Black History Month

Author Tiya Myles will speak on campus Friday, Feb. 9.



Detroit Mercy launched its Black History Month celebration Thursday, Feb. 1, with an interfaith dinner, but many more events are planned in the coming weeks.

The month provides a chance to reflect on African-American inventors, activists, slaves and even athletes. It is a chance to learn about struggles and achievements and life stories.

Because of the Black History Month planning team, University of Detroit Mercy has events scheduled during the whole month of February.

Drew Peters of University Ministry is among those on the planning team.

He explained that the team got started four years ago.

Various organizations and departments were putting on campus events related to Black History Month without coordinating the activities.

University President Antoine Garibaldi asked the dean of students to put together a group to manage the schedule.

Representatives from Student Life, Student Affairs, University Ministry and African American Studies joined with Fr. J. Timothy Hipskind, history professor Roy Finkenbine, the dean of students and some student representatives to do the planning.

The result? A range of events that appeal to a wide audience, according to Peters.

“It’s another opportunity for students to learn about another culture,” said Dorothy Stewart, associate dean of students, who noted that Detroit Mercy’s campus is diverse.

Here is what’s planned for the remainder of the month:

* Friday, Feb. 9, at 5:30 p.m. in the ballroom, author Tiya Miles will discuss her book “The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straights,” which uncovers the city’s early complicity in slavery. 

* Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. in Grounds Coffeehouse will be The Henry “Box” Brown performance, which is based on an actual person. Students will enjoy it because the character, portrayed by Rory Riddick, comes to life and interacts with the audience, said Adam Hollmann, assistant director of Student Life.

* Wednesday, Feb. 14 – Valentine’s Day – at 1 p.m. in the ballroom, professor Dr. Roy Finkenbine will share “Love Stories from the Underground Railroad,” part of a tribute to abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

Dorothy Stewart said that she is most looking forward to that event, in which people learn of the romantic tales of slaves and how they fought to keep their families together.

* Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. in Chemistry 114, educator and filmmaker Kamasi Hill will screen his documentary “Born in the Struggle,” about the children of African-American radical activists of the 1960s and 1970s. 

* Monday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. in the Student Fitness Center, Ibram X. Kendi will discuss his recent National Book Award-winning “Stamped from the Beginning.” It will be followed by a book signing.

* Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. in Grounds Coffeehouse, the movie “Moonlight” will be shown, ending the month’s celebration.