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Jan. 31, 2023

Black History Month events at MSU

This story will be updated throughout the month of February. 

Each year, Michigan State University celebrates Black History Month throughout the month of February. This month is dedicated to highlighting the history of Black, African American and African people throughout the United States. Units across MSU will be hosting events on campus and virtually throughout the month. 

The 23rd annual “William G. Anderson Lecture Series, Slavery to Freedom: An American Odyssey,” hosted by the College of Osteopathic Medicine, will focus on the history and legacy of African Americans in the U.S. The series will feature author and activist Angela Davis, the founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks Marley Dias and educator and advocate Freeman Hrabowski. More information about the series, including expanded community engagement opportunities, is available on the College of Osteopathic Medicine's website

Another cornerstone series is the Black History Month Sankofa Project hosted by the College of Education’s Office of K-12 Outreach, with events taking place throughout February. The goal for this year’s events is to highlight the historical and cultural link between the civil rights movement, the Black Power movement and the Black Lives Matter movement in Michigan. 

In addition to the Black History Month events, the Office of K-12 Outreach has created the Black History Month Teaching Resources document. The resource contains website links, YouTube videos, newspaper articles and other tools curated with a focus on Michigan. 

Black History Month campus events

All events are listed in Eastern Time.

Wednesday, Feb. 1 

3:15 p.m. — Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Career Fair and Symposium 

This career event at the Breslin Center is open to all majors and MSU undergraduate and graduate students and recently graduated alums seeking internship, co-op, part-time and full-time opportunities in various fields. Students are encouraged to explore their career options and interact with employers to learn more about opportunities. Learn more and register for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Career Fair and Symposium

Thursday, Feb. 2 

3 p.m. — jason b. crawford: Reading and Regional Writer Event 

jason b. crawford returns to Michigan to read from their debut book “The Year of the Unicorn Kidz,” a profound navigation of identity, violence and desire that transcends boundaries and binaries. The in-person event will take place in Room B310 of Wells Hall. For more information and to register, visit the events page.

5 p.m. — “Slavery to Freedom” lecture featuring Marley Dias  

The 23rd annual Dr. William G. Anderson Lecture Series will feature Marley Dias at the Pasant Theatre in the Wharton Center for Performing Arts. For more information or to register, visit

Friday, Feb. 3 

3 p.m. — jason b. crawford: “Breaking the Love Poem” workshop/mentorship event 

In this workshop, crawford and participants will explore modern examples of love poems and dissect the origin of love. Through guided exercises and prompts, participants will complete two to four new love poems reflecting what they love most in their lives. The workshop will take place in Room B100 of Wells Hall.

Saturday, Feb. 4

Noon — Sankofa Project Rebroadcast: Andrew Young, William Cross and Robert L. Green 

Watch this rescreening of a talk between former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young, theorist and researcher on Black identity development William Cross and MSU Professor and Distinguished Professor Emeritum Robert L. Green. Register for the rebroadcast virtual event.

Sunday, Feb. 5  

4 p.m. — Black Empowerment Festival  

Celebrate Black History Month in the MSU Union Ballroom with the Black Students' Alliance and the University Activities Board as they host the fourth annual Black Empowerment Festival with activities, free soul food and free T-shirts while supplies last. Learn more at

Thursday, Feb. 9

5 p.m. — “Slavery to Freedom” lecture featuring Angela Davis

The 23rd annual Dr. William G. Anderson Lecture Series will feature Angela Davis at the Pasant Theatre in the Wharton Center for Performing Arts. For more information or to register, visit

Friday, Feb. 10

11 a.m. — Amplify STEM: Celebrating Black History

The Amplify STEM event will feature Ebony Omotola McGee, professor of diversity and STEM education at Vanderbilt University. Register on Zoom to learn more about the voices being uplifted and honored. Sponsors of the webinar are MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Lyman Briggs College, College of Natural Science and College of Veterinary Medicine. 

Saturday, Feb. 11 

Noon — Sankofa Project Session I: Civil Rights, Social Justice and Education Then and Now presented with East Tennessee State University 

Session I will feature Ambassador Andrew Young, Distinguished Professor Gary Orfield from the University of California, Los Angeles, MSU Distinguished Professor Bill Schmidt and MSU Dean and Professor Emeritum Robert L. Green. Register for this virtual session.

Feb. 12-25 

Culinary Services celebrates Black History Month 

MSU’s Culinary Services will feature special chef-crafted menus in each all-you-care-to-eat dining hall on campus. Offerings will be available for guests to enjoy Feb. 12 through Feb. 25 at either lunch or dinner. Examples include cornmeal crusted catfish, shrimp and grits, Hoppin’ John, fried okra, and collard greens with ham hocks as well as desserts from MSU Bakers, like lemon lime pound cake, key lime pie, sweet potato pie and angel food cake. Visit and follow Eat at State on social media (@EatAtState) for the latest details.

