Annual Black History Month Lecture
VCU Libraries celebrates the African-American experience and achievements in art, culture, history, literature and the sciences.
Black History Month: a brief overview
Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a native Virginian and Harvard historian, founded the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History in 1915. The mission of this association was to train black historians and to collect, maintain, and publish documents in African-American history.
Eleven years later, in 1926, he established "Negro History Week" to promote racial understanding and to coordinate the study of the African experience in American and world history. The name changed to "Afro-American (Black) History Week" in 1972. Black Americans wanted to focus on their African background and to recognize their specific contributions as American citizens.
The month of February was chosen for this celebration because it contained the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. During America's Bicentennial celebration of 1976, the Association shared prominently in the promotion of American history. The week-long celebration became Black History Month to allow more time for programs and study.
12th Annual Black History Month Lecture: A Century of Strides: African-American Girl Scouts and the Pursuit of Equality in Virginia
Viola O. Baskerville, long involved in elective politics at the city and state levels and now CEO of the Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia, talks about African-American involvement in Virginia Girl Scouting throughout the organization's 100-year history, focusing on the important work of Scout leaders from Richmond, Norfolk, Fredericksburg and beyond.
More than half a century after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, long after the official end to "separate but equal," deep racial injustice persists in our society. Unequal access to education remains a dominate force shaping our communities and is seen widely as a pressing civil rights issue today. ACLU Racial Justice Program Director Dennis Parker will examine the extent of educational inequity and how our society pushes some children from the education system to the justice system. He will examine how implicit bias defines the modern United States in nuanced ways that stubbornly obstruct our progress toward equality for all. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The event will be followed by a public reception.
14th Annual Black History Month Lecture: They Shoot Black People, Don't They?: From Ferguson to NYC, Political Cartoonist Keith Knight on Police Violence in the U.S.
For nearly two decades, cartoonist Keith Knight has been creating funny, politically astute comic strips touching upon some of the most divisive issues of our time, including racially motivated police violence. VCU Libraries proudly presents a presentation by Keith Knight that uses comics to take our country to task on the subject of race. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The event will be followed by a book sale and signing and a public reception.
Acclaimed multi-genre fiction writer Colson Whitehead presents his latest book, the National Book Award–winning novel The Underground Railroad, a haunting fusion of historical fiction and magical realism that tells the story of a pair of slaves who attempt to escape the South using an actual secret network of tunnels and tracks beneath the earth. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The event will be followed by a book sale and signing and a public reception.
Acclaimed historian and author Ibram X. Kendi discusses his book Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, for which he won the National Book Award. The event will be followed with a Q&A, book sale and reception.
African-American soldiers returning home after their service often encountered injustice and insult instead of honor and respect. Join us at VCU Libraries' 17th Annual Black History Month Lecture for a moving and thought-provoking discussion about how our society treated African-American veterans after their service and how that affected them and their communities.