Common Headlines Black History Month Activities at Southeast

Oscar and Golden Globe winner, Common, will present the 2016 Michael Davis lecture.

Oscar and Golden Globe winner, Common, will present the 2016 Michael Davis lecture.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 25, 2016 – Southeast Missouri State University will celebrate Black History Month in February with events designed to commemorate the heritage of African-Americans.

“Even in these troubled times, the deeds of Dr. King and his contemporaries need to be duplicated today,” says Dr. Morris Jenkins, dean of the College of Health and Human Services and co-chair of the Martin Luther King Committee. “Emancipatory knowledge is still necessary in society today. I want the young people of today to note the struggle for freedom was more than King’s non-violent message, but deeds by people who were impacted by racism and others who understood the impact of racism.”

“Dr. King was the epitome of sacrifice and equality for all, regardless of the color of our skin. He taught a very valuable lesson about togetherness,” says Tameika Culler Morris, grants coordinator for the Office of Research and Grant Development here at Southeast and co-chair of the Martin Luther King Committee. “Today, with all the detriment that surrounds us, we are reminded of his struggle and all that was accomplished by the Civil Rights Movement. History has laid the foundation for our future. Now it is up to each of us to move forward as a body of individuals who are a positive force, a force not burdened by disparity.”

Highlighting the month’s events will be a presentation entitled “Greatness” given by Common at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 in the Show Me Center. He is this year’s Michael Davis Lecturer, and the presentation is part of this year’s University Speakers Series. Details on the event are listed below.

A number of other activities, programs, and discussions have been planned for the month. They include:

The Hard Facts about Soft Skills
5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 3, University Center Indian Room

Soft skills/ business skills training’s have become critical to students and new professionals in the 21st century world of employment. Many employers list this as the primary area of training needed by incoming employees to be successful beyond the knowledge necessary to perform their positions. This seminar will discuss why soft skills such as communication, teamwork, networking and professionalism are as important to a career as coursework and connections. For more information, contact Valdis Zalite at or (573) 651-2512.

All Politics are Personal: From the Fiscal Cliff to Your Front Yard
5:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 11, University Center Indian Room

Political awareness and understanding are critical to Americans. The shifting political base impacts all from the local to the national level. This guided discussion will center on the idea that “the future belongs to those of us that remain aware and vigilant.” It will be aimed at addressing current beliefs, the differences and commonalities between the two major political parties, the changing demographics of where we are today and how we must all be involved moving forward. For more information, contact Valdis Zalite at or (573) 651-2512.

Becoming an Expert- Excelling in your Environment
12:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 13, University Center Redhawks Room

This facilitated panel discussion will provide an opportunity for emerging professionals and students to discuss the importance of being “value-added” in their field. It will address topics related to professionalism, assessing and understanding your work environment and how we define success. For more information, contact Sean Spinks at or (573) 986-6135.

What Plagues Our Youth Forum
Noon, Wednesday, Feb. 17, University Center Redhawks Room

Students, faculty and staff can participate in a facilitated discussion regarding the challenges and issues impacting African American youth. Working together, the group can generate approaches and suggestions that may address the common concerns and obstacles. For more information, please contact Robert Turner by calling (573) 651-2823or

The Etiquette Advantage
5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 17, University Center Program Lounge

Manners matter! Learn how to present a professional image when dining with future employers and colleagues. Join in an interactive dining experience covering professional dress, etiquette and social skills. For more information, contact Kei-Shae McCrary at or (573) 986-6135.

Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves
Noon, Wednesday, Feb. 17, University Center Program Lounge

This is a celebration of African American women (faculty and staff) and the opportunity to encourage and support the next generation of African American women (students). The discussion will be adapted from the book “Black Women Redefined” that addressed African American women in the workplace. The speaker is Kaye Monk- Morgan, leadership consultant and facilitator. She will address breaking the proverbial glass ceiling and challenging the traditional stereotypes that impact African American professional women. This is a time to remember how to be “Our Sisters’ Keeper.” For more information, contact Kei-Shae McCrary at or (573) 986-6135.

An Evening with Dr. CP Gause; Black Masculinity in America
5:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 18, University Center Redhawks Room

Dr. Gause will provide an overview of his latest book and discuss his experiences and research that led to developing the topic and authoring the book. Following the discussion, there will be a question and answers session. For more information or to volunteer, contact Robert Turner at (573) 651-2823 or


University Speaker Series Presents Common
7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 23, Show Me Center

 The “King of Conscious Hip Hop,” Common is one of music’s most poetic and respected lyricists. Over the course of nine albums, his introspective rhymes have pushed boundaries with their incisive social commentary. From “Can I Borrow a Dollar?” to “BE” and “Finding Forever” along with his Grammy-nominated collaborations with Kanye West, Common has spent 16 years in the notoriously fickle world of hip hop by taking risks and staying one step ahead of the game.

Common has also branched out into acting, portraying freed slave Elam Ferguson in AMC’s historical drama series “Hell on Wheels.” He also appears in several movies, including “Smokin’ Aces,” “Wanted,” “Terminator Salvation,” “Date Night” and “Just Wright.”

In 2007, he launched the Common Ground Foundation, an organization dedicated to the empowerment and development of America’s urban youth. Offering the younger generations a better understanding of self-respect and love, he has combined hip hop with literature, releasing three children’s books: “The MIRROR and ME,” “I like You but I Love Me” and “M.E. (Mixed Emotions).” His first book for adults is the provocative and touching memoir, “One Day It’ll All Make Sense.” In 2015, Common received an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song with John Legend for their powerful collaboration, “Glory,” featured in the civil rights film, “Selma.”

Whether inspiring audiences through his music, his books or his foundation, Common continues to break new ground, and remains one of hip hop’s most innovative, positive voices.

Common’s presentation, which is open to the public, serves as this year’s Michael Davis Lecture – an annual event recognizing the contributions of African Americans in the media. Tickets are required for entry. General admission tickets are $10 and can be purchased at or the Show Me Center Box Office. Current Southeast faculty, staff and students can use a Redhawks ID to pick up a free ticket in the Center for Student Involvement (University Center Room 204) or the Show Me Center Box Office.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Read-A-Thon
Throughout February

Volunteers visit local schools and share multicultural literature with children. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Marcia Brown-Haims at (573) 651-2188 or