MSU celebrates Black History Month with special events in February

Contact: Sam Kealhofer

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State is hosting a variety of programs on the Starkville campus to commemorate Black History Month, including a series of cross-disciplinary conversations about race, racism, and class, and a lecture by a former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP.

Today [Feb. 4] at noon in the Griffis Hall forum room, “Blackness Visible: A Series of Interdisciplinary Conversations on the Black Experience” is presented through a partnership between the Department of Philosophy and Religion and the African American Studies program.

“The goal of these conversations is to shed light on the complex nature of the study of black experience, the interdisciplinary tools available to do such work, and to present some of the questions that inform some of the scholarly discussions about the black experience,” said Don Shaffer, associate professor of English at MSU and director of the AAS program.

“These discussions are sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and Religion and the African American Studies program because of the trust and stress that professors in these fields place on interdisciplinary conversations in their own work. Such “interdisciplinarity” has created connections with like-minded researchers who are willing to come to this campus and share their thoughts,” Shaffer said.

Free and open to the public, this event includes Shaffer, as well as:

—Illya E. Davis, professor of philosophy and African-American studies at Morehouse College.

—Stephen C. Ferguson II, associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at North Carolina State University.

—Stephen C. Finley, associate professor of religious studies and African American studies at Louisiana State University.

—Maggie Hagerman, associate professor of sociology at MSU.

—Andre Key, assistant professor of African American studies at Claflin University.

—Michael Monahan, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Memphis specializing in issues of oppression and liberation, with a particular focus on race and racism.

—Anthony Neal, associate professor of philosophy and religion at MSU.

2014-2017 NAACP President Cornell William Brooks is a special guest at The Orators Lecture Series Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. in Fowlkes Auditorium at the Colvard Student Union. Brooks is Professor of Public Leadership Practice and Social Justice at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The series, launched by MSU’s Shackoul’s Honors College, invites speakers representing various campus disciplines and topics to engage the academic community in research, coursework, and public forums.

The AAS program is also hosting an MLK public speaking contest in conjunction with the MSU Speech and Debate team, with applications due February 16. The preliminary competitions take place on February 23 at the Colvard Student Union and the finals on February 25 at Dorman Hall. To apply, contact Cheryl Chambers at [email protected]

Black Alumni Weekend runs Feb. 17-20, with a Black Alumni Career Mixer on Feb. 17, 1-4 p.m. in the Union, and Gospel Brunch on Feb. 20, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the MSU Mill. To register, visit

Other events of the month include:

-Feb. 7, “Challenging the myth of racial homogeneity among Mexicans in the United States” by Guadalupe Marquez-Velarde, assistant professor of sociology at Utah State University, as part of Race in America: A Interdisciplinary Lecture Series, 4 p.m., Griffis Hall, Honors Forum Room.

-Feb. 9, “Health Disparities” Snack & Chat, 2-4 p.m., Colvard Student Union, Dawg House.

-Feb. 12, “Gender, Capitalism and Slavery” by Sasha Turner, associate professor of history at Johns Hopkins University, 4 p.m., The Mill, Ballroom C.

-Feb. 16, “The Underdevelopment of the Needmore Community” by Jerry Boyd Jones, local artist, photographer, and retired educator, 6 p.m., Old Main Academic Center, Turner A. Wingo Auditorium.

-Feb. 17, Black Faculty and Staff Social, 5:30-7 p.m., and Black Graduate Student Social, 7:30-9 p.m., Harvey’s.

-Feb. 26, Journey Through Black History Trip at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and Jackson State University, All Day, Jackson, MS. Registration is available at

-Feb. 28, Black History Roundtable, 6 p.m., Colvard Student Union, Foster Ballroom M.

Additionally, a Black History Month exhibit at the Mitchell Memorial Library is open to the public throughout the month.

For more information about Black History Month events at MSU, contact the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center at 662-325-2033.

Learn more about MSU’s African American Studies program and the Society of African American Studies at; Department of Philosophy and Religion at; Holmes Cultural Diversity Center at; and Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at

MSU is the main university in Mississippi, available online at

Jennifer C. Burleigh