SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University will present a series of events designed for the entire Inland Northwest community to celebrate Black History Month in February. The monthlong celebration officially began in 1976 but its origins date as far back as 1926. PLEASE NOTE: The Richard “Professor Griff” Griffin lecture scheduled for Feb. 25 has been canceled. In its place will be a panel discussion that will explore the topic “The Legacy of Malcolm X.” More information about the panel discussion is below.
Black History Month arrives on the heels of the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, celebrated Jan. 17.
Leading the list of events is “Black History of Spokane: Then, Now, and What Lies Ahead,” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 8 in the Cataldo Hall Globe Room. The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature prominent African-Americans in the Spokane area who will share their perspectives of Spokane’s history and explore how this history impacts Spokane’s African-Americans today. The program, which includes free dessert, is part of the Just Desserts series of events and is sponsored by Gonzaga’s Center for Community Action and Service Learning, and the University’s Black Student Union. For more information, please contact Grace Ditzler via e-mail.
Once again, Gonzaga is offering African-American History this semester; for the first time, however, Instructor Kellie Carter Jackson, an African-American, is teaching it. For Black History Month, Jackson also will present a campuswide lecture and discussion on “Force: Understanding the Politics and Power of Violence in African-American History,” 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 16 in the Jepson Center Wolff Auditorium; it’s free and open to the public.
Another cause for celebration during Black History Month will be the Black History 101 Mobile Museum Necessary! Exhibit, in the Crosby Student Center, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 25. The museum aims to celebrate the contributions, achievements and struggles of African-Americans. The event is free and open to the public. Khalid el-Hakim, founder of the project, says the Necessary! Exhibit contains more than 150 artifacts of the life and legacy of civil rights leader Malcolm X. Co-sponsors include Gonzaga’s Social Justice Club, the Unity Multicultural Education Center, the Programming Board, and Gonzaga Student Body Association.
“We as African people in struggle too often have had short-term memories as a way to anesthetize our pain, but the Black History 101 Mobile Museum wakes us from our slumber to heal our wounds,” said Bruce George, co-founder of Def Poetry Jam.
Also, the Gonzaga Symphony Orchestra will present its winter concert at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 28 at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox (1001 W Sprague Ave.), featuring internationally acclaimed and prize-winning African-American pianist Awadagin Pratt. General admission is $10 and $8 for non GU students and seniors. The performance is free to GU faculty, students and staff. Tickets are either available by calling (509) 624-1200 or by visiting the ticket office at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox. Conducted by Kevin Hekmatpanah, the performance will feature the virtuosic Overture to “Russlan and Ludmilla” by Glinka, the powerful and dramatic Prelude to “Die Meistersinger” by Wagner, the nationalistic Three Dances from “The Bartered Bride” by Smetana, and the epic Piano Concerto #1 in d minor by Johannes Brahms. The Brahms Concerto will feature pianist Pratt. For more information about this or other Gonzaga music department concerts, please call (509) 313-6733 or visit the music department website .
Following is a chronological list of all Gonzaga University Black History Month events, most of which are free and open to the public. For more information, visit the following links:
- “Black History of Spokane: Then, Now, and What Lies Ahead,” 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 8, in Cataldo Hall.
- GU Black Student Union Banquet, “Unsung Heroes” 6 p.m., Feb. 12; $10; Cataldo Hall, Globe Room.
- “Crafting Unity” event, noon-2 p.m., Feb. 16, on the main floor of the Crosby Student Center;
- Lecture, “Force: Understanding the Politics and Power of Violence in African-American History” Feb. 16;
- Cultural Awareness Night 7 p.m., Feb. 18 in Jepson Center’s Wolff Auditorium, open to the public;
- Black History 101 Mobile Museum: Necessary! (Malcolm X Exhibit), 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Feb. 25; free, open to public;
- Panel Discussion: “The Legacy of Malcolm X,” begins at 7 p.m., Feb. 25 in Jepson Center Wolff Auditorium, free and open to the public. THE PROFESSOR GRIF LECTURE HAS BEEN CANCELED. The panel, which features Professors Kellie Jackson of Gonzaga and Robert Bartlett of Eastern Washington University, and Spokane community activist Wil Elder, is free and open to the public.
- Gonzaga Symphony Orchestra Concert at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 28 at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox (1001 W Sprague Ave.). The concert features internationally renowned African-American pianist Awadagin Pratt, who recently performed for President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House. For more information about this or other GU music concerts, please call (509) 313-6733 or visit the music department website .
For more information on the events of Black History Month at Gonzaga University, please contact the Unity Multicultural Education Center at (509) 313-5836 or via e-mail.