Dr. Joy Coates
NIU Center for Black Studies
(815) 753-9266




NIU Announces Black Heritage Month Events Schedule

DeKalb — NIU’s Center for Black Studies has scheduled a full slate of events for Black Heritage Month.  The theme for this year is Reclaiming Our Roots, Renewing Our Commitment and will honor Nelson Mandela’s life, work and legacy. Monday, February 3, History Professor, Dr. Ismael Montana, will lead a discussion of the film, Mandela: From Prison to President, in the Holmes Student Center - Carl Sandburg Auditorium 2-4 pm. The Black Heritage Month Ancestral Opening Ceremony, honoring the late Nelson Mandela will take place in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium at 7 p.m.

The Ancestral Opening Ceremony is a collaboration of Black student organizations and the Center for Black Studies, and will be hosted by John Henrik Clarke Honor Society, The Huskie Service Scholars, and S-Plan. It will feature spoken word, a skit, one of Mandela’s speeches, clips of Mandela, a tribute to Winnie Mandela, a praise dance, and a performance by the NIU choir. There will also be an opportunity for the NIU Community to participate in the ceremony by reflecting on Mandela’s contributions. R.S.V.P. to Ms. Regina Curry if your department would like to participate:

The themes of culture, unity and responsibility inspire all Black Heritage Month activities, including a month-long recognition of American Heart Month and the American Heart Association.  The color red will be worn on Feb. 1 to symbolize the blood of our ancestors and to focus attention on heart disease, one of the leading causes of death among African Americans. Events are free and open to the public. 

  • Saturday Feb. 1, American Heart Month; Wear Red Day.
  • Monday, Feb. 3, Film and Discussion, Dr. Ismael Montana, Mandela: From Prison to President, Holmes Student Center – Carl Sandburg Auditorium 2-4 pm – Documentary and discussion led by History Professor, Dr. Ismael Montana AND Black Heritage Month Ancestral Opening, honoring Nelson Mandela, hosted by John Henrik Clarke Honor Society, The Huskie Service Scholars, and S-PLAN, Carl Sandburg Auditorium, 7:00 pm The Ancestral Opening Ceremony is a collaboration of Black student organizations and the Center for Black Studies, and will be hosted by John Henrik Clarke Honor Society, The Huskie Service Scholars, and S-Plan. It will feature spoken word, a skit, one of Mandela’s speeches, clips of Mandela, a tribute to Winnie Mandela, a praise dance, and a performance by the NIU choir. There will also be an opportunity for the NIU Community to participate in the ceremony by reflecting on Mandela’s contribution.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 4, African Student Association, African Cultural Showcase: Food, Fashion and Music, Stevenson Multipurpose Room, 7 pm. – Celebration of African culture.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 5, LGBT & WRC, Film & Discussion, Pariah, Women’s Resource Center Conference Room, 1:00 – 3:00 pm – Film centers on a Brooklyn teenager [who] juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for sexual expression Discussion will address how Black, female, and queer identities are portrayed in this film, as well as the importance of real-life role models AND BGSA, Lecture & Discussion: Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, Black College Student Survival Guide, HSC – Capitol South Room, 6:30-8:00 pm, co-sponsored by the Graduate Colloquium, BSU, BMI, and CBS – presentation and Q&A on the topic: Issues Black students face at a predominately white campus, followed by book display.
  • Thursday, Feb. 6, L.O.V.E., “The Art of Twerking,” Stevenson Multipurpose Room, 7:00-8:30 pm – Discussion that traces twerking back to its African roots.
  • Friday, Feb. 7, National AIDS Awareness Day: Sigma Gamma Rho, Program and Free Testing, Stevenson Multipurpose Room, Noon – 4 pm. Information and testing AND Film & Discussion, Sankofa, Center for Black Studies, 4:00 – 7:30 pm – Film centers on a self-absorbed Black American fashion model on a photo shoot in Africa [who] is transported back to a plantation in the West Indies where she experiences first-hand the physical and psychic horrors of chattel slavery, and eventually the redemptive power of community and rebellion as she becomes a member of a freedom-seeking Maroon colony. Discussion will address Black female sexuality, the grim realism of slavery, rebellion, freedom and redemption.
  • Monday, Feb. 10, B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S., Speed Dating, Stevenson Multipurpose Room, 7-10 pm.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 11, BMI, Blood Drive, Recreation Center Court, 11 – 3 pm (Refreshments will be served) AND Zeta Phi Beta, Panel Discussion: Back to Our Roots, HSC– Illinois Room, 7:20–9 pm – Special guest panel designed to discuss the role of NPHC Greeks and African American Organizations. Will include a discussion that addresses the problems facing the African American community.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 12, B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S., Tribute to Black Women, HSC – Duke Ellington, 7-10 pm – An awards ceremony and banquet that celebrates black women.
  • Thursday, Feb. 13, CBS, Alpha Phi Alpha, Zeta Phi Beta, M.O.V.E. & BMI, Speaker: Malik Zulu Shabazz, HSC - Duke Ellington Ballroom, 7 pm – An academic lecture featuring Washington, D.C., attorney of the year winner, Mr. Mallik Zulu Shabazz. His lecture will address African history, African American history, and the importance of knowing the law and your rights.
  • Friday, Feb. 14, “Spreading the Love”: A Day of Reflection and Memory. Forward Together, Forward.
  • Monday, Feb. 17, E.B.O.N.Y. Women, A Day Without Blacks, 6-7 pm, Stevenson Smart Classroom – A program about Black people and the inventions they contributed to society. The overall goal of this program is to show the student body what their lives/society would be like without the contributions African Americans have made to society.
  • Delta Sigma Theta, Sickle Cell Awareness Program: “Look within your Cells,” HSC – Illinois Room, 7-9 pm - informational to raise sickle cell awareness and educate the community about sickle cell anemia, and also inform the public about possible treatment and pain management. Blood Drive on 2/24 from 1-6 pm in Stevenson Smart Classroom.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 18, LGBT & WRC, Film & Discussion, The Aggressives, Women’s Resource Center, Conference Room, 1-3 pm – Daniel Peddle’s 2005 documentary looks at women who prefer to dress and act as men and who participate in NYC’s predominantly African-American lesbian drag balls. Program will discuss how society’s notions of gender, gender expression and sexuality intersect with race AND S.I.S.T.E.R.S., Black Panthers Party, Stevenson Multipurpose Room, 7-9 pm - The event will focus on the history of the Black Panther Party started in the 1960s. A discussion will follow.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 19, BMI, Leadership 101 & Director of Self Knowledge, Stephen Samuels, “Mis-education of the Negro 2K14:” Stevenson Multipurpose Room, 6-9 pm – This program is sponsored by NIU’s Black Male Initiative and will feature the President and Director of Self Knowledge of the organization. President Reggie Bates will direct a leadership workshop and Director of Self Knowledge, Stephen Samuels, will give a lecture on African/African American history.
  • Thursday, Feb. 20, PPMO, Afrocentric Fashion Show, HSC - Duke Ellington Ballroom, 7-10 pm – Will celebrate the 29th anniversary of the Afrocentric Fashion Show and how Present Perfect Modeling Organization (PPMO) was established. This fashion show is a celebratory outlet of the history and heritage of African, African American ancestors through various forms via fashion and entertainment.
  • Friday-Sunday, Feb. 21-23, Saviors’ Day Conference: “How Strong is Our Foundation; Can We

