Penn State Scranton hosting events to celebrate Black History Month

Display at Scranton LIbrary of books and DVDs about black history and Black individuals

The Penn State Scranton Library has a Black History Month Display near its front entrance celebrating Black individuals, history and areas of interest, as well as some books by famous Black individuals such as President Barack Obama, former First Lady Michelle, Berry Gordy and tennis great Arthur Ashe.

Credit: Penn State

DUNMORE, Pa. — Throughout the month of February, Penn State Scranton will be hosting a variety of events to celebrate Black History Month, which honors the struggle of African-Americans as well as celebrates their history as it has shaped the current world.

It is important to learn about the true history of the African-American struggle in order to properly celebrate and honor Black History Month, said Julia Egan, coordinator for diversity, equity and inclusion at Penn State Scranton. For example, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in 1909 as an interracial endeavor to advance justice for African-Americans by a group, including W.E.D. DuBois, Mary White Ovington, Moorfield Storey and Ida B. Wells.

However, Black history does not begin with slavery, she explained. "Another important tenet of Black history that we must remember is that it is important to learn about the African diaspora and other cultural tenets of Black lineage and culture that were alive before the trans-Atlantic slave trade and were forever changed and disrupted by the injustice of colonialism."

This month, the campus library has a variety of books, novels and DVDs on display and available for lending. Students, faculty and staff, as well as alumni and Pennsylvania residents are able to borrow books from the Penn State Scranton Library, and can visit the library to learn more about doing so. For more information, visit the libraries' website.

The following campus events have been organized and are being sponsored in part by Penn State Scranton’s Black Student Union, Student Government Association, and Student Organization of Latinos.

Black History Month Trivia — Feb. 8 at 3 p.m. in The View Cafe:  Penn State Scranton invites Neon Entertainment for an educational and entertaining Black History Month-themed Trivia for all participants! Contestants will learn about prominent Black historical figures including athletes, Civil Rights leaders, inventors, and more. Each question is multiple choice. The event’s host will be entertainer and comedian Mikki Hommel. Contestants can win up to $200 in prizes! Please note that this event is open to the Penn State Scranton campus ONLY. 

Melanin Monday - Black History Month Kick-off — Monday, Feb. 21, from noon to 1 p.m. in The View Cafe:  You’ve heard of Black Student Union’s Melanin Mondays…now get ready for "Melanin Monday: A Black History Month Kick-off" event extravaganza! The theme of Black History Month at Penn State Scranton is "Blackness: An Identity with Multiple Meanings." This event will feature games, music, and other tenets of Black, African, African American, African-diaspora, and Afro-Latin cultures to experience and participate in. Free food will be available during the event.  

Cultural Dialogues - Black Bazaar — Tuesday, Feb. 22, from noon to 2 p.m. in The View Cafe: As part of Black History Month, come out and celebrate the multiplicity of Blackness as an identity at the Black Bazaar. This event will feature five local black-owned and operated businesses and organizations from the surrounding Scranton-NEPA area who represent a diverse makeup of blackness and give it a multitude of meaning. They will be presenting on their role in serving the black community as well as offering some items for participants to take away with them. This event is hosted in partnership with external Diversity Award Recipient Rashida Lovely, Student Government Association, Student Organization of Latinos, and Black Student Union. 

African Dance-Drumming with Erico Ansuade —  Wednesday, Feb. 23, from 3 to 5 p.m., and also Thursday, Feb. 24, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in The View Cafe: Please join Penn State Scranton in getting active in celebrating Black History Month with some drumming and dance workshops! In partnership with the Diversity Office, Penn State is thrilled to welcome master djembe player and dancer, Erico Ansuade to campus to host a two-day workshop in drumming and dance. The first day will feature just dancing, and the second day will feature dancing and drumming workshops with a break for lunch in the middle. The first day will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 23, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Sherbine Lounge, and the second day will occur on Thursday, Feb. 24, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in The View Café. Please note that the second day of drumming and dancing is open to the Penn State Scranton campus ONLY. 

Erico Ansuade hails from Ghana, Africa, and teaches a variety of dance-drumming styles from Ghana, Guinea, Senegal, Burkina Faso and other surrounding countries. He has performed with world-class national dance companies in West Africa and offers dance-drum workshops at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced level.  

Zuzu African Acrobats — Friday, Feb. 25, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Multipurpose Building (Gym): Penn State Scranton is excited to welcome the "America’s Got Talent" Semi-Finalists Group, the Zuzu African Acrobats. Zuzu Acrobats is a five-person Kenyan Acrobatic show which embodies the Bantu culture of East Africa. The show lasts one hour and features fast pyramid building, limbo, chair balancing, comedy, fast skip rope, juggling and much more all set to high-energy Lingala music. There will be free Kenyan snacks given out at the event.  

Students can sign up for the events through the campus' Engage portal, here. For more information about these events and about Black History Month, you can reach out to Egan by email at [email protected]