As part of Indiana University's commitment to creating environments in which all students, faculty, and staff feel welcomed, the university is proud to honor the backgrounds and identities of the members of the community through heritage month celebrations.
Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of Blacks in U.S. history. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history.
IU campuses will celebrate Black History Month with various programs, such as discussion panels, lectures, art shows, and film screenings.
The vast majority of these events are open to the IU community and its neighbors. Everyone is encouraged to participate and learn more about the Black experience and its past, present, and future contributions to society.
“Indiana University is proud to celebrate Black History Month,” said James Wimbush, IU vice president for diversity, equity, and multicultural affairs, dean of The University Graduate School, and the Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership. "The many activities planned on each of IU's campuses recognize the Black experience and educate and honor the past as we prepare for the future, showcasing the importance of diversity and inclusion."
Below are a few IU Black History Month events across the IU system. For a complete list of campus events, please visit the IU calendar.
NMBCC Book Club Series: The Secret Lives of Church Ladies
February 7, 2022 • 6:00 p.m.
Join us for a special BHM meeting of the NMBCC Book Club Series to discuss The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw. The discussion will be facilitated by Religious Studies doctoral student Amber Lowe-Woodfork. There are a limited number of books available. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a free copy!
OnyxFest 2022 call for Black playwrights
Scripts are accepted for consideration from December 15 until 11:59 p.m. on March 15.
For a few aspiring writers, OnyxFest 2022 will cover all expenses required to bring scripts to life. Entries must be original one-act plays - between 45 minutes and an hour in length. There may be no more than six characters per cast. Subject matter is unrestricted, but it is recommended that writers avoid stereotypes, degrading or disrespectful portrayals of Black life and culture, and gratuitous violence or sexual content.
Playwrights will receive royalties along with stipends to pay actors, directors, lighting assistants, and sound technicians. The grant includes funds for set design, props, costume and makeup, and the total cost of theater rental for both rehearsal and performances.
Sponsored by the Africana Repertory Theater of IUPUI (ARTI), OnyxFest is the first and only Indiana theater festival exclusively for African American playwrights. ARTI is a program of study using theater to document and artistically reflect the history, cultural life, and politics of people of the Africana Diaspora offered by the IUPUI School of Liberal Arts, School of Education, and the Office of Community Engagement.
Black History Month Celebration
February 1, 2022 • 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. • Whitewater Hall Lobby
A Homage Exhibit will kick off Black History Month at IU East. This exhibit displays works by artists Romare Bearden and Elizabeth Catlett alongside original documents from Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Ralph Bunche, and more. Please stop by the Whitewater Hall Lobby during the day to travel through time and take a look through history as we come together to celebrate Black heritage. Sack lunches will be available on your way out!
The Story of Harriet Tubman Lunch and Learn
February 3, 2022 • Noon • Kresge Auditorium
Racial Disparities in Health Care
February 22, 2022 • Noon- 1 p.m. • KC 264
THE BLACK ABCs: Exhibiting Ephemera, and Representation
February 7 – April 1, 2022 • Noon – 4:00 p.m. CST • Gallery for Contemporary Art, Savannah Center
The Gallery for Contemporary Art, located in the Savannah Center, will feature an original set of The Black ABCs on loan from a private collector. In 1970 the Society for Visual Education published The Black ABCs. These twenty-six alphabet flashcards presented an alternative classroom tool in response to the public school system's lack of diverse teaching and learning materials. Developed by two Chicago teachers, The Black ABCs was "a byproduct of the civil rights movement, part of a need for classroom materials that moved beyond a white "Dick and Jane" and reflected the backgrounds of black students. Instead of letters paired with disassociated objects and illustrations, each image offered a handsome portrait of African-American children growing up in Chicago. Nationwide, urban schools bought them."
