Black History Month Events Planned

Jan 16, 2020

The theme for the 2020 celebration is 'The Next 400 Years: Recognition, Restoration, and Resilience.'


Slavery in America dates to 1619. Reflections on those 400 years of history — and a look to the future — will highlight “The Next 400 Years: Recognition, Restoration, and Resilience,” as Cal U celebrates Black History Month in February. 

A special four-part “What’s the T? Thoughtful Discussions About National Narratives” series, developed by the Student Affairs Diversity Committee, will highlight the month. The conversations will be at 11 a.m. in Vulcan Theatre, on the first floor of the Natali Student Center, on the following dates: 

Feb. 3: Dr. Paul Spradley, founder of the Care Based Leadership Collaborative, will conduct a one-man performance, “The Day Civil Rights Got Old,” followed by a discussion. The presentation explores how one moment from the 1960s has impacted a man in the present day. 

Feb. 10: Jessica Spradley, a Frederick Douglass Institute scholar in sociology at Cal U, and vice president of research and assessment for the Care Based Leadership Collaborative, will lead a presentation and discussion titled “Educational Places as Racial Places.”

Feb. 11: Rodney Taylor, FDI scholar in English, will discuss “Post-Bellum, Pre-Harlem: African American Authors & the Remembered Plantation.”

Feb. 17: The full "I Have a Dream" speech that was delivered by American civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Aug. 28, 1963, will be viewed. Afterward, Jeffrey Jones, Cal U’s first gentleman, will moderate a panel discussion of civil rights and social justice. Panelists will include Cal U students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

“We’ve tapped into our on-campus resources because this is an ideal time to use their scholarship to go back and talk about some historical perspective, but also to acknowledge what can happen in the next 400 years,” said Sheleta Camarda-Webb, director of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Education. “I believe these sessions will be poignant, informational and also very captivating.”

Feb. 20: Dr. Mathilda Spencer and members of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement will discuss “(In)Justice Through the Lens of African American Law Enforcement.”

Other Events

Feed Your Soul, Jan. 23-31: Sponsored by the Black Student Union, the food drive will collect non-perishable items to fill a Kia Soul parked in the front lot of the Natali Student Center. There also will be collection boxes in each residence hall. An event kick-off party will take place from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Jan. 23 in the Carter Hall Multipurpose room. Entry fee is one canned good or $1 to be used to purchase canned goods. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Jan. 28, Natali Student Center Performance Center: Volunteers will perform service-oriented activities to benefit nonprofit organizations including Special Olympics Pennsylvania, Mon Valley YMCA, American Cancer Society, Center in the Woods, The Residence at Hilltop and Southwestern Veterans Center. 

Multicultural Affairs Night at Cal U Basketball, 1 and 3 p.m. Feb. 1, Hamer Hall. Enjoy Vulcan basketball against Slippery Rock and join the Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Education staff for a chance to win rally towels, T-shirts and other giveaways. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for visiting students. Cal U students with CalCards and children under age 12 are admitted free. 

Soul Food Luncheon and Dinner, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., and 4-7 p.m. Feb. 5, Gold Rush Culinary Center. Diners enjoy a menu created from recipes and stories contributed by members of the Cal U community. Cost is $8.25 for lunch and $10.60 for dinner for those not on a meal plan. Soul food is a term used for an ethnic cuisine traditionally prepared and eaten by African Americans of the southern United States. AVI Foodsystems is the event sponsor. 

Black History Month Trivia, 7 p.m. Feb. 24, Natali Student Center Performance Center. Student teams of 4-6 people will learn and share their knowledge about African history in the United States. Each member of the winning team will receive $25 shop dollars each added to their meal plans.

A Taste of Africa, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 27, Gold Rush Culinary Center. Diners will be treated to an African-inspired menu with the Cal U community helping with some of the Nigerian recipes. Cost is $8.25.

Black History Month is sponsored by the Office of the President, the Office of Student Affairs, the Center for Volunteer Programs and Service Learning, Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Education, the Frederick Douglass Institute, the Department of Criminal Justice, and AVI Foodsystems.

For more information about Black History Month events at Cal U, contact the office of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Education at 724-938-5758 or