Acclaimed actor, director and producer Robert Townsend Hon.D. ’15 (Fine Arts) will be among the featured speakers at California State University, Northridge’s Black History Month celebration this year.
Townsend, who has been called one of the “godfathers of the independent film world,” will speak during screenings of three of his films on campus. The screenings will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Armer Theatre: Hollywood Shuffle on Feb. 8; The Five Heartbeats on Feb. 15; The Meteor Man on Feb. 22; and 10,000 Black Men Named George on Feb. 29.
The monthlong celebration, which is themed “Hallowed Grounds,” will be officially kicked off at noon on Feb. 10 with a reception in the Delmar T. Oviatt Library’s Tseng Gallery. Various organizations, including the