from Daily Mississippian Staff Writer Katie Williamson
African-American Studies director Charles Ross said each February offers the University a chance to move forward.
“One of the ways we have been able to move forward as an institution is that we are constantly speaking about race and issues pertaining to race,” Ross said. “We probably have more responsibility than any other institution in the country to continue to dialogue and to ensure that we are not becoming stagnant, that we are not going backwards as it relates to issues surrounding race and racial discourse.”
Speakers, art exhibits, films and lectures are the cornerstones of this year’s events, which run from today to Feb. 28.
The kick-off for the Black History Month will feature Markeeva Morgan, alumnus of The University of Mississippi, who will speak at noon today in the Student Union lobby.
The keynote speaker will be Ntozake Shange, who is best-known for her Obie Award-winning play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.” Shange will speak Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. in the Ford Center and is free.
Other events include “The Civil Rights Struggle: African-American G.I.s in Germany,” which is a museum exhibit, Oxford Film Festival movies such as Mississippi Innocence and a Blues Today Symposium with the theme “Missing Chapters in Blues History.”
To find a complete list of Black History Month events, log onto the University calendar or pick up a calendar in the Student Union 422.
Assistant provost Donald Cole said Black History Month is not limited by race.
“The notion that Black History Month is simply for black people is as old as the notion that history is just for historians or mathematics are just for mathematicians,” Cole said. “The liberal arts education is an inclusive one, and until recently, historians disregarded a large and significant part of history.”
Cole said that Black History Month is growing.
“Like other academic disciplines, Black History Month is evolving as we learn more and become more appreciative of its unique structure,” Cole said. “From a fact-finding research venture, to a socially educational movement, Black History Month is currently a racial reconciliation enhancement for the U.S. and beyond.”
Ross encouraged students to take in as many events as possible.
“Students should all take the opportunity to participate in those programs,” Ross said. “This is an opportunity where students from all walks of life, all ethnic backgrounds and all racial backgrounds can take advantage of programs.”
Marketing and communication major Tiffanny Nettles said she is excited about Black History Month.
“Black History Month gives us the opportunity to reflect on not only the history of African-Americans, but the history of our University,” Nettles said. “It gives us a chance to enhance the segment of our creed that is diversity.”