Black History Month

Black History Month 2024 Events at a Glance

Event changes may occur throughout the month. Check back for the most up-to-date information.

Abraham Lincoln DeMond 1889 Day

Thursday, Feb. 1, at 6 p.m.
Corey Union Function Room

Honoring SUNY Cortland's first African American Graduate

Speakers: President Erik J. Bitterbaum, CDO Lorraine Lopez-Janove, Dr. Tracy Hudson, Clay Barnett, Daniel Walker '06

Special Guest: NYS Senator Lea Webb

Keynote: Yusuf Muhammad '99

Sponsors: The Alumni Association, Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office

Multicultural Male Initiative (MMI) Kick-Off Event

Friday, Feb. 2, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Corey Union Exhibition Lounge

SUNY Cortland is restarting a mentorship program for men of color entitled the Multicultural Male Initiative. This mentorship program is meant to enhance leadership skills for men of color on campus to help them achieve academic, personal, and professional success. Join us on Friday, February 2, from 4 – 6 p.m. in the Exhibition Lounge to kick off the new beginning of this program. Learn how you can get involved in this program and leave your mark on SUNY Cortland by helping create a community of support for men of color. The kick-off event will allow students to learn more about MMI through informal conversation, networking activities, and a keynote by James Felton (our former Chief Diversity Officer). Light refreshments will be provided.

Presented by: James Felton, Kharmen Wingard, James Escolastico, and Jacob Wright


Making Shakespeare Sexy Again: Pedagogical Approaches to Race and Empire

Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Old Main Colloquium

In “Imagining Islamicate Worlds: Race and Affect in the Contact Zone,” while considering the relationship between the reader subjectivity and the normative identities that build the English early modern canon, Ambereen Dadabhoy writes, “What happens when you read texts for whom you are not the intended audience, by writers who could not have imagined you as a reader?”(Dadabhoy 1). For most of my students from underrepresented communities like Dadabhoy, entering into a Shakespeare course raises the same question. Students regularly express how their past encounters with Shakespeare’s plays has left them uninterested in his works due to the lack of diversification among characters and their characterization. If persons from marginalized subjectivities are presented, they are often presented as the antagonists. This practice of stigmatization leads many to write Shakespeare’s works off as irrelevant to their lived experiences. The same perspective was once true for me until I rediscovered Shakespeare through the questions that mattered to me. To my dismay, I soon realized that my questions pertaining to the representation of persons of color, women, Jewish, and Muslim persons were being explored in his works with the complexity they deserve. In his writing on pedagogical approaches to teaching Shakespeare, Timothy Ponce explains that “At its core, literary analysis aims to answer interpretive questions posed by interactions with texts, thereby solving analytical problems that arise when various audiences interface with those texts”(Ponce 252). Ponce’s critique of literary analysis centers the dialogical relationship found between readers and the text—-a relationship that must be privileged and fostered in any learning environment in order to close the chasms between them. In this talk, I will explore how experience retrieval exercises (ERE) help students from marginalized identities to confront their qualms related to Shakespeare’s relevance to their lives experiences.

Presented by: Willnide Lindor, Ph.D

The Intersection of Disability and Individuals from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Corey Union Fireplace Lounge

An estimated 80% of people with disabilities live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs; World Health Organization, 2020) and individuals with disabilities are often overrepresented in these countries (Maloni et al., 2010). Although worldwide prevalence numbers for individuals with communication and other specific types of disabilities are unclear, it is estimated that globally 0.2%-0.6% of the school-age population experience complex communication needs as a result of conditions such as autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome (Blackstone, 1990). Most research on individuals with communication difficulties have been conducted on the majority Caucasian, English speaking population. This research may not necessarily be applicable to individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. It is important to consider this when thinking about individuals with disabilities, specifically those with significant communication difficulties.

Presented by: Nimisha Muttiah, Ph.D.

Microaggressions 101

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Student Life Center Lobby

Join us to learn the basics about microaggressions. Microaggressions will include a variety of identities. Stop by the table to enter to win a gift basket.

Presented by: Lauren Scagnelli and Katrina Hodge

If Black Lives Matter at School, then What is Race? with Dr. Marcus Croom

Thursday, February 8, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Register Here:

This critical dialogue features a brief discussion led by Dr. Marcus Croom (Indiana University Bloomington) and facilitated by Dr. Dianne Wellington (SUNY Cortland, Literacy Department). Dr. Croom will discuss the continued urgency of enhancing the ways in which individuals understand race and its implications for teaching Racial Literacies in schools. This event is organized by Dr. Dianne Wellington and the Literacy Department.

