Penn State campuses offer events to celebrate Black History Month in February

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company Presenting “What Problem?” — Friday 11 February, 7.30 p.m., Eisenhower Auditorium. The production by choreographer, dancer, theater director and writer Jones explores the tension between community membership and feelings of isolation many people have in these divided political times. The Center for the Performing Arts presentation will feature a collaboration with dancers from Penn State and nearby areas. Featuring deconstructed text from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. and Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick,” the production reflects on King’s immortal words – “We shall conquer” – mingled with the writings of our nation’s democracy as shaped and shaped by “WE THE PEOPLE.” Jones is a two-time Tony Award winner (“FELA!” and “Spring Awakening”). This is an event for which tickets have been reserved; read more on the CPFA website.

Douglass Day 2021 February 14, 12:00-3:00 PM The Penn State University Libraries Center for Black Digital Research invites the campus community to our annual Frederick Douglass birthday party. Help us transcribe the records of the Colored Conventions, the longest campaign of the 19th century for black civil rights. Together we can learn about the long history of black activism – including the important roles of black women in conventions. The event will feature a livestreamed program featuring speakers, performances and more. For more information and to pre-register to participate, visit

Who we are, everything we are: community conversationsFebruary 16, zoom. Having difficult conversations takes practice. “Who We Are, All We Are” helps build the skills you need to connect more deeply about differences and bring your whole self to the table. This new dialogue series from Student Affairs gives you the chance to tackle challenging topics in a supportive, non-judgmental space. You will be ready to understand yourself and others from a whole new perspective. The theme of the November dialogue is exploring our values ​​and how we live them in our everyday behavior. The sessions are open to students, faculty and staff. Register online to attend.

WPSU World Kitchen for Black History Month with Shawn Carter from Carter’s Table Catering — February 22 at 2 p.m. Carter will join World Kitchen host Tamra Fatemi-Badi to talk about traditional black food and its history and culture, as well as show viewers how to prepare his delicious version of Shrimp and Grits. Registration is free, but required via this link.

Tykee James: “Sustainability Forever” (sustainability show speaker) — February 25, afternoon, online. Tykee James is the National Audubon Society’s government adviser and environmentalist, originally from Philadelphia. He helped create the Audubon Society’s Black Birders Week to increase diversity and inclusion in the bird movement and make the outdoors more welcoming to all people. Free and open to all campuses and communities on Zoom; pre-registration is required here.

Delfeayo Marsalis and Uptown Jazz Orchestra — February 21 at noon to February 25 at noon online. Delfeayo Marsalis and Uptown Jazz Orchestra will perform a dynamic concert of mostly original music honoring the resilient and triumphant nature of Americans in the Deep South. From modern riffs to gospel chants, the orchestra will liven up the party with music guaranteed to have you rocking, snapping and tapping. The event will be free to stream; visit this link for more information and to register (required).

Jessamyn Stanley Yoga Class and Book Event March 1. Author, podcaster, yoga teacher, entrepreneur and advocate, Stanley is an internationally acclaimed leading voice in wellness whose work focuses on 21st century yoga and intersectional identity. Stanley has written two books and is a regular contributor to SELF Magazine. Stanley, a self-proclaimed “fat-femme” who works to break stereotypes and discuss the intersections of fat phobia and yoga whitewashing and promote yoga and healing for every body, will lead members of the Penn State community in an inclusive , body-positive yoga workshop and class in the late afternoon, then participate in a moderated Q&A, “Women Who Offer Healing, Promote Hope,” in the early evening.

  • Yoga class at 4-5pm in Intramural Building, Gym 3. Registration is required.
  • “Women Who Offer Healing, Promote Hope” autograph session and moderated Q&A at 6:30-7:30 p.m. in Freeman Auditorium, HUB-Robeson Center.

Penn State Altoona

Penn State Altoona is hosting its 22nd Annual African American Read-In on February 13-14. This year’s theme is “The Other African Americans: African Immigrants Writing America,” honoring works by black, African, and American writers. Read more here and sign up for events during the two days.

community gathering — February 13, 3.30 pm in the Slep Student Center. Participants are invited to share a short reading of a work by an African American author or simply listen and enjoy. All guests get to choose a book to take home. Advanced registration is required by January 28.

