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Black History Month 2021: Black Lives STILL Matter

Join the Salem State community as we celebrate Black History Month

Black History Month, or African American History Month, occurs every February. It pays tribute to and celebrates the achievements of Black Americans and acknowledges the central role of African Americans in United States history.

Black History Month was first conceived as Negro History Week in 1925 by historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Like W.E.B. Du Bois before him, Woodson believed that truth could not be denied and that reason would prevail over prejudice. The first celebration was in February 1926, a week that encompassed the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. They were met with an overwhelmingly positive response. By the middle of the 20th century, many U.S. mayors issued proclamations celebrating the week.

The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976 at the nation’s bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford urged U.S. Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” By this time, the entire nation had come to recognize the importance of Black history in the drama of the American story. Since then every U.S. president has issued African American History Month proclamations.

Salem State University celebrates Black History Month each year with a variety of events led by faculty, staff, and students that celebrate, honor, and recognize the work and culture of Black people. Please join us and view our full lineup of events (please check back for frequent updates and further details, thank you for your patience and understanding):

Monday, February 1, 2021, 12 pm

LEAD Center for Cultural Enrichment Workshop: Activism and Organizing 101

Join the LEAD Center for Cultural Enrichment for our first workshop of the year on developing your capacity for making change. Participants will be able to discuss and think about their passions, coalition building, and most importantly, develop a plan for long term sustainable change.

Thursday, February 4, 2021, 6 pm

'What Type of Activist Are You? Breaking Down Activism, Allyship, and More' Workshop with Black Boston

Join local organizing group Black Boston in an interactive and engaging virtual workshop that will break down different types of activism, organizing, and allyship that is authentic to YOU. 

The workshop will be facilitated by Black Boston members:

  • Toiell Washington, Founder
  • Deneysha Riley, Education Program Coordinator
  • Aisha Revolus, Education Program Coordinator
  • Michaela Notice, Education Program Coordinator
  • Precious Figueroa-Szostek, Director of Educational Programming

Monday, February 8, 2021, 2 pm

2021 Darwin Festival with Dr. Brandon Ogbunu

Environment x Everything Interactions: From Protein Evolution to the Stories of Us

A lecture featuring C. Brandon Ogbunu, Yale University Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Dr. Ogbunu will speak at the Salem State University 42nd annual Darwin Festival. His scientific expertise and social commentary have been featured on NPR's Radiolab.

Sponsored by Academic Affairs

Monday, February 8, 2021, 6:30 pm

Bees/Brotherhood, Career Services, and LEAD Present: The Power of Authenticity: How to Keep it Real at Work 

With the start of the Spring semester, it’s time to apply and interview for internships and post-grad roles! This process can be overwhelming, especially during Covid-19 when the world of work has pivoted to be mostly remote and virtual. Join a presentation and discussion presented by LEAD, Career Services and Campus Life and Recreation, to learn about how to showcase your whole and authentic self during the virtual job search and interview process. The topic of work-life balance, virtual networking and interviewing, and virtual Job and Internship Fair preparation will also be covered.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Multicultural Student Association (MSA) Movie Showing: "Brian Banks"

MSA will host a movie showing of "Brian Banks," and will share a link via Swank for participants to watch wherever they are.

You are welcome to view this movie any time on 2/11 here, sponsored by MSA.

More details to come on viewing party event.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021, 6 pm

African Student Union (ASU) Afrobeats Dance Workshop

Come join the African Students Union on February 16th and have a good time with us. Our instructor Abdulce will be teaching us a traditional afrobeats dances and having a good time. This event is open to SSU students, faculty, staff and the community, so grab your friends and bring them too! 

Camera's must be on during this event, but this is a judgement free zone. Just dance with us and have a good time.

Tuesday, February 16–March 19, 2021  

Exhibition: What's Love Got To Do With It?

What's Love Got To Do With It? assembles the work of six artists/educators, who not only share a love of the creative process but also share a personal relationship with one another. James Montford, one of the artists exhibited, examines and reflects upon his identity as an African American artist and educator in his work. Additionally, artists of various identities are included in this exhibition. How have their relationships affected their production as artists and vice versa?

This exhibition can be viewed online at

Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 6 pm

Jackie Robinson: American Icon

Presented by Alumni Association

Why isn't Jackie Robinson seen more as an American civil rights icon, and not just a baseball icon? In Anthony Guerriero's opinion, Jackie Robinson is probably the most important person in the history of our national pastime. 

Join us for an in-depth conversation about Jackie Robinson and his legacy not only within the game of baseball but within the civil rights movement of America. 

Register and find more information here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 7 pm

Implicit Bias and Algorithmic Bias: Impact on Consumer Decision 

Professor Sophia Everett's graduate course: "Social Psychology" on Zoom

This talk will be open to other grad students, brief presentation with extensive Q&A, and opportunity for dialogue with grad students. Topics covered through a general discussion of implicit bias and algorithmic bias and impact on marketing and advertising.

