How to Celebrate Black History Month at Drexel

Drexel Provost M. Brian Blake speaks at last year's Black History Month luncheon.

Drexel Provost M. Brian Blake speaks at last year's Black History Month luncheon. Blake will be in attendance at this year's luncheon on Feb. 21, one of several events this month celebrating the history of the black community .

Black History Month is underway, and there are plenty of ways to observe and celebrate with the Drexel community this February. The month-long holiday, which honors the achievements of members of the black community and provides an opportunity to focus attention on their contributions to the country’s history, was first officially recognized in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. It grew out of “Negro History Week,” an event first proposed and launched by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926. It is believed that Woodson chose February for his history week because it contains the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

On Drexel’s campus, events will be held throughout the month to reflect on the art and history of the black community. Sponsors include the Black Graduate Student Union, the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships and the Africana Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences.

In addition to the events listed below, student organizations will be organizing and hosting events to celebrate Black History Month. For more information on additional opportunities to get involved, contact Alex Daniels-Iannucci in the Student Center for Inclusion and Culture at or 215.895.2662.

Trailblazers to Freedom Traveling Trunks — Feb. 6–17, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Dornsife Center

Monday through Friday for two weeks, dive in and explore an exhibit representing the lives of several of Philadelphia’s most interesting African-Americans from the Revolutionary and Civil War eras. Contact or 215.571.4013 for more information. This event is offered in partnership with the African American Museum of Philadelphia’s Learning Through the Arts program and Drexel’s Westphal College of Media Arts & Design.

Mlanjeni Magical Theater — Feb. 7, 6–7 p.m. — Dornsife Center

Mungamano, a traditional African theater style, will be on display in an engaging interactive performance that will include storytelling, folk music, conjuring puppets and masks.

Drexel GPS: Hip-Hop, Islam, Gender, Activism, Race — Feb. 9, 6–7:30 p.m. — A.J. Drexel Picture Gallery, Main Building

As part of Drexel’s Global Passport Series, this event will focus on Su’ad Abdul Khabeer’s new book, “Muslim Cool: Race, Religion and Hip Hop in the United States.” Khabeer, PhD, an assistant professor of anthropology and African-American studies at Purdue University will join Kyle “HPrizm” Austin, an Africana studies professor at Drexel, for a discussion moderated by Alden Young, PhD, director of the Africana Studies Program and assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. The event will focus on how Muslims, specifically those living in the United States, have combined Islam, blackness and hip-hop to create a new and independent identity. The role of hip-hop will be discussed from its origins until today in defining “Muslim Cool” as a platform for social activism. The panelists will also tackle the enduring questions surrounding the future of hip-hop and the ways that black, Muslim and women activists have used hip-hop as a soundtrack for liberation. The event is co-sponsored by the Africana Studies Program, the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Global Studies and Modern Languages. RSVP to Jacqueline Rios at, or call 215.895.6910.

The Remix: A New Spin on Community Issues — Feb. 15, 5:30–7 p.m. — Dornsife Center

The Drexel Black Graduate Student Union, Mantua Civic Association, the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement and the Dornsife Center present an interactive program discussion community issues. Come for an intergenerational discussion about love, family, gentrification and many other topics that affect the community. Contact for more information.

Annual Black History Month Luncheon – Feb. 21, 12 to 2 p.m. — Behrakis Grand Hall

Join the Black Faculty and Professional Staff Association for the annual Black History Month luncheon. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Greatness Within” and the event will highlight the accomplishments and stories of African-Americans within the University and the larger community. Provost M. Brian Blake, PhD, will deliver opening remarks and there will be live music and African dance, cultural cuisine and more. All are invited to attend and are strongly encouraged to wear African attired. Prizes will be awarded to those with the best African garb. For more information, contact

Fashion and Jazz: Stylin’ and Defyin’ in America Workshop — Feb. 23, 5:00–7 p.m. — Dornsife Center

An interactive lecture with historical images, songs and film clips that trace the path of jazz in America. This event will give the audience a better understanding of the importance, contribution and continual impact of the multigenerational genre of jazz. A Q&A will follow the lecture, and the audience will be able to see some of the artifacts brought by the lecturer. Contact or 215.571.4013 for more information.

Storytelling & Folktales — Feb. 27, 5:30–6:30 p.m. — Dornsife Center

Learn about the art of traditional African and African-American storytelling from a modern griot (storyteller). Contact or 215.571.4013 for more information.