Black History Month Events at Otterbein Promote Cultural Proficiency, Pride

Posted Feb 01, 2022

February is Black History Month, and Otterbein will be hosting events and programming that facilitate understanding, respectful discourse, and motivation to further drive social change. 

President Gerald Ford officially established Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” 

Otterbein student groups and the university began celebrating Black Culture Week beginning in 1972.  

“It’s important to celebrate Black History Month because it gives us an intentional opportunity to focus on telling the stories of various Black contributors that have been systemically left out of textbooks,” said James Prysock, director of the Otterbein Office of Social Justice and Activism. “My hope is students use this as an opportunity to build cultural proficiency and embody a sense of genuine pride in Black culture.” 

Below is a list of events Otterbein is holding for Black History Month. 

  • MLK Social Justice Series, 4-5 p.m., Feb. 2 and 23, Towers Hall, room 110 
    In honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, Otterbein will continue its MLK Social Justice Series facilitated by local activist Noel Williams, a former president of the Columbus NAACP. Throughout the series, participants will learn about their strengths, how they can utilize them to better their communities, and develop an understanding of relational organizing for face-to-face meetings and contacts. It is encouraged to attend all events, but not mandatory. Events are INST and FYE approved. 
  • “As a Matter of Black” Film Screening, 7 p.m., Feb. 3, Towers Hall, room 112 
    The Department of English and the Office of Social Justice and Activism are co-sponsoring “As a Matter of Black” film screening and talk-back. This documentary, made by award-winning Columbus filmmaker Donte Woods-Spikes, explores the intersection between art and activism during the protests for racial justice in the summer of 2020. 
  • Black History Month Alumni Author Panel, 6 p.m., Feb. 8 
    Join us for a virtual conversation with two Otterbein alumni authors Rayshawn Wilson ‘02 and Melica Niccole ‘04 as part of the African American Read In. They’ll be discussing their path to publishing, their inspiration, and more. This event is FYS, INST, and #cardsSTANDtogether approved. For the Zoom link, look at the FMX page for the event
  • African American Student Union Campus Events 
    The Otterbein African American Student Union will be facilitating programs throughout Black history Month at 6:30 p.m. Every Monday, in the Chapel. These programs include relationship talks, crafts, a talent show, and more. 
  • Black History Month Reading Challenge 
    As part of Otterbein’s participation in the NCTE African-American Read In event, we hope you’ll commit to reading at least one book by a Black author this February. Courtright Memorial Library will curate a selection of books by Black authors to help you find the perfect read. All faculty, staff, and students are welcomed and encouraged to participate. We will host a random drawing at the end of February to select one winner of a small prize. The more books you read, the more entries you get, so log those hours! Enter your submissions at this form. Use #CardsReadBlack to share your photos, videos, and stories about your experience. 

For more information on upcoming events, visit the Office of Social Justice and Activism Facebook page and the University Events Calendar