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Black History Month at MTSU focuses on ‘Civil Rights in America’

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Dr. Cleveland Sellers, president of Voorhees College in Denmark, S.C., will deliver an address titled “A Voice from the Movement” at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, in Room 116 of the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors College Building. (Photo submitted)


Reflections on the sacrifices that made America a more inclusive society form the focal point of this year’s Black History Month celebration at MTSU.

Documentaries, speeches, sing-a-longs and other activities are on tap under the theme of “Civil Rights in America,” said Black History Month Committee co-chairs Vincent Windrow, interim assistant vice provost for student success, and Jonell Hinsey, interim director of the Intercultural and Diversity Affairs Center.

“This year we celebrate the people, places and important occasions that created the movement for equality in America,” Hinsey said.

• “Eyes on the Prize,” the award-winning PBS documentary about the history of the civil rights movement, will be shown in four parts from 7 to 8 p.m. Feb. 6, 13, 20 and 27 in the Keathley University Center Theatre.

• Students will maintain an information table from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, on the first floor of the Student Union. Free HIV/AIDS testing will be available then and throughout the month.

• Michael McDonald, MTSU’s first African-American student government president, will be the keynote speaker for the annual Unity Luncheon at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, in the Student Union ballroom. The event will pay tribute to community leaders James L. Butler, Pearlie Mae Martin and Phyllis Hickerson-Washington.

• Dr. Cleveland Sellers, president of Voorhees College in Denmark, S.C., will deliver an address titled “A Voice from the Movement” at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, in Room 116 of the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors College Building.

An advocate for nonviolent social change, Sellers was the only person arrested at the “Orangeburg Massacre,” a violent clash between students and state police on the campus of South Carolina State University on Feb. 8, 1968. Three young men were killed and 27 other people were wounded.

Sellers spent seven months behind bars on rioting charges while the white officers involved in the shooting were acquitted. He received an official pardon 25 years after his release.

• A presentation based on some of the “Myths of the Movement” is slated for 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building. This event focuses on how some written and oral history skews the truth about the civil rights movement.

• Walks through the “Tunnel of Oppression” are scheduled from 1 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, in the Tom Jackson Building. It is designed to introduce participants to current-day concepts of oppression, privilege and power. This event coincides with the World Day of Social Justice as declared by the United Nations.

• The Scholars Academy, in conjunction with the Intercultural and Diversity Affairs Center, will host “Sista and Brotha, You Rock!,” a celebration slated for 6 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, in the Student Union ballroom. MTSU students of color will receive awards honoring them for their contributions to the community.

All events except the Unity Luncheon are free and open to the public. For a complete list of Black History Month events, go to http://tinyurl.com/m54vmyn. For more information, contact Hinsey at 615-898-5797 or jonell.hinsey@mtsu.edu.

Tagged under  black history month, mtsu, sellers

Members Opinions:
February 08, 2014 at 9:14pm
One thing that attracted me to attend MTSU when I began my college journey four years ago was the diversity aspect the university offered. I have always been raised to respect and value differences in other people, whether it be race, gender, personal beliefs and so forth, so attending a diverse university as oppose to a Historical Black College was befitting for me.

As an African American woman, I enjoy seeing my own culture embrace our ethnicity and pay homage to our ancestors, but more importantly I absolutely love to see other races pay respect to the many people who have fought for justice and equality for not only the African American race, but for the world as a whole.

To attend MTSU and have them set aside such astounding events to not only honor those amazing individuals who paved the way, but also to honor the people in this very community can’t be explained in words. In addition to that, to have Dr. Cleveland Sellers, someone from an era that we will never have the opportunity to experience, be able to come to our university and tell his story and his experiences is humbling, empowering, and puts everything into perspective.

Although we live in a world that has indeed made progress, we can’t ignore the fact that there are some of us who still have a mentality of race superiority and inequality, and it just shows how much more work needs to be done to continuously move forward in progression with equality for all races, genders and personal

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