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Northwestern University Celebrating Black History Month

Upcoming events include lecture, jazz performance, exhibition, talk and culture show
  • Scholar Johari Shuck will discuss black student athlete history and contemporary issues
  • Conversation with trailblazing choreographer Garth Fagan to take place at Louis Theater
  • Annual showcase on the cultural wealth that comes from Africa and Africans worldwide

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A lecture by an expert on black athletes at the collegiate level; and an exhibition by a street savvy artist who grew up in poverty on Chicago’s South Side, are among the events scheduled during Black History Month on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus.

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African-Americans in United States history. It also has inspired Northwestern -- where it is an annual observance -- to organize a more than month-long, local celebration featuring guest speakers, music and stage performances, panel discussions, informal talks, lectures and more. 

The following free events are open to the public and will take place on Northwestern’s Evanston and Chicago campuses, as noted.

Evanston campus

My Story is Unique: A Lecture and Panel Discussion on the Black Student-Athlete Experience, 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, The Black House, first floor conference room, 1914 Sheridan Road. The experience of black student athletes at Big 10 institutions is unique – these individuals are often pulled between their identity of being black and of being a black student-athlete. Scholar Johari Shuck will discuss black student-athlete history and contemporary issues. Shuck’s talk will be followed by a panel discussion featuring current and former Northwestern student-athletes. Refreshments will be served. The event is sponsored by Northwestern’s department of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA).

Dittmar Memorial Gallery exhibition and reception, Marcellous Lovelace, “Biko70 Lumumba Blacker Than Space, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, Dittmar Gallery, Northwestern University Center, first floor, 1999 Campus Drive. Marcellous Lovelace’s street savvy works are based on his experience growing up and living in poverty on Chicago’s far South Side. Almost completely self-taught, the mixed-media artist refers to himself as an “Afro urban indigenous folk artist.” More than 30 of Lovelace’s works of all sizes and mediums will be featured in his solo show at the Dittmar, which runs through March 20. The exhibition is intended to convey the story of people who are overlooked inside a segregated, biased space overcome by poverty, crime, food deserts, joblessness, gang violence and police brutality. The exhibition, a Feb. 19 opening reception and an artist lecture, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3, are all free and open to the public. More information available online.

A Conversation with Garth Fagan, 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, at the Wirtz Center’s Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive. Critics have hailed choreographer Garth Fagan as a “trail blazer” and “one of the greatest reformers of modern dance.” With an incomparable style that blends the weight of modern dance, the vibrancy of Afro-Caribbean dance, the speed and precision of ballet and the risk-taking experimentation of post-modernism, Fagan has created more than 70 works for the theater and concert stage. His works defy classification and range from his groundbreaking choreography for the hit musical “The Lion King” to  “Griot New York” and “Lighthouse/Lightning Rod,” his critically acclaimed collaborations with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Wynton Marsalis. Although he choreographs primarily for Garth Fagan Dance, he also has created pieces for other leading companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance, Dance Theatre of Harlem, New York City Ballet and the Limón Dance Company. He has received more than 60 major awards and honors for his work. Hosted by the School of Communication’s department of theater and dance program, the event is co-sponsored by the Black Arts Initiative at Northwestern University. To RSVP, visit

Jablani Culture Show, 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21, Norris University Center, Louis Room, 1999 Campus Drive. Hosted by Northwestern’s African Students Association, the annual culture show showcases the cultural wealth that comes from Africa and Africans worldwide. The celebration features music, dance, fashion and food.

Global Health Resource Fair, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, March 7, Norris University Center, Lake and Northwestern Rooms, 1999 Campus Drive. Learn about volunteer, internship and full-time opportunities at Chicago area nonprofit and community-focused organizations. The event is sponsored by Northwestern University’s Office of International Program Development (IPD), the Global Heath Studies program and Northwestern Career Advancement (NCA).

For a complete listing of Black History Month 2016 events on the Evanston campus, visit Northwestern’s Multicultural Student Affairs website.

Chicago campus

• “Opening Doors: Contemporary African American Academic Surgeons” exhibition, Feinberg School of Medicine, March 14 through April 2 at the Galter Health Sciences Library, 303 E. Chicago Ave.; and from April 3 through April 22, at the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center, 303 E. Superior St. The “Opening Doors” exhibition celebrates the contributions of African-American academic surgeons to medicine and medical education. It tells the stories of four pioneering African-American surgeons and educators who exemplify excellence in their fields and believe in continuing the journey of excellence throughout the education and mentoring of younger physicians and surgeons. An opening reception for the exhibit will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Monday, March 14 at the Galter Health Sciences Library. The exhibit will be on display at the Feinberg School of Medicine through a partnership between the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Galter Health Sciences Library at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Opening Doors” is a collaborative effort between the National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world, and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture in Baltimore, the largest African-American museum on the East coast of the United States. More information about the exhibit is available at the National Library of Medicine project website.