Campus Life / Education / Local

Making it happen: Behind the scenes at Norfolk State’s Black History Month events

by Halle Ellis

During the month of February, the Black History Month Committee comprised of various campus divisions, come together and lead the university in a series of free, open to the public premier events. These events celebrate and bring heightened awareness and understanding to African American and African diasporic cultures. Campus events include African dance, discussion panels, health and wellness awareness, voter registration, and a Brown Bag Lunch series to name a few.

Every year the Association for the Study of African American Life and History release a theme for Black History Month, and it is the university’s job to bring that theme to light. For this year’s 40th anniversary the theme is “African Americans and the Vote.”

Why this year’s theme? This year’s observance honors the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment (1920) granting women’s suffrage and the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment (1870) giving black men the right to vote.  The Black History Month Committee is hosting several events to heighten awareness on voting rights and its importance.

There is a lot of time spent in putting together these impactful events. Some of the challenges the committee face during the elaborate planning process for its many events are timeliness and logistics planning.

“For the past two years, the donations from the President’s and Provost’s Office have made a generous impact on planning events and getting keynote speakers to come out,” said Dr. Khadijah Miller, Chair, Black History Month Committee.

Interested in serving on the committee next year? Students, organizations, faculty and staff are welcome to join. The planning and meeting process start to take place in the fall. To learn more about how you can get involved, or if you just want general information about the Black History Month events, please contact Khadijah Miller at or 757-823-8198.

As this year’s Black History Month events come to a close, the remaining events are provided below. You can also check out the campus calendar highlights for events and happenings located at

Events and Happenings

February 20

  • 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | SC 138ARemembering MLK: The March for Freedom. Historical & Social Talk.
  • 6 p.m. | Student Center 138AB. SIGNATURE EVENT: Where’s your Offering Going? Corruption in the Black Church. Panel Discussion. WEB DuBois Sociology Club & NSU NAACP Chapter. Panel of lay and religious leaders.
  • 6 p.m. | The Chrysler Museum of Art (free and open to the public). NSU students present poetry to art inspired by The Architecture of Slavery exhibit along with ODU students.

February 21

  • 5-8 p.m. | James Wise Gallery, Fine Arts Building. Ona Reimagined (reinventing a contemporary idiom). Exhibition Opening Reception. Artwork by Ife School of Art, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, graduates.

February 24

  • 5:15-6:30 p.m. | NSU Dance Studio, Gill Gymnasium. African Dance with Live Drumming. NSU Health & Wellness Initiative for Women. Free.

February 25

  • 12:30 p.m. | Student Center 138C. 37th Annual Sigma Tau Delta Images in Black Voices and the Ongoing African American Struggle for the Right to Vote. Student Presentations.
  • 7 p.m. | Student Center 149. NSU Premiere of film, Harriet. Student Activities and Leadership. Free and open to the public.

February 26

  • Noon-1 p.m. | Student Center 307. Brown Bag Lunch Series: African Americans and the Vote – Sociological Perspectives. Dr. Austin Ashe, assistant professor of sociology. Lunch provided.
  • 5:15-6:30 p.m. | NSU Dance Studio, Gill Gymnasium. Exercise on the Go: Aerobics, Yoga, HITT & more. NSU Health & Wellness Initiative for Women. Free.
  • 6:30-7:30 p.m. | Library, African Art Gallery, 2nd Floor. A Casual Evening of Poetry and Jazz. Showcase. NSU faculty, staff and students.

February 27

  • 6 p.m. | Student Center Lobby. Jazz Night. Featuring student and professional jazz musicians.
  • 7-9 p.m. | Student Center 149. 2nd Annual Night of Black Excellence. Student performers & Panel Discussion. Can Black People be Racist?

February 29

  • 10 a.m.-Noon | Brown Hall 105. African American Forum on Alzheimer Disease. Presentation by Southeastern Virginia Chapter, Alzheimer Association. E. R. Strong School of Social Work.