Thursday, February 18, 2021, 2 pm

Red, White and Black:  A Visual Introspective of Alternative American Perspectives with Antwon Key, assistant professor of art + design

Professor Key will discuss his award-winning photo essay and the use of graphic design to address social issues.  

Thursday, February 18, 2021, 7 pm

Black History Month 2021 Keynote Speaker and Q&A: Tamika Mallory

Please join us as we welcome Co-Chair of the Women's March and Co-Founder of Until Freedom, Tamika Mallory, as this year's keynote speaker for Black History Month: Black Lives STILL Matter. The keynote address will also include a Q&A hosted and moderated by Multicultural Student Association (MSA).

The keynote will take place on Thursday, February 18 at 7 pm.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Deadline for the Student Art Show: Realizing True Justice

Realizing True Justice in a 21st-Century Democracy Art Show is a virtual art exhibition curated and conceptualized by the LEAD office and the Art + Design Dept at Salem State.

The show welcomes submitted work, from all creative mediums, from all undergraduate and graduate students of any skill level to share their creative vision using their art to interpret Social Justice in America.

The virtual exhibition gives student artists a space to share their work with the broader Salem State community.

The exhibition aims to facilitate conversation about social justice. All media and genres are accepted. Deadline: February 19th, 2021.


Monday, February 22, 2021, 5:30 pm

At Peace Arts with Kyia Watkins

Join creative superwoman Kyia Watkins as she brings the art studio to you! Art supplies will be provided to interested on-campus residence students. 

More details to follow.

Monday, February 22, 2021, 6:30 pm

Hot Drinks and Hot Topics (BEES)

Join us for an event where student will pre-register to receive warm drinks ( hot tea, hot chocolate, coffee) sent to them. During the event we will sip teas and go through the various current event going on in our society.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021, 5 pm

Student Art Show: Realizing True Justice Virtual Reception

See more info here.

Student Art Show Exhibition Dates: February 24th – March 10th, 2021

Thursday, February 25, 2021, 8 pm

Black History BINGO hosted by Multicultural Student Association (MSA)

Join MSA for a Black History Month BINGO Night which will include great prices and fun for all! 


Friday, February 26, 2021, 12 pm

LEAD and Trill or Not Trill Hip-Hop Summit

Join the LEAD Office and non-profit Trill or Not Trill for a collaborative Hip Hop Summit! Trill or Not Trill is a leadership institute specializing in culturally responsive leadership. The Hip Hop Summit will begin with a day party and keynote address from DJ Zeke. Will feature a facilitated conversation with a music industry leader and conclude with workshops and performances. Join us for an authentic learning space focused on creating more informed creators and consumers of Hip-Hop.


Tuesday, March 2, 2021, 12 pm

Celebrating Charlotte: A Celebration of Charlotte F. Forten


We invite members of Salem State University, and the broader community, to join us in celebration of the life and accomplishment of Charlotte F. Forten. The program will include performances and a virtual discussion, Race in the “Free” American North in the 19th Century, led by associate professor of nineteenth century U.S. history at the University of Kentucky Dr. Joanne Pope Melish. 

Black History Month in Salem, Massachusetts

February is Black History Month, and we’re sharing a walking tour that focuses exclusively on Salem’s black heritage.

Voices Against Injustice sponsors an audio tour that you can download (for free) on your smartphone. This tour covers historical figures and events from the role of Tituba in the Salem Witch Trials to the success of contemporary author Stephen Hemingway.

See more information here.

Self-Care Drive for Merrimack Valley Black and Brown Voices

Help the SSU community support the Merrimack Valley Black and Brown Voices (MVBBV) in their efforts to help BIPOC families, by providing self-care relief baskets. This is in collaboration with MLK Jr. Week and Black History Month Collaborative. Donations can be made virtually, through their Amazon wish list, or in-person. Donation boxes are around SSU and one at Middlesex Community College. Donations needed include new and unused toiletries or gift cards. Thank you for your support!

Black Lives Matter: Anti-Racism Resources for the Salem State Community

As we continue to share our support for the Black Lives Matter movement, Salem State members are invited to use, practice, share, and participate in these resources to critically examine and heal our selves, our communities, and our institutions towards the goal of dismantling systemic racism. Explore a compilation of anti-racism resources for the Salem State University community.


Coordinated by 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration and Black History Month Collaborative, which includes representatives of and/or co-sponsorship by the African Student Union (ASU), Academic Affairs, Alumni Association, Black Employee Resource Group (BERG), Center for Academic Excellence, Center for Civic Engagement, Center for Creative and Performing Arts, Charlotte Forten Group, Counseling and Health Services, Disability Services, First Year Experience, HESA Program, Inclusive Excellence Office, Institutional Advancement, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, LEAD (Leadership, Engagement, Advocacy and Diversity) Office, Media Services, Multicultural Student Association (MSA), President's Office, Residence Life, Salem’s No Place for Hate Committee, School of Social Work, Urban Arts Theatre (UAT).

MLK Celebration and Black History Month Collaborative
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