Thursday, Feb. 16 

7 p.m. — Screening of Aretha Franklin film “Respect” 

Women*s Student Services, in collaboration with the Residence Hall Association and the Department of African American and African Studies, will host a screening of “Respect” in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities Theater in Room C20 of Snyder Hall. The documentary follows the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church choir to her international superstardom. For more information visit

Friday, Feb. 17

8 p.m. — Wharton Center presents Detroit '67  

In 1967 Detroit, Motown music is getting the party started, and Chelle and her brother Lank are making ends meet by turning their basement into an after-hours joint. But when a mysterious woman finds her way into their lives, the siblings clash over much more than the family business. As their pent-up feelings erupt, so does their city, and they find themselves caught in the middle of the ’67 riots.

One of the country’s most produced playwrights, Detroit native Dominique Morisseau is also known for the book for the hit Broadway musical, "Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations." "Detroit ‘67" is part of Morisseau’s "The Detroit Project," the acclaimed trilogy of plays exploring the life, soul, and history of Detroit. Tickets at the Pasant Theatre are available at

Saturday, Feb. 18

11:30 a.m. — Sankofa Project Session II:  Emerging Trends in Urban and Campus Policing  

This in-person event at the College of Human Medicine’s Flint Building will feature guest speakers including MSU Vice President for Public Safety and Chief of Police Marlon Lynch, Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton, Washtenaw County Director of Community Engagement Derrick Jackson and University of Michigan Executive Director of Public Safety and Security Eddie Washington. Dana Whyte, MSU Police and Public Safety communications manager, will moderate the session that explores trends in campus safety. The event will take place in Room 132 of the Flint Building at 200 E. 1st Street in Flint. Register for the live stream event

10 a.m. — Wharton Illuminating Conversations: Detroit '67  

Wharton Center presents the play "Detroit '67" as part of the Illuminate series. As an initiative to engage audiences in conversations around social justice topics, Wharton invites ticket holders to an extended conversation with members of the cast and creative team, as well as other guests, the day after the performance. The focus will be a reflection on race and Black history in America through the lens of live theatre. Register for the in-depth exploration at

Tuesday, Feb. 21

7:30 p.m. — Jazz at Lincoln Center presents Songs We Love  

Three guest vocalists will join an all-star band made up of New York’s finest jazz artists for a journey through four decades of music, beginning with the early blues and jazz of the 1920s and ending in the early 1950s with a nod to Ma Rainey, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and many more. Tickets at the Cobb Great Hall are available on

Wednesday, Feb. 22

6:30 p.m. — Black History Month Symposium featuring Jason Mott  

James Madison College is hosting a Black History Month Symposium at the Kellogg Center, featuring Jason Mott who is the 2021 National Book Award winner for "Hell of a Book." The book discusses racism, police violence and the lived experiences of Black Americans. The event includes a book discussion and signing and is open to the entire MSU community. No registration is needed and there are 100 free copies of the book available for students to pick up in South Case Hall, Room 328A.

Thursday, Feb. 23

5 p.m. — “Slavery to Freedom” lecture featuring Freeman Hrabowski  

The 23rd annual Dr. William G. Anderson Lecture Series will feature Freeman Hrabowski at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center’s auditorium. For more information or to register, visit

7:30 p.m. — Wharton Center presents Alonzo King Lines Ballet: Deep River  

Featuring "Deep River," a soulful new work melding dance with Black spirituals, featuring music arranged by jazz luminary Jason Moran with vocals by Grammy-winning vocalist Lisa Fischer. “astonishing originality”—The New York Times. Tickets at the Cobb Great Hall are available on

Friday, Feb. 24

8:00 p.m. — Professors of Jazz Perform the music of Thelonius Monk

The College of Music Professors of Jazz are hosting a concert in Murray Hall featuring the music of Thelonius Monk, a jazz pioneer composer and pianist. ARTISTS: Walter Blanding, saxophone; Xavier Davis, piano; Michael Dease, trombone; Randy Gelispie, drums; Randy Napoleon, guitar; Anthony Stanco, trumpet; Rodney Whitaker, bass; and guests. Tickets are available on and are free for students.

Saturday, Feb. 25

Noon — Session III: Cents and Sensibility: The Racial Opportunity Costs of Education Since Brown v. Board of Education book talk

Join Terah Venzant Chambers, professor of K-12 Educational Administration and the associate dean for equity and inclusion, to learn more about education since the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Register for the virtual event.

Friday, Feb. 28

8 p.m. — Wharton Center presents Black Violin  

Selling out their last performance at Wharton Center, Black Violin is back. Kev Marcus gives an electrifying violin performance along with Wil Baptiste’s magnetizing viola and vocal performance. Joining them are Nat Stokes on drums, DJ SPS on the turntable and Liston Gregory on keys. Together they are reconceptualizing what a violin concert looks and sounds like, building bridges to a place where Mozart, Marvin Gaye and Kendrick Lamar harmoniously coexist. Black Violin invites you to think outside of the box. Tickets at the Cobb Great Hall are available on

Friday, March 31 

8 p.m. — Color Me Music Sankofa 5th annual Black history concert 

Color Me Music presents the 5th annual Black history concert, "Sankofa: Return and Take," on Friday, March 31 at the College of Music's Murray Recital Hall. The rescheduled concert features a live musical experience of African American and African Diaspora pieces from the past to present. 

Support initiatives serving and celebrating the MSU Black community — Give now!

MSU recognizes Black History Month, and our community is coming together to strengthen resources, programs, research centers and scholarships supporting Black students at MSU and promoting a culture of inclusion. Learn more at


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