Tennessee Tech celebrates Black History Month

Join over one million people across the nation reading and discussing literature by African-American authors on Monday, Feb. 3, as part of the eighth annual African-American Read-In. Tennessee Technological University has chosen the event, organized by the National Council of Teachers of English, as the inaugural event to kick off Black History Month.

Four students will give readings from novels and poems by African-American authors at the university's weekly Luncheon Forum at 11:30 a.m. in the Multipurpose Room of the University Center. They'll also encourage others to participate by reading something appropriate during the day.

Tonia Duncan-Rivers, director of the Department of Minority Affairs at Tennessee Tech, hopes people will take the opportunity to read books or other works written by African-American authors and "appreciate literature from a different perspective." She invites anyone interested to stop by the Leona Lusk Officer Black Cultural Center on the second floor of the University Center and browse through the book collection there.

The Black Cultural Center will also hold an open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, to introduce university staff, faculty and students as well as the surrounding community to the center. In addition to its own small lending library, the center houses a small art collection focusing on the contributions of Blacks and African-Americans.

Wali Kharif, associate professor of history at Tennessee Tech, gives a lecture, "Black Women and the Struggle for Equality," at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, in the University Center's O.V.C. room, sponsored by Minority Affairs and the Honors Program.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, the Chemistry Department joins Minority Affairs to host a seminar on the Tennessee Pre-Professional Program. The program encourages minorities to consider careers in law, medicine and dentistry by providing fellowships for students in pre-professional majors.

Sunday, Feb. 16, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and Trinity Baptist Church present a "Gospel Extravaganza" at 3 p.m. in Derryberry Hall Auditorium. The following day, Monday, Feb. 17, Minority Affairs will hold its annual soul food dinner. Tickets for the dinner are $4.50 for students, $5.50 for others, and can be purchased at the Black Cultural Center through Friday, Feb. 14.

The art collection of Leo and Gloria McGee, "Cotton in my Hands," prints depicting African-American sharecroppers, will be featured on the show "Tennessee Crossroads" on both WDCN and WCTE public television stations in February.

Leo McGee is associate vice president of Academic Affairs at Tennessee Tech, and Gloria McGee is a professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the university. The two began collecting the prints about 15 years ago. Leo McGee, who grew up in rural Arkansas and began picking cotton at the age of five, says the artworks have helped him come to grips with the experience and to appreciate some of its impact.

On the lighter side, comedian Michael Winslow performs at Tennessee Tech at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, in Derryberry Hall Auditorium. Winslow is best known for his role in the "Police Academy" movies and his ability to perform over 1,000 vocal impressions, from a Jimi Hendrix guitar solo to a 747 jet plane. For ticket information, call Ilene Qualls at 615/372-6252.

Later in the month, at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, Tennessee Tech administrators will hold a dedication ceremony at the Black Cultural Center, officially naming it in honor of Leona Lusk Officer, the university's first Black graduate.

The roots of Black History Month go back over 70 years to Negro History Week, established in 1926 by Carter Woodson. Woodson, an accomplished Harvard University alumnus, hoped all Americans would take the opportunity to reflect on their ethnic roots and develop respect for diverse backgrounds. He set the date in February because it is the month in which both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were born.

See the calendar of events for a complete schedule of activities. For more information, call the Black Cultural Center at 615/372-3392.

Black History Month Events at Tennessee Technological University

Monday, Feb. 3

Ribbon Day. The Leona Lusk Officer Black Cultural Center will hand out ribbons in front of the University Bookstore to be worn in honor of Black History Month.

Monday, Feb. 3, 11:30 a.m.

As part of the national African-American Read-In, students will give readings at the luncheon forum in the University Center's Multipurpose Room. The Department of Minority Affairs encourages everyone to recognize Black History Month by reading works by African-Americans.

Thursday, Feb. 6, 11 a.m.

Wali Kharif, associate professor of history, gives a lecture, "Black Women and the Struggle for Equality," in the University Center's O.V.C. room, sponsored by the Honors Program and Minority Affairs.

Tuesday, Feb. 11, 11 a.m.

The Leona Lusk Officer Black Cultural Center hosts a Tennessee Pre-Professional Program Seminar, sponsored by the Chemistry Department and Minority Affairs.

Tuesday, Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m.

Comedian Michael Winslow performs at for students, faculty and staff and their guests Derryberry Hall Auditorium. For ticket information, call Ilene Qualls at 372-6252.

Wednesday, Feb. 12, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

The Leona Lusk Officer Black Cultural Center welcomes all visitors to an open house, sponsored by Minority Affairs.

Thursday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m.

WDCN-TV, Ch. 8, airs "Tennessee Crossroads" featuring "Cotton in my Hands," Leo and Gloria McGee's art collection of prints depicting African-American sharecroppers.

Sunday, Feb. 16, 3 p.m.

A Gospel Extravaganza takes place in Derryberry Hall Auditorium, sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and Trinity Baptist Church.

Monday, Feb. 17, 6:30 p.m.

A soul food dinner is served in the University Center's Multipurpose Room, sponsored by Minority Affairs. Tickets are $4.50 for students, $5.50 for others, and can be purchased at the Black Cultural Center through Friday, Feb. 14.

Tuesday, Feb. 18, 10:30 p.m.

WCTE-TV, Ch. 22, airs "Tennessee Crossroads" featuring "Cotton in my Hands," Leo and Gloria McGee's art collection of prints depicting African-American sharecroppers.

Sunday, Feb. 23, 3 p.m.

Tennessee Tech administrators officially dedicate the Leona Lusk Officer Black Cultural Center.

Tuesday, Feb. 25, 11 a.m.

The Black Cultural Center Book Club hosts a discussion of Don't Believe the Hype: Fighting Cultural Misinformation about African-Americans by Farai Chideya.

The Leona Lusk Officer Black Cultural Center is located in room 258 on the second floor of the University Center. For more information, call 372-3392.