Black History Month Events & Activities

Wittenberg University is pleased to offer a series of educational and community-focused events in honor of Black History Month, beginning on February 1, 2024.

Black History Month

Calendar of Events

"LWB: Loving While Black – A Radical Ethic"
Featuring: Professor of Philosophy Julius Bailey
Thursday, Feb. 1, at 2:30 p.m., Ness Auditorium, Hollenbeck Hall

As part of this year's programming, Bailey, Wittenberg professor and chair of philosophy and director of African & Diaspora Studies and Justice, Law & Public Policy, will kick off the month with this conversation, the first in his series of events titled "Aesthetics in Black: A Series on Race, Art, and Expression."

"Not my dust, But my Story"
Featuring: Poet and Writer Sierra Leone
Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 2:30 p.m., 105 Joseph C. Shouvlin Center

Leone, a poet and writer, who is the president, artistic director, and co-founder of the OFP Theatre and Production Company, joins the "Aesthetics in Black: A Series on Race, Art, and Expression." A Governor's Award-winning poet, Leone will captivate the audience with an exploration of the power of storytelling. Students interested in poetry and writing are also encouraged to attend a lunch with Leone from 12:30 to 2 p.m. To reserve a spot, reach out to as space for lunch is limited to 10 students.

Step Afrika!
Wednesday, Feb. 7, 1929 Field House, HWA Complex

Another big event that Wittenberg is excited to be hosting in February will be the return of Step Afrika! Founded in 1994 as the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping, Step Afrika! will dance into Springfield for a concert. Back by popular demand, the group’s first campus appearance took place during the 2019-2020 Wittenberg Series.

"Hip Hop: The Creation of Culture”
Featuring: Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology Chad Sloss
Thursday, Feb. 8, at 2:30 p.m., Ness Family Auditorium, Hollenbeck Hall

Sloss, a sociology scholar, practitioner, and researcher specializing in education, culture, and conflict analysis, currently teaches courses in sociology, race and ethnicity, sociological theory, marriage and families, social problems, qualitative methods, education, and conflict studies at Wittenberg. His talk is part of the "Aesthetics in Black: A Series on Race, Art, and Expression."

“Fear, Belonging, and Being a Black Millennial Artist”
Featuring: Artist Jamaal Durr
Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 2:30 p.m., Koch Hall Auditorium

A contemporary artist known for his figurative mixed media works and portrait drawings, Durr has had his work exhibited at several galleries, including The Contemporary Dayton, ADC Fine Art Gallery in Cincinnati, the Columbus Cultural Arts Center, and the Springfield Museum of Art, where he also has a seat on the Curatorial Affairs Committee. His talk is part of the "Aesthetics in Black: A Series on Race, Art, and Expression." Students interested in art and entrepreneurship are also encouraged to attend a lunch with Durr from 12:30 to 2 p.m. To reserve a spot, reach out to as space for lunch is limited to 10 students.

"Dance, Stomp, Shake”
Sunday, Feb. 18, 3 p.m., Dayton Masonic Center
525 W. Riverview Drive, Dayton

Billed as the hottest dance show in the Midwest, this dance competition event is geared specifically, but not exclusively, toward Black youth and families to celebrate the diversity of creative excellence and expression. It purposely coincides with Black History Month since it focuses primarily on hip-hop, a style of dance that traces its origins back to New York City's black community in the 1960s and 1970s. The McClain Center for Diversity and Build A Better Wittenberg will be sponsoring a bus trip to and from the event. Interested students should reach out to as space is limited to 50 seats. The bus will leave at 1:30 p.m. and is free to Wittenberg students who sign up.

“Elevating the Creative in You"
Featuring: Choreographer and Creative Director Howard Washington
Monday, Feb. 19, at 9 a.m., Chakeres Memorial Theatre

Washington, founder and creative director of Dance Elevated Studio in Independence, Ohio, who specializes in choreography, will share in dialogue and present a mini-dance workshop as part of the "Aesthetics in Black: A Series on Race, Art, and Expression." The dialogue will begin at 9 a.m. followed by the mini-dance workshop with a live D.J. at 10 a.m.

Queer Documentary Series’ “Tongues Untied”
Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 4:30 p.m., Kissell Auditorium, Koch Hall

The Department of Art, in partnership with the McClain Center for Diversity, Gender and Sexual Diversity Alliance, Concerned Black Students, and Equality Springfield, will present this film in Koch Hall. Food and refreshments will be provided, and the viewing will be followed by a panel discussion.

“Black Musical History: Blurring the Sacred vs. Secular Line" with Kent Brooks
Tuesday, March 19, at 2:30 p.m., Koch Hall Auditorium

Wrapping up the series will be Kent Brooks, professor of religious and spiritual life at Northwestern University, who will discuss this final topic as part of the "Aesthetics in Black: A Series on Race, Art, and Expression." Brooks previously taught voice, conducted the Imani Gospel Choir, and served as chapel organist at Wittenberg.

Our thanks to Concerned Black Students, faculty, staff, and students for helping to lead, coordinate, and build community on campus through a range of meaningful events and thought-provoking conversations in honor of Black History Month and as an extension of Martin Luther King Jr. Week.