Survive?” Detroit, Michigan, Convention Center. Contact information

  • Friday, Feb. 21, Film & Discussion: Their Eyes Were Watching God, Center for Black Studies, 4:00 – 7:30 pm – Starring Halle Berry, this film is a drama set in the 1920s, where free-spirited Janie Crawford's search for happiness leads her through several different marriages, challenging the morals of her small town. Based on the 1937 novel by Zora Neale Hurston. The discussion will address Black male/female relations, Black women’s sexuality, marriage, money and social status, as well as friendship and community.
  • Saturday, Feb. 22, National TRiO Day-North: TRi007: Operation Graduation, If You Choose to Accept!, Holmes Student Center, Noon – 3:00 pm – Themes will focus on: Graduate School Prep, Servant Leadership, Social Media (Creating Own Brand), and College Readiness AND BSU, Mr. and Miss Freshmen Pageant, HSC – Duke Ellington, 7:00 – 11:00 pm – This pageant was established to serve as a liaison for the freshmen class to the Black Student Union (BSU) as a means for mentorship, scholarship, and to provide for many other needs of the freshmen body.
  • Sunday, Feb. 23, Music Department: Eric Johnson, Director, Concert Choir, University Chorus & Cor Cantiamo, Butell Memorial Concert Hall, 3:00 pm (free), For more info, go to
  • Monday, Feb. 24, Delta Sigma Theta, Sickle Cell Blood Drive, Stevenson Smart Classroom, 1-6 pm AND Romeo Jackson & Samantha Newman, “The Down Low Dirty Shame Continues…,” Stevenson Multipurpose Room, 6-8 pm – a discussion that seeks to deepen the understanding of the experiences of black men who have sex with other men, challenge stereotypes associated with men who identify with being on the down low, and showcase the differences and diversity of men who have sex with men, how these relationships are formed, and they choose to self-identify.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 25, CBS, BMI, BSU, Alpha Phi Alpha, Speaker: Ashra Kwesi, “Reclaiming the African GeNIUs, Pt. 2,” HSC – Carl Sandburg Auditorium, 7 pm – This lecture will feature the world renowned Mr. Ashra Kwesi, who will provide an academic lecture on African history and culture based on his 30 years of research on the Continent of African and the ancient civilization of Kemet (Egypt).
  • Wednesday, Feb. 26, John Henrik Clarke Honor Society Recognition and S-PLAN Image Awards, HSC - Carl Sandburg Auditorium, 6-9 pm.
  • Thursday, Feb. 27, S.I.S.T.E.R.S. & E.B.O.N.Y. Women, Professional Girls Rock: A Panel Discussion, Stevenson Multipurpose Room, 6-8 pm – A guest panel of Black faculty and staff who will address topics pertinent to today’s young women, such as college life, relationships, professionalism, positivity, well-being, etc.
  • Friday, Feb. 28, Zeta Phi Beta, Soul Bowl, Stevenson Multipurpose Room & Fishbowl, 5:20 – 9:00 pm. – A celebration and opportunity to break bread together with friends, family, new associates, and loved ones, and to encourage each other to continue to build upon the foundation laid by our African, African American ancestors.

Black Heritage Month sponsors:  Alpha Phi Alpha, Black Graduate Students Association, Black Male Initiative, Black Student Union, B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S., Black Theater Workshop, John Henrik Clarke Honor Society, Delta Sigma Theta, E.B.O.N.Y. Women, The Huskie Service Scholars, L.O.V.E., M.O.V.E., Poetic Asylum, PPMO, PRISM, Sigma Gamma Rho, S.I.S.T.E.R.S., S-PLAN, TRIO, Zeta Phi Beta

University sponsors:  Asian American Center, Black Faculty Association, The College of Education, Diversity and Equity, Graduate Colloquium, Health Enhancement, Latino Resources Center, LGBT Resources Center, Student Support Services, Women’s Resources Center, Women’s Studies