The UTC Department of History will celebrate Black History Month with lectures by famed scholars and an art exhibit of Yoruba culture.

The department presents the Black History Month Lecture Series next week. Funded by the Diversity and Access grant program, each lecture is from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in the Raccoon Mountain Room of the University Center.

“We chose the speakers because we wanted to put on a program that appealed to a broad range of constituencies while still under the general ‘Black History Month’ umbrella,” Dr. Ralph Covino, UTC Assistant Professor of History, said. “Thanks to a generous Diversity and Access grant, we were able to attract some ‘big names’ who are currently working on black history topics – both internationally and nationally.”

Dr. John Serrati of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, began the series February 8th on the topic of “Classical History, Slavery, and the African-American experience” to a mixed audience of students, faculty, and members of the local community.  Serrati was recently honored as having produced one of the top articles of the last 60 years by the journal “Classical Quarterly” and came down to UTC to offer a specially revised for a Southern audience version of his keynote speech at a recent conference on ancient Sparta and its reception. He also visited with students in Covino’s  Roman Empire class.

Dr. Francoise Hamlin of Brown University will present an examination of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States through a close focus on Clarksdale, Mississippi called “‘I have not ended the story for there is no end’: Local Civil Rights Movements” on February 15.

Dr. Clark White of UTC will discuss local issues exploring the Garveyite Movement here in Chattanooga on February 22 in a presentation called “Shootout in the Valley: The Garvey Movement Incident in Chattanooga.”

An art exhibit of Yoruba culture also will be on display in the Lupton Library during the month of February.

“These examples of Yoruba ritual art will afford visitors a glimpse into their fascinating traditions that will undoubtedly be useful as an augment to traditional classroom-based learning,” Covino said. “Each piece is accompanied with explanatory text and a select bibliography for those who’d like to read more about the Yoruba and their art.”

Dr. Pedro Campa, UTC Professor of Foreign Languages and Literature, donated the pieces from his collection of art from the Yoruba culture for a display in the library.

“It is important that we take time out to celebrate events such as Black History Month and Women’s History Month so as to concretize our university’s commitment to diversity and to offer opportunities for co-curricular learning,” Covino said. “We, in the department, are rather proud of the events that we are putting on this year and hope to continue to offer more in future.”

The event was co-organized by Covino and Dr. Andrea Becksvoort of the UTC Department of History.

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