In addition, the Wittenberg University women's basketball team produced a series of profiles of prominent Black Americans on its social media channels. Links to stories and range of images from the month dedicated to celebrating the achievements of Black Americans and their role in U.S. history can be found below, in addition to the photo gallery embedded below.

MLK & Black History Month 2023

MLK Jr. Events 2023

Hagen Center MLK Day of Service (News Release)
Student Center Geil Lounge
2 p.m. Monday, January 16
Contact: Rachel Scherzer

Presentation by Dr. Brian Yontz
"Brown is Almost 70! The Legacy of the Landmark Supreme Court Ruling on the De-Segregation of Schools"
9:30 a.m. Tuesday, January 17

Presentation by Dr. Julius Bailey and Dr. Chad White
"Martin L. King Jr and Abraham Joshua Heschel: Collaboration for Liberation"
Hollenbeck 318
9 a.m. Wednesday, January 18

Presentation by Dr. Vanessa Plumly
"Fasia Jansen: From Concentration Camp Forced Laborer to Post-WWII German Activist"
Hollenbeck 234
1 p.m. Wednesday, January 18

Presentation by Dr. Billy Davis
The Psychology of American Racism"
Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center, Bayley Auditorium
3 p.m. Thursday, January 19

Presentation by Dr. Marlo Starr
"Fragments of an Epic Memory: Black Diasporic Poetry"
Hollenbeck 131
2:30 p.m. Thursday, January 19

A Public Dialogue by Dr. Julius Bailey and Dr. Chad White
"What does Religious Community Look Like Today"
105 Shouvlin
9 a.m. Friday, January 20

Presentation by Dr. Travis Proctor
"Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: Religion and Social Justice in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Speech”
Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center 262
11 a.m. Friday, January 20

Biological and Environmental Sciences Presentation
The Martin Luther King, Jr Week Symposium
Bayley Auditorium
2 p.m. Friday, January 20
Contact: Kunal Chatterjee

A Dialogue with Rapper Tronee Threat and Dr. Bailey’s Phil 103: Living Ethically Class
“The Art of Living Ethically After Prison”
318 Hollenbeck Hall
9 a.m. Monday, January 23

Tronee Threat: Hip Hop Performance!
"Who U Witt"
Founder’s Pub (Free snacks, cash bar)
7 p.m. Monday, January 23
Tronee Threat

Presentation by Dr. Scott Rosenberg
Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Origins of Racism
Hollenbeck 316
11 a.m. Monday, January 30

Presentation by Dr. Elena Dahl
Film Screening of “Redlining: Mapping Inequality in Dayton and Springfield”
Kissell Auditorium, Koch Hall
2:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 14

Presentation by Dr. Julius Bailey with Dr. Chad White
“The Black Church and The Civil Rights Movement”
316 Hollenbeck Hall
2:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 21

Presentation by Dr. Julius Bailey
“(LWB) Loving While Black: The Radical Politic of Soul”
316 Hollenbeck Hall
2:30 p.m. Thursday, February 23

Movie Night: Selma

Monday, Jan. 17
8:30 p.m.
Blair Hall, Room 101

A film based on the historic 1965 march led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that helped guarantee equal voting rights for Black people and galvanize the Civil Rights Movement.

Cookies and Conversations - Alumni Panel

Wednesday, Jan. 19
5-7 p.m.
Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center, Bayley Auditorium (Sci 152A)

African American Wittenberg Alumni panelists will talk about their experiences at WITT, discuss the history of the CBS walkout, and answer questions from current CBS members.

Poetry slam with poet Akeem Olaj and student performers

Thursday, Jan. 20
7 p.m.
Benham-Pence Student Center, Founders Pub

Akeem's bio and promo videos

Breaking Chains

Friday, Jan. 21
6:30 p.m.
McClain Center for Diversity

Students will do an activity to help them process any internal or societal issue they would like to "let go" of or change.

CBS Kickball & Dodgeball Tournament

Saturday, Jan. 22
5 p.m.
The Steemer, Health, Wellness & Athletics Complex

CBS will be holding kickball and dodgeball games in the Steemer. Everyone is invited to join in for fun while eating pizza and enjoying some good music.

All Month:

Black History Month Book Display, Thomas Library - A selection of recent books on a variety of topics relevant to Black History Month will be on display in the lobby of Thomas Library and available for checkout.

