February will be busy for Tennessee Tech University’s Office of Minority Affairs as it hosts various Black History Month celebrations.
Events will include a spoken word artist, film screenings, a banquet honoring Cookeville residents who have contributed to and improved life in town, and the annual Gospel Extravaganza.
“We’ve always got a lot going on this month,” said Robert Owens, TTU’s director of minority affairs. “I want to give some history but to make it interesting and entertaining.”
All events are free and open to the public. Each of the films will all begin at noon in the Black Cultural Center on the second floor of the Roaden University Center.
- “Wade in the Water, Children,” a documentary that tells the story of children growing up after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans’ violent Central City neighborhood, will be shown on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
- “Heaven’s Fall,” a film based on the true story of two women who accused nine young black men of rape in the segregated South, will be screened on Wednesday, Feb. 8.
- A soul food dinner featuring spoken word artist Black Ice will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, in the RUC multipurpose room. Black Ice has starred in five consecutive seasons of HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam,” and was a leading cast member of the Tony-award winning “Def Poetry on Broadway.”
- “Banished: How Whites Drove Blacks out of Town in America,” which looks at three cities that forced African-Americans to leave through violence in post-reconstruction America, will be shown on Wednesday, Feb. 15.
- Gospel Extravaganza begins at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19, at Trinity Baptist Church. Several groups from the church and the TTU United Voices of Praise will sing.
- A forum, “Racism in America: Does it still Exist,” will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, in the TTU Black Cultural Center on the second floor of the RUC. Panelists include TTU education professor Lisa Zagumny; TTU history professor and chair of the diversity council Wali Kharif; TTU students Camille Woods and Andrew Scott; Ryan Dalton, a Cookeville resident who served as a missionary in South Africa; and Robert Redhawk Eldridge, a Native American.
- “Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre of 1968” will be screened on Wednesday, Feb. 22. The film tells the true story of a shooting rampage at South Carolina State University that is often called “the Kent State of the South.”
- IMPACT, Innovative Men Progressing the African-American Community Together, will hold a banquet to honor Marc Burnett, TTU vice president for student affairs; Johnnie Wheeler, a former member of the Putnam County Board of Commissioners; and Morris Irby, one of the earliest TTU African-American alumni. It will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, in the RUC multipurpose room. To reserve a seat, email firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com
- “The Help,” the award-winning film about white women and their black maids, will be screened on Wednesday, Feb. 29.