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Multitude of events scheduled for Black History Month

Sanfoka Museum file photo
The Sankofa African-American Museum on Wheels exhibit will be on UNG's Gainesville Campus on Feb. 13 and the Dahlonega Campus on Feb. 14.

Dr. Tommie C. Smith will highlight a full slate of Black History Month events at the University of North Georgia (UNG) during February.

Smith's iconic Black Power salute on the medal stand after winning the 200-meter track and field gold medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico was a protest against racial injustice against African-Americans in the United States. Dr. Robert Robinson, director of Multicultural Student Affairs at UNG, even has a photo of the moment on his office wall.

Smith will speak at noon Monday, Feb. 18, in the Robinson Ballroom of the Student Center on UNG's Gainesville Campus. 

Robert Robinson with Tommie C. Smith photo

Dr. Robert Robinson, UNG director of Multicultural Student Affairs, is looking forward to having Tommie C. Smith speak Feb. 18 on UNG's Gainesville Campus as part of Black History Month.

"I grew up having that poster in my home. I grew up seeing that in my barbershop," Robinson said. "It was a very proud moment that someone would sacrifice so much for the black community."

Other events will include entrepreneur, firefighter and veteran Darrell Sprattling speaking; Ohio State University associate professor Hasan Kwame Jeffries serving as a guest lecturer; Manga dancers performing; the Sankofa African-American Museum on Wheels; and a day highlighting "Unsung Black Heroes."

Sprattling, who founded Pi-Bytes — a company that sells miniature, gourmet pies — served in the Army and as a firefighter before launching his business. He will speak from 6-7 p.m. Feb. 12 in Young Hall room 112 on the Dahlonega Campus.

Jeffries is the author of "Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama's Black Belt," which depicts the African-American freedom movement in Lowndes County, Alabama. He will serve as guest lecturer from noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 21 in the Robinson Ballroom on the Gainesville Campus. Jeffries is also the editor of "Understanding and Teaching the Civil Rights Movement," a collection of essays by leading civil rights scholars and teachers that explores how to teach the Civil Rights Movement accurately and effectively.  

An "Unsung Black Heroes" exhibit is scheduled for noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 20 in the Cleveland Ballroom of the Nesbitt building on the Gainesville Campus, where students will share information about lesser-known black historical figures.

Manga dancers will perform from noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 6 in the Robinson Ballroom on the Gainesville Campus and from 6-7 p.m. the same day in the Hoag Great Room on the Dahlonega Campus.

The Sankofa African-American Museum will be set up from noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 13 in the Robinson Ballroom on the Gainesville Campus and noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 14 in the Hoag ABC Rooms on the Dahlonega Campus.

Robinson is grateful for the doors Black History Month opens.

"It's an opportunity to help people understand African-American history and perspective. Sometimes people who aren't raised in that culture don't understand it," Robinson said. "There's a whole gamut of history that sometimes we don't get the opportunity to visit. It's not just a story of slavery and sadness. It's a story of uplift and growth. Those things should be celebrated, as well."

Brittany Stephenson-Simpson, a junior from Miami, Florida, majoring in psychology, is president of the Black Student Union on the Gainesville Campus. Stephenson-Simpson said the suffering of her ancestors inspires her.

"Having this knowledge of our roots and culture allows us to positively live beyond stereotypes associated with our culture," she said. "We must strive to be greater than our limitations and work together as a community to spread the word of the greatness of our culture."

Stephenson-Simpson said UNG's Black History Month events will be reflective of Haitian, Jamaican African-Caribbean, and African-Latino communities, as well. She appreciates the diversity reflected in those groups and is excited about what UNG is offering this month.

"We shouldn't be afraid to express who we are just because we may be different from other demographics," she said. "Everybody is different in their own unique way, but don't be afraid to express who you are."

Black History Month events

Feb. 6: Manga dancers to perform from noon to 1 p.m. in Robinson Ballroom, Gainesville

Feb. 6: Manga dancers to perform from 6-7 p.m. in Hoag Great Room, Hoag Student Center, Dahlonega

Feb. 12: Darrell Sprattling to speak 6-7 p.m. in Young Hall room 112, Dahlonega

Feb. 13: Sankofa African-American Museum on Wheels exhibit from noon to 1 p.m. in Robinson Ballroom, Gainesville

Feb. 14: Sankofa African-American Museum on Wheels exhibit from noon to 1 p.m. in Hoag ABC Rooms, Dahlonega

Feb. 18: Dr. Tommie C. Smith to speak at noon in Robinson Ballroom, Gainesville

Feb. 20: "Unsung Black Heroes" exhibit from noon to 1 p.m. in Cleveland Ballroom, Nesbitt Building, Gainesville

Feb. 21: Hasan Kwame Jeffries will lecture from noon to 1 p.m. in Robinson Ballroom, Gainesville

Feb. 25: Keynote speaker (to be announced) in room 522 at noon on Oconee Campus

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