Iowa State announces calendar of events to celebrate Black History Month


Daily Dialogue is a live storytelling event based on different cultural topics hosted by the Iowa State Daily. On Feb. 28, 2019, at the Parks Library, five students shared their personal stories for Black History Month. Marie Beecham was a then-first-year student and George Washington Carver Scholar. She shared her experience on one of her trips to the Ames Grand Mall, where she was racially profiled by a sales associate. 

Madison Mason

As February starts, the Iowa State community is engaging in educational and social learning regarding Black History Month.

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of the black community in U.S. history, according to

“It is always important to be educated about the full history of the United States,” said Kenyatta Shamburger, program coordinator for Multicultural Student Affairs. “Oftentimes, historically marginalized groups are depicted in ways that do not instill pride or a sense of accomplishment. Cultural heritage months, in this case, Black History Month, is a way to offer a counter-narrative, a way to learn about, reflect on and celebrate Black History.”

He also said there are many accomplishments that have been achieved by Black/African American people, and these should be acknowledged and celebrated. As well, Shamburger said that the celebration of cultural heritage should not be relegated to a one-month block, that learning about the history and future of a culture can be learned and engaged in year-round.

During Black History Month, there is also the concept of identifying positive strides made by the black community, but also the oppression the black community has witnessed. Shamburger encouraged students to become as knowledgeable as possible regarding the history of the black community, as well as identifying key factors of how oppression happens.

“There is an on-going opportunity to bring attention to positive strides in the Black community and combat racism,” Shamburger said. “Learning more about Black history and the history of other historically marginalized groups is one way. Learning about power, privilege and oppression and how it may show up in the things that are done and said and then challenging negative behaviors when they see them is another way that students can raise awareness and combat these actions among their peers.”

As for learning about Black History Month, Shamburger said that students can attend any of the various events that are taking place during the month.

In the Iowa State and Ames community, there will be many events and resources available to students for them to learn and engage in black history.

Throughout February, in Parks Library, a book display with the theme “African Americans and the Vote” will be split between the Fireplace Reading Room and a mobile unit in the lobby.

At 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. from Feb. 13 to 16 in Carver 10, Cyclone Cinema will have screenings of “Queen & Slim” every night for four days.

At 6 p.m. Thursday in Parks Library 198, there will be a film screening, “I Am Not Your Negro: James Baldwin and Race in America.” The film is by filmmaker Raoul Peck, who directs this documentary based on the book that author James Baldwin never finished about the lives and assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

At 5:30 p.m. also on Thursday in the Gateway Hotel and Convention Center, the 20th annual Freedom Fund Banquet will take place with keynote speaker Leon Andrews, director of Race, Equity, and Leadership Program for the National League of Cities.

From 2 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 17 to 22 Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the Memorial Union Workspace there will be a drop-in craft: Ankara wrapped bangle bracelets. Ankara fabric, or African Wax Printing, is created through a wax-resist dyeing technique and is known for its vivid colors and bold patterns.

“Find a combination of Ankara fabrics that you like, and we will show you how to wrap them around cord to make a set of three bracelets sized just for you,” according to the Workspace website.

This event is open to all ages if accompanied by an adult, and the cost is $6.

At 6 p.m. on Feb. 19 in Carver 101, there will be a discussion and screening of “Harriet,” which follows the heroic story of former slave and abolitionist Harriet Tubman. A panel discussion between Iowa State students and related clubs and organizations will begin at 6 p.m. The film screening will begin at 7 p.m.

At 8 p.m. on Feb. 28 in the Maintenance Shop, there will be a John Primer concert. Advance tickets are $12 for the public and $8 with an Iowa State student ID. Ticket prices increase $2 the day of the show. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

“Primer has undisputedly helped build the sound and style of Chicago blues as we know it today,” according to the Maintenance Shop website.

At 2 p.m. on Feb. 29 at the Ames Public Library, there will be a film showing “Black N Black,” a documentary exploring the relationship between African Americans and African immigrants to the United States.

To round out Black History Month is the Thomas L. Hill Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity. The conference will take place all day on March 6 in the Memorial Union and is a comprehensive forum on issues of race and ethnicity at Iowa State and beyond. This event is free and open to Iowa State students, faculty and staff. People must register by 5 p.m. on March 2.