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W&L Celebrates Black History Month W&L presents a monthlong schedule of events celebrating Black History Month.

flexlena-1140x759 W&L Celebrates Black History MonthDean of the College Lena Hill delivers a talk during Black History Month 2020.

Washington and Lee University presents a monthlong schedule of events celebrating Black History Month. Most of the events were planned by the university’s Student Association for Black Unity (SABU), and all are free and open to the public to view online.

Check back to this story daily on The Columns for updated information about how to register for events.

The theme for this year’s series of SABU activities, which will highlight prominent Black figures, is “Activists and Artists.”

“For Black History Month this year, we wanted to center the Black perspective through our events as a way of understanding the present we are experiencing in America and globally,” said SABU Vice President Amber Morrison ’23. “With an emphasis on ‘Artists and Activists,’ we can use appreciation for Black culture as a way to bring people together in understanding and unity moving into the future rather than as a reminder of past injustices.”

The group will kick off its celebration with Black Poetry Night on Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. Students and staff will read poems written by themselves and Black authors. The reading is free and open to the public to watch online.

Every Friday in February at 6 p.m., SABU will host Zoom events titled “For the Culture Fridays.” These events are opportunities for students to discuss different facets of Black culture and Black artists’ contributions to their respective genres. On Feb. 5, Sarai Warrick ’23 will give a presentation about poetry and the Black community. On Feb. 12, Tiwaniya Tyler ’24 will talk fashion, and on Feb. 19, Taylor Graham ’24 will present a talk about languages. To round out For the Culture Fridays, Naija Barakat ’24 will discuss subcultures on Feb. 26. An open-dialogue discussion will follow each event.

On Feb. 15 at 6:30 p.m., SABU will host a virtual panel discussion titled “An Open Letter.” The event will feature professors Michael Hill, professor of Africana Studies and Dayo Abah, professor of journalism. Watch the discussion here.

“As the name suggests, this panel will allow Black people to discuss their experiences,” Morrison said. “After the Capitol riots and the surprising responses of mainstream society, many Black people feel like these are just the manifestations of what we have been trying to talk about forever.”

On Feb. 23 at 6 p.m., Nneka Dennie, assistant professor of history, will host a Zoom event to discuss her course, “Black Radical Women.” There will be time for a discussion at the end. Dennie’s lecture is free to watch here.

On Feb. 25 at 7 p.m., the Alumni Engagement Office will celebrate Black History Month with Lena Hill, dean of the college, professor of English and core faculty in African studies and Lynn Rainville, director of Institutional History at W&L. The two scholars will discuss how one goes about the important work of finding the often times hidden histories of African Americans in higher education as well as share stories of Black excellence among students, faculty and staff throughout W&L’s history. The event is free to watch online here.

To complete the month-long celebrations, W&L will present a keynote speaker as a continuation of W&L’s Black Future Leaders Experience Conference (BlackFLEX) programming on Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. The keynote speaker for the conference is Bakari Sellers, attorney and CNN political commentator. Register for the talk here.

The community can find more information about SABU’s events on their Instagram account at @wlusabu.

Black History Month is observed every year in February. It is a month dedicated to the reminiscence of the history of Blacks in the United States. Additionally, it is a time used to celebrate Black achievements throughout history and highlight the revolutions that were spearheaded by Black citizens who sought to make a difference for their communities.