SMU celebrates Black History Month 2018

SMU celebrates Black History Month during February with a variety of programs and presentations including workshops, networking events, and the annual Black Excellence Ball.

The observance is coordinated by the Association of Black Students and SMU’s Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. The schedule includes the following events:

Thursday, Feb. 1

  • The 411 on Networking, Interviewing, Internships and LinkedIn, organized by the National Society of Black Engineers and the African Student Association, 7 p.m., 112 Junkins Building

Thursday, Feb. 8

  • Black Hairstory, 6:30 p.m., Hughes-Trigg Student Center Porticos, organized by the Natural Hair Club

Saturday, Feb. 10

  • Krewe du Ware, 3-6 p.m. Ware Lawn, organized by Ware Commons

Monday, Feb. 19

  • Lawyers Serving Our Communities: A Discussion on Race, Bias and Social Interactions, a luncheon event organized by the Black Law Student Association, noon-1:30 p.m., Karcher Auditorium (RSVP to the BLSA by Feb. 12)

Friday, Feb. 23

  • Progression of a Black Woman, 7:30 p.m., Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater, organized by Sisters Supporting Sisters

Saturday, Feb. 24

Black History Month at SMU: February 2017


Black History Month collageSMU is celebrating Black History Month 2017 with a variety of programs and presentations.

Events include film screenings, panel discussions, professional networking and many other activities, including the traditional Black Excellence Ball on Saturday, Feb. 25, sponsored by the Black Alumni of SMU and the Association of Black Students.

The observance is coordinated by the Association of Black Students and SMU’s Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.

Visit SMU News for a complete calendar of events

> Contact SMU Multicultural Student Affairs for more information


Calendar Highlights: Feb.11, 2013

Faculty and Alumni Artist Series: Meadows faculty artist Matt Albert and noted performer Adam Marks will collaborate for an evening of music Monday, Feb. 11. Albert is the director of chamber music and the SYZYGY ensemble in the Meadows School. He is also is a founding member of Meadows Prize winners eighth blackbird, with whom he won a Grammy Award. Currently on the faculty of Carthage College, Marks has performed with eighth blackbird as part of his collaborative career. Albert will be on the violin and Marks on the piano for a night of “rhythmically driven music with high-octane emotion.” The concert starts at 8 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 for faculty, staff and students. (Images via Meadows and Adam Marks, edited by SMU Public Affairs) 

Black History Month: SMU continues its Black History Month celebration with Bernard Franklin on Tuesday, Feb. 12. Dr. Franklin speaks across the country with “a desire to empower people to act, and to change the world…one person at a time!” The entire day is free and open to the public, and the schedule is as follows:

  • 8:30-9:30 a.m. The Challenging Future of Student Affairs & Higher Education (Hughes-Trigg Atrium AB)
  • 11:30 a.m. Reception (Hughes-Trigg Ballroom West)
  • 12-1 p.m. 45 years later: Does the Dream Matter Today? (Hughes-Trigg Ballroom West)
  • 2-3 p.m. America in Denial: Young Men Are Struggling (Hughes-Trigg Forum)

Thursday, Feb. 14: Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Solo recital: Award-winning pianist and SMU alumna and faculty member Liudmila Georgievskaya will perform on the Hilltop Saturday, Feb. 16. Originally from Russia, Georgievskaya received her Artist Certificate from Meadows School of the Arts in 2010 and continues to perform internationally as a Meadows faculty member. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. (Image via Liudmila Georgievskaya)

SMU honors history makers at Black Alumni Scholarship event

Black Alumni of SMU will celebrate 13 of the organization’s history makers and introduce the inaugural Black Alumni Scholarship at an evening reception from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, 2012, in Centennial Hall, Hughes-Trigg Student Center.

