Films, music, a poetry slam, and a presentation on media and society by hip-hop artist Jasiri X at Grossmont College and a Martin Luther King Jr. tribute, a black history panel and a look at black women in politics at Cuyamaca College are among February’s Black History Month events.
A diverse selection of events are being offered at both colleges to honor the traditions, legacies and contributions of African-Americans. All events are free and open to the public.
Also known as National African-American History Month, Black History Month grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African-Americans in 1926, with the month of February selected because the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were in that month. In the late ’60s, Negro History Week was transformed into Black History Month due to the civil rights movement, and in 1976 Black History Month was officially recognized by the federal government.
On Feb. 11, New Media Essential for Marginalized Communities featured hip-hop artist Jasiri X.
Hip-hop artist Jasiri X examined the constant bombardment of media images on society and the effect that it has on self, community and the world. The musical artist and activist emerged on the national scene in 2007 with the powerful hit song “Free the Jena 6” and the groundbreaking internet video series that reached millions. In 2015, he was selected among 600 applicants as an Artist as Activist fellow by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and in 2016, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Chicago Theological Seminary.
Grossmont College’s other Black History Month events include:
Wednesdays through Feb. 27: “Jazz Kitchen with Soul Food Specials” featuring singers and musicians from the college’s Jazz Vocal Ensemble and Jazz Studies Department takes place Wednesday, Feb. 6-27 from noon-1 p.m. Enjoy student performances and soul food at the Griffin Grill.
Feb. 21: Open Mic Night Festival and Competition 5-8 p.m. in Bldg. 26, Room 220. Join special guest M.C. Gill Sotu and the Grossmont Black History Month Committee for the 3rd Annual BHM Open Mic Night featuring poetry, rap, spoken word, and more.
Feb. 27: Black History Month Movie Night 2 at 5 p.m. in Griffin Gate features “Hidden Figures,” the real-life story of three African-American female mathematicians who provided crucial calculations for NASA’s space race against the Soviets, all while dealing with the racist and sexist assumptions of their white co-workers. Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia L. Spencer and Janelle Monae.
Cuyamaca College’s Black History Month events include:
Feb. 8: College Hour: The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X Luncheon from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in I-207 – I-209 in the Student Center. Keynote speaker: Dr. Tanis Starck, assistant dean for special projects and director of the Cultural Proficiency Institute for Educators at San Diego State University.
Wednesdays, Feb. 6, 13 and 20: Heritage Book Club: Black Cuban, Black American: A Memoir by Evilio Grillo, facilitated by sociology instructors John Escobedo and Rachel Jacob 2-3:15 p.m. in Room I-208 in the Student Center.
Feb. 12: Hidden Figures: Film and discussion led by Moriah Gonzalez-Meeks, 12:30-3 p.m. in Room I-207 in Student Center.
Feb. 20: Welcome to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) 1-3 p.m. in Room I-207 in the Student Center. Presenter: Nichole Ford, director of Stepping to the Right Direction. Learn about the opportunities these higher learning institutions offer.
Feb. 25: Black History Panel presented by the Department of History, Social and Behavioral Science from 12:30-2:30 p.m. in the Student Center, I-207. Presenters: Alazar Tesfamariam, Moriah Gonzalez-Meeks and Rachel Jacob-Almeida.
Feb. 27: Black Women in Politics, 1-3 p.m. Student Center, I-207. Black women have been trailblazers in the political arena for decades. Nicole Jones, dean of counseling at Cuyamaca College, will discuss current events and how they impact college students.
Feb. 27: Film and Discussion: The Black Panthers – Vanguard of the Revolution 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m., I-208 and 209 in the Student Center. Presenter: Rachel Jacob-Almeida, a Cuyamaca College sociology instructor.