Black History Month brings campus to ‘crossroads’ ...

Black History Month brings campus to ‘crossroads’ (w/video)

“At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington” is the theme of MTSU’s 2013 observance of Black History Month.

Click on the graphic above for a full-size, printable Black History Month 2013 events calendar.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln’s executive order proclaiming all blacks enslaved in the Confederate states to be free.

It also marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom spearheaded by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was at this march on the Washington, D.C., mall where King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

This year’s events include a “campus sing” of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a poem written by James Weldon Johnson in 1899 and set to music in 1900 by his brother, John Rosamond Johnson.

The entire campus community is invited to lend their voices to the song nicknamed “The Black National Anthem” at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, at Peck Hall, on the Keathley University Center knoll and in the courtyard of the Student Union Building.

More events are listed below.

  • Activist, author and Nashville-based photographer Thunder Kellie will deliver an address on Thursday, Feb. 7, which is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Kellie will speak on living with HIV at 6 p.m. in Room S128 of the Business and Aerospace Building.
  • The annual Unity Luncheon will celebrate community heroes at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, in the Tennessee Room of the James Union Building. Admission is $20 for the public and $10 for students. Contact Brenda Wunder at 615-898-2591 for more information.
  • University of Maryland-Baltimore County President Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski III will be a featured speaker at the Retention Summit, a discussion of how to stem the college dropout rate among African-Americans. The event is slated to run from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25, in the second-floor ballroom of the Student Union Building. Profiled last year on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” for his dedication to educational innovation, Hrabowski has been tapped by President Barack Obama to chair the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African-Americans.
  • The 2013 John Pleas Faculty Recognition Award Ceremony will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, at the MTSU Foundation House at 324 W. Thompson Lane in Murfreesboro. The award, which is presented each year to a minority faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and service, was created in 1997 to honor MTSU psychology professor emeritus Dr. John Pleas.

All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise stated.

For details on these and other Black History Month activities, contact Vincent Windrow, director of the Intercultural and Diversity Center and chair of the Black History Month Committee, at 615-898-5812 or You also can learn more from excerpts from Windrow’s Jan. 28 appearance on “MTSU On the Record,” the university’s weekly public affairs radio program on WMOT-FM 89.5, below.

— Gina K. Logue (