Friday, March 1, 2024

MSU and student organizations commemorate Black History Month, celebrate Black excellence with events

February 6, 2024
Photo by Grace Montgomery | The State News

In celebration of Black History Month, Michigan State University and Black student-led organizations are planning to commemorate the month with a packed schedule of events. 

The events will not only engage each participant, but also help MSU students understand the background and culture of the historical month and its everlasting impact. The events will explore the past, present and future impact of the month on Black MSU students, faculty and staff through recognizing Black history, Black education and Black excellence. 

Below is a list of Black History Month events taking place around campus this month. 

Dr. William G. Anderson Lecture Series — Slavery to Freedom: An American Odyssey

Feb. 1, Feb. 8, Feb. 15, and Feb. 23: 

Hosted by the College of Osteopathic Medicine, the 24th annual lecture series will feature different speakers from a variety of fields. 

This year's panel of speakers of the annual lecture series are as follows:

Tanisha Ford is the author of four books relating to civil rights and Black culture, which are vocal on the intersection of politics, economics and culture. Ford has received several awards and honors for her work, including being named one of the Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans. Ford was a keynote speaker during the series Feb. 1 lecture.

M.C. Lyte is an American rapper, DJ, actress and entrepreneur. Lyte is the first female of hip-hop’s emcees to release a solo album and tease a new podcast. She has also created opportunities for many to join what is now being celebrated as “50 Years of Hip Hop.” She recently received the BET “I Am Hip Hop” Lifetime Achievement Award and was an honoree at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors. M.C. Lyte will be a keynote speaker at the Feb. 8 lecture. 

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber is the president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, bishop of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in North Carolina and professor in the practice of public theology and public policy. He has written four books in regards to morality and social justice. Barber will be a keynote speaker at the Feb. 15 lecture.

Dr. Rani Whitfield is a board-certified family physician specializing in sports medicine. In discovering community wellness as a freedom movement, Whitfield’s talk will focus on Black men’s health. He is widely recognized for his advocacy work, serving as a national spokesperson for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. He has earned numerous awards, including the ASA Southeastern Affiliates Service Award, the American Stroke Association Legacy Award and the NAACP Freedom Award. In collaboration with the MSU College of Nursing, Whitfield will be a keynote speaker at the Feb. 23 lecture.

Tuesday, Feb. 6:

Orville Vernon Burton and Armand Derfner Q&A on "Justice Deferred: Race and the Supreme Court" 

This event is a discussion hosted by Orville Vernon Burton, a prizewinning author for his book "The Age of Lincoln," and Armand Derfner, a civil rights lawyer for nearly six decades who helped desegregate state university systems and policies. The event seeks to have its participants engage in a conversation on the judicial system and its everlasting impact on race, particularly in the Black community. It will also cover the continued advocacy for racial equity in the United States.

The event will be held at the MSU College of Law, Castle Boardroom, Room 343 at 12:15 p.m. on Feb. 6. A second session of the conversation will be held in Case Hall's Spartan Club at 4 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 7:

The 2nd Annual James Madison College Black History Month Symposium

The James Madison College's symposium will feature Michigan Supreme Court Justice Kyra H. Bolden, the first Black woman to be appointed to the state's highest court. The event will take place in Case Hall's Club Spartan at 11:30 a.m.

Thursday, Feb. 8:

MSU Black Girls Unite-Mid-Semester Mixer!

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Hosted by MSU Black Girls Unite, and in collaboration with several other student organizations including Black Students' Alliance, Rising Black Men of MSU and Successful Black Women of MSU, this event serves as a night of relaxation, games, and community bonding. Refreshments will also be served.

This event will be held at the Communications Arts and Sciences Building room 147 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 10:

Sankofa Project Session ll — Community Conversation with Campus Police: Higher Education Leadership in Trying Times

This event is an invitation to the community to have a conversation about leadership in higher education, featuring the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety. It will take place at Erickson Hall Kiva Room 103 from noon to 2 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 11:

Black Empowerment Week — Black Student Alliance and Rising Black Men: Super Bowl Watch Party 

In collaboration with MSU Rising Black Men, Black Students' Alliance, or BSA, will hold a Super Bowl watch party in Brody Hall Rooms 134, 136, and 138 from 7 - 11 p.m. Food and refreshments will be provided.

Wednesday, Feb. 14:

Douglass Day Transcribe-a-thon: Help Transcribe Letters of Frederick Douglass

In celebration of Civil Rights leader and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, this event offers participants to celebrate Douglass's birthday, his accomplishments, and his everlasting legacy by holding a transcribe-a-thon in his honor.

The event will take place at the MSU Main Library in the DSL Flex Space, 2-West from noon to 3 p.m. Registration for this event can be found here

Friday, Feb. 16:

Soul Food Fridays 

Held in Brody Hall rooms 134, 136, and 138, the Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions will provide participants the opportunity to enjoy free food in the company of those around them in fellowship with students, staff, and faculty. This event will be held from 4 - 7 p.m. 

MSU Professors of Jazz Concert: Oliver Nelson's "Blues and the Abstract Truth"

Celebrate the arts of Jazz with this event highlighting the work of saxophonist and composer Oliver Nelson. The performers will be MSU faculty members: saxophonist Walter Blanding, pianist Xavier Davis, trombonist Michael Dease, drummer Randy Gillespie, guitarist Randy Napoleon, trumpeter Anthony Stanco, bass player Rodney Whitaker and others.

Tickets are available for purchase with free admission to anyone under 18 and students with IDs. This event will be held in the College of Music's Murray Hall of Music at 8 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 17:

Sankofa Project Session lll: MSU Reflections: Campus Climate After Dr. King's Assassination 

Distinguished MSU Professor Emeritus Robert L. Green, former Dean of the College of Urban Development, and one of the first Black faculty staff members at MSU, will share his recollections on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the campus climate after King’s 1968 assassination.

This event will take place at Erickson Hall in room 133F at 3 p.m.

Black Empowerment Week — Black Empowerment Family Festival

This year's annual Black Empowerment Festival will be held on the second and third floors of the MSU Union. The festival will be hosted by the Black Students' Alliance and University Activities Board. The event starts at 5 p.m. 

Monday, Feb. 19:

Black Empowerment Week — Black Students' Alliance: Family Feud Game Night

During the general assembly meeting for MSU Black Students' Alliance, the student organization will hold a game night featuring "Family Feud." 

This meeting will be held in the International Center at 6 p.m. 

Tuesday, Feb. 20:

Black Empowerment Week — Black Alumni Networking Event

As part of Black Empowerment Week, a Black Alumni Networking Event will be held in the STEM Building room 2130 from 6 to 8 p.m. 

Wednesday, Feb. 21:

Beal Lunch and Learn: Black Botany

Located in Erickson Hall room 133F, Wellbeing Coordinator Angelica Bajos and Beal Education Scholar Mark Powers will teach participants about the significance of plants connected to well-being within the African diaspora. This event also will allow its participants to learn of the importance of plants for beauty remedies, medicine and spiritual care.

The event will take place at 12:10 p.m. with a virtual option via Zoom.

Thursday, Feb. 22:

Taste of Africa

This event will allow participants to learn about traditional African dishes and have an experience through food being catered and served.

"Taste of Africa" will be held in the STEM Building room 2130 from 6 to 8 p.m.

More information regarding future events will be made available later throughout February.

If you or someone you know is hosting an event at MSU in honor of Black History Month that is not listed in this article, please contact The State News so it can be added. 


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