PSU announces Black History Month activities for campus, community

Special to the Morning Sun
BSA is a student-driven organization that works closely with Student Diversity Programs to plan and carry out Black History Month activities each year. Shown is D'André Phillips, a senior math education major and active leader in BSA.

The Black Student Association and the Office of Student Diversity at Pittsburg State University are planning a range of events in February as part of the national observance of Black History Month.

Some events will be strictly virtual, while others will be in-person and will follow COVID-19 safety guidelines. Some are aimed at students, others are open to the entire campus, and a few are open to the community.

Feb. 1

Blackout Photo Booth

From 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., students may dress in all black and head to a fun, decorative photo booth set up in the Gorilla Crossing in the Overman Student Center. Dressing in black is a way to represent the cultural celebration and historical remembrance of Black contributions to American history and culture. Face masks will be required.

Feb. 1 to Feb. 28

Black History Month Book Display

The Black Student Association and Axe Library are celebrating Black History Month 2021 by highlighting books that will help campus readers to reflect on Black history. Titles displayed will include “Beloved” by Toni Morrison, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou, “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson, and more. Students, faculty, staff, and the public are invited to stop by the library to view the display and put some of the titles on their “to read” lists.

Feb. 1 to Feb. 28

“A Series of Artistic Inspiration”

Students, faculty, staff, and the public are invited to view a special exhibit in the gallery at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, 1711 S. Homer. The exhibit is in partnership with the Black Student Association and features photos from PSU’s rich history that have been enlarged, printed, and framed.

Thanks to a grant from the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, those who stop by to view the exhibit will be able to also draw or paint a work of their own in the gallery using easels and supplies provided.

“They can create their piece by replicating the inspiration piece in their own interpretation or can create a work based on how one of the photos on display makes them feel,” said Shawna Witherspoon, curator.

Attendees will be encouraged to leave their piece for display; those works will then be matted and displayed in the gallery alongside the inspiration piece. An open gallery event is planned for March to allow the public to return to see those works.

The gallery is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and by appointment by calling 620-235-6130.

Feb. 6

Martin Luther King Jr. Ball

Students may attend the 5th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Ball from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom of the Overman Student Center. Dress code is formal.

The ball, which aims to foster diversity and engaging with one another, will include packaged catering from Sodexo, a DJ and dance floor, a photo booth, speeches, and performances. Masks will be enforced, tables will be limited to three attendees, and a limited number of people will be allowed on the dance floor.

The ball is sponsored by the Black Student Association, the Office of Student Diversity, and the Tilford Group. RSVPs by Gorilla Engage are required.

Feb. 10

Black History Trivia Night

Students may join in a fun in-person evening of historical and pop culture trivia from 7 to 8 p.m. in Ballroom C in the Overman Student Center. Prizes will be awarded. RSVPs by Gorilla Engage are required.

Feb. 15

BSA Virtual Movie Night

Students may join in watching a movie together virtually from 7 to 9 p.m. The movie, Spike Lee’s “See You Yesterday,” is about two teen science prodigies who spend every spare minute working on their latest homemade invention: backpacks that allow time travel. When one of their older brothers is killed, they put their unfinished project to the test to save him.

The event requires Netflix Party to be downloaded to Google Chrome and an RSVP on Gorilla Engage in order to receive a shared link. Attendees may join the watch party an hour before the movie begins in order to socialize.

Feb. 17

Gospel Explosion

This in-person event, to be held in Ballroom A&B in the Overman Student Center from 6 to 8 p.m., will celebrate the role that gospel music has played in the African American experiences.

Featuring praise and worship, it will include special guest Bishop Walter N. Simpson of Lighthouse Temple Ministries of Pittsburg.

Masks are required and attendees will be seated six feet apart from each other. RSVPs are required on Gorilla Engage.

Feb. 24

Black History Month Speaker: Beryl New, “Growing Up Brown”

This in-person event will be held in Ballroom C of the Overman Student Center from 6 to 7 p.m. and is open to students, staff, and faculty.

Beryl Ann New, Ed.D, is the director of Certified Personnel and Equity for Topeka Public Schools and co-chairs the district’s Equity Council, which closely examines the ways in which race impacts student success.

New also is the chair and one of six commissioners of the Kansas African American Affairs Commission. An educator for 33 years, she earned a doctorate degree in educational administration from the University of Kansas.

Her talk will bring to life a motivational and inspiring story of the resilient women in her life that raised her and helped shape her outlook on people and the world.

Masks are required and attendees will be seated six feet apart from each other. RSVPs are required on Gorilla Engage.