Black History Month at MTSU focuses on ‘Civil Righ...

Black History Month at MTSU focuses on ‘Civil Rights in America’

Reflections on the sacrifices that made America a more inclusive society form the focal point of this year’s Black History Month celebration at MTSU.

Documentaries, speeches, singalongs and other activities are on tap under the theme of “Civil Rights in America,” said Black History Month Committee co-chairs Vincent Windrow, interim assistant vice provost for student success, and Jonell Hinsey, interim director of the Intercultural and Diversity Affairs Center.

Click on the poster for a high-resolution printable version.

“This year we celebrate the people, places and important occasions that created the movement for equality in America,” Hinsey said.

Black History Month 2014 events at MTSU include the following:

  • The campus community is invited to sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the so-called “black national anthem” composed by James Weldon Johnson, at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3, on the Keathley University Center knoll, in the Student Union Courtyard and outside Peck Hall.
  • “Eyes on the Prize,” the award-winning PBS documentary about the history of the civil rights movement, will be shown in four parts from 7 to 8 p.m. Feb. 6, 13, 20 and 27 in the Keathley University Center Theater.
  • Students will maintain an information table from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, on the first floor of the Student Union. Free HIV/AIDS testing will be available then and throughout the month.
  • Michael McDonald, MTSU’s first African-American student government president, will be the keynote speaker for the annual Unity Luncheon at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, in the Student Union ballroom. The event will pay tribute to community leaders James L. Butler, Pearlie Mae Martin and Phyllis Hickerson-Washington.

Tickets for the Unity Luncheon are $20 for adults and $10 for students and may be purchased by contacting Hinsey at 615-898-5797 or The deadline for reserving tickets is Wednesday, Feb. 5.

Dr. Cleveland Sellers

  • Dr. Cleveland Sellers, president of Voorhees College in Denmark, S.C., will deliver an address titled “A Voice from the Movement” at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, in Room 116 of the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors College Building.

An advocate for nonviolent social change, Sellers was the only person arrested at the “Orangeburg Massacre,” a violent clash between students and state police on the campus of South Carolina State University on Feb. 8, 1968, that left three dead and 27 other people wounded. Sellers spent seven months behind bars on rioting charges while the white officers involved in the shooting were acquitted. He received an official pardon 25 years after his release.

  • A presentation based on some of the “Myths of the Movement” is slated for 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building. This event focuses on how some written and oral history skews the truth about the civil rights movement.
  • Walks through the “Tunnel of Oppression” are scheduled from 1 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, in the Tom Jackson Building. It is designed to introduce participants to current-day concepts of oppression, privilege and power. This event coincides with the World Day of Social Justice as declared by the United Nations.
  • The Scholars Academy, in conjunction with the Intercultural and Diversity Affairs Center, will host “Sista and Brotha, You Rock!,” a celebration slated for 6 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, in the Student Union ballroom. MTSU students of color will receive awards honoring them for their contributions to the community.

All events except the Unity Luncheon are free and open to the public. For a complete list of Black History Month events, visit or click on the poster above. For more information, contact Hinsey at 615-898-5797 or

— Gina K. Logue (