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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Feb. 2, 2013

Northwest activities to celebrate African American History Month

Northwest Missouri State University will celebrate African American history and milestones with competitions, performances, a documentary, entertainment and more during the month of February.

All events are free and open to the public. The events are sponsored by the University’s Office of Intercultural Affairs, Office of Campus Activities and the Student Activities Council.

“It is important for us to learn what is true from our history and unlearn what is not accurate,” Director of Intercultural Affairs Steve Bryant said. “The activities this month provide the opportunity for participants to celebrate how far we have come as a society and where we need to go so we can work to reach true racial equality.”

Throughout the month, as part of a philanthropy project to benefit Operation Breakthrough, individuals may deposit clothes, toiletries, books and non-perishable food in donation bins located at residence halls and the Intercultural International Center.

The celebration will open with a poetry performance by Free Verse at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, in the J.W. Jones Student Union Living Room. Denver duo Ayinde Russell and Dominique Ashaheed are winners of the 2011 National Poetry Slam and will bring their moving lyrical and musical talents to Northwest for a free show.

The Northwest community is invited to an open discussion, titled “Thoughts from a Recovering Racist,” 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, in the Student Union Living Room. The discussion will be aimed at making individuals aware of denial and reflecting on chronological landmarks of the civil rights fight in America.

On two different days, individuals are invited to view a documentary, “Slavery by Another Name,” about bigotry in a post-slavery America. The documentary depicts the aftermath of the Emancipation Proclamation, when slavery took on a new form and continued to wrongly oppress newly freed slaves. Viewers also will learn about the injustice of legalized racism when the documentary is shown at noon Wednesday, Feb. 13, and at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, in the Student Union Living Room.

The events continue with the Encore series presentation of Step Afrika!, the world’s only professional dance company dedicated to the tradition of stepping. With a 100-year history, stepping is an active, rhythmic and lyrical adaptation of the ancient African oral story-telling tradition. Co-sponsored by the Office of Campus Activities and the Student Activities Council, the Encore performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18, in the Mary Linn Auditorium at the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are available at the Student Services Center in the Administration Building or online.

“Soul Food and Substance,” from 7-9:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, in the Student Union Ballroom, will feature a buffet with an assortment of traditional American soul foods offered alongside entertainment and learning opportunities. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the Intercultural International Center, located on the second floor of the Student Union. Students may charge tickets to their Bearcat Card.

Events continue in March with “Cocoa and Convo: Gun Violence in America,” a discussion of gun control and gun rights in light of increasing violence across the nation. The discussion will take place at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, in the Student Union Tower View Dining Room.

African American History Month events at Northwest conclude with “Ask A Black Person.” Sponsored and facilitated by Alliance of Black Collegians, the open forum is designed to increase communication and understanding about history, life and culture. “Ask A Black Person” is 6-10 p.m. Monday, March 11, in the Franken Hall Lounge.

Each February, African American History Month celebrates individuals and events in the history of the African American culture. African American History Month was founded as Negro History Week in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson. The goal of the week was to educate blacks about their cultural background and instill in them a sense of pride in their race. The United States began celebrating African American History Month annually in 1976. This year’s theme for the national celebration is “Black Women in American Culture and History.”

For more information about African-American History Month at Northwest, contact Bryant at 660.562.1367 or For more information about how the month is celebrated nationally, visit

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468