Oregon State celebrates Black History Month with these events

Sydni Zidarevich, Justice, Equity and Diversity Beat Reporter

To celebrate Black History Month in February, Oregon State University is hosting a number of free events that coincide with the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center’s yearly theme of “Strength in Numbers”. The theme emphasizes the excellence and achievements of Black and African American communities, looking back and to the future.

Feb. 1: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Keynote presentation with Jelani Cobb: Oregon State University is holding their 41st annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration on Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. at The La Sells Stewart Center Center. Jelani Cobb, staff writer at The New Yorker, will be this year’s keynote speaker, whose writing focuses on race, history, justice, politics and democracy. Cobb’s keynote is titled, “The Half-Life of Freedom: Race and Justice in America Today.” Following Cobb’s speech, there will be a Q&A facilitated by director of OSU’s difference, power and discrimination program and professor of women, gender and sexuality studies, Nana Osei-Kofi. Registration is needed for both in-person and online attendance.

Jan. 28 – Feb. 28: The Little Gallery Presents:  Jeremy Okai Davis Paintings and Lithos: The gallery is up and running as of Jan. 23 and will conclude Feb. 28 in the Little Gallery in Kidder Hall 210. This exhibit is, what writer Theresa Hogue calls, “a retrospective” of the artist Jeremy Okai Davis’ past accomplishments and a tribute to his current ones. His work has been shown across the nation, at different venues such as the Studio Museum of Harlem and the Rotating Art Program at Portland International Airport. Davis’s work occupies the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center here at OSU, as well as the University of Oregon’s permanent collection.

Feb. 2: Black Excellence Celebration: The Black Excellence Celebration highlights the success from the following year, centered around the Black community, as well as highlights students and faculty here on the OSU campus. The celebration will include an award ceremony, the presentation of scholarships, as well as a keynote speaker. This year’s speaker is Ramycia McGee, a professor of English and literature at LBCC, who has initiated several events at Linn-Benton that highlight Black and women’s history and is the founder of the Valencia Cooper Second Chance Scholarship Opportunity Award. Food and music will also be present at the event, which takes place Feb. 2, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Toyota Club Level as Reser Stadium. RSVP required.

Feb. 9: My People Are Rising: The History and Legacy of the Black Panthers in the Pacific Northwest: Aaron Dixon, co-founder of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1968 will be delivering a lecture with inspiration from his published memoir, “My People are Rising.” Dixon will tell some of his own journey in fighting for Black empowerment and racial justice. This lecture is open to the public and will be in the Memorial Union Horizon Room on Feb. 9 at 5:30 p.m..

Feb. 16: The Making of American Whiteness: The History of Race in America: The Cabildos Speaker Series welcomes and introduces Carmen Thompson, a historian and author who wrote the book, “The Making of American Whiteness: The Formation of Race in Seventeenth- Century Virginia.” Thompson has taught courses on the Black experience and whiteness at Portland State University and Portland Community College, as well as held visiting scholar appointments at different institutions across the country. Thompson’s lecture will be held in the Memorial Union Horizon Room on Feb. 16, starting at 5 p.m.

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