Campus community invited to join Black History Month events throughout February

February 8, 2022
By: Deborah Alvarez O'Neil

Students, faculty and staff are celebrating Black History Month with a variety of educational, cultural and history events this month. This week, the University will welcome author and Bowdoin College Professor Anthony Walton at May Street Auditorium. Events later in the month include poetry jams, film screenings and the
Sarah Ellen Sharbach Memorial Lecture: Maria W. Stewart and the Roots of Black Political Thought.

All events are free and open to the university community. Here’s a look at Black History Month events around WSU. To share your Black History Month event with WSU News, please email

Lecture: “A Letter to Me at Age Eighteen” with Author and Professor Anthony Walton

  • Wednesday, February 9
  • 10:30 a.m. at the May Street Auditorium

Award-winning author and poet Professor Anthony Walton will present a lecture on “A Letter to Me at Age Eighteen” at the May Street Auditorium. The event is part of the National African American Read-In, established in 1990 to encourage communities to read together, centering African American books and authors.

Walton is the author of Mississippi: An American Journey, and the editor, with Michael S. Harper, of The Vintage Book of African American Poetry and Every Shut-Eye Ain’t Asleep: African American Poetry Since World War II. He is also the author of a chapbook of poems, Cricket Weather, and is the co-author, with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, of the best-selling Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII’s Forgotten Heroes, among other books.

His poems, essays and reviews have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper’s, Atlantic Monthly, Black Scholar, Oxford American, TLS, Poetry Ireland Review, Ecotone, 32 Poems, Notre Dame Review, Notre Dame Magazine, Southword, Alaska Quarterly Review, Kenyon Review, and The Library of America: African American Poetry, among many other magazines, journals and anthologies. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN and has written and presented radio documentary for the BBC. The recipient of a Whiting Award, he teaches at Bowdoin College.

If you would like to bring your class, please email Gertrude Addo at Attendees are required to wear masks.

The event is cosponsored by the President’s Office, Provost Office, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Admissions, Institutional Advancement, Third World Alliance, History & Political Science Department, English Department, Mass EdCO, Country Bank, and Berkshire Bank.

Teach In: Understanding Our Rights When Stopped by Police

  • Tuesday, February 15, 2022 
  • 2:30 p.m. at the Blue Lounge, Student Center

In the aftermath of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmed Arbery, what is the appropriate response when stopped by the police? Join us as attorney Hector Pineiro will explore our rights, offer strategies in response to police encounters and share his experiences.

Event is sponsored by Third World Alliance, Office of Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, History & Political Science, University Police, Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity, and The Office of Multicultural Affairs.

TWA Annual Poetry Jam: Black Love & Liberation

  • Thursday February 17
  • 5 p.m. at the Blue Lounge

The event will feature poetry from WSU poets, and student readings from classic Black and brown authors, and from local Worcester poets. If you are interested in reading your poem at the event, please email for more information.

Film Screening and Discussion: Paris is Burning

  • Thursday, February 24
  • 6 p.m. at the Blue Lounge

The documentary Paris is Burning follows African American and Latino LGBTQ+ communities in competitions involving fashion runways and vogue dancing battles, creating a time capsule of New York’s ballroom subculture in the ‘80s. The film focuses on race, class, racism, wealth, gender, and beauty standards.

Following the screening, there will be a discussion with Dr. Tanya Mears, History & Political Science Department and Ethnic Studies.

The event is sponsored by Third World Alliance, History & Political Science, Ethnic Studies, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Film Screening and Directors’ Discussion: The Nine O’Clock Whistle

  • Sunday February 27
  • 3 p.m. in Science & Technology Room 102 and on Zoom

Field along side of road with road signs for North 301 and East 481 and headline Enfield, NC 1960sFor years on Saturday nights, white authorities in Enfield, N.C., blew a siren-like whistle, warning Blacks to clear the downtown streets. This curfew was one of many demeaning practices used to keep the Black population separate and unequal. Through the narratives of Willa Cofield, her former students, and current residents of the town, The Nine O’Clock Whistle tells the story of a dramatic cultural movement from 1963 to 1965 that rocked the segregated town and changed it forever. Post discussion led by Professor Julian Berrian, Communications Department, with the co-directors Willa Cofield and Karen Riley.

This event is hybrid and will feature a post-film networking reception with “soul food Sunday” appetizers. To R.S.V.P. for either the Zoom link or the in-person film screening and reception, please email

This event is sponsored by Third World Alliance, Communications Department, Visual and Performing Arts Department, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Sarah Ellen Sharbach Memorial Lecture: Maria W. Stewart and the Roots of Black Political Thought

  • Monday, February 28
  • 3:30 p.m. at the Blue Lounge 

Maria W. Stewart and the Roots of Black Political Thought tells a crucial, almost-forgotten story of African Americans of early nineteenth-century America. In this work of recovery, author Kristin Waters examines the roots of Black political activism in the petition movement; Prince Hall and the creation of the first Black masonic lodges; the Black Baptist movement spearheaded by the brothers Thomas, Benjamin, and Nathaniel Paul; writings; sermons; and the practices of festival days, through the story of this remarkable but largely unheralded woman and pioneering public intellectual.

Kristin Waters, Ph.D., is professor emerita at Worcester State University and Resident Scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. She is author of Women and Men Political Theorists: Enlightened Conversations and coeditor of Black Women’s Intellectual Traditions: Speaking Their Minds.

For more information or to bring your class, please email

Cosponsored by Third World Alliance; Sarah Ellen Sharbach Memorial Lecture; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Philosophy Department; History and Political Science Department; The Provost Office; and The Office of Multicultural Affairs.


Leave a Comment

See for yourself what #woolife is all about.

The best way to learn about Worcester State University is to tour our beautiful campus. Be sure to let your student tour guide know your interests so they can personalize your tour.

See the tour schedule