A Dozen Ways to Celebrate Black History Month

Dickinson Archway

Events planned for campus, alumni communities 

February is nationally recognized as Black History Month, and Dickinson departments and organizations have a variety of educational and social events in store to celebrate the achievements by African Americans and recognize their important role in U.S. history.

A full listing of diversity-related events is viewable via Dickinson’s new Diversity Events Calendar. Here are a few highlights of events open to the campus and alumni communities.

On-campus events

Black History Month Game Night
Feb. 3, HUB Social Hall, 6 p.m.

The Black Student Union kicks off the first week of Black History Month with a game night, featuring Uno, trivia games and much more.

Brave Conversations
Feb. 7, Althouse 201, 6 p.m.

The student-created Brave Conversations series provides a space for underrepresented students to share their experiences at Dickinson and in their communities. Students choose the discussion topics to support, empower and co-create practices that increase belonging and build resilience. Conversations are moderated by students with support from a faculty or staff member.

The Ins and Outs of Networking With Black Student Union
Feb. 8, Althouse 206, 7 p.m.

Join the Black Student Union and guest speaker Janene Bryant for an interactive lesson on networking.

Running From the Washingtons
Feb. 15, 7 p.m., Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium

Erica Armstrong Dunbar

The 2023 Black History Month keynote address, Running From the Washingtons: Ona Judge and the Founding of a Nation, is hosted by The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues. Judge was one of nine enslaved people whom President George Washington brought to his Mount Vernon home in Virginia. While Washington served in Philadelphia, then the nation’s capital, Pennsylvania state law required that enslaved people be set free after six months of residency. To get around this law, Washington sent Judge and other enslaved persons South before they reached six months’ residency, denying Judge and the others their freedom. When Judge escaped, Washington launched an intense search to recapture her.

The address will be delivered by Erica Armstrong Dunbar, the Charles and Mary Beard Distinguished Professor of History at Rutgers University, award-winning author and the national director of the Association of Black Women Historians. Students in Dickinson’s Department of Africana Studies will have an opportunity to interview Dunbar during a departmental luncheon prior to the event.

This lecture draws from Dunbar’s scholarship on Judge, highlighted in her Frederick Douglass Book Prize-winning book Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge, a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction. Dunbar has also published A Fragile Freedom: African American Women and Emancipation in the Antebellum City (Yale University, 2008) and She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman (S&S, 2019). This event is cross-listed in the alumni section below.

Talking Black Love
Feb. 15, Althouse 201, 7 p.m.

Art Show Image

What is “Black love”? What does it look like at Dickinson? This post-Valentine’s Day event, titled "Black Love: Let’s Talk About It," is hosted by the Black Student Union.

A.C.E. Peer Mentors Monthly Meeting
Feb. 16, East College 203, 5 p.m.

Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors of color meet monthly to learn about Dickinson College resources, build leadership skills and grow together academically and socially so that they may better serve their first-year mentees.

BGC Discussion Group
Feb. 21, Allison Hall Community Room, 5:30 p.m.

The Black Girl Chronicles (BGC) Discussion Group stems from the Black Girl Chronicles Conference, hosted by Hope Station and supported by Dickinson students and the Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity. This monthly event offers a space for Black women students and select young Black women from the Carlisle community to join together for discussions related to academic, professional and social life experiences of Black women. 

Black, Fat and Whole  
Feb. 22, Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

psyche williams

Psyche Williams-Forson of the University of Maryland delivers a Love Your Body Week keynote address that also explores issues related to Black women’s experiences. Her lecture is titled Bearing Witness to Myself: Womanness, Blackness, Fatness, Wholeness and … the Twisted Work of Trauma. This discussion will engage the intersections of womanness, blackness, fatness and wholeness to consider different definitions of health and personal agency.

A pioneer in the field of Black food studies, Williams-Forson is professor and chair of the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland College Park and whose work and teaching spans the disciplines of the performing arts, American studies, anthropology, women, gender & sexuality studies and ethnicity. She’s the author of Eating While Black: Food Shaming and Race in America (UNC Press 2022); Taking Food Public: Redefining Food in a Changing World, a co-edited collection w/Carole Counihan, (Routledge 2013); and the award-winning Building Houses Out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food and Power (UNC Press 2006).

The Value of the Vote
Feb. 27, Stern Great Hall, 6 p.m.

Dickinson sweatshirt with I Voted stickers

The Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity and the Office of Alumni Relations join forces to sponsor Pathways to Progress: The Value of the Vote, with the Pennsylvania Past Players’ Lenwood Sloan, Kelly Summerford and Sharia Benn. History will come to life as these living-history interpreters don the personas of Martin Delany, William C. Goodridge and Frances E. W. Harper, prominent and powerful 19th-century Black Pennsylvania suffragists and abolitionists.

Registration is mandatory for in-person participants. The event also will be livestreamed on the Alumni Relations YouTube channel, in real time, for alumni participation.

Black Talent Expo
Feb. 24, Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

This event, brought to you by the Black Student Union, showcases the creativity of Black-identifying students at Dickinson. Come and see the great store of talent on our campus!

Alumni events

Yvette Davis, director of Dickinson's Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity. Photo by Dan Loh.

Yvette Davis, director of Dickinson's Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity. Photo by Dan Loh.

Dickinson alumni are marking Black History Month within their home communities in a variety of ways, and they are also invited to view a livestream of the Feb. 15 keynote address. 


Published January 27, 2023