The honorees at the reception will include some of the first African-American athletes to play at SMU, alumni who championed civil rights on campus and leaders such as the former student body vice president who established the annual SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage. A slideshow of historic photographs, press clippings and other documents from the SMU Archives will help tell the stories of the honorees. They include:

  • Jerry LeViasJerry LeVias ’69 (right) – the first African-American player in the Southwest Conference to receive an athletic scholarship.
  • Mike Rideau ’76 and twins Joe and Gene Pouncy ’74 – members of the 400-meter relay team that won the Southwest Conference championship for three consecutive years.
  • Bernard Jones ’01 – the first write-in candidate elected to the SMU Student Senate and, in 2002, the first person elected student body president without a runoff in a multi-candidate race.
  • Rev. Michael Waters ’02 – the former student body vice president who, while serving as a chaplain’s assistant in 2004, founded the SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage to the “shrines of freedom” throughout the South.
  • Rev. Zan HolmesThe “SMU 33” – a group of students, including Rufus Cormier ’70, Charles Howard ’72, Charles Mitchell ’71, Michael Morris ’72, Anga Sanders ’70 and Detra Taylor, whose activism in 1969 drew attention to the need for more diverse faculty and curriculum.
  • Rev. Zan Holmes ’59 (right) – a Perkins School of Theology graduate who, as pastor of Hamilton Park United Methodist Church and a Texas legislator in 1969, helped successfully resolve the standoff between the “SMU 33” and University administration.

The program is open to the public. For more information, contact Mary Jo Dancer, 214-768-1303.

More about Black History Month 2012 at SMU

Poet Nikki Giovanni opens Black History Month 2012 at SMU

Poet and author Nikki GiovanniWorld-renowned poet, author, activist and educator Nikki Giovanni will visit SMU Feb. 3 to help kick off the University’s 2012 Black History Month celebration. Her lecture is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater.

Dubbed “the Princess of Black Poetry” early in her career, Giovanni prides herself on being “a Black American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English.” As committed as ever to the fight for civil rights and equality, she has maintained a prominent place as a strong voice of the Black community. Her focus, according to her bio at, “is on the individual, specifically, on the power one has to make a difference in oneself, and thus, in the lives of others.”

Giovanni’s honors include NAACP Image Awards for her poetry collections Love PoemsBlues: For All the Changes and Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea. Her most recent work, Bicycles: Love Poems (2009), reached #1 on in the Poetry category. Her 2005 children’s picture book Rosa, about the civil rights legend Rosa Parks, was named a Caldecott Honors Book (Bryan Collier, the illustrator, received the Coretta Scott King Award for best illustration). Rosa also reached #3 on The New York Times bestseller list.

The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection, on which Giovanni herself reads and talks about her poetry, was nominated for a 2004 Grammy Award. Her autobiography, Gemini, was a finalist for the 1973 National Book Award.

The recipient of some 25 honorary degrees, Giovanni has been named Woman of the Year by Mademoiselle MagazineThe Ladies Home Journal, and Ebony Magazine. She has received Governor’s Awards from the states of Tennessee and Virginia, as well as the Langston Hughes Medal for poetry. She was the first recipient of the Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award, as well as the first recipient of the Carl Sandburg Literary Award from the Chicago Public Library Foundation and the Chicago Public Library in 2007.

Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and raised in Cincinnati, Giovanni graduated with honors in history from Fisk University. Since 1987, she has been a faculty member at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, where she is a University Distinguished Professor of English.

Black History Month, celebrated annually in the United States, seeks to educate the American people about African-Americans’ cultural backgrounds and achievements. Each year, the President issues a proclamation to call attention to the importance of the observance. SMU celebrates the month with a variety of events, which are free and open to the community.

> Find a complete 2012 Black History Month schedule at SMU News

Calendar Highlights: Feb. 23, 2011

Mothers matter: Supermodel Christy Turlington Burns took to the other side of the camera in 2010 to make her first film – a documentary about expectant mothers in four very different parts of the world, all in danger of dying from preventable complications during pregnancy or childbirth. The result was “No Woman, No Cry,” which takes viewers from a remote Maasai tribe in Tanzania to a slum in Bangladesh and from a post-abortion care ward in Guatemala to a prenatal clinic in the United States. SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program will host a screening and panel discussion of Turlington’s film beginning at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. The guest panelists include Jody Keyserling, senior policy analyst with CARE, and Eric Bing, head of global health with the George W. Bush Institute. Admission is free. For more information, visit Click the YouTube screen to watch a preview, or visit this link to open the “No Woman, No Cry” trailer in a new window.

Jerry LeVias as an SMU football starBoundary breaker: SMU’s 2011 Black History Month calendar continues with an event that sheds light on the University’s own history in the fight against discrimination. In 1965, Jerry LeVias became the first African American scholarship athlete in the Southwest Conference. The 1969 SMU graduate returns to the Hilltop Feb. 28 for a screening of FOX Sports Southwest‘s award-winning 2003 documentary “Jerry LeVias: A Marked Man,” followed by a town hall forum with LeVias and SMU players and coaches past and present. FS Southwest will host a live webcast of the forum to commemorate the 45th anniversary of LeVias’ boundary-breaking achievement. The screening begins at 7 p.m. in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center; a 6:30 p.m. reception precedes it. Admission is free.

Birmingham bombing survivor Junie Collins Williams to speak at SMU Feb. 17

Junie Collins WilliamsJunie Collins Williams (pictured left) survived the infamous Alabama church bombing that killed one of her sisters and maimed another. Her story of survival – and the lessons she believes are important for younger generations – will be front and center during “Journey to Peace: An Eyewitness Account of the 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing.” The event takes place Thursday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall.

The lecture is free and open to the public and is sponsored by SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program in collaboration with SMU’s Association of Black Students. Williams’ visit is part of the University’s observance of Black History Month.

Birmingham church bombing victims Cynthia Wesley, Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair and Carol RobertsonAddie Mae Collins died with three other little girls (pictured right) in the bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church Sept. 15, 1963. The assault on the predominantly African American church was orchestrated by the Ku Klux Klan, who were outraged by the desegregation of Birmingham’s schools. Not only did Addie Mae perish, but Williams had to identify her body. Another sister, Sarah Jean Collins, lost an eye in the attack.

The last remaining terrorists responsible for the bombing were prosecuted in 2001, but Williams struggled with feelings of hatred for decades. She leaned on the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King to help accept a nonviolent stance. She also leaned on her family’s powerful belief in God – instilled in her at an early age – to help embrace forgiveness as an important guiding principle in life.

“I could have let this situation get the best of me, but through God’s work in me, I pushed my way through until what seemed to be a burden around my head was pushed off,” she says. “God took a day that was meant for evil and turned it around for the good of all.”

According to SMU Human Rights Program Director Rick Halperin, hate crimes such as last year’s church burnings in east Texas have risen 8 percent since President Barack Obama was elected in 2008. That number continues to jump 4 percent each year, he says.

It’s obvious that America’s struggle with accepting human rights is not over, Halperin adds. “That’s the real message of (Williams’) visit. This country is nowhere near the fully accepting nation that it could become. It’s better, but better doesn’t mean sufficient.”

Williams, who recently moved to San Antonio, believes there is hope for healing in America: “I know, because I have been healed.”

Written by Denise Gee

> Read more from SMU News
> Find a complete schedule for SMU’s Black History Month 2011
> Visit SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program online
> Learn more about SMU diversity programs from Student Activities & Multicultural Student Affairs (SAMSA)

Tune In: Black History Month 2010

SMU's MLK Unity Walk 2010SMU celebrates Black History Month 2010 with “A Celebration of Soul” and events ranging from a read-in to a film screening to a community dinner. Next up: a game of Black History Jeopardy at 7 p.m. Feb. 16 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Commons, cosponsored by Black Men Emerging, Omega Psi Phi & Phi Beta Sigma.

Read more from SMU News
Watch a slide show from January’s MLK Unity Walk slide show
Listen to Martin Luther King’s speech at SMU in 1966 audio

SMU celebrates Black History Month through March 2

As part of its Black History Month celebration, SMU will host a variety of activities, most of which are free or inexpensive and open to the public.

“Education is Freedom” is the theme for the week of Feb. 9. Events include:

  • an African American History Quiz Bowl, sponsored by Black Men Emerging, at 7 p.m. Feb 10 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom
  • a community discussion of “The State of Black American Success,” sponsored by the Association of Black Students, at 7 p.m. Feb. 11 in the Hughes-Trigg Forum
  • performances of The Vagina Monologues, sponsored by Women’s Interest Network, to raise money and awareness to end violence against women and girls with a spotlight on women of the Democratic Republic of Congo – at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 and Feb. 13 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, tickets $5 for students, $10 for non-students

More events are scheduled throughout the month of February. For more information, contact Student Activities and Multicultural Student Affairs at 214-768-4583 or Ke’Ana Hardy.

Read more from SMU News