January 24, 2018
Numerous events honor SIU's 2018 Black History Month
CARBONDALE, Ill. – Guest speakers, films, a variety show and numerous other activities are on tap as Southern Illinois University Carbondale commemorates Black History Month in February.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “African Americans in Times of War” and during the kick-off event, Dr. Wesley McNeese will present “Fighting Black,” an overview African-American participation in the military conflicts of the United States, in honor of the theme. McNeese is the SIU system executive director for diversity initiatives. The event is set for 5 p.m. on Feb. 1 at Morris Library’s John C. Guyon Auditorium.
Speaking from personal experience
McNeese, an East St. Louis native, served as an Air Force Morse intercept operator in Vietnam, achieving the rank of technical sergeant before becoming a military paramedic. He went on to become an emergency physician and is certified in healthcare executive diversity and inclusion training by the Association of American Medical Colleges and Georgetown University in Washington D.C.
McNeese completed his medical training at the SIU School of Medicine and his residency at McGaw Medical Center/Northwestern Medical School in Chicago. His undergraduate studies were at SIUC, Anderson University in Indiana and Illinois State University-Normal. The retired physician also served as editor of The Crusader, a hometown weekly newspaper, before attending college.
Chancellor Carlo Montemagno will offer remarks during the kick-off as well. A special art exhibit focusing on the theme can be seen all month long in the first floor rotunda of Morris Library.
Activist and former Black Panther to speak about racial conflicts
Reggie Brown, author, activist and former Black Panther, will present “A View from the Inside” at 6 p.m. on Feb. 9 at Morris Library’s John C. Guyon Auditorium and first floor rotunda. He will offer his perspective on racial conflicts in Southern Illinois during his studies in the region years ago, before injuries sidetracked his SIU education.
He eventually completed a bachelor’s degree in political science at Columbia University and now teaches caregivers how to advocate for special-needs populations. He will reflect via poetry, rap and prose, on a significant time in African-American history.
Wingfield to discuss experience of minority workers
Adia Harvey-Wingfield will address “New Economy, New Inequalities: Race and Health Care Work in a Neoliberal Era,” at 11 a.m. Feb. 28 in Parkinson Building, Room 108. She’ll offer thoughts on the workplace experiences of minority workers, particularly black male professionals, within predominately white occupational settings.
She is a professor of sociology at Washington University and previously taught at Georgia State University. She completed her doctorate in sociology from John Hopkins University and has lectured internationally regarding her oft-published research examining the ways race, gender and class intersect and affect workplace social processes. She has also published several books, including the recent award-winning “No More Invisible Man: Race and Gender in Men’s Work.”
Police officer to highlight his own military service
“Driven,” by Angelo R. Hightower will focus on how the military was instrumental in instilling the values and confidence Hightower needed to pursue his goals. He will speak at 6 p.m. Feb. 13 in the Student Center’s Ohio Room. Hightower is a police officer, a Marion commissioner and mayoral candidate, and the 2016 Southern Illinoisan Person of the Year.
Special events take place all month long. A few of the highlights include:
- “Oratorical: Honoring Dick Gregory” is at 6 p.m., Feb. 10, at the Student Center’s Old Main Room. Student participants in this oratorical contest are asked to speak with the type of transformational language whose power SIU alumnus Dick Gregory exhibited.
- Black History Variety Show, featuring singing, dancing, poetry and various artistic performances highlighting the culture, importance and significance of black history, 7 p.m., Feb. 23 in Davies Gym.
- “Afro-Slayage,” a fashion show celebrating black fashion from royalty to the modern era, 6 p.m., Feb. 25, Student Center’s Ballroom D.
- “Taste of Blackness,” an annual event featuring comfort foods such as pulled pork, fried chicken, catfish, black-eyed peas, cornbread and more, noon to 2 p.m., Feb. 24 at New Zion Missionary Baptist Church, tickets are $10, call 618/457-7075 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All events are open to the general public.
Sponsors of Black History Month at SIU include: The Black Resource Center, the Multicultural Resource Center, Morris Library, the SIU system, Student Programming Council, the Departments of Africana Studies and Mass Communication and Media Arts, SIU Veterans Services, WSIU, Carbondale Public Library, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the Black Affairs Council, Black Women’s Task Force, Sociology Department, Gen. John A. Logan College, the National Association for Black Journalists, New Zion Missionary Baptist Church.