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A month for unity and discussion

January 27, 2017

United Black World Month at Ohio State will feature a focus on sparking productive conversations.

United Black World Month

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Angela Davis Angela Davis

The Ohio State University will celebrate United Black World Month with a focus on spurring productive conversations that spark unity and tolerance.

Beginning with an event featuring activist Angela Davis on Jan. 31 and continuing throughout the month of February, the Office of Student Life Multicultural Center is presenting Black Lives in America: Fueling the Fire, Sustaining the Vision. The month-long, university-wide celebration of diversity will aim to inspire students, faculty, staff and community members and encourage them to wade into deeper conversations about race-related issues. Fueling the Fire, Sustaining the Vision also will speak to the need for activism around these issues and the importance of embracing solidarity and unity at Ohio State and beyond. It will serve as a platform to remind black voices of their right to be heard at a campus, local and national level.

“We also want to provide education about the historical context of the black community: what our history is and what our challenges continue to be in America. We have great events going on all over the university, all month.”

The calendar for February includes a variety of exciting and informative events, from a hands-on opportunity to learn to cook frybread and sweet potato pie to an open discussion about black women’s mental health, and many more.

Students and faculty alike may find two events taking place near the beginning of the month particularly compelling. One of these is the 45th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration taking place on the evening of Jan. 31. The celebration will feature Davis, a political activist, academic scholar and author, as well as a special gospel tribute to King by Ohio State’s African American Voices Gospel Choir. The other is the opening celebration of United Black World Month, taking place on Feb. 2 and featuring Bree Newsome, a filmmaker and activist. All events are open to the public.

As a campus and a university that relishes diversity, addressing the needs of the black community is a critical piece of the fabric.

“We want to continue to offer programs that intentionally show that all of our students’ presence matters and all of our students’ presence is valuable.”
Image of Katherine Betts

Katherine Betts

Ohio State Multicultural Center, intercultural specialist

“This month is an opportunity for students to enhance their learning and increase their capacity to connect cross-culturally with other students.”

“President Drake has been clear that diversity is a core value of Ohio State,” said Betts. “We want to really take a moment to pause and explore the culture, the legacy and the history of African Americans not only on campus but across the world.”

A full list of the month’s events can be viewed here.

Buckeye Smart: Tiyi Morris

Morris will discuss Harriet Tubman being selected to appear on the 20 dollar bill, as well as provide historical context for African American women in U.S. history on Feb. 21 at Longaberger Alumni House. The Ohio State faculty member has an interdisciplinary research and teaching focus that combines the fields of American History, Black Studies and Women’s Studies. Read more