Black History Month Events

In 1926, Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week as an opportunity to commemorate and honor the rich history and achievements of people of African descent in the United States. In 1976, during Bicentennial celebrations, the week became a month, and has been celebrated since across the United States.

Western Washington University is proud to celebrate during February with a calendar of events across the university, organized and sponsored by a variety of organizations, departments, and clubs. 

 Throughout the Month

Art on Display

The Design Department will feature the work of 20th-century African-American graphic designers in their display spaces. 

Knowledge Bennett

Road to Damascus

Monday through Friday from 1-4
Saturdays from 12-4

Western Gallery exhibition. “Road to Damascus” is a comprehensive survey of contemporary African American artist Knowledge Bennett’s most significant bodies of work. His critically acclaimed series of paintings on racial injustice, Orange is the New Black (2016), takes up a large wall in the gallery. Each painting highlights a historical event in which state sanctioned war was waged against the black community. In each instance, the black subject was penalized by the cruelties of racial biases and was left grappling with the heinous consequences of their plight. 

A black and white photo of a lady holding her hair up wearing a tshirt with the word queens on it.

Thomas Meade

"I Am Black History, Herstory, Hxstory" photo galleries

Feb. 6 to March 2 in select galleries throughout Western Libraries, the Multicultural Center, and Carver Gym.

A new exhibition of photographs by Thomas Meade in celebration of Black History Month entitled "I Am Black History, Herstory, Hxstory " will be on display from Feb. 6 to March 2 in select galleries throughout Western Libraries, the Multicultural Center, and Carver Gym. Each image is accompanied by a quote chosen by the individual featured in the photo. This project is the result of a collaboration among multiple partners at Western, including the Ethnic Student Center, the Black Student Union, the African-Caribbean Club, the Viking Union, Western Libraries, Student Outreach Services, Men’s Resiliency, and the Digital Media Center.

Portrait of Nerva Altino

Tuesday, February 4th

More than a Gift

7:30pm, PAC Concert Hall

Lecture and performance by Haitian classical pianist, Nerva Altino

Music Department

Thursday, February 6th

Black Students, Faculty, and Staff Social

12pm, VU 565 B/C.

Networking social with Black students, faculty, and staff.

AS VP of Diversity

Giving Birth While Black

6pm, KUGS-FM 89.3 or kugs.org.

Black women are 3.5 times more likely to die in childbirth than white women. Dr. Rochanda Mitchell advocates hiring more African-American nurse educators and providing anti-bias training for medical professionals.

Harriet movie poster

Friday, February 7

Harriet

5pm, VU 552

The Oscar-nominated film! The extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman's escape from slavery and transformation into one of America's greatest heroes, whose courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.  

AS Productions

Thursday, February 13

Stone Soup

A-Z on Equity, Diversity & Social Justice Dynamics

12pm, VU MCC Kitchen

Stone Soup is an opportunity to engage in conversation and community over soup.

Facilitated by HSP students and Shurla Thibou. 

American Terrorism

6pm, KUGS-FM 89.3 or kugs.org.

In 1979, members of the KKK shot and killed five labor and civil rights activists in Greensboro, NC. The killings still reverberate in the racial politics of Greensboro today. Also, how radical African-American writers in the pre-Civil War era used the philosophical principles of the Enlightenment to unmask the barbarism of slavery. 

Friday, February 14th

Western Washington University:

The Roles of Race in Politics and Activism

12pm, VU 567

Erin Jones will speak about how she got involved in politics/activism and how her experiences as a Black woman have contributed to her work. 

 AS REP & AS Legislative Action Committee. 

Wednesday, February 19th

Q&A with Donald Byrd and Spectrum Dance Company

4pm Ethnic Student Center 

CFPA, DRAC, ESS & AS Productions

Leadership at the Movies- Rise Up

The Movement that Changed America.

5:30pm, VU 552

Explore leadership in the civil rights movement through the lenses of community cultural wealth and principles for leading in a multicultural world embodied in black leadership and illustrated in the movement. 

LeaderCorps

Thursday, February 20th

Strange Fruit Rehearsal

10am, PAC Mainstage

Rehearsal open for observation.

Environmental Film Series

Ted Talks to celebrate intersectionality, the environment, and Black History Month

7p, VU 552

TEDTalks about the environment, community, and intersectionality by influential people of color, followed by a discussion.  

AS ESP

Poetic Justice

6pm, KUGS-FM 89.3 or kugs.org

When writer and radio producer Lulu Miller (Invisibilia) discovered she’d have to leave Virginia, she wrote a startling love letter to the state—one that charges everyday people to stay angry about injustices, using hip-hop and spoken word to tell hard truths about racist history, cutting through denial with metaphor. Also, Tawnya Pettiford-Wates believes that theater can heal injustice because she’s seen it happen, and Artesia Green explains how West African spirituality helps her illuminate new dimensions to familiar plays. 

Strange Fruit

Spectrum Dance Company

7:30pm, PAC Mainstage

Strange Fruit draws its title from the 1937 poem and song of the same name by Abel Meeropol and made famous by the great jazz singer Billie Holiday. The impetus for this work is the employment of lynching as a tool of racial terrorism during the Jim Crow Era. For this dance/theater work, the facts of lynching act as a springboard into a highly personal interior space and state of mind. Strange Fruit tracks choreographer Donald Byrd’s feelings as a response to lynching and plays out as a series of dance/theater vignettes. The piece is abstract but informed by the reality of these brutal acts of terrorism. 

Friday, February 21st

Strange Fruit Rehearsal

10am, PAC Mainstage

Rehearsal open for observation. 

Strange Fruit

Spectrum Dance Company

7:30pm PAC Mainstage

Urban roots film poster

Tuesday, February 25th

Environmental Film Series

Urban Roots

6:30pm, Miller Hall 152

Documentary about urban farming in Detroit, with a discussion about food security and environmental justice and how those topics affect our community.  

AS ESP

Thursday February 27th

Environmental Film Series

An American Ascent

6:30pm Miller Hall 152

Documentary about the first black mountaineering team to summit Denali.  

AS ESP

Stone Soup

Conversation on Black Futures

12pm VU MCC Kitchen

Stone Soup is an opportunity to engage in conversation and community over soup. Facilitated by Nini Hayes and Elaine Mehary. 

Reconstructing Danville

6pm, KUGS-FM 89.3 or kugs.org

In 1883 a young African-American worker was alleged to have brushed shoulders with a white woman as they passed each other on a narrow sidewalk in Danville, VA. A race riot erupted and the white supremacist backlash that followed led to the disenfranchisement of Black Virginians for nearly 100 years.