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Campus Celebrates African American History Month  

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – FEBRUARY 21, 2013 –The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College  celebrated African American History Month and other important anniversaries with a week-long series of programming that began on Monday, Feb. 18 and will end with a Community Program Monday, Feb. 25 designed to proclaim and celebrate African American history and heritage within the community.  

The celebrations end with a community program on Feb. 25 in Salón Cassia at the Education and Business Complex. The evening begins at 5:15 p.m. with a student-led “March for the Future” from Tandy Hall to EDBC.

“Given that this is the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, our campus had to be a part of marking the occasion,” said Dr. Marilyn J. Woods, Chief of Staff.  “What brought it from a one day program to a week’s worth of programming was the enthusiasm and commitment of our colleagues across campus.” 

Woods said she was contacted by Minister Donald Hamm, the leader of the South Texas Mass Choir, at Dr. Deloria Nanze-Davis behest, to see if there would be any program this year. The South Texas Mass Choir has performed on campus before as part of African American History Month and will be the special guest performers at the community event on Monday. 

At  the 6 p.m. program,  three community members who have dealt directly with civil rights issues will speak in a panel titled “My Day in History.”

The three panel members are Lonnie B. Davis, who integrated the Harlingen High School football team, Estela Martinez, who graduated from a predominately African American population school in South Carolina, and Father Armand Mathew, OMI, who participated in many human rights events throughout his life including events in Zambia, Africa.  

Minister Donald Hamm of the South Texas Mass Choir
Minister Donald Hamm, leader of the South Texas Mass Choir, will perform at the Community Event. 

“Each year, the university had programs that have been carried out almost single-handedly by Dr. Nanze-Davis,” said Woods. “So whether there were 50 people or 200 people in the audience, it was a teaching moment and a celebration of people who are intricately tied to the history of the United States.” 

The activities began on Feb. 18 at the Student Union.

Other events that began earlier this week were:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 19:        Brownsville Raid Video at Student Union El Gran Salón
  • Wednesday, Feb. 20: “Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights”-PBS Video in La Sala
  • Thursday, Feb. 21:    “Eyes on the Prize” - Civil Rights-PBS Video in La Sala
    “Separate but Equal” – An Experiential Lesson by the Center for     Civic Engagement              
  • Friday, Feb. 22: Music, Poetry, and Karaoke Contest Honoring African American Roots in Gospel, Jazz, Blues, and Rap.  Prizes for the contest are $100 for 1st place, $50 for 2nd place and $25 for 3rd place. 

 “Our campus celebrates people, so this celebration continues the tradition that we see in Hispanic Heritage Month, Women’s History Month, International Week and others that stops us for a moment to expand our understanding of our world," said Woods. “My hope is that all students will give closer attention to their own heritage and their connection to the world.” 

The Center for Civic Engagement, the Business Affairs Division, the Office of the President, the Student Affairs Division, the UTB and TSC library staff, and faculty and representatives from the Department of Criminal Justice and the Department of Mathematics contributed to the extensive itinerary of programs and activities for the week.  

For more information about the African American History Month programs, contact Dr. Marilyn J. Woods at 956-882-7147 or marilyn.woods@utb.edu.

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