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Monmouth College to celebrate Black History Month with eight events

Hannah Maloney ’17
02/01/2017
Monmouth College has more than a half-dozen events planned to celebrate Black History Month on campus.

Sponsored by the Office of Intercultural Life, the eight events are designed to create and foster an educational, comfortable and positive environment of dialogue, discussion and awareness of diversity and inclusion on campus, according to Director of Multicultural Student Services Regina Johnson. The programs aim to focus not only on recognizing Black History Month, but also take a closer look at prejudice and its effects.

“We have done our very best this Black History Month to facilitate programs that can have an impact on our entire campus,” Johnson said.

Black History Month dates to 1926 when scholar Carter G. Woodson started “Negro History Week.” Woodson, who was one of the first scholars of African-American history, chose the second week of February because it includes the birth dates of Abraham Lincoln on Feb. 12 and of Frederick Douglass on Feb. 14. In 1976, the U.S. government officially recognized Black History Month.

Monmouth’s programs will kick off with a “Black Lives Matter” art exhibit in Hewes Library. The collaborative event will feature artwork by Monmouth College students and students from Oswego (Ill.) East High School.

“I’m really excited for people to see the finished exhibition,” said contributing artist Shoshana McClarence ’17. “People will get to meet all of those high school students – which we were a couple of years ago – and talk with them about the importance of the current social movements that have sprung up to combat racism, as well as other movements that have really begun to help fight for the rights of marginalized students.”

The public can meet the artists and advocates behind the show from 2-4 p.m. Feb. 3. The free exhibition will be on display through Feb. 28.

Other programs scheduled this month include:

* Feb. 16: A viewing and discussion of the Academy Award-nominated documentary 13th will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Pattee Auditorium of the Center for Science and Business. Titled after the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which outlawed slavery, the film centers on race in the criminal justice system.

* Feb. 21: Monmouth students will travel to Knox College for a Communications in Information Literacy program with Lecia Brooks of the Southern Poverty Law Center. (Students must sign up to attend the event by emailing iclife@monmouthcollege.edu by Feb. 19.)

* Feb. 21: Western Illinois University’s Gents program will be hosted by the Advisory Board of the Office of Intercultural Life at 6:30 p.m. at the Intercultural Life Lounge.

* Feb. 23: A viewing of the 1998 crime drama film American History X and following panel discussion will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Pattee Auditorium.

* Feb. 25: The College’s Colorful Voices of Praise will perform its annual Gospel Explosion at 7 p.m. in the Kasch Performance Hall at the Dahl Chapel and Auditorium. The concert is free and open to the public.

* Feb 28:
The Department of English will sponsor a poetry reading by prize-winning poet Janice Harrington at 4:30 p.m. in the Barnes Electronic Classroom (lower level of the Hewes Library).

* Feb. 28: A presentation by speaker Frank Meeink – the inspiration for the movie American History X – titled “A Former Skinhead Speaks Out Against Hate,” will be given at 7:15 p.m. at Dahl Chapel. Meeink’s presentation is sponsored by the Advisory Board of the Office of Intercultural Life, the Public Affairs Committee, UMOJA, Raices, the Department of Sociology/Anthropology, the Department of Religious Studies and the Chaplain's Office.

For more information about Black History Month events, contact the Office of Intercultural Life at iclife@monmouthcollege.edu.