The University of Tulsa is marking Black History Month this year with a number of events meant to highlight the culture and accomplishments of Black Americans. Several of these will repeat weekly. The United States has celebrated Black History Month in February for more than 50 years, using this month as an opportunity to spotlight Black people in American history; other countries like Canada and the Netherlands have also started a comparable tradition. In addition to learning about history, people can celebrate by tangibly supporting Black people through promotion of Black businesses.
The Association of Black Collegians will spotlight Black owned businesses each week on their Instagram (@tulsaabc). On Mondays, they will highlight a Black owned student business, while on Wednesdays they will highlight a Black owned business anywhere in Tulsa.
Several of the planned events have already taken place. One was a talk on Feb. 4 on the topic of social justice through the lens of a Black Panther party, where Elmer Dixon, President of Executive Diversity services and former member of the Black Panther Party, discussed his experiences and his perspective on the current social climate and especially the Black Live Matters Movement.
As Black History Month continues, there are several opportunities for students to participate in events. On Feb. 14, there will be a Soul Food Soiree in the Pat Case room in the Union. Given the experience of last year, the food can be expected to be great. Later, on Feb. 26, at 6 p.m., a vigil for victims of police brutality will be held in the Hurricane Plaza.
On Feb. 18 at 6 p.m., Hannibal B. Johnson will speak for the Buck Colbert Franklin Memorial Civil Rights Lecture. Johnson is a local attorney, historian, community activist and author of the book “Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District.” He will be talking about “Affirming America’s Promise.” Johnson’s speciality is in diversity and inclusion, cultural competence and nonprofit governance. He serves as a member of the 400 years of African-American History Commission, and is also a part of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commision. Johnson’s lecture will be a virtual event: those interested in attending can register online.
On Feb. 25 at 6 p.m., Cherry Steinwender, co-executive director and a founding member of the Center for the Healing of Racism, will give a talk on healing and racial justice. Steinwender’s focus will be on ways to recognize our social battles and how to offer healing. The event is free, open to all and is hosted by TU’s Office of Diversity. Registration is online.
In addition to these events, you can follow several student-led Instagram accounts that are aimed at increasing awareness of Black History Month, including @tulsaac. As TU facilitates spaces to celebrate Black History Month, students can take this opportunity to learn about underrepresented histories, to promote Black-owned businesses and to highlight the need to continue to support these causes throughout the rest of the year.