Day of Community Service Kicks Off Southeast’s Observance of Black History Month


Southeast Missouri State University will celebrate Black History Month beginning this week with a variety of activities, incorporating everything from community service to culture and history.

This year’s events kick off Jan. 26 with a community service day, sponsored by the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity and One City of Cape Girardeau.

“This is a great opportunity for faculty, staff and students to engage in community service projects throughout the Cape Girardeau area and begin Black History Month making a positive impact in the lives and community around us,” said Sonia Rucker, assistant to the president for equity and diversity and dean of students.

Black History Month at Southeast will continue throughout February, providing opportunities to recognize and learn about the cultures, history and achievements of black Americans.

“All of this year’s events are geared towards involving and educating our students, faculty, staff and community members about the many achievements of black Americans,” Rucker said. “We hope the Southeast and local community can come together to celebrate history through fun and educational events.”

Black History Month was first introduced as “Negro History Week” in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, whose goal was to focus attention on the many contributions to American history that have been made by black people. At that time, “Negro History Week” was the second week of February, chosen by Woodson because it marks the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, two men who did much to influence black Americans. In 1976, during the U.S. Bicentennial, the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History expanded Woodson’s week into the Black History Month of today.

Upcoming events and entertainment include the following:

 Jan. 26, 9:15 a.m.: Unity in Our Community Service Day: This day of service begins with coffee and donuts at One City, located at 610 Independence in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Service teams will launch at 10 a.m. and return to One City for a celebratory lunch at noon. To volunteer for a service project, visit the One City website at or the Southeast Serves website at

Sarah Glover

Feb. 11, 6 p.m.: Michael Davis Lecture: Sarah Glover, president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and social media editor for NBC, will speak in the Forrest H. Rose Theatre in Grauel Building. Glover will discuss current trends in the media industry and provide an update on the NABJ’s Black Male Media Project. The Michael Davis Lecture recognizes the contributions of African Americans in the media. The event honors the late Michael Davis, a journalism student at Southeast who died as a result of a hazing incident. In 1997, the then Department of Mass Communication held the first Michael Davis Lecture to honor his memory as part of the University’s Black History Month activities. More than 150 faculty, staff and students regularly attend the annual event. This event is sponsored by the Department of Mass Media.

Feb. 15, 6 p.m.: “Crash” Film Screening and Discussion: “Crash” is a 2004 American drama produced, directed and co-written by Paul Haggis. The R-rated drama and crime film focuses on citizens of Los Angeles, California, whose vastly separate lives collide in interweaving stories of race, loss and redemption. “Crash” provides an excellent entertainment opportunity to observe the intersections of race, class, station, gender and politics. During the discussion, moderated by Dr. Victor Wilburn, professor and chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Southeast, participants will be encouraged to draw parallels from the many themes that are present in the movie, and examine how society can evolve beyond such civil injustices and move toward a goal of collective civility and civil justice. This event, sponsored by the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity and the Black Student Union, will be held in the University Center Ballroom A.

Dr. Jacqueline Wilson

Dr. Tamara Zellars Buck

Feb. 21, 6:30 p.m.: “Damn.”: How Kendrick Lamar Won the Pulitzer Prize for Music (and how the media reacted): Dr. Jacqueline Wilson, assistant professor of music at Southeast, and Dr. Tamara Zellars Buck, associate professor of mass media at Southeast, will examine American rapper, songwriter and record producer Kendrick Lamar’s music, why it deserved a Nobel Prize, and why the mass media did not understand this recognition. This event is sponsored by the Black Faculty and Staff Alliance. This event will be held in University Center Ballroom A.

Dr. Shonta Smith

Feb. 25, 5:30 p.m.: Living While Black #unity: In this panel presentation about living in modern America identified as African-American, panelists will share their stories, experiences and struggles about living while black. This discussion will be moderated by Dr. Shonta Smith, associate professor of elementary, early and special education and member of Southeast’s UI100: First Year Seminar advisory committee. This event will be held at the Cape Girardeau Public Library, located at 711 Clark St. in Cape Girardeau.

Dr. C.P. Gause

Feb. 26, 5 p.m.: Protest, Power, and Progress: Exploring Black Males across the Lifespan: Dr. C.P. Gause, professor and chair of the Department of Leadership, Middle and Secondary Education at Southeast, will take the audience on a journey of discovery, wonder and intrigue. This interactive session will showcase historical narratives and personal stories of black men who changed the trajectory of American culture. This presentation is based on “The Handbook of Research on Black Males: Quantitative, Qualitative, and Multidisciplinary (International Race and Education Series),” a new book co-edited by Gause, Dr. Theodore S. Ransaw and Richard Major, and published by Michigan State University Press. This event will be held in the University Center Ballroom A.