Black History Month events to take place at WKU

Joel Brinkerhoff

WKU is hosting a variety of speakers, films and discussions to commemorate Black History Month.

The main attraction of the events hosted this month is the keynote address to be given by actor and author Hill Harper at 7 p.m. in the Downing University Center Auditorium on Feb. 21. Harper, best known for his portrayal of Dr. Sheldon Hawkes on CSI: New York, graduated from Brown University and earned graduate degrees in law and public administration from Harvard. His topic will be “Building a Foundation For Your Life.”

Vee Smith, the assistant director of student development at the Office of Diversity Programs, has coordinated many of the events on the Black History Month calendar and served on the committee that brought these events to WKU.

“I’ve had a passion for my race since I was in high school,” Smith said. “This month is a chance for African-Americans to showcase and be recognized for their talents.”

Smith said the events that have been held for the month so far have been well-attended considering their topics.

“We would like to see students become more interested in these topics outside of the month of February,” Smith said.

Lloren Foster, an assistant professor of African American Studies, is involved in many of the events taking place on campus in honor of Black History Month.

“As long as I’ve lived, this month has been very special,” Foster said. “We want these events to plant seeds that will eventually bear fruit.”

Foster said he wishes that taking an African-American studies course was a requirement for all undergraduates at WKU.

“There is still a disconnect,” Foster said. “The climate is still tinged with a legacy of the same prejudice as when we arrived here in 1619.”

Foster, the co-chair for the Black History Month Celebration and Cultural Preservation Committee, said he has been preparing for the month since as early as September.

“We see the sun for 29 days, and the rest is winter.” Foster said. “Black history should not be celebrated over the course of just one month, but every month.”