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News Release

Jan. 26, 2021

Black History Month celebration to include movies, Jeopardy, spades tournament

By Kourtnie Stenwall, communication assistant

Northwest Missouri State University will celebrate Black History Month with a series of events to educate students and the community about African American history. 

Black History Month, which is celebrated throughout the month of February, gives people the opportunity to share, understand and commemorate the impacts of African American heritage and culture.  

The nationwide theme for Black History Month 2021 is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity.” This year’s theme is intended to change stereotypes of African American families from the time of slavery to the present as well as the way African Americans view themselves. 

“Black History Month is the time of the year where we honor and enhance our focus on the contributions of African Americans, to the American culture,” Dr. Justin Mallett, Northwest’s associate provost of diversity and inclusion, said. “Being able to celebrate and honor and put at the forefront the concept of family and how the Black family has evolved itself from past to present and what it could look like in the future is very important.” 

Black History Month was founded as Negro History Week in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson with the goal of educating Blacks about their cultural background and instilling a sense of pride in their race. Since 1976, Black History Month is celebrated annually in the United States. 

“I stand behind the motto that we celebrate these things every day,” Mallett said. “It shouldn’t take a month for us to start to celebrate different points of history, but we can enhance the focus on some of the contributions. Hopefully this leads to a deeper conversation about making sure we are honoring diversity and inclusion every day in our lives.” 

A complete list of Black History Month activities at Northwest is provided below. All activities are free and open to the public. All attendees will be expected to follow Northwest’s COVID-19 mitigation measures, and attendance will be limited. 

For more information about Black History Month activities at Northwest, contact Mallett at or 660.562.1517. 


Film: “Soul Food” 

6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1; Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts (limited to 100 people) 

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion begins Black History Month with a viewing of “Soul Food,” a 1997 film. When Josephine “Big Mama” Joseph falls into a coma during an operation, it throws the family into chaos. In their struggle to adjust to the family matriarch’s sudden absence, they fall into old rivalries, share memories and work to maintain the long-standing tradition of Sunday family dinners.  


Presentation: Microaggressions 

5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4; Student Union Ballroom 

N’ninah Freelon, coordinator of diversity and inclusion, in Northwest’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, leads a presentation about microaggressions, indirect or unintentional discrimination, against members of a marginalized group.


Black Jeopardy 

6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11; Student Union Living Room (limited to 50 people) 

Join the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to test your knowledge on Black cultural fun facts and trivia. Learn more about Black culture, and win cool prizes 


Spades Tournament 

7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18; Student Union Living Room (limited to 50 people) 

Play in the third annual Spades Tournament with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the University Police Department. Learn how to play spades, a traditional Black family-oriented game played with passion and non-verbals, and enjoy tournament-style play for competitive players.  


Film: “Fences” 

6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22; Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts (limited to 100 people) 

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion closes its celebration of Black History Month with a screening of the 2016 film “Fences.” In the film, Troy Maxson makes his living as a sanitation worker in 1950s Pittsburgh. Maxson once dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player but was deemed too old when the major leagues began admitting black athletes. Bitter over his missed opportunity, he creates further tension in his family when he squashes his son’s chance to meet a college football recruiter. The movie depicts hardships the family faced at the start of the civil rights movement.   


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215