Poetry and Pride at Drexel's Black History Month Luncheon 

A faceless stilt-walker performs with the Universal African Drum and Dance Ensemble.

A faceless stilt-walker performs with the Universal African Drum and Dance Ensemble at Drexel's annual Black History Month luncheon on Feb. 21.

Drexel’s Black Faculty and Professional Staff Association hosted its annual Black History Month luncheon Feb. 21, complete with spoken word, soul food and a stirring African drum and dance performance.

Drexel students, staff and faculty packed Behrakis Grand Hall to celebrate the history and culture of the black community at one of several events around campus this month. Provost and Executive President for Academic Affairs M. Brian Blake, PhD, noted the feeling of warmth in the room, which was filled with the sounds of Al Green and The Jackson 5 before the festivities began.

“Black history is American history,” said Blake. “It is world history.”

He spoke briefly about his first experience of Black History Month — a middle-school report written about George Washington Carver, who was born into slavery and went on to become one of the most famous botanists and inventors in American history. Years later, Black History Month is as important as ever, he said.

“For us to gather like this and have this opportunity to communicate, in this moment, is not only special to Drexel as an institution but special for the faculty and staff,” said Blake.

In addition to comments from Blake and BFPSA President Janeile Johnson, assistant director of the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement, the crowd was treated to spoken word from Rose Samuel-Evans, assistant director of university and community engagement in the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships. A multigenerational performance by the Universal African Drum and Dance Ensemble got the audience out of their seats and injected an added shot of spirit into the room to close out the afternoon.