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Black History Month programs at Tuskegee embrace heritage, continued struggle

January 23, 2020

Brittney Dabney, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing
Dr. Thierno Thiam, Chair, Black History Month Planning Committee

Black History Month Flyer
Click the image to download a PDF version

A series of lectures, panel discussions and film screenings are among the events marking Black History Month at Tuskegee University throughout February. “Embracing Our Heritage and Continuing the Struggle” will be the month-long theme for programs hosted by the university.

“This annual celebration is a way for everyone to commemorate the achievements of African Americans – not only for our students, but the community as a whole,” said Dr. Thierno Thiam, associate professor and chair of Tuskegee’s Department of History and Political Science. “This is an opportunity to also pay homage to our past.”

The celebration gets underway on Feb. 3 and continues with an array of events appearing below. For convenience, the list is also available as a PDF download. Unless otherwise noted, events are free and open to the public and will be located on the university’s campus in the John A. Kenney Hall Bioethics Auditorium, Room 71-243.

Monday, Feb. 3, All Day (Kenney Hall, second floor)
Voter Registration Drive, sponsored by Pi Sigma Alpha and Phi Alpha Theta

Friday, Feb. 7, 10 a.m.
“The Black Vote: Then and Now,” presented by Fred McBride, interim director of public policy for the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights; and Sekou Franklin, president of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists

Friday, Feb. 7, 11 a.m. (University Chapel)
Annual George Washington Carver Convocation [read more]

Monday, Feb. 10, 3 p.m.
“Up from Slavery: A Town-and-Gown Conversation,” presented by Dr. Jaqueline Brooks, Macon County Schools superintendent, and Lennora Pierrot, Tuskegee Libraries’ Special Collections manager

Thursday, Feb. 13 and Friday, Feb. 14 (George Washington Carver Museum)
Fourth Annual History Research Symposium [read more]

Tuesday, Feb. 18, 1 p.m.
Retracing the Footsteps of History,” presented by Deborah Gray, managing director of the Tuskegee History Center

Tuesday, Feb. 18, 6 p.m. (University Chapel)
“The Civil Rights Movement and the Making of Roots,” presented by Ben Vereen, actor, director, dancer, singer and Tony Award winner [read more]

Wednesday, Feb. 19, 4:30 p.m.
“From Slave Ship to Spaceship: African-American Pioneers in Space” and screening of the upcoming Smithsonian Channel documentary “Black in Space: Breaking the Color Barrier,” presented by Carl McNair, author, CEO of McNair Achievement Programs LLC and brother of Challenger shuttle astronaut Dr. Ronald E. McNair [read more]

Thursday, Feb. 20, 11 a.m.
Screening of the movie “Harriet”

Friday, Feb. 21, 11 a.m.
A Conversation with H.J. Harris, author of "Solving the Race Issue in America"
Note: Gregory Allen Howard, the writer and producer of ‘Harriet,’ will serve as the speaker for the Founders' Day Convocation on Sunday, April 5

Tuesday, Feb. 25, 1 p.m.
Building a Legacy of Impact Through Invention,” presented by Jim West, National Hall of Fame inductee and inventor of the Electret Microphone; and Marshall Jones, National Hall of Fame inductee and inventor of the Industrial Lasers; co-hosted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office [register]

Tuesday, Feb. 25, 4:30 p.m. (Logan Hall)
When They Call You a Terrorist,” Patrisse Cullors, author, activist and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement [read more]

Thursday, Feb. 27, 11 a.m. (44-102 Kenney Hall, Bioethics Conference Room)
“Enduring Connections: Democracy and Participation in Africa and the Diaspora” Political Science Symposium, joint event between Tuskegee University and the University of Florida

Friday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m. [note: rescheduled for March 26]
A Strategic Vision for Tuskegee University,” Acting President Dr. Ruby L. Perry; moderated by Interim Provost Dr. Carla Jackson Bell

Black History Month programming comprises the annual lecture series honoring Dr. Frank Toland Sr. Before his death in 2010 at the age of 90, the professor emeritus of history was known as a tireless educator, a local public servant and a voice of the voting rights movement. Toland began serving on the university faculty in 1949, and in 1968, he became chair of the History Department — a position he held for 16 years. During his university tenure, he also served as a member of the Tuskegee City Council, NAACP and Macon County Democratic Club.

Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. It is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history.

Tuskegee’s Black History Month events are presented through partnerships between the Department of History and Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences; the Libraries System’s University Archives and University Special Collections; Global Office; National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care; College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences; Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science; Office of the President; University of Florida’s Center for African Studies; and the Andrew F. Mellon Foundation.

For more information about Tuskegee University’s Black History Month programming, contact Thiam at or at 334-725-4974.

© 2020, Tuskegee University