May 25, 2019  

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USM Black History Month Events Include Educational Programs and Lectures, Popular Soul Food Luncheon

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The important contributions of African-Americans to The University of Southern Mississippi and U.S. history and culture will be observed at Southern Miss during Black History Month, beginning Feb. 2 and incorporating the theme “Black Excellence.”

In 1986, Black History Month was officially designated for February by the U.S. Congress, after being recognized annually by U.S. presidents since 1976. USM Black History Month has traditionally included programs featuring educational lectures and cultural events that include music, art, and cuisine, showing how black Americans have helped shape the trajectory of USM, Mississippi, and the nation.

“We hope students, faculty and staff from all backgrounds come out to learn and gain appreciation for the African American story from these programs,” said Valencia Walls, coordinator of the USM Office of Multicultural Programs and Services. “Our students, faculty and staff work hard to plan and implement this schedule, and we hope the university and local communities support and enjoy our efforts.”

Highlights of the month’s programming include:

*Friday, Feb. 2, 10:30 a.m.: Clyde Kennard marker unveiling, Kennard-Washington Hall on the Hattiesburg campus.

*Monday, Feb. 5, 6 p.m.: Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., “Black History Museum,” Thad Cochran Center, room 214, Hattiesburg campus.

*Wednesday, Feb. 7, 6 p.m.: African-American Student Organization Cultural Legends Ball, Thad Cochran Center ballrooms, Hattiesburg campus.

*Tuesday, Feb. 20, 11:30 a.m.: Soul Food Luncheon, Fresh Food Company, Thad Cochran Center, first floor, Hattiesburg campus (students can deduct from meal plan, if applicable).

*Wednesday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m.: ‘Think Fast”, R.C. Cook University Union, Hattiesburg campus.

*Thursday, Feb. 22, 12:15 p.m.: Lunch and Learn with USM Dean of Students Dr. Eddie Holloway, Cook Library room 123, Hattiesburg campus.

*Tuesday, Feb. 27, 7 p.m.: Armstrong-Branch Lecture, Bennett Auditorium, Hattiesburg campus. Admission is free.

For more information about Black History Month events at the Southern Miss Hattiesburg Campus, contact Walls at or 601.266.5057. For information about Black History Month events at the Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach, visit