Celebrate Black History Month 2024 at Kutztown University

Aerial view of campus

KUTZTOWN, Pa. – February is Black History Month. Established in 1976, Black History Month honors the contributions of African Americans to U.S. history, science, mathematics, literature, art, music and culture. Kutztown University celebrates the month with events for the entire community.

The Multicultural Center (MCC) aims to celebrate and honor cultures and communities year-round. Get involved by contacting multicultural@kutztown.edu.

KU Black Student Union will host various programs and events throughout February celebrating Black history, advocacy and celebrations, including a lock-in Feb. 3, speed friending Feb. 14 and sprit days throughout the month. KU students are welcome to their regularly scheduled meeting 6:30 p.m., Feb. 8, Multicultural Center.

The Frederick Douglass Institute (FDI) will host two Black Literature Celebrations featuring Dr. David Greene (Howard University) and FDI Scholars Dr. Leslie Sotomayor and Dr. Sung Eun Min.

Celebrating Black Literature
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Feb. 8, 227 Beekey
Our ongoing FDI Critical Book Study will meet to discuss The 1619 Project, followed by a hands-on activity exploring literature by and about Black people. Children's, young adult, adult and academic literature will be included. College of Education students, staff and faculty are encouraged to attend. For more information and details, please visit the FDI website

Celebrating Black Literature, Media and Literature Circles
9-11 a.m., Feb. 20, Multicultural Center
The second event will take place during the annual Ujima Conference 9-11 a.m., Feb. 20, Multicultural Center. We will continue our celebration of Black literature and media, featuring texts, music and film by and about Black people. Our focus is diverse college students' physical and mental wellness, self-help, advocacy and political activism. We will also share about literature circles as models for community-based wellness among racially, culturally and linguistically diverse groups. Starter kit, hands-on activities and giveaways will be available. This is a rolling event with multiple stations. The campus community is welcome to drop by at any time during the window.

The Rohrbach Library has made numerous resources available digitally for Black History Month. DEI LibGuide, located at https://library.kutztown.edu/dei, lists resources the library has on topics of diversity, equity, justice and inclusion. It also hosts a blog featuring DEI resources at https://rohrbachlibrary.wordpress.com/.

Kutztown University Radio (KUR) will feature special programming and syndicated programs for Black History Month. A highlight will be the Cool Jazz Weekly EXTRA, produced at KUR and syndicated out to other radio stations, will focus on Black History Month and African American smooth jazz artists. KUR interns are recording "KUR Black History Month Spotlights," a 45-second daily mini-feature highlighting notable African American people. They will air multiple times each day throughout the month on weekdays and will be available daily on our KUR Spotify podcasts.

There is also a display in the Rohrbach Library, organized by Military and Veterans Services, honoring the legacy of Black soldiers in the U.S. military.

Events at Kutztown University

Ujima Conference
The Ujima Conference is held annually in the spring to celebrate and honor Black history and culture, featuring a keynote speaker and various workshops facilitated by current student leaders, MCC student workers and/or Kutztown University alumni. "Ujima" is one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, meaning "community" or "collective work and responsibility." This conference gives students opportunities to research areas of interest and enhance presentation skills. It is open to all college students.  It is open to the entire campus community, and our keynote speakers are open to the public. RSVP's are required for select events. Please visit the MCC website for more information. https://www.kutztown.edu/about-ku/administrative-offices/multicultural-services/programs-and-services.html

The theme of the 2024 annual Ujima Conference is "It Takes a Village," reflecting on the importance of collaboration and fellowship while working toward belonging for communities of color. Kickstarting the conference, the first day will be dedicated to a day of service. This hands-on experience provides an opportunity for attendees to engage with local communities and contribute to meaningful projects that align with the conference's values of social responsibility and community building. The subsequent two days will feature a series of workshops, discussions and activities. Attendees will have the chance to delve into topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion, gaining valuable insights and strategies to implement on their respective campuses.

Ujima Conference Day 1
Tuesday, Feb. 20 – Day of Service
10 a.m. to noon, Health and Wellness Bruch Meet and Greet, KU Health Center
1:15-4 p.m., Essential Item Drive for Opportunity House and Hope Rescue Mission, with Community Outreach Center and Multicultural Greek Organizations, MCC 

Ujima Conference Day 2
Wednesday, Feb. 21
9-10 a.m., Ujima Legacy Breakfast, 218 MSU
10-11 a.m., AIMS: The Importance of Brotherhood for Males of Color, 223 MSU
11-11:45 a.m., Experience Africa: The Divergence and Convergence of Culture, presented by the African Student Association, 223 MSU
Noon to 1 p.m., Keynote Speaker: Dr. Denise Pearson, vice chancellor and chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer of PASSHE, featuring a conversation with Pearson about this year’s Ujima theme of “It Takes a Village,” 218 MSU
1:15-2 p.m., Intersectionality and Microaggressions, presented by the Ujima Student Leadership Committee, MCC
4-8 p.m., Ujima Soul Recharge: Featuring massages, haircuts, textured hair demos, eyebrow and last demos and facials, MCC 

Ujima Conference Day 3
Thursday, Feb. 22
9-10 a.m., Morning Mindfulness - Tai Chi, MCC
11 a.m. to noon, Office of Veterans Services presents: Master Gunnery Sergeant Joseph H. Geeter III USMC Retired and Philadelphia Chapter #1, National Montford Point Marine Association Commander. Geeter will remember the Montford Point Marines, the first African Americans to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps, 218 MSU
Noon to 1:30 p.m., Community Gathering: Amplifying Voices, MCC
2-3 p.m., Closing Keynote Speaker: Wanjiku "Wawa" Gatheru, Environmental Justice Warrior, Rhodes Scholar and founder of Black Girl Environmentalist. Sponsored by Dr. Constance P. Dent and Dr. Ann Gundry Distinguished Speaker Series with the KU Women’s Center, the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies program, the McFarland Student Union, the College of Education, the College of Business, the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the following academic programs: English, anthropology, history, art and design, 218 MSU
3:15-4 p.m., SISTERs Workshop: Painting with a Twist, "Stand Strong: What Is Your Inner Strength?,” MCC
6-8 p.m., 2024 Ujima Celebration, MCC

Stepping into Black History
Friday, Feb. 23, 7-9 p.m., South Dining Hall, Room 1
Stepping into the rich rhythm of Black History featuring Emanuel “Manny” Chacon (former Step Afrika performer) with a collaboration of Residence Life, Housing and Dining Services; Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority, Inc. (MSU); Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity Inc. (LSU); Residence Hall Association (RHA); Black Student Union (BSU); and Student Alliance for Learning Success and Achievement (S.A.L.S.A.). Students will not only learn the art of stepping, but also dive into the cultural beats that echo the essence of the heritage. Let's celebrate unity, creativity and the vibrant tapestry of Black History together.

14th Annual Diversity Conference
Friday, March 1, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., McFarland Student Union
The KU Commission on Human Diversity welcome students, staff, faculty and the public to participate in the 14th Annual Diversity Conference. This year’s theme is, “Inspirational Advocacy Through the Arts.” This theme reflects the importance of advocacy in all areas of diversity including dimensions of multiculturalism, diversity, social justice, inclusion and equity in all areas of life and education. More information and registration on the KU website.

FreeQuency hosts Spoken Word Open Mic Night
Wednesday, March 6, 7 p.m., 183 MSU
A storyteller, organizer, speaker, host, workshop leader, chaos collagist, youth worker and performance artist, FreeQuency is a gender renegade Kenyan e/immigrant who self-identifies as masculine off center, femme adjacent, an AunTea and/or a prettyboi. 

The Women of Color – A Tribute to the Contributions of African American Woman
Thursday, March 28, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 218 MSU
The exhibit profiles several dynamic African American women who have made significant contributions to society and includes original artifacts, signed documents and photos of individuals such as Mary McLeod Bethune, Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, Angela Davis, Dr. Mae Jemison, Shirley Chisholm, Coretta Scott King, Oprah Winfrey, Condoleezza Rice and other great African American women who have impacted the history of Black women around the world.

Learn more about this month by attending these Black History Month events or research facts online. For questions or to learn more, contact the office of the Chief Diversity Officer at schearer@kutztown.edu.