Jan 31, 2006    #017
Contact: Michelle Hopkins

UMKC Celebrates Rich Heritage of African Americans with a Wide Array of Events

The contributions of African Americans to the landscape of American life span the full calendar and hundreds of years; but February represents a microcosm of time when the nation and the campus turn attention to honoring the achievements of African Americans. February is important in African American history.

  • The first national celebration of African American contributions, called Negro History Week, took place the second week of February in 1926. Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a scholar instrumental in ensuring American history books included the roles of African Americans, chose February for the observance because this month marked the birthdays of both former slave/author Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

  • Civil rights leader W.E.B. DuBois, founder of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), was born February 23, 1868.

  • The 15th Amendment granting blacks the right to vote was passed in February 1870.

    Also in February over the years, the first black U.S. Senator (Hiram Revels) took the oath of office, the NAACP was founded; and the lunch-counter sit-ins began in Greensboro, North Carolina, to name just a few events.

    The University of Missouri-Kansas City will explore history, art, contemporary issues, food, music, business, home ownership and, of course, African American History Month itself throughout February. Nearly all events are free and open to the public. For the full calendar, please go to For a selection of the diverse events on campus, please see below.

    Wednesday, February 1, 4 p.m., Room 117, University Center, 50th & Rockhill Rd.

    Speaker Fiona Beattie uses video clips to illustrate how the Civil Rights movement revitalized by lunch counter sit-ins in Greensboro, N.C. Free event is sponsored by the UMKC Dept. of History and the American Studies Program

    Friday, February 3, 5-8 p.m., African American History & Culture House, 5245 Rockhill Rd.

    Art exhibit, The Genius of the Slaves opens, featuring the work of the mother-and-son artistic team of Burdine Thacker and Bronson Thacker. The art can be seen all of February, but opening night also offers an artist lecture, poetry reading, music and refreshments. Free.

    Thursday, February 9, 7-9 p.m., School of Law Student Lounge, 500 E. 52nd St.

    The Black Law Students Assn. offers a delicious soul food dinner for a price of $6 in advance and $8 at the door.

    Wednesday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m., Alumni Room, University Center, 50th and Rockhill Rd.

    Charles Coulter, opinion page editor of the Kansas City Star and a popular lecturer in UMKC Black Studies courses, discusses Black Kansas City before WWII - Five Women of Distinction. Free event is provided by the UMKC Dept. of History and the American Studies Program.

    Saturday, Feb. 18, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., African American History and Culture House 5245 Rockhill Rd.

    Children in grades K-6 and their parents learn about African American History through fun, interactive activities including art projects, drumming, presentations and storytelling. Lunch is included. The event is free but space is limited, so reservations are needed, 816-235-5641.

    Wednesday, February 22, 6-8 p.m., Room 106, University Center, 50th and Rockhill Rd.

    Black Entrepreneurial Forum provides practical tips on how to start a business, as well as an understanding of the unique obstacles minority business face. This free event is sponsored by the UMKC Office of Minority Student Affairs.

    Thursday, February 23, 7 p.m., Pierson Auditorium, University Center, 50th and Rockhill Rd.

    Former Kansas City Chiefs player Pellom McDaniels gives an address on Still Moving the Masses: Reconsidering the Significance of Black History Month and the Progress of a People. McDaniels is a Ph.D. candidate at Emory University and the co-curator of the Carter G. Woodson Collection at Emory. This free event is sponsored by the UMKC Dept. of History and the American Studies Program.

    Monday, February 27, 6:30-9 p.m., African American History and Culture House, 5245 Rockhill Rd.

    Free session, open to the public, provides useful tips on purchasing a home or investment property. The event is sponsored by the UMKC Office of Minority Student Affairs.

    Tuesday, February 28, 7-9 p.m., Lounge of the Oak Street East Residence Hall, 5051 Oak St.

    This free session examines how African Americans have been portrayed in film throughout history.

    The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health sciences, and urban affairs.


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