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Berea Celebrates Black History Month

Berea College is celebrating Black History Month by sponsoring several events on campus in February. These events are open to the public and free of charge unless otherwise noted. For more information, contact Black Cultural Center at (859) 985-3797.

Carter G. Woodson, the "father of Black History"

Berea College alumnus Carter G. Woodson, known as the “Father of Black History,” began the nation’s annual observance as Black History Week in 1926. Woodson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in literature from Berea in 1903.

This year’s events include:

February 10
Carter G. Woodson Memorial Convocation
Dr. Michelle Alexander presents “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” at 3 p.m. in Phelps-Stokes Auditorium.

Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow,” is a longtime civil rights advocate and litigator. She won a 2005 Soros Justice Fellowship and now holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Mortiz College of Law at Ohio State University. Alexander served for several years as director of the Racial Justice Project at the ACLU of Northern California, and subsequently directed the Civil Rights Clinics at Stanford Law School, where she was an associate professor. Alexander is a former law clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun on the U.S. Supreme Court, and has appeared as a commentator on CNN, MSNBC, and NPR. “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” is her first book. Her book will be on sale at the Bookstore and during convocation. Sponsored by African and African American Studies, Campus Christian Center, Convocations Committee, and Black Cultural Center.

February 19
Annual Dr. Carter G. Woodson Unity Banquet
Christian Motley presents “Champions and Challengers: This is Your Moment for Life” at 5:30 p.m. in upper Seabury gymnasium

The Annual Carter G. Woodson Unity Banquet shines a spotlight on black history and the legacy of Dr. Carter G. Woodson through awards for student achievement. Tickets are $10 for non-Berea students and $5 for Berea College students. Tickets may be purchased at Black Cultural Center. Tickets will not be available at the door.

February 21
Dinner on the Grounds
11:45-1 p.m. at Loyal Jones Appalachian Center

Ron & Jill Carson, founders of the Appalachian African American Cultural & Community Development Center, located in Pennington Gap, Virginia, will discuss their work to collect and store cultural artifacts. Sponsored by The Loyal Jones Appalachian Center

February 22
Intercultural/ Interracial Community Dialogue Dinner
The Diversity Peer Education Team presents “Intercultural/Interracial Dating and Relationships in the 21st Century” from 4-6 p.m. in Black Cultural Center

February 18, 19, 23-26
Berea College Theatre Laboratory Production
Adanma Onyedike directs “The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World” at 8 p.m. in McGaw Theatre (Jelkyl Drama Center)

“The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World” is a 1990 play by Suzan-Lori Parks. Widely considered to be Parks' masterpiece, this play brings to life a menagerie of stereotypes of African Americans. The "last man" of the title is named “Black Man with Watermelon.” He dies multiple deaths over the course of the show. Other characters include Ham, Queen Hatshepsut, Before Columbus, Prunes and Prisms, and Black Woman with Fried Drumstick. These names comment on history and historians in fractured, repetitive, experimental language that evokes jazz. Sponsored by Berea College Theatre Laboratory.

February 24
Berea College Science Lecture
Dr. Rick Kittles presents “The Role of Diverse Populations in Personalized Genetic Medicine” at 3 p.m. in Phelps- Stokes Auditorium

An African-American biologist at the University of Chicago who specializes in human genetics, Dr. Kittles uses science to unlock doors. He achieved renown in the 1990s for his pioneering work tracing the ancestry of African Americans through DNA testing. Sponsored by Convocation Committee and the Science Department

February 26
State of Black Berea
4-7 p.m. in the student organizational lounge

A community discussion about the efforts and experiences of blacks at Berea College and in Berea. Dinner will be provided. Co-sponsored by BSU.

February 28
Tukule, Tusome; To Eat, To Learn
Sheila Arnold presents “Characterization of Oney Judge: Maidservant to Martha Washington” at noon in Woods Penn Commons. Lunch is provided.

We will meet Oney in the latter parts of her life where she talks about her life with the Washingtons, her home life and upbringing, her run for freedom, her attempt to negotiate with the first President of the United States. Sponsored by African and African American Studies.

A full-resolution image of Carter G. Woodson can be downloaded from More information about the early history of “Black Berea” can be viewed at

More college events can be viewed on the college’s web calendar at

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