MSU celebrates Black History Month with array of February events

Richard Holmes, the first African-American student to enroll at Mississippi State and namesake of the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center, attends the university’s 2016 Black Alumni Weekend semi-formal gala. This year’s BAW is among programs being held in celebration of Black History Month. (Photo by Megan Bean)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—As home to one of the Southeastern Conference’s most diverse student bodies, Mississippi State University is hosting a variety of free programs in honor of Black History Month.

The month-long celebration kicks off Feb. 3 with a 9 p.m. screening of the 2017 drama “Marshall” in the Colvard Student Union’s first-floor Dawg House. Starring Chadwick Boseman, the film follows young Thurgood Marshall’s journey in battling through one of his career-defining cases as the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. Along with the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center, the event is sponsored by the Center for Student Activities as part of its new “Dawgs After Dark” late-night and weekend programming initiative.

Other free events include:

—Feb. 7, noon-2 p.m., “Barbershop Talk” in the Colvard Student Union’s first-floor Dawg House. Sponsored by MSU’s Men of Excellence student organization, the event will consist of a casual conversation on the effect of respect, love and relationships on African-American males. The featured speaker is Le’Roy Davenport, program coordinator at MSU’s Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement and executive director of Racial Equity in Mississippi Community of Practice.

—Feb. 9, 8 p.m., “Jazz and Poetry Night” in the Colvard Student Union Dawg House. Along with spoken word, poetry and singing, the event sponsored by the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center will feature sounds of a professional jazz band. Refreshments will be available.

—Feb. 12, 6 p.m., #Matter, a structured conversation on issues impacting the black community sponsored by the Black Student Association. The event takes place in the Union’s third-floor Fowlkes Auditorium.

—Feb. 13, 5-7 p.m., Afro-Latino Panel Discussion sponsored by the Latino Student Association. During this event in the Union’s Fowlkes Auditorium, speakers will discuss their personal experiences of being Latino.

—Feb. 15, 6 p.m., “Fannie Lou Hamer: America’s Freedom Fighting Woman” talk in Old Main Academic Center’s auditorium featuring Maegan Parker Brooks, assistant professor in the Civic Communication and Media Department at Willamette University and author of “A Voice that Could Stir an Army: Fannie Lou Hamer and Rhetoric of the Black Freedom Movement.” A reception will take place from 4:30-6 p.m. in the Colvard Student Union Dawg House. Both events are sponsored by MSU’s African American Studies and Gender Studies programs, President’s Commission on the Status of Women, Department of Sociology, Marion T. Loftin Fund and Division of Student Affairs.

—Feb. 16-18, Black Alumni Weekend hosted by the BAW18 planning committee in conjunction with the MSU Alumni Association. Along with educational and social events, the three-day event will feature a semi-formal gala honoring African-American alumni who are trailblazers in their respective fields. For a complete schedule of events, visit

—Feb. 24, 9 p.m.-midnight, “Black Out Party” in the auxiliary gym at the university’s Joe Frank Sanderson Center. Sponsored by the Black Student Association, the event will feature live music. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed in all black.

—Feb. 28, 7 p.m., “Celebration of Black Art: Back to Black” cultural extravaganza showcasing various forms of black art, including music and dance. Taking place in historic Lee Hall's Bettersworth Auditorium, the event is sponsored by the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center.

For more information, contact the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center at 662-325-2033, visit or stop by Suite 220 on the second floor of the Colvard Student Union.

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