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Regional events celebrate Black History Month

staff report • Feb 2, 2013 at 7:11 AM

Negro History Week was launched in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, an early scholar of African-American history. Now, nearly 90 years later, it has become a month-long event, celebrated each February to recognize the accomplishments and culture of African-Americans and promote awareness of black history.

Below are some events set to take place in our region this month to commemorate this very important part of our nation’s history.

• Virginia Highlands Community College’s Arts Array film series will present a tribute to black actor Denzel Washington throughout the month.

Four of Washington’s films will be shown at 7:30 p.m. each Tuesday in February in the Executive Auditorium of the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Va.: “Glory” on Feb. 5; “The Devil in a Blue Dress,” Feb. 12; “Hurricane,” Feb. 19; and “Training Day,” Feb. 26. Introducing each film and leading a discussion afterwards will be Tommy Bryant, an English instructor at Virginia Highlands Community College. Admission is free.

For more information, email Bryant at tbryant@vhcc.edu.

• East Tennessee State University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs will host a variety of free public events in commemoration of Black History Month.

The annual Black History Month Red, Black and Green Ribbon Giveaway will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Feb. 4 at the information booths on the second level of the Culp Center. Along with the ribbons, participants will receive information written by the late civil rights activist Marcus Garvey on the ribbon colors’ meaning.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day activities will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Feb. 5 at the information booths on the Culp Center’s second level. Red ribbons will be distributed to symbolize the fight against HIV/AIDS, and information and free, confidential testing will be provided by Hope for Tennessee.

The Sankofa African American Museum on Wheels will be on campus for one day, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Feb. 12 in the Culp Center ballroom. This traveling exhibit of art collectibles and memorabilia is based on African-American history from 1860 to the present, covering slavery, the era of “King Cotton” and emancipation through the Negro Baseball Leagues, the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, the Civil Rights Movement and more.

The annul Semi-Formal Dance will begin at 10 p.m., Feb. 23 in the Culp Center ballroom. Participants are welcome to dress up and enjoy an evening of dancing and music provided by DJ Nize. Refreshments will be provided.

For more information, call the ETSU Office of Multicultural Affairs at (423) 439-6633 or email mcstaff@etsu.edu

• East Tennessee State University’s African and African American Studies Program in the ETSU Department of History will host a series of four lectures in February in observance of Black History Month. Each free public lecture will be held in room 309 (Media Room) of the Sherrod Library.

The first lecture will begin at 6 p.m., Feb. 5. “The 2012 Presidential Election: Race Relations in the 21st Century” will be presented by Dr. Daryl Carter, an ETSU assistant professor of History.

Dr. Martha Michieka will speak on “Language and Cultural Identity in Modern Africa” at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 12. Michieka is an associate professor of English and director of the Linguistics Minor in the ETSU Department of Literature and Language.

Dr. Dinah Mayo-Bobee’s “Writing the U.S. Constitution and the Slavery Debate” will be the third lecture, set for 6:30 p.m., Feb. 19. Mayo-Bobee, who holds her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and bachelor’s degree from Norwich University, is an assistant professor of History at ETSU.

The final lecture in the series, “Men of the African Diaspora: Their Service in the British Royal Navy to End the Slave Trade, 1808-1861,” will be given by Dr. John Rankin at 6 p.m., Feb. 27. Rankin, an assistant professor of History at ETSU, specializes in the areas of Britain and the British Empire, Africa, the Atlantic world, the Caribbean, the history of health and medicine, and social history.

For more information, call Dr. Dorothy Drinkard-Hawkshawe, ETSU professor of History and director of African and African American Studies, at (423) 439-6688 or email her at drinkard@etsu.edu.

• Help Our Potential Evolve (H.O.P.E.) will host its fourth annual Black History Month celebration from 5:30 to 8 p.m., Feb. 7 at the Main Art Center in the old Gem Theater, 140 W. Main St., Kingsport. Tickets for “Unity a Community Affair” are $15 per person. Reservations can be made by calling (423) 246-6550 or (423) 392-1150.

• Northeast State Community College will host a performance by the dance company Step Afrika! at 7 p.m., Feb. 8 in the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts on the main campus, 2425 Highway 75, adjacent to Tri-Cities Regional Airport. Step Afrika! was founded in 1994 by C. Brian Williams and ranks as the only professional dance company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping. The performance is free and open to the public. For more information, call (423) 279-7669 or email jpkelly@NortheastState.edu.

• The Wesley Heights Community at large, in conjunction with members of the area’s various church denominations and the George Clem Multicultural Alliance, will commemorate Black History Month from 3 to 5 p.m., Feb. 16 at the Community Family Life Center (Friendship Baptist Church), located at 343 Davis Street, Greeneville.

The primary participants of this program will consist of area youth, as well as performances and involvement by both Maryville College and Tusculum College students, with the emphasis being “Our Past through the Eyes of Our Future.”

Admission is $5 for adults; $2.50 for ages 12-18; and free for those younger than 12.

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