“Monday Marathon”, an open microphone Read-In — Feb. 14, 11am-5pm, Titelman Study from the Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts. Several lectures will be held in honor of African-American writers. Community members can drop in at any time of the day to participate and/or listen and enjoy. More information here.

Webinar keynote presentation by Kwame Dawes — Monday 14 February, 12.00-13.00. Attendees can watch from the Titelman Study or elsewhere via Zoom. Pre-registration for virtual presence is required.

A writer of poetry, fiction, non-fiction and plays, Dawes spent most of his childhood and early adult life in Jamaica, and is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska, where he is Chancellor’s Professor of English, a Cave Canem faculty member, and a teacher in the Pacific MFA program in Oregon.

Romeo OriogunMonday 14 February, 4 p.m. The author of the 2022 African American Read-In, Oriogun, will deliver a webinar poetry reading. Attendees can watch from the Titelman Study or elsewhere via Zoom. Pre-registration for virtual presence is required.

Oriogun is the author of “Sacrament of Bodies”, a finalist for the Lambda Award for Gay Poetry. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, Harvard Review, American Poetry Review, and others. He is the winner of the 2017 Brunel International African Poetry Prize and a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where he won the John Logan Prize for Poetry. He is also a postdoctoral research associate at Iowa State University.

Ebony StewartFebruary 17, 6:30 PM, Slep Pondview. An internationally traveling poet and performance artist, Stewart’s work speaks to the black experience, emphasizing gender, sexuality, femininity and race, with the hopes of being relatable, dispelling shame, healing minds, encouraging dialogue, and in marginalized communities .

Speaker: Bernice King — February 22, 12:30 p.m., Zoom. Secretary, attorney and chief executive officer of the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter, Bernice King, will join us virtually for a joint speaking engagement sponsored by Penn State Altoona, Penn State DuBois, Penn State Fayette–The Eberly Campus and Penn State Greater Allegheny. Registration is required; more information is available here.

Penn State Behrend

The Traveling Museum of African American Inventors and InventionsFebruary 16, 11am-4pm, Reed Wintergarden. The museum displays a unique collection of inventions, artifacts and African art. Founded by Alabama native Clifton J. Brown, the museum showcases a variety of products created by black inventors, including the U.S. Postal Service’s programmable remote and blue street boxes.

The Kotchegna Dance CompanyFebruary 16, 12 noon, Bruno’s Café. The company will give a free concert, featuring traditional dance and drums from Africa’s Ivory Coast. The group was founded by Vado Diomande, who grew up in the stilt dance tradition of the Mahou people of the Ivory Coast. Later he danced with Ballet National. This performance is part of the Rhythms of Life series, featuring music, dance and stories from all parts of the world.

Penn State Berks

“Black Families and Mindfulness: Considering an Afrocentric Approach”February 3, 12 noon, online. Join the Department of Humanities for a Grand Rounds and Black History Month lecture, presented via Zoom by Kesha Morant Williams, associate professor of communication arts and sciences, and coordinator of the Bioethics and Medical Humanities Minor program at Penn State Berks. More details are available here.

Black History Festival — February 6, 3 p.m., Perkins Student Center Auditorium. Organized by the Penn State Berks Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, in conjunction with the Reading School District. Attendees will watch the blockbuster “Black Panther,” followed by a discussion and exhibit on black history and culture. This event is free and open to the public and light refreshments are served. For more information, contact Sharon Pitterson-Ogaldez, Coordinator of Diversity and International Programs, at 610-396-6080 or by email at

Mike Africa Jr., activist, speaker, hip-hop artist – February 9, 7 p.m., Perkins Student Center Auditorium. A member of MOVE, a Philadelphia-based municipal organization with philosophies of black nationalism and anarcho-primitivism, Africa travels the country to tell his life story and inspire others. He is the host of the podcast ‘On a Move with Mike Africa, Jr.’ and the star of the HBO Max documentary ’40 Years A Prisoner’. For more information, contact the Office of Campus Life at 610-396-6076.

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