  • Feb. 8: Sister Circle Talks, 6 p.m. - Featuring Denisha Porter, MPH, director of All-In Cincinnati Equity Coalition, and titled “The Journey of a Public Health Champion.”
  • Feb. 9: FYS Lecture, 12 to 12:50 p.m. – Featuring Zakiyyah Iman Jackson, assistant professor of English at the University of Southern California, and titled “Architectures of the Flesh.”
  • Feb. 9: NO! documentary viewing, 7:30 p.m., Bayley Auditorium – Hosted by the Womyn’s Center, NO! is a 2006-released Ford Foundation-funded, groundbreaking film about intra-racial rape, accountability, and healing in Black communities. Produced, written, and directed over a period of 12 years by child sexual abuse and adult rape survivor Aishah Shahidah Simmons, this internationally acclaimed, award-winning film also explores how rape is used as a weapon of homophobia.
  • Feb. 10: McClain Brotherhood Series, 7:30 p.m. - Featuring Mr. Steve Stephens, Bowie State University, speaking on the topic of “Tap in With Me Bro.”
  • Feb. 11: “Keeping It Professional” panel discussion, 6 p.m. – Hosted by the McClain Center for Diversity and CBS, this panel will highlight the experiences of African Americans in the professional world, specifically our Wittenberg Black staff and faculty. The goal of the panel is to help students gain a sense of belonging and comfort from the representation found on campus and to learn from the experiences of panelists as they prepare for the workforce.
  • Feb. 11: The Movement/Dialogues On Diversity, 7:30 p.m. – Brave theater that moves people to embrace cultural differences will be hosted by Wilmington College. Through both the comedic and poignant, the show’s characters tell of the great struggles and of the challenges ahead. From the “Black Power 60’s”, to the “Blaxploitation 70’s”, into the “Cosby 80’s” and through the so-called “Post Racial” new millennia, "The Movement" is a survey of the best and sometimes worst of the African-American experience.
  • Feb. 12: Tri-University’s OMI Speaker Series Sister II Sister, 6:30 p.m. – Hosted by Wittenberg, Murray State, and Wilmington College, this talk will feature Corrine J. (CJ) Witherspoon, director of the William A. McClain Center for Diversity at Wittenberg University, on the topic “From Harriet Tubman to Kamala Harris...The Black Women's Journey Through Leadership.”
  • Feb. 16: Barbershop Talk: A Trip Down Alumni Way, 6 p.m. - Hosted by the McClain Center for Diversity, this panel discussion will feature alumni Shakeer Abdullah ’99 from Clayton State University, Adam Brown ’14 from ClinArk, Dorian Hunter ’18 from of the Springfield NAACP, Karlos Marshall ’13 and Moses Mbeseha ’13 of The Conscious Connect, as well as Paris Hilliard, Wittenberg track and field coach, discussing the past, present, and future of their journeys.
  • Feb. 17: WW Series, 6:30 p.m. – Wittenberg and Wilmington will present Black History Month keynote speaker Dr. D. Akil Houston, of Ohio University, talking about “Hip-Hop & Student Activism.”
  • Feb. 18: CBS for the Culture: Black Hair Trivia, 7:30 p.m. - Join CBS for Black Hair trivia and history. Prizes will be given!
  • Feb. 19: Tri-University’s Athletics, Academics, & Advancement, 6:30 p.m. – Hosted by Murray State, Wilmington, and Wittenberg, the talk will feature speaker, Dr. Kelvin King, of Lawson State Community College.
  • Feb. 22: WW Series, 7:30 p.m. – Wittenberg and Wilmington will present Black History Month keynote speaker Odell Bizzell, leadership & diversity skills expert, on “What Would Dr. King & Malcolm X Teach in 2021?” For information or link: email
  • Feb. 23: Paris is Burning Watch Party & Discussion, 7-9 p.m., Founders – Hosted by Chandler Mueller, area coordinator, Wittenberg University Residence Life.
  • Feb. 24: Paris is Burning Watch Party & Discussion, noon to 2 p.m., Founders – Hosted by Chandler Mueller, area coordinator, Wittenberg University Residence Life.
  • Feb. 26: Black History Quiz Night – Hosted by the McClain Center for Diversity and the Hagen Center, the event will take place in room 105 of the Joseph C. Shouvlin Center. Group 1 will be from 7 to 7:45 p.m. followed by group 2 from 8 to 8:45 p.m. Contact @wittdiversity on Instagram or email to sign up.
  • Feb. 27: Minds like Mine: A Mental Health Seminar, 1-4 p.m., Blair Hall - Hosted by the McClain Center for Diversity, guest speaker will be Ebone’ Ross of the Clinical Mental Health Graduate Student - Mountain Comprehensive Care Center. Contact @wittdiversity on Instagram or email to sign up.
  • Feb. 27: CBS: DA BLOCK Party, 5 p.m. – Campus-wide event with Student Involvement on Alumni Way.

Black History Month calendar sponsors include the McClain Center for Diversity, AIA, Concerned Black Students, the Womyn’s Center, Residence Life, Tri-University, Shades of Pearl, and Student Involvement.

About Black History Month

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.

During Black History Month, the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society. To learn more about Black History Month, check out the following links:

About Wittenberg's McClain Center for Diversity

The refurbished William A. McClain Center for Diversity, located at 834 Woodlawn Avenue on campus, is named for the groundbreaking Cincinnati-based attorney and member of Wittenberg’s class of 1934. One of the most respected, trailblazing attorneys in the nation, McClain received numerous honors during his illustrious career, including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, which recognizes the achievements of outstanding ethnic Americans and their contributions to America. McClain, who also earned the Wittenberg Medal of Honor, passed away in February 2014 at the age of 101.

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