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Central Washington University

CWU Celebrating Black History and Black Futures Over the Next Month

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

February is Black History Month, but it also is a time to envision the futures of African Americans. From now through March 20, CWU will be celebrating Black History Month with two visual presentations, plus a series of public events. 

The first phase of the pop-up exhibition in the SURC runs through March 2 and is titled “Where There is Vision, There is Hope: Portraits of Civil Rights in America.” The exhibit features large banners with images and words of leaders from the African American Civil Rights movement. 

The second phase, which will appear across campus from Feb. 24-March 20, will show a series of inspiring posters from the leaders of civil rights movements that are connected to the African American Civil Rights movement, such as the Asian American movement and the American Indian movement.  

Events also are scheduled, including a lecture by Kim Coleman, a historian, storyteller, and photographer from New Orleans. The lecture, scheduled for Feb. 25 at 5:30 p.m. in the Dean Hall lobby, will provide an overview of how racism sparked separate cultural experiences during the Carnival season in New Orleans. Coleman works as the curatorial manager and education specialist at the McKenna Museum’s “Black Carnival: How the Black Experience Created a Tradition.”

The following Thursday, the Black Student Union (BSU) will present “Being Black in Ellensburg: Stories of Triumph from the 4%.” African American students represent 4 percent of CWU’s student body, but they make up only 1 percent of Ellensburg’s total population. Find out where the 4 percent find and create joy in Ellensburg, both on and off campus. Black students, staff, faculty, and community members will share their stories of building a positive, inclusive community in Ellensburg. The presentation will be held Feb. 27 at 5:30 p.m. in the SURC Pit.

Another presentation took place Feb. 12 when the Africana and Black Studies (ABS) program hosted an open house. It has been 50 years since the Black Studies program began at CWU — a move that was prompted by student activists — and a number of ABS faculty and staff were on hand to talk about the program and their classes. 

The events and exhibitions are co-sponsored by the Central Washington University ABS, BSU, Diversity and Equity Center, and the Museum of Culture and Environment. Parking on campus is free after 4:30 p.m. and on weekends. For more information, email or call 509-963-2313. 

Media contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,

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