‘A Black Joy Love Letter:’ Elon to celebrate Black History Month with a series of February events

A series of events coordinated by the Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education will celebrate Black History Month at Elon.

The Elon University community will be able to celebrate Black History Month with a series of events throughout the month of February hosted by the Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education.

The Black History Month theme for 2022 is “A Black Joy Love Letter.” The focus will be about expressing, acknowledging and understanding what Black joy is. Using “The Politics of Black Joy” by Lindsey Stewart as a guide, the events will celebrate the contributions of Black people through the understanding of the dynamics of blackness, resistance and agency.

Black History Month events at Elon will center about three subthemes:

  • Love: How do love, care and advocacy for Black people look within and outside the community?
  • Joy: How do Black people experience joy by being their authentic selves in every place and space?
  • Resistance: When are the moments of struggle and resistance that are able to fill one’s cup and fulfill one’s passion?

If you have any questions, please contact CREDE Program Coordinator Simone Royal at sroyal2@elon.edu or 336-278-7243.

Black History Month events at Elon

Black History Month Kick-off: A Living Legacy

Feb. 1 – Upstairs Lakeside – 6 p.m.
Subtheme: Love, Joy and Resistance

When you’re alive, you have a unique opportunity to draw meaning by helping others in some way that is meaningful to you. A legacy is all about the richness of an individual’s life, including what the person accomplished and the impact they had on people and places. We will have Elon alumni Bryant Colson ’80, who was the first Black student to serve as editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, The Pendulum. He was also the first Black student elected president of the Student Government Association.

Womanist Wisdoms on Black Joy

Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24 – 6 p.m. – Virtual via Zoom
Subthemes: Love, Joy and Resistance

This four-course series will engage the definition of womanism and womanist theory to provide wisdom for the Elon community to immerse in and practice Black Joy as a praxis. The virtual event can be accessed here.

Week 1: Radical Subjectivity as Black Joy
Week 2: Traditional Communalism as Black Joy
Week 3: Redemptive Self-Love as Black Joy
Week 4: Critical Engagement as Black Joy

SUBCinema Screenings

Feb. 11-12, 18-19, 25-26 – Turner Theatre – 8 p.m. & 10:30 p.m.
Subthemes: Love, Joy and Resistance

SUBCinema will be playing movies that are relevant to Black History Month. Each movie is played on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Feb. 11-12: “Black Panther”
Feb. 18-19: “Queen & Slim”
Feb. 25-26: “Just Mercy”

NPHC Panel

Feb. 16 – Moseley 215 – 6 p.m.
Subtheme: Love

Are you interested in learning more about The Divine Nine and Multicultural organizations on campus? Please join us for a panel featuring Elon faculty and staff, with representation across The Divine Nine.

Film screening: “Two Gods”

Feb. 17 – Turner Theatre – 5:30 p.m.
Subtheme: Love, Joy and Resistance

Two Gods” is a feature documentary film about a Muslim casket marker and ritual body washer in Newark, N.J. who takes two young men under his wing to teach them how to live better lives.

Black Solidarity Dance Concert

Feb. 24-26: Virtual performance available each night at elonperformingarts.com at 7:30 p.m.
Subthemes: Love, Joy and Resistance

A celebration of black history through dance, music and storytelling features performances by Elon students and works from Elon faculty as well as local artists Chelsi Yvonne and Take 2. Sponsored by the Department of Performing Arts, the Office of Cultural & Special Programs and the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning

Black Table Talk: Black Joy

Feb. 23 – Moseley 217 – noon to 2 p.m.
Subthemes: Love, Joy and Resistance

This is an opportunity for the Black student population to enter into a space and embrace the love for themselves and their community. A moment to reflect in a safe space, experts a sense of joy and fulfill one’s cup and passion.

Showing of “High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America”

Feb. 23 – Turner Theatre – 5 p.m.
Subthemes: Love, Joy and Resistance

Join CREDE and the Office of Sustainability for the first episode of Netflix’s four-part series “High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America.” This docuseries is a joyful exploration of the rich history of Black heritage cooking and how it has influenced American cuisine.

Black Solidarity Day: A Black Joy Love Letter

Feb. 25 – Moseley Student Center – noon to 8 p.m.
Subthemes: Love, Joy and Resistance

Black Solidarity Day began in 1969, due to the work of Brooklyn College professor Carlos Russell, as a demonstration of Black liberation. Now, Black Solidarity Day will take place at Elon University for its eighth annual conference. the Elon University Black Solidarity Conference aims to unite Black-identifying students, faculty and staff by providing an avenue through which Black identity, Black intersectionality and building solidarity are explored. This year, we continue to offer an allyship, anti-racism, anti-Black racism track designed specifically for non-Black identified participants who want to learn more about anti-blackness, oppression, power, privilege and ways in which they can be better allies with Black communities. We encourage presentations from persons of all backgrounds with expertise in the following topics to submit to the appropriate tracks. If you have specific questions, please contact Simone Royal at sroyal2@elon.edu or CREDE at 336-278-7244.

Register by Feb. 14 for the Black Solidarity Day event.

Ongoing Initiatives 

Info Shots

Feb. 2 through Feb. 28 – Gerald Francis Center

“Info Shots: Injecting some knowledge about health inequities” is a signage program in which the School of Health Science Student Diversity Committee will post infographic signs all over the Francis Center with facts and information that highlight health care inequities for the Black community. The focus is to make common health care inequities visible for students, staff and faculty to spur conversation and progressive practices.

Online Exhibit: Black Student Protests

Digital access via Library Archives

As Black student enrollment at Elon continued to increase throughout the 1960s, so too did interest in a Black studies curriculum. Student members of the Third Front for the Organization of Afro-American Unity, the education wing of a black advocacy organization founded by Malcolm X and other black leaders, wrote an open letter in 1969 to then-Chair of the Department of Social Sciences Durward T. Stokes, urging him to introduce a course dealing exclusively with Black studies at Elon. The contents of the letter and the events that followed have been researched and compiled into an online exhibit by Lumen Scholar Emily Lange ’21 and Archivist and Assistant Librarian Libby Coyner.

The 2019 exhibit, “Black Studies Protests: Elon University’s journey to an African and African-American Studies Program,” uses letters, newspaper articles, and other resources to detail the effort to bring a Black studies program to the Elon campus.

Podcast: Being Latinx & Black, Siéntate y Hablemos via El Centro

Spotify access (free)

Listen to a conversation about the intersectionality of being Latinx and Black with Tyrone Jean, former assistant dean of students and director of CREDE. Find the podcast here.