In addition to the vintage flashcard collection, Sammy Jean Wilson, a contemporary multidisciplinary artist, will exhibit an alternative perspective of The Black ABCs, posing the question, "What would have happened if COVID-19 had taken place then?" Wilson's artwork "The New Black ABCs" reinterprets the original flash card designs by exploring the pandemic, class, and identity.
The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs has generously supported this exhibit.
Celebrate Black History Month with Never Too Young: My Grenada, Mississippi
February 9, 2022 • 2:30 p.m. CST • Savannah Center Bergland Auditorium
Join us to remember Black history with Gary residents Chester & Ollette Washington. Together, they will recount the events surrounding his activities as a youth in Grenada, Mississippi, during the Civil Rights movement through selected readings and discussion of his book Never Too Young: My Grenada, Mississippi Story.
IU South Bend
Film "August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand"
February 1, 2022 • 6 p.m. • Civil Rights Heritage Center
Learn about legendary playwright August Wilson and how his deep portrayals of Black life are coming to South Bend throughout this decade.
Unprecedented access to Tony- and Pulitzer-winning playwright August Wilson's theatrical archives, rarely seen interviews, and new dramatic readings bring to life his seminal 10-play cycle chronicling each decade of the 20th-century African American experience—including "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," soon to be performed by the South Bend Civic Theater and their decade-long August Wilson Project.
Filmed in the cities where Wilson made his mark, the documentary begins in Pittsburgh's Hill District. The future playwright was a brainy, bi-racial child raised in poverty who dropped out of high school because of bullying and prejudice. Self-educated in the city's public library and streets, Wilson was influenced by the rising Black consciousness of the 1960s and became a young, activist poet.
Film and theater luminaries including Viola Davis, Charles Dutton, Laurence Fishburne, James Earl Jones, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Phylicia Rashad share their stories of the career- and life-changing experience of bringing Wilson's rich theatrical voice to the stage. Wilson's sister, Freda Ellis, his widow and costume designer Constanza Romero, and friends, colleagues, and scholars trace Wilson's influences, creative evolution, triumphs, struggles, and quest for cultural determinism before his untimely death from liver cancer.
Following the film, join representatives of the South Bend Civic Theater alongside members of the cast and crew of "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" to speak about Wilson's legacy and their upcoming performance of his work.
Teaching How to Bend: Honoring African American History Month: Social Work's Role in the Fight for Racial Equity
February 10, 2022 • 6 p.m.
This workshop aims to honor and celebrate African American History Month. The focus is on how social workers can fight for racial equity in their practice, communities, and the US. The speakers bring their academic and advocacy experience to engage in conversation on the critical difference between racial equality and racial equity; how social workers can push for racial equity locally, nationally, and in social work; how social workers can reestablish trust after complicity in historical harms and incorporate racial equity in their practice; and to reflect on persons and movements in African American history.
Theodore Randall is an associate professor of anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Indiana University South Bend.
A graduate of the former LaSalle High School and Bethel University, excluding a seven-year sojourn in New Orleans, Trina Robinson has been a lifelong resident of South Bend
Charlotte D. Pfeifer-Gillam has lived in South Bend, Indiana, for more than fifty years, where she raised her children. She graduated from Indiana University South Bend with a B.A. in history and an M.P.A. in public affairs.
February 7, 2022 • 7 p.m. • Stem Hall, Ogle Center
In 1960s Baltimore, dance-loving teen Tracy Turnblad auditions for a spot on "The Corny Collins Show" and wins. She becomes an overnight celebrity, a trendsetter in dance, fun, and fashion. Perhaps her new status as a teen sensation is enough to topple Corny's reigning dance queen and bring racial integration to the show.
Come and enjoy this award-winning musical: MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance, Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Acting Ensemble, BFCA Critics' Choice Award for Best Young Performer, Young Hollywood Award for "One to Watch:" Female, Teen Choice Award for Choice Summer Movie: Comedy, and People's Choice Award for Favorite Song in a Movie.
Hosted by: Black Student Union, Multicultural Student Center
For a complete list of Black History Month campus events, please visit the IU calendar.