January 31, 2019

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Recognizes Black History Month with Series of Public Events

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University honors the historical and cultural contributions of African Americans and recognizes 400 years of resilience and perseverance in African Americans’ pursuit for equality during Black History Month.

Black History Month activities are presented free of charge by VSU’s African American Studies Program and Office of Diversity and Inclusion in collaboration with the university’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Office of Human Resources, Office of Career Opportunities, College of Science and Mathematics, Office of Social Equity, College of the Arts, and Campus Activities Board, as well as Georgia Humanities. The community is invited to attend the following:

Black Nightingales: Past, Present, and Future

This Faculty Speaker Series event kicks off at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5, in Hugh C. Bailey Science Center Room 1011. Kwanza Thomas, an instructor in VSU’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences, highlights African American trailblazers in nursing and forecasts the need for black nurses in the future.

“The Hate You Give”

This movie event kicks off at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7, in the Student Union Theater. It is a 2018 American crime drama directed by George Tillman Jr. and is based on the 2017 novel of the same name by Angie Thomas. It follows the fallout after a high school student witnesses a police shooting.

“Agents of Change”

This screening and panel discussion kicks off at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 11, in the Student Union Theater. Produced and directed by Frank Dawson and Abby Ginzberg in 2016, the documentary examines the untold story of racial conditions on college campuses during the civil rights, black power, and anti-Vietnam war movements that led to protests in the late 1960s. The demand for a more relevant and meaningful education, including black and ethnic studies programs, continues to result in campus protests across the country today.

Posthuman Blackness: Unmaking the Black Body in “Kindred” and its Graphic Novel Adaptation

This Faculty Speaker Series event kicks off at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12, in Hugh C. Bailey Science Center Room 1011. Dr. Nicholas E. Miller, an assistant professor in VSU’s Department of English, draws on posthumanist theory and Afrofuturist scholarship to situate Octavia Butler’s novel “Kindred” and its graphic novel adaptation within more extensive conversations. He argues that the graphic novel adaptation takes the abstraction of blackness in Middle Passage narratives and renders it concrete, making the historical trauma of chattel slavery tangible through the literal and visible unmaking of Dana Franklin’s body.   

From Africa to America: The Gullah Geechee Presence in Georgia

This lecture kicks off at 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 15, in the Odum Library. Willis Hakim Jones, a Savannah-based artist, shares his collection of artifacts documenting the history and culture of the Gullah Geechee people of Georgia, who are renowned for their retention of West African language patterns and folkways. The collection is open for viewing throughout the month of February.

The Biology of Human Skin Color

This Faculty Speaker Series event kicks off at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19, in Hugh C. Bailey Science Center Room 1011. The VSU Department of Biology’s Dr. John Elder, professor, and Dr. Leslie Jones, associate professor, examine how natural selection shaped the pigmentation of indigenous people across the globe and how modern science is unraveling the spectrum of complexions seen today.

Work It: Surviving and Thriving in Higher Education and Professional Service

This panel discussion kicks off at 11:45 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 25, in the University Center Cypress Room. A panel of seven African American professionals in varying roles at VSU will share stories about their career paths — successes, failures, opportunities, and where it all has taken them.

Traditional African Art as the Visual Link to Religion and Culture

This Faculty Speaker Series event kicks off at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26, in Hugh C. Bailey Science Center Room 1011. Ray Noll, an instructor in VSU’s Department of Art and Design explores the art of the Ashanti in Ghana and the Yoruba in Nigeria and how it has changed and spread globally.

The story of Black History Month began in 1915 when historian Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans. The organization sponsored the first national Negro History Week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

Negro History Week was expanded to Black History Month in 1976, the nation’s bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Today the Association of the Study of Negro Life and History is known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Its mission is to promote, research, preserve, interpret, and disseminate information about black life, history, and culture to the global community.

Contact Dr. Tameka Hobbs, coordinator of VSU’s African American Studies Program, at tbhobbs@valdosta.edu or (229) 249-4843 to learn more.

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