Hartwick to Celebrate African American History Month

Hartwick College will commemorate African American History Month through a series of events held across campus during the month of February.

This year’s African American History Month theme is “African Americans in Times of War,” which will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the heroics of African American soldiers of World War I, and also serve as a general salute to black soldiers of all United States wars.

This is also the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass, which will be recognized by a national commission commemorating the distinguished statesman.

Locally, February is the 20th anniversary of the United States Colored Troops Symposium of Delaware and Otsego Counties, New York.

“I am so pleased that this year’s theme gives tribute to African American soldiers and that we can link it with the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial.” said Harry Bradshaw Matthews, associate dean and director of the Office of Intercultural Affairs. “Hopefully, our efforts and materials will be useful to the public as well as our campus community.”

A common reference point for all three commemorations is Hartwick College’s United States Colored Troops Institute (USCTI) of Local History and Family Research. Matthews, who is also founding president of the USCTI, will travel to Albany on Wednesday, February 7 to be the keynote speaker for the New York State Office of the Comptroller’s celebration of national African American History Month.

At Hartwick, programming across campus this month — presented by a broad array of clubs, academic departments, and staff offices — will highlight topics that span many aspects of the African American experience.

A dinner discussion will be held Tuesday, February 20 on the topic “60 Years after Brown v. Board: African Americans in Education,” and a panel discussion titled “The Era of Trayvon: Understanding ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws” will take place on Monday, February 26.

The internationally known Harlem Globetrotters basketball troupe will return to Hartwick on Tuesday, February 13 as part of its “Amazing Feats of Basketball World Tour.” The family friendly ’Trotters are not only athletic ambassadors, but race, gender, and cultural pioneers.

A new event, a Roots Seminar, will take place twice during the month, analyzing issues and topics on slavery, Frederick Douglass, the Freedom Journey, and African American military service.

Assistant Professor of Music & Artist in Residence Dr. Lee Wright will host the second annual Community Sing-a-Long on Monday, February 19, featuring spirituals and other songs of the Civil Rights Movement.

The full schedule of events follows, and additional events may be scheduled. These are open to the public, unless otherwise noted, but advanced reservations may be required:

  • Thursday, February 8 – “Roots Seminar: A PowerPoint Event Exploring the Emergence of Frederick Douglass During the Freedom Journey.” Hosted by Matthews, presented by the Black Student Alliance (BSA). This first-ever event will provide a chronology of events and actions from the Revolutionary War through the Underground Railroad that led to the ending of slavery in the United States. Matthews will share his revised edition of Tracing the Family of Frederick Douglass 1818-1928, an update of the original text from 1993 catalogued at the Library of Congress and New York Public Library. Twenty copies of the text will be raffled to participants. The public is invited to this event, but seating is limited to 40 participants.
    Eaton Lounge, Bresee Hall, 6 – 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, February 13 – The world famous Harlem Globetrotters come back to Hartwick! Hosted by the Hartwick College Athletics Department. Tickets are available to the public, and can be purchased at www.TicketWeb.com.
    Lambros Arena, Binder Physical Education Center, 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 17 – Annual PALS Leadership Training Seminar. Allows participants to explore how their respective leadership styles are influenced by cultural heritage. For Hartwick students only. Advanced registration is required at Matthewsh@hartwick.edu.
    Eaton Lounge, Bresee Hall, 10 a.m. to noon.
  • Monday, February 19 – Second Annual Community Sing-a-Long. Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music Lee S. Wright will host the event, leading a performance of spirituals and songs of the Civil Rights Movement. Open to the public.
    Music Circle, Anderson Center for the Arts (2nd floor), 5:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, February 20 – Dinner Discussion: “60 Years after Brown v. Board: African Americans in Education.” This event will look at the progression of African Americans in education. Advanced registration is required, e-mail Matthewsh@hartwick.edu.
    Chesebro Room, Dewar Union, 5 – 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, February 20 – Thursday, February 22 – African American History Scavenger Hunt. Look around campus to find 10 individual photos of famous of African Americans, and match them to their biography. To win a prize, submit your findings to Matthewsh@hartwick.edu by February 26.
  • Wednesday, February 21 – “Roots Seminar: A PowerPoint Event Honoring Black and Hispanic Military Heroes and Heroines.” Facilitated by Matthews and presented by the BSA and Office of Intercultural Affairs. Participants will be provided copies of select issues of the United States Colored Troops (USCT) Institute Civil War Digest, which highlights the service of African American soldiers during WWI, WWII and other military conflicts. Included in the discussion will be recognition of Oneonta native Marshall H. Bull of the 196th Signal Photo Company of WWII, whose photographs of African American soldiers in Italy helped to preserve the contribution of the black men during the war.
    Eaton Lounge, Bresee Hall, 6 – 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 24 – Hartwick alumnae/alumni of the USCT Institute will return to mentor current ALANA (African, Latin, Asian, and Native American) students about transitioning from college to employment and/or graduate school. They will also recognize outstanding senior ALANA students at an evening dinner discussion. Advanced registration is required, e-mail Matthewsh@hartwick.edu.
    Chesebro Room, Dewar Union, 5 – 7 p.m.
  • Monday, February 26 – “The Era of Trayvon: Understanding ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws.” This panel discussion will cover Stand Your Ground laws and other legislation.                                                           Eaton Lounge, Bresee Hall, 6 – 7 p.m.

Also, throughout the month, Stevens-German Library in Yager Hall will feature a showcase display of items related to African American history. In addition, the current issue of the USCTI’s Civil War Digest honoring Frederick Douglass and the Freedom Journey, and two pamphlets prepared by the USCTI honoring African American soldiers of WWI and WWII, will be accessible online at www.hartwick.edu/usct.

For more on African American History Month events, visit the website or contact Matthews at 607-431-4428 or at Matthewsh@hartwick.edu.

Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,200 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick’s expansive curriculum emphasizes an experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a distinctive January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for not just their first jobs, but for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor’s Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact:     David Lubell
E-mail:        lubelld@hartwick.edu
Phone:        607-431-4031

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