Presented by: Dr. Marcus Croom and Dr. Dianne Wellington

Black Woman Superhero Complex Panel Discussion

Tuesday, Feb. 13, 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Old Main Colloquium

This is a panel discussion on the Black Woman Superhero Complex, known as the Strong Black Woman Narrative. Panelists will discuss their perspective of the Black Woman Superhero Complex, how to navigate the complex within their lives and in predominately white spaces, and how to support Black women as they may navigate the complex.

Presented by: Katrina Hodge, Dr. Tracy Hudson (Assistant Professor of Physical Education), Natalie Yoder (Area Coordinator), Kyrstin White (Student), Yolanda Clarke (Assistant Professor of Health), Kyla Young (Student), and Eden Strachan (Author and Founder of Black Girls Don't Get Love).

The Musical Expression of African American Lived Experience

Tuesday, Feb. 13, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Dowd Fine Arts Building Room 236

This lecture will demonstrate how African American music and its characteristics are direct expressions of lived experience from enslavement to the present. This includes the banning of drums, coded messaging, Calk Walk mockery, Vaudevillian nightmare, and the authenticity of Rap.

Presented by: Dr. Lewis Rosengarten

Those that'll tell don't know, and those that know won't tell: Spike Lee's life and career

Wednesday,  Feb. 14, 12:30 p.m. to 1:20 p.m.
Old Main Colloquium

Shelton Jackson "Spike" Lee has a career spanning over 40 years. Spike Lee's long career as a filmmaker and provocateur remains impactful on popular culture. Spike spent much of his career as an almost singular black voice in an industry not interested in the stories he wanted to tell. While many black directors have now joined Lee it is worth taking some time to look at Spike's films and how they are still relevant today.

Presented by: Christopher Ortega

Black Feminist Thought and the Health Disparities of Black Women at Predominantly White Colleges and Universities

Thursday, Feb. 15, 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.
Corey Union Fireplace Lounge

Black Feminist Thought (BFT), conceptualized by Patricia Hill Collins, is a standpoint based on the experiences and perspectives of Black women. In effect, it is multiple standpoints offered as a collective to support the healthy development of Black women across the diaspora. This includes Black women's physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and economic well-being. The benefits of BFT have been clearly articulated and rearticulated by its founder and other Black feminist scholars for over 30 years. Yet, BFT has not become fully operative in society due to perpetual racism, sexism, and classism. As a result, Black women's lives continue to be fraught with sickness, inequity and poverty, and barriers to success and well-being. Accounts within the literature argue predominantly White institutions (PWIs) of higher education as some of the most egregious spaces for Black women students, faculty, and staff. This presentation and discussion offers BFT as a STRATEGIC PLAN to locate and eradicate barriers that contribute to or serve as catalysts to making Black women sicker, thus prohibiting their well-being and success at PWIs and beyond.

Presented by: Yolanda Clarke, Assistant Professor, Health Department

Writing Letters to Incarcerated Men

Monday, Feb. 19, at 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Corey Union Voice Office

During BSU's annual week of events, join us for our second time hosting "writing letters to incarcerated men." Despite making up 13.6% of the population, Black Americans make up just about 40% of the prison population. Join us in writing some encouraging and uplifting words for those going through the harsh realties of prison, and have no one to support them!

Presented by: BSU and MOVE

Wheel of Fortune: Black History Edition

Tuesday, Feb. 20, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Corey Union Room 301
Join the Black Student Union for day two of their week of events. Come play Wheel of Fortune for a chance to showcase your knowledge of Black history and win a prize!

Presented by: BSU

NYSUT Implicit Bias Workshop: "Sticks and Stones"

Wednesday,  Feb. 21, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Park Center Hall of Fame Room 1118

Learn how to promote social unity and increase cultural awareness in your school and community by attending this new NYSUT workshop for members and local affiliates. The goal is to bridge cultural divides and make our schools and communities more welcoming and inclusive places for people of all abilities and backgrounds by helping participants see beyond their own personal world view. Fulfills the NYS Department of Education training grant requirements for the Many Threads, One Fabric (MTOF) NYSUT-led implicit bias training for public school educators.

Presented by: New York State United Teachers (NYSUT)

Black Politics in the Contemporary Moment

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Old Main Colloquium

The course Black Political Thought got its first impetus from Black Lives Matter emerging in 2014. Participants will learn why developing the course was important, how students are engaging it, why it matters. The presentation will discuss overall intellectual engagement of Black politics for Gen Z and beyond.

