor: VCU School of the Arts

Master class with Akram Khan for VCU dance majors (open to limited number of observers)
Date: Feb. 22
Time: 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
Location: VCU Dance Depot Annex Studio, behind 814 W. Broad St.
Sponsor: VCU School of the Arts

FLASH final performance
Date: Feb. 22
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Grace Street Theater
Sponsor: VCU School of the Arts

“Race and Education, K-16 and Beyond – Past, Present and Future Possibilities”
Date: Feb. 23
Time: 4–5:30 p.m.
Location: University Student Commons Theater
Sponsor: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of the School of Education

African-American Read-in
Date: Feb. 26
Time: Noon–4 p.m.
Location: James Branch Cabell Library, Lecture Hall (Room 303)
Sponsor: Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, VCU Libraries 

 

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Black History Month 2016
Black History Month 2016