Griot Institute: Black History Month Events

By Heather Hennigan


Believe it or not, February will be here before we know it. Things that resonate with this month include candy hearts, red roses and, more importantly, Black History Month.

This year’s celebration of Black History Month on campus includes an absolutely packed schedule with events galore. The theme this year is “Break the 28,” a fitting title for such an extensive celebration that intertwines various campus happenings.

From the John Legend concert to the Black History Month of Service to the Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson three-month series (, this celebration transcends the boundaries of a single month.

“Break the 28” also focuses on personalizing the University’s celebration of the month, kicking off with what is called “The Great 28 + 1.” Each day in February, a fact about the University’s black history and a Great Black Song (background information and YouTube video included) will be posted in the Message Center.

The spirit of the Black History Month celebration has been present for weeks now, especially during “An Evening with Bill T. Jones,” where the campus community had the opportunity to hear Jones share his experiences about his life as an African-American artist, choreographer, dancer, theater director and writer.

If you missed this lecture, no need to worry: there is still a chance to experience the remaining three events of the series, including a performance by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.

Another huge part of the University’s celebration of Black History Month, and a major focus on campus, is community service. The Black History Month of Service kicks off this Saturday, when students can offer assistance at the HandUp Foundation’s thrift store and the Sunbury YMCA. This focus on service continues throughout the month with opportunities in aiding the community’s youth through educational workshops, craft-making and snacks. The Month of Service ends on Feb. 28 with a no-sew blanket-making event to benefit victims of the August 2011 flood.

There are a few more events to mention, including a Joshua Rothman lecture, a Vance Gilbert concert, a Soul Food Panel, a poetry slam and even a sound installation made with genetic code (that’s right, with DNA). Please visit for an overview of the entire month.

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