Presented by: Mecke Nagel

Over-Policed and Under-Protected: Intra-Racial Violence and the Hyper-Policing in the Black Community

Wednesday,  Feb. 21, 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Corey Union 301-303

In this presentation, I provide a sociological review of the literature on both intra-racial violence among African Americans, and the long, tortured history of race, crime, and policing in the United States. Next, detail the various ways that African Americans, specifically black men, are simultaneously over-policed and under-protected, a symbiotic process that exposes the black community to physical and symbolic violence, while failing to provide them with equal protection and justice under the law. Finally, I conclude with a discussion on the need for critical race methodology (CRM). CRM is a research methodology that explicitly treats the thoughts, experiences, and words of marginalized communities as actual data, making their lives the primary focal point of overall research design.

Presented by: Dr. Marcus Bell

Cross-racial Solidarity in Critical Times

Thursday, Feb. 22, at 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Old Main Colloquium

This panel will discuss the promises and perils of cross-racial solidarity on our campus and beyond. In an interactive and relatively informal format, the speakers will address what cross-racial and anti-racist solidarity looks like for them, on the basis of their politics and lived experience, taking into account both the local, national, and global context of multiple and overlapping crises.

Presented by: Avanti Mukherjee, Steven Maher, Nikolay Karkov

Deidre Pierson: Race, Gender and Belonging in the Intercollegiate Athletic Workplace

Thursday, Feb. 22, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Park Center Hall of Fame Room 1118

Deidre Pierson, Associate Director of Athletic at Hamilton College, will speak about the issues and challenges facing black women working in intercollegiate athletics. She will speak about this topic both from a research perspective and her own personal experience. As Sport Management is a field (and department) dominated by white men, she will also discuss how our white male students can be better allies and work to create more inclusive workspaces in the future. There will be time for Q&A as well.

Presented by: Deidre Pierson

Coordinated by: Erin Morris

Black and Boujee: Masquerade Ball

Friday, Feb. 23, 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Corey Union Exhibition Lounge

Join the Black Student Union in our annual Black and Boujee event. This year's theme is Masquerade Ball. Come in your best dressed outfit as there will be some prizes, and be prepared to have a good time. Masquerade masks will be provided. Tickets are $5.

Presented by: BSU

Film Screening: Finding the Money

Monday, Feb. 26, 4:30 p.m.
Sperry 105

FINDING THE MONEY follows Stephanie Kelton on a journey through the controversial Modern Money Theory or “MMT”. Kelton provocatively asserts the National Debt Clock that ticks ominously upwards in New York City is not actually a debt for us taxpayers at all, nor a burden for our grandchildren to pay back. Instead, Kelton describes the national debt as simply a historical record of the number of dollars created by the US federal government currently being held in pockets, as assets, by the rest of us. MMT bursts into the mainstream media, with journalists asking, “Have we been thinking about how the government spends money, all wrong?” But top economists and politicians from across the political spectrum condemn the theory as “voodoo economics”, “crazy” and “a crackpot theory." FINDING THE MONEY traces the conflict all the way back to the story we tell about money, injecting new hope and empowering democracies around the world to tackle the biggest challenges of the 21st century: from climate change to inequality.

The policy legacy of the Civil Rights Movement includes transformative programs for social justice and full employment. Unfortunately, the ambitions outlined in "The Freedom Budget" are often made to appear unrealistic because of false narratives and a flawed understanding of money. Finding the Money demonstrates public money's power to not only revive but to realize these ambitions by flipping our understanding of the national debt – and the nature of money – upside down.

This is a must see for all those interested in social and environmental justice!

Coordinated by: Benjamin C. Wilson, Ph.D. -- Chair, Economics Department

Finding African American Representation in Modern Organic Chemistry — A Personal Reflection

Tuesday, Feb. 27, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Old Main Colloquium

Dr. Green will review his personal journey to find a place in the competitive chemical industry, insensing a quest to find connections between Modern Chemistry and the African Diaspora.

Presented by: Dr. Julius Green

African American Sport and Civil Rights

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 12:40 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Park Center Hall of Fame Room 1118

Sport provides the perfect venue for teaching students about the history of African Americans and their struggle for equality and civil rights. This presentation will briefly discuss several African Americans since the Civil War, who not only distinguished themselves as athletes in a legally segregated society, but also challenged the status quo and eventually broke through the color line when it came to equality for African Americans on and off the field of play.

Presented by: Susan Rayl

Exploring Intersectionality through the Lived Experiences of African American Women in South Korea

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Corey Union 301-303
This presentation is based on a recent study that explored the lived experiences of African Women living in South Korea. Despite the rising number of international people residing in South Korea, few studies examine the lived experiences of racialized and minoritized people in this country. By employing qualitative research methods, this study aims to break the silence of African women whose rich experiences as racialized others are shaped by the intersection of their multiple identities.

Presented by: Yomee Lee

Uplifting Voices: The Profound Impact and Importance of Black Sororities at PWIs

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Corey Union Fireplace Lounge

The presentation, "Uplifting Voices: The Profound Impact and Importance of Black Sororities at PWIs," focuses on the pivotal role of Black sororities within Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs). These sororities, including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA), Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (DST), Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. (ZPB), and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. (SGRho), serve as agents of change, shaping an empowered collegiate experience amid challenges of diversity and inclusivity. Examining their multifaceted contributions, the presentation highlights how these sororities provide platforms for academic growth while fostering a profound sense of community and belonging. Emphasizing leadership development, mentorship, and the celebration of cultural identity within PWIs, they address the unique needs of their members. The importance of Black sororities as creators of supportive networks is underscored, showcasing shared experiences that amplify voices, contributing to a collective strength within the PWI community. Additionally, their commitment to social justice initiatives adds to a broader culture of advocacy and awareness within PWI environments. The enduring legacy of Black sororities is explored, showcasing their indelible impact on the lives of members. By fostering a commitment to community engagement, leadership, and the promotion of diversity, Black sororities play a pivotal role in shaping a more inclusive, empowered, and culturally rich educational environment for all within PWIs.

Presented by: Dr. Tracy Hudson

Africana Studies Department: Artistic Groups

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Brown Auditorium

This event will highlight the diverse performance-based offerings (Africana Dance Group, Gospel Choir and the Blues Ensemble) that emanate from the traditions of people of African descent.

Coordinated by: Michael Tillotson and Bruce Mattingly

Challenge Accepted: Overcoming Bias, Prejudice, and Racism One Day at a Time

Thursday, Feb. 29, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Old Main Colloquium

The Anti-Racism Task Force Multimedia Subcommittee will present a Sandwich Seminar discussion surrounding the 21 Day Anti-Racism Challenge. Since its release in January 2021 we have had over 700 faculty, staff & alumni participate in the challenge with overwhelming positive feedback. A popular suggestion from the first round of surveys asked for opportunities to discuss the challenge. We thought having a discussion surrounding the challenge during Black History Month would be a perfect fit to dialogue about the knowledge gained through the challenge. And, what's next? We will also have a couple past participants share their perspective on the challenge. Our hope would be to have new participants, past participants and those on the fence come together and have rich discussion.

Presented by: Anti-Racism Taskforce Multi-Media Sub Committee

Netflix's Cleopatra and Afrocentric Claims on Ancient Egypt

Thursday, Feb. 29, 4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Old Main Colloquium

Netflix’s second season of African Queens series focused on Cleopatra. The docudrama series was greeted with controversy for casting Adele James (a Black British actress) as Cleopatra and for making the claim that ancient Egypt was ‘black.’ In Egypt, some media and public reactions rejected the possibility that Egyptians could be black. Netflix’s ‘Black’ Cleopatra was seen as an on extension of Afrocentric claims on ancient Egypt. So, how should we understand the ethnic or racial identity of Cleopatra? Why are American-centric ideas of race projected onto antiquity and how should we approach the peoples and cultures of ancient Egypt? What are Afrocentric claims about ancient Egypt?

Presented by: Beniam Awash, Assistant Professor of Sociology at SUNY Oneonta

Coordinated by: Nikolay Karkov

The Sherlock Holmes You Never Knew: Black American Adaptations, Then and Now

Thursday, Feb. 29, at 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Old Main Colloquium

Audiences worldwide recognize Sherlock Holmes as the archetypal founding father of all great (white) fictional detectives. What they don’t know is that, almost from his very inception, there has been an important yet mostly unknown counter tradition of Black American Sherlock Holmes characters reaching back as far as 1903. Join Dr. Ann McClellan for a fascinating—and sometimes troubling—media history of Black Sherlock Holmes adaptations across genres as wide-ranging as Broadway musicals and silent film to American jazz, graphic novels, dystopian fiction, and fan fiction

Presented by: Provost Ann McClellan

Antiracist Books for Teachers (and everyone else)

Ongoing throughout February
Memorial Library, Front Lobby and Teaching Materials Center

The Memorial Library and School of Education Faculty present two book displays for teachers – and everyone else. The library front lobby display features books dedicated to learning about race and racial justice. The Teaching Materials Center display features children’s picture books of, for and representing Black American and Black-Diasporic lives, histories and experiences. The book displays will appear throughout the month of February.

Presented by: Lisa Czirr, Margaret Gichuru, Cody Harrington, Rhiannon Maton, Katarina Silvestri, Dianne Wellington

21-Day Anti-Racism Challenge


Please join us in taking or retaking the SUNY Cortland Anti Racism 21-day challenge in the month of February. Special prizes will be awarded for completion of the challenge!

Take the challenge at

Presented by: Anti-Racism Taskforce

For further information and questions regarding Black History Month, please contact Charlotte Wade, Assistant Diversity Officer, Miller Building 404A,