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Black History Month

By Crystal Welch
On January 30, 2013

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the historic Emancipation Proclamation, an order issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 that freed many Southern black slaves.  In commemoration of Black History Month 2013, The University of Memphis will host "The Fight for Freedom Continues" throughout the month of February with various events around campus, many of which are open and free to the public.
"The Fight for Freedom Continues" theme was chosen to connect the campus celebration to the national celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.
"The theme is about equalization as the struggle continues," said Linda Hall, coordinator with the Office of Multicultural Affairs. "We are searching for and working toward freedom for everybody, not just black Americans."
Sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, this Friday's opening ceremony will feature the Arthur S. Holman Lifetime Achievement Award honoring Cato Johnson, senior vice president of corporate affairs at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. The event will be held in the Rose Theatre at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.
On Monday, Feb. 4, Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks will be honored through a screening of "Duty of the Hour," a documentary about the life of the Memphis civil rights activist, minister and attorney. The film will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Rose Theatre.
Some famous faces will make an appearance throughout the month, including gospel singer and actress Tamela Mann of Tyler Perry's "Meet the Browns," who will be on campus Friday, Feb. 8th. Mann will be performing as part of Gospel Explosion, starting at 7 p.m. in the Rose Theatre.
A genealogy workshop, "Tracing Our Genealogy" will be held in the Bluff Room in the University Center on Thursday, Feb. 14th beginning at 11:30 a.m. The African and African-American history department, along with Dr. Ladrica Menson-Furr, professor of American and African-American literature will host the event.
Residence Life will host a tour of Slave Haven, located at 826 N. Second St., at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16th. Slave Haven is an underground railroad museum housed in a small downtown home believed to have been a stop station for runaway slaves travelling through Memphis.
On Tuesday, Feb. 19th, the entire community is invited to join in on an evening with CNN & BET news anchor T.J. Holmes in the UC Theatre at 7 p.m.
The University of Memphis chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People invites the campus to join in on the annual knowledge bowl at 7 p.m. in the UC Theatre on Tuesday, Feb. 26th. Students are invited to participate in teams of five for $7 per person.
"It's a chance to learn more about black history in general and for people to become more enlightened," said Mikail Phillips, NAACP campus president.
The Black History Month celebration will end on Thursday, Feb. 28th with a closing ceremony featuring Rev. LaSimba Gray of New Sardis Baptist Church. The event, held at 1 p.m. in the UC Bluff Room, will offer closing words to the community, and Rev. Gray will speak on the month's theme "The Fight for Freedom Continues," according to Office of Multicultural Affairs coordinator Linda Hall.
Throughout the various on-campus events throughout February, Black History Month co-chairs and U of M students Harlee Lowder and Daniel Tillman will be collecting monetary donations as part of a special project for former U of M student Shanyna Isom.
Isom suffers from a rare skin disease that has affected her health and impeded her ability to attended classes at the University.
Lowder and Tillman will be collecting the donations in Isom's name at each event throughout the month. Money raised will be given to the Isom family to help offset the growing financial burden Isom's disease has caused.
The entire University community has been invited to join in on the efforts to show support for one of its own throughout the month of February.
"Our student body and community has the power to make a huge difference in her life, and this month we will be pulling together in efforts to do so," said Lowder.
For a complete calendar of all "The Fight for Freedom Continues" Black History Month 2013 events, visit the 'events' link online under the Office of Multicultural Affairs at

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