Black History Month

2023 Black History Month Celebration
February 2023


Colors of Africa

Saturday, January 28  |  5 pm  |  Chandler Ballroom, Cedric Rucker University Center

Sponsored by the African Student Union

A Black History Month kickoff event, displaying African culture to students and community members. The event is an opportunity to promote learning about the many beautiful aspects of the African continent. UMW’s principle of Respect and Civility is one of the inspirations for this year’s Colors of Africa because it is built around an environment that values the “inherent worth of all identities, abilities, and differences” of all individuals.

Black History Month Kick-Off Lunch: Southern Soul Food Lunch

Wednesday, Feb. 1 | 11:30 a.m.  | Dining at the Top of the CRUC, Cedric Rucker University Center

Cost with Campus Meal Plan is one meal swipe or $13 Flex.  The cost for EagleOne or credit card purchase is $13.00.

Human Rights Film Series:  Teach Us All

Thursday, Feb. 2 | 5 p.m.  | Colonnade Room, Cedric Rucker University Center

In 1957, the segregation in schools ended with a group of students known as the Little Rock Nine. Inequalities still exist in American schools but some are working to change the system.

Great Lives Series: Gladys West

Thursday, Feb. 2 | 7:30 p.m. | Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall

When Dr. West arrived at Dahlgren in 1956, she was only one of four African Americans at the lab, and only the second woman. Specializing in the field of satellite geodesy—the science of measuring the shape and size of the earth from space—she created algorithms and programs for analyzing satellite data using early super computers. Her work contributed to numerous projects, including GPS and SEASAT, the first satellite to map oceans from space. As one of her colleagues noted, “Her competence, not her color, defined her.” This panel conversation will explore the life and legacy of Dr. West, from her determined pursuit of education, through her distinguished career at Dahlgren, to her continuing efforts to inspire young STEM students.


Saturday, February 4  |  3 pm  |  Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall

Join gospel choirs and praise dance teams as they engage in spiritual song and dance.

Black Mary Washington: Past, Present, and Future

Monday, Feb. 6 | 6 p.m. | Chandler Ballroom A&B, Cedric Rucker University Center

Join the UMW NAACP College Chapter in an intergenerational panel about the Black Mary Washington experience and activism throughout the years.

Jazz Ensemble Black History Tribute:  Iconic Jazz Greats

Tuesday, Feb. 7 | 7:30 p.m. | The Underground, Lee Hall

Celebrate Black History Month with the UMW Jazz Ensemble! Doug Gately, a senior lecturer in the Department of Music, directs this concert featuring music from iconic jazz artists.

Great Lives Series: Fannie Lou Hamer

Tuesday, Feb. 7 | 7:30 p.m. | Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall

Fannie Lou Hamer, a poor Mississippi sharecropper with a sixth-grade education, faced down white supremacists and challenged President Lyndon Johnson and other national civil rights leaders to secure voting rights for all Americans during the 1960s. She was an improbable leader whose beginnings gave no hint of the powerful woman she would become. The work of elite, well-educated men dominated leadership roles in the civil rights movement, and their lives and stories remain the focus of much of civil rights history. Hamer reminds us that at a movement’s center sits unlikely leaders, forged through difficult circumstances and who use their unique gifts to face the challenges posed at critical crossroads. She channeled her anger, her courage, her faith, and unwavering commitment to human rights in a battle against entrenched racism and bigotry. Using recently opened FBI records, secret Oval Office tapes, new interviews, and more, Dr. Kate Clifford Larson will share fresh details from her highly acclaimed biography Walk With Me about Hamer’s determination to make her light shine in the face of disabling physical abuse and death threats to bring revolutionary change to America.

Black History Month Keynote Speaker:  Wisdom O. Cole

Wednesday, February 8 | 7 p.m.  | Chandler Ballroom C, Cedric Rucker University Center

A black man wearing glasses with a suit on, with long dreadlocks pulled into a top bun, his head on his closed hand.Wisdom O. Cole is the National Director of the NAACP Youth & College Division. In this role, he serves more than 700 youth councils, high school chapters, and college chapters actively involved in the fight for civil rights. Wisdom brings extensive experience in civil rights advocacy training institute, electoral action training, grassroots organizing, issues toolkits, and webinars at the local, state, and national level. He has managed national campaign efforts focused on building Black political power through youth leadership development, advocacy, and direct action organizing for the past 3 years with the NAACP, formerly as the National Campaigns & Training Manager.

In his time at the NAACP, he has worked on campaigns around the cancelation of student debt, removing police from schools, as well as increasing voter access for young Black people. He has been featured on NPR, VICE, NBC Washington News, Brooking Institute, and The Economist as an advocate for Black youth voter turnout through issue-based campaign organizing. In 2020 he was named one of Complex Life’s 32 young activists who are changing the world.

Wisdom was previously a field and state conference organizer for the Afrikan Black Coalition (ABC), the largest Black collegiate organization in California. In 2014, he collaboratively organized the Afrikan Black Coalition conference that featured keynote speakers such as Marc Lamont Hill, Angela Davis, Bobby Seale, and Attallah Shabazz. For this effort, he received the Chancellor’s Achievement Award for Diversity in recognition for outstanding contributions to furthering diversity, inclusion, and excellence at UC Santa Cruz.

Wisdom grew up in California where he earned a B. A. in Chemistry, with a minor in STEM Education, from UC Santa Cruz as well as a M. A. in Teaching from the University of San Francisco. (Credit: NAACP)

Black History Month:  African Dinner

Thursday, Feb. 9 | 5 p.m.  | Dining at the Top of the CRUC, Cedric Rucker University Center

Cost with Campus Meal Plan is one meal swipe or $13 Flex.  The cost for EagleOne or credit card purchase is $15.00.

The Woman King

Friday, Feb. 10 | 7 p.m. | Digital Auditorium, Hurley Convergence Center

Saturday, Feb. 11 | 10 p.m. | Digital Auditorium, Hurley Convergence Center

Sponsored by Campus Programming Board


Friday, Feb. 10 | 10 p.m. | Digital Auditorium, Hurley Convergence Center

Saturday, Feb. 11 | 7 p.m. | Digital Auditorium, Hurley Convergence Center

Sponsored by Student Activities and Engagement Office

Bail Out Bake Sale

Monday, Feb. 13 | 1 p.m. | Campus Walk

The UMW NAACP College Chapter will be selling baked goods and donating the proceeds to the Richmond Community Bail Fund to aid the many marginalized individuals behind bars in Central Virginia’s jails.

The History of Afrofuturism in Music

Thursday, Feb. 16 | 5 p.m. | Chandler Ballroom C, Cedric Rucker University Center

This interactive presentation will be led by Ronald Turner II, known as DJ R-Tistic and Assistant Director of the James Farmer Multicultural Center, Chris Williams. They will take the audience on an oral, visual, and sonic tour on the history of Afrofuturism in classic R&B, soul, funk, jazz, and hip-hop records.

Black Cultural Karaoke

Friday, Feb. 17 | 7 p.m. | The Underground, Lee Hall

Sponsored by For the Culture

Join For the Culture for a fun-filled karaoke program for all UMW community members, honoring Black History Month with a very special playlist from the R&B and soul genres! There will be snacks and drinks provided.

Step Show [CANCELED]

Saturday, Feb. 18 | 7 p.m. | Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall

Join area step teams from high schools, regional colleges and universities as they engage in a high-energy, entertaining competition. For information, please contact the James Farmer Multicultural Center.

Black Men and Masculinity: An Honest Conversation

Monday, Feb. 20 | 7 p.m. | Colonnade Room, Cedric Rucker University Center

Sponsored by Brothers of a New Direction

Join us for an honest talk unpacking our masculinity as Black men, the good and the bad, focusing also on forming solutions to some of the deep rooted problems that we face.

Black History Month: Caribbean/Mardi Gras Dinner

Tuesday, February 21 | 5 p.m. | Dining at the Top of the CRUC, Cedric Rucker University Center

Cost with Campus Meal Plan is one meal swipe or $13 Flex.  The cost for EagleOne or credit card purchase is $15.00.

MLK Virtual Project

Wednesday, Feb. 22 – Thursday, Feb. 23 | Digital Auditorium, Hurley Convergence Center

The vMLK Project out of North Carolina State University focuses on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “A Creative Protest” speech, commonly referred to as the “Fill up the Jails” speech, for which no recording exists. The vMLK Project brings together recreations and various technologies to allow viewers and visitors to experience the speech. Dr. Max Renner, Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities & New Media at Molloy College and Dr. Candice Edrington, School of Journalism & Mass Communication, University of South Carolina will provide a formal presentation on Wednesday, February 22 at 6 pm in the Digital Auditorium.


UMW continues to monitor campus, local, and statewide COVID-19 data and has instituted protocols to protect our campus community.  These protocols include requiring proper mask wearing while indoors, requiring proof of vaccination or a recent negative test, reducing occupancy limits at events, or restricting attendance to UMW community members only, obtaining contact information from event attendees for contact tracing, and requesting that the University be notified of any positive COVID test within 14 days of attending an event at UMW.  The University may also implement additional restrictions if cases increase on campus or in the region. We encourage you to check our website for updates prior to arriving to campus for a scheduled event.


For more information, contact the James Farmer Multicultural Center at 540/654-1044 or  Visit 

Please email us at if you have any questions regarding disability-related accommodations.