Dinner, movie, talks will spotlight black history

Every year, the month of February presents a special opportunity to reflect on black history in America.

There are certain notable figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X who are most associated with Black History Month.

However, with every new year there is an exciting opportunity to reflect on new events and achievements.  

Considering Barack Obama’s last term as president has ended, now is a great time to reflect on his legacy as the first African-American president of the United States of America.

Additionally, with the recent movie “Hidden Figures,” many people are now aware for the first time of the contributions of three African-American women (Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson) crucial in launching astronaut John Glenn into orbit in 1962.

These two historical events, for just two examples, show the importance of being educated on black history and reflecting on its significance to American culture and history as whole.

Having a focus and dedication to black history is something that is important to the university as seen through the various Black History Month events planned for February.

This year, the university will be hosting five events to commemorate Black History Month:

  • Thursday, Feb. 9: Detroit Mercy hosts the eighth annual interfaith dinner and celebration, which brings people together to discuss and celebrate religious diversity. It will be held in the ballroom 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 14: There will be an opportunity to spend Valentine’s Day in a unique way. History professor Roy E. Finkenbine, director of the Black Abolitionist Archive, will present “Love Stories from the Underground Railroad,” focusing on the story of Isom and Saby Thurman, an African-American couple in 1825 who escaped slavery on their journey to freedom from Indiana to Canada. It will take place 12:45-2 p.m. in the ballroom.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 22: With the approaching fiftieth anniversary of the July 1967 Detroit riots, a panel of experts will be discussing the events of that time and their consequences. It begins at 7 p.m. in the ballroom.
  • Thursday, Feb. 23: The Student Programming Broad is showing the film “Loving” (2016) about Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple in 1960s fighting the law in Virginia prohibiting interracial marriage. It will be shown in Grounds Coffeehouse 7-9 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 25: University Ministry will host a Discover the D event in the Student Center 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Finkenbine encourages all students to participate in the events.

“African-American history is American history,” he said. “Whatever your background, we are who we are today because of African-American history and what African-Americans have contributed.”