The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will celebrate Black History Month this February with a variety of events, including panel discussions, guest speakers, workshops and screenings of film documentaries.
The month’s festivities are sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs in partnership with numerous divisions and organizations across the UTC campus.
The monthly celebration begins Monday, Feb. 1, with a kickoff event at the Multicultural Center’s new Lupton Hall location in Suite 119, across from Freshens). Students visiting between 12:30-1:30 p.m. can pick up a Black History Month T-shirt and Mocs dining meal voucher. Footage from the Jan. 20 MLK Day of Service in Chattanooga, which shared the University’s history, will be shown. At 7 p.m. Monday, a virtual Zoom concert at Chattanooga’s Barking Legs Theater features Kofi Mawuko and the Ogya World Music Band .
While most Black History Month activities will occur in a virtual format, the Multicultural Center will host weekly Fresh Friday networking events. During the noon hour, each of the four Fridays in February will explore UTC, local and historical highlights from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Every Friday will have its own decade theme and music.
Black History Month is celebrated every February as a tribute to the achievements of African Americans who shaped U.S. history. Conceived by noted historian Carter G. Woodson, it was initially established in 1926 as a week-long event taking place the second week in February, a timeframe coinciding with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave and prominent abolitionist movement activist.
According to africanamericanhistorymonth.gov, the celebration was officially expanded to a full month in 1976, the nation’s bicentennial year. President Gerald Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”