WWU Celebrates Black History Month

William Woods University is commemorating Black History Month throughout February with a series of presentations, speeches and story-telling.


All events, free and open to the public, are sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs.


“Milk,” a documentary about the life and assassination of Harvey Milk, will be shown at 5 p.m. Wednesday in Cutlip Auditorium.  A gay rights activist, Milk in 1977 was the first openly gay man to be elected to a political office in California. He was assassinated 11 months later.


“This movie is part of my ‘campaign’ to show the power of racial and cultural hatred,” said Tammy Carter, WWU director of multicultural affairs.


Thursday Dr. Bernard Solomon will share the story of how he came to be principal of Lange Middle School in Columbia, Mo., as a black professional. Solomon spent 10 years in business, but was drawn to the teaching profession. He began teaching mathematics and science before pursuing educational leadership. He will speak at 4 p.m. Feb. 18 in Burton Business Building, room 100.


On Feb. 24, Jessie Adolph, a doctoral student and graduate instructor at the University of Missouri-Columbia will speak on Hip Hop and how it depicts African American women. Adolph, whose educational focus is on the history, growth and impact of Hip Hop in America, will speak at 4 p.m. in Burton Business Building, room 006.


“I will critically analyze hip hop videos and music by both male and female artists such as MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Lauryn Hill, Foxy Brown and Lil Kim,” Adolph said, “by exploring the ways in which hip-hop challenges and reaffirms gender stereotypes of black female identity.”


The final event is a dance performance by “God’s Anointed New Generation or GANG. The Christian-affiliated hip hop dance group is from Progressive Missionary Baptist Church in Columbia, Mo.


The group, directed by Ustan Plummer-Matthews, is composed of 10 dancers, ages 10-19. The performance takes place at 6 p.m. Feb. 25 in Cutlip Auditorium.


Earlier this month, William Woods University was honored with a visit and speech from the Rev.  Samuel “Billy” Kyles, who was with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. when he was shot. Kyles shared his memories of Dr. King and the story of his involvement in the civil rights movement, reminding students that “If the dream dies, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.”


According to Carter, honoring Black History Month is important at William Woods.


“As I look around this campus in 2010, I see that there is so much that needs to be done in both increasing diversity and teaching each culture the benefits of learning from and embracing other cultures.  We are not different as a people other than the color of our skin,” Carter said.


“I think it is not just important, but crucial, for William Woods and every other higher learning institution to teach students how to leave these institutions and interact and work with others who may be different from themselves. This type of education can’t truly be learned from a textbook, it’s learned through experience, through interaction.” 


She added, “I can’t reach around the world with my anti-discrimination, anti-hate message, but if I can make an impact on the lives of students at WWU before they leave this campus, they will carry that message out into the world.”


For more information about Black History Month activities at William Woods, contact Tammy Carter at (573) 592-4358 or tamara.carter@williamwoods.edu.