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Penn State & Downtown State College To Host Black History Month Events Throughout February

As February begins, Penn State and downtown State College are prepped to ring in the month with several events to celebrate Black History Month.

With concerts, readings, and even a self-guided tour of the Palmer Art Museum, there are plenty of curated events and opportunities for students to immerse themselves in the importance of the next 28 days.

Let’s take a look at the interesting events sweeping the Happy Valley area throughout February in honor of Black History Month.

The Month Of February — Black History Month Self-Guided Art Tour

Palmer Art Museum “will offer a printed, self-guided tour for Black History Month” throughout the entire month of February, featuring Black artists from the late 1800s to today. There is no registration required to attend the self-guided walkthrough.

February 1 to 4 — 2023 African American Music Festival

The 2023 African American Music Festival is hosted by Anthony Leach and Essence of Joy beginning on Wednesday, February 1, and will run until Saturday, February 4.

The event will feature students and faculty from the Penn State School of Music. Special guests include appearances from John W. Jones and the Unified Jazz Ensemble, Maria Thompson Corley, and Lara Downes. 

February 1 — Dance Celebration Fitness Class

At 4 p.m. on Wednesday, February 1, the IM Building will host Zumba, Power Remix, Hip-Hop Line Dance, and more fitness classes to celebrate Black History Month. Limited spots are available, but reservations can be made for the class here.

February 1 — “My Name is Pauli Murray” Film And Post-Film Discussion

The showing of the film, which will air at 9 p.m., follows the life of Pauli Murray, “a civil rights champion and activist you’ve never heard of” in mostly unheard archival recordings from Murray himself. The event is offered virtually.

For more information, visit the event’s website.

February 4 — African American Storytelling With Momma Pam Pam

Join Momma Pam Pam, a children’s storyteller, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 4, at the Schlow Centre Region Library downtown.

There, she will tell animal stories and use rainsticks to entertain an audience recommended for children ages 2 to 6. To learn more, click here.

February 4 to 5 — Discovery Days With Inventor Garret Morgan

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekend of February 4 and 5, folks can learn about the inventor Garret Morgan at the Discovery Space of Central Pennsylvania on North Atherton Street. There, children are encouraged to discover how he changed the world of STEM today.

February 7 — Kwame Alexander Appearance

Writer and poet Kwame Alexander, a prominent figure in the children’s fiction genre, will discuss his life, writing, and impact on the Black community in the Heritage Hall in the HUB at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 7.

February 7 — Writing Workshop With Ebony Stewart

Ebony Stewart, an accomplished and well-known poet, will hold a writing workshop for students from 3 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, February 7, to help perfect their craft.

Stewart focuses on the Black experience with an emphasis on womanhood, gender identity, and more. To sign up for the event, click here. Stewart will also present a lecture and performance later in the day from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in HUB 008 Lounge.

February 7 — Seminar With DuPont’s Christine Hatter

Christine Hatter, a senior scientist at DuPont, will host a virtual seminar from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 7.

The seminar will be held via Zoom and hosted by the Penn State National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE). Visit here to attend.

February 8 — “The Frederick Douglass Project”

At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, February 8, Emmy-award-winning actor Keith David will perform a dramatic reading of a speech by the legendary 19th-century American abolitionist in “The Fredrick Project”.

The virtual event will also include a presentation from a community panel and a town hall-style discussion for audience members to participate. For more information, click here.

February 8 — Reaching Across Racial Divide

Betty Kilby Baldwin and Phoebe Kilby will tell their stories and draw from lessons in their book “Cousins: Connected through Slavery” from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, February 8.

In the story, both women, who are Black and White, respectively, discover their past and each other. To learn more about the event, click here.

February 9 — An Evening With Robert Samuels

Author Robert Samuels will discuss his book, “His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice,” at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 9, in Freeman Auditorium at the HUB.

Seating will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The event will also be livestreamed through a separate link.

February 10 — Essence 2 Annual Black History Month Concert

Join Essence 2 at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 10 at Trinity Lutheran Church for a concert with African and African American choral traditions.

February 11 — Dark Storm Step Team Performance

Dark Storm is a student organization focused on uniting students from different cultural backgrounds and will be performing as a squad from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 11.

The show will take place in HUB 008 Lounge.

February 14 — Douglass Day 2023

Come celebrate Frederick Douglass’ birthday with the Center for Black Digital Research to help transcribe the newly digitized papers of Mary Ann Shadd Cary on the 200th anniversary of her birth year.

The event will be held from noon to 3 p.m., with registration available on the event’s website.

February 15 — The Black Experience At Penn State

Penn State alum Darryl Daisey will discuss the Black Experience at Penn State through the Penn State African American Chronicles from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 15.

The platform is an interactive multimedia site for faculty, students, and community members to share their experiences. To register for the online event, click here.

February 23 — Diversity In STEAM From A Real-Life Guardian Of The Galaxy

Join Moogega Cooper, a famous engineer who helped create the Mars rover “Perseverance” mission for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Cooper will share his story from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on February 23 in the Berg Auditorium within Huck Life Sciences Building.

February 25 to 26 — Discovery Days With Chemist Percy Lavon Julian

Learn about famous chemist Percy Lavon Julian and his scientific achievements from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on February 25 and 26. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.


To learn more about events happening on campus, check out Penn State’s full array of events here. To learn more about events downtown, visit the Downtown State College website.

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About the Author

Gracie Mullan

Gracie is a senior from Delaware County, Pa, studying telecommunications with a minor in English. In her free time, Gracie likes to read, write, and drink coffee. Get in touch with Gracie on her Instagram @gracie.mullan and for more formal inquiries [email protected].

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