SUNY Cortland plans Black History Month events

CORTLAND, N.Y. — SUNY Cortland’s Africana Studies Department has put together a full calendar of Black History Month events spanning throughout February.

They include weekly guest lectures, a student open mic showcase and a Pan African dance performance to culminate the month-long celebration for the College and the community.


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“Black history is America’s history and this month enables all of us to evaluate our progress, historical contradictions, achievement, and challenges in order to reach future possibilities,” said SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor Seth Asumah, chair of SUNY Cortland’s Africana Studies Department and organizer of the month’s activities.

Events highlighting history, the arts and student research and creativity kick off Wednesday, Feb. 3, with the first of eight lunchtime presentations. Five other lectures and performances also are scheduled, building up to a concert featuring the Wassa Pan Afrika Dance Ensemble and the College’s Gospel Choir on Sunday, Feb. 28, at 3 p.m. in Old Main Brown Auditorium.

All Black History Month events are free to attend and open to the public.

Evening and weekend events include:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 10: Ute Ritz-Deutch, of the College’s History Department, presents “Solitary and Racism in the United States,” at 7 p.m. in Sperry Center, Room 304.
  • Monday, Feb. 15: Three students will offer short presentations beginning at 7 p.m. in Sperry Center, Room 304. Alexis Vilceus, a childhood/early childhood education major from Bellerose, N.Y.; Claire Leggett, an adolescence education: social studies and history dual major from East Aurora, N.Y.; and Deidre Kirkem, a speech and hearing science major from Long Beach, N.Y., all will speak to different topics.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 17: “The Regularization of Violence” takes place at 7 p.m. in Sperry Center, Room 304. It will feature input from four SUNY Cortland faculty members from the College’s Philosophy Department: Robert Earle, Andrew Fitz-Gibbon, Nikolay Karkov and Mechthild Nagel.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 23: An Open Mic Showcase takes place at 7 p.m. in Sperry Center, Room 205.
  • Sunday, Feb. 28: The Wassa Pan Afrika Dance Ensemble and the SUNY Cortland Gospel Choir perform at 3 p.m. in Old Main Brown Auditorium.

All weekday Sandwich Seminar talks take place in Brockway Hall, Jacobus Lounge and they include:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 3: Steven Hernandez, a criminology and political science major from McGraw, N.Y., offers “Black History in American Culture and Politics,” at 12:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Feb. 4: Susan Rayl, of the College’s Kinesiology Department, gives a talk titled “Killing History: The Senseless Death of the Renaissance Ballroom,” at noon.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 10: Emmanuelle Andres, from the University of La Rochelle in France, discusses “Toni Morrison’s Writings and the Power of Imagination” at 12:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Feb. 11: Xavier Campbell, a political science major from Jamaica, N.Y., presents “The Boys are Coming Home and There Will Be a Change” at noon.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 17: Timothy Delaune, an assistant professor of political science, speaks to the Fisher vs. the University of Texas U.S. Supreme Court case at 12:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Feb. 18: Kania Ozoria, a communication studies major from Union City, N.J., offers “Questioning Black Hair: Culture, Self-Image and Politics” at noon.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 24: Edward Moore and Lois Pfister, of the College’s Performing Arts Department, present “Black Music Matters” at 12:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Feb. 25: Keri Blakinger, a journalist for the New York Daily News who focuses on criminal justice and addiction, offers a talk titled “The End of the Drug War and Me” at noon. Blakinger made national news when she was arrested during her senior year at Cornell University for drug possession. She previously spent two years in jail.

Black History Month sponsors include the College President’s Office; the Provost’s Office; the School of Arts and Sciences; the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies; the Africana Studies, Philosophy and Political Science departments; Campus Artists and Lecture Series; Black Student Union; and the Pan African Student Association.

For more information, contact Asumah at 607-753-2064.


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