Skip to main content

 SRU Emphasizes 'Black History Month' with Lectures, Displays, Performances 




Contact: K.E. Schwab -- 724-738-2199; e-mail:


           SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University will host nearly two dozen special events as part of its monthlong “Black History Celebration,” including a high school jazz festival, performances and lectures by an African Griot, a master enthnomusicologist in percussion and a performance on the history of black women. In addition on-going displays noting black achievements will be offered.

The programs, which open Sunday [Feb. 1], are being organized by the university’s Office of Intercultural Programs and the university’s Intercultural Collaborative Team.

On Feb. 1,the Black/African American Caucus will host “African American Reading Chain” at 4 p.m. in the University Union with participants sharing excerpts, poems, short stories and other literary works by black authors.

Feb. 6-7is designated “Spiritual Emphasis Weekend” sponsored by the on-campus group Send Ju’dah First. The weekend will foster spiritual growth as a solid foundation for life. The opening day program includes a lecture by Dr. Aminata Njeri, chief executive officer of Dynamics of Leadership, at 7 p.m. in Slippery Rock United Methodist Church. The second part of the weekend offers “Spiritual Workshops” with Brian Johnson, director of multicultural affairs at Susquehanna University in 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., offering sessions in the University Union

Feb. 7will also see the SRU music department host the Pennsylvania Music Educator Association’s District 5 Jazz Festival with some 40 hand-selected high school jazz musicians. The 2 p.m. public concert, including the SRU Jazz Ensemble directed by Stephen Hawk, associate professor of music, is scheduled for Swope Music Hall. Admission is $3. A “Gospel Explosion” will follow at 4:30 p.m. in the University Union sponsored by Send Ju’dah First.

Feb 10 offers an 11:30 a.m. “Open Forum” sponsored by the President’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Diversity in the University Club of North Hall.

Feb. 11looks at “Race…Is it Really an Issue,” Part II, facilitated by Dr. Renay Scales, assistant vice president for human resources and diversity, at 7 p.m. in Swope Music Hall.

Feb. 12features African Griot Alhaji Papa Susso,master kora (African harp-lute) player and oral historian from The Gambia, West Africa. A previous visitor to campus, Susso hails from a long line of Griots (traditional oral historians) of the Mandinka people. He will recount the history of his country and people, discuss the roles of Griots in West African culture and perform classics songs of the Griot repertoire. His public lecture is at 8 p.m. in Swope Music Hall; a reception is set for 4 p.m. in Carruth Rizza Hall. The visit is sponsored by SRU’s department of modern languages and cultures, the College of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts, and the Office of Intercultural Programs.

Feb. 16,master drummer Hafiz Shabazz,an ethnomusicologist, percussionist, performer and lecturer who teaches improvisation and nonwestern music courses at Dartmouth College, will perform at 8 p.m. in Swope Music Hall. Shabazz is aninitiated member of the Ancestral Shrine of the Ashanti Nation in Ghana, West Africa. The visit is sponsored by the Office of Intercultural Programs, Office of Human Resources and Diversity and the College of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts.

Feb. 20-22offers the Chaka Fattah Graduate Opportunities Conference in Philadelphia with SRU students participating.

Feb. 23will see “Encounters: Bailey Library’s Authors and Artists Series” spotlighting Dr. Alan Levy, professor of history, as he lectures on his newly released book “Tackling Jim Crow: Racial Segregation In Professional Football” at 3 p.m. in the library’s Special Collections Room. The lecture is sponsored by the library, the SRU history department and the Office of Intercultural Programs.

Feb. 25spotlights Maxine Maxwell in a 7 p.m. “Echoes of the Past” performance in the University Union. Maxwell will weave through history exploring the turning points in the lives of five African women of remarkable strength and courage. Each character offers a complete and concise background narrative along with costume pieces to set the stage. The performance, sponsored by the University Program Board, looks at what it has been like to be black and female over the past 150 years.

Feb. 27includes the university’s third annual “Soul Food Dinner” at 7 p.m. in the University Union and sponsored by the Black Action Society. Tickets, available at the University Union Feb. 2-26, are $5.

Feb 28concludes the month’s activities with a “Brotherhood Luncheon” featuring Tony Mitchell, professor of African/African American Studies at Penn State University, McKeesport, at 1 p.m. in the University Union. The luncheon will serve as a vehicle for black males who are students, faculty, staff and administrators to have open dialogue to expand social, cultural, political and economic horizons.

 Displays and exhibits planned include:

           “Black Authors Book Display,” at the University Union’s SGA Bookstore; “Black Historians Display,” sponsored by the SRU history department in Spotts World Culture Building; “Black Americans and Philosophy Display” in the University Union; and campus residence halls will offer special displays throughout the month.


Pn, PgN, WPN, PR, PT, AA, S


Click here to view the Economic Impact Report

Click here to view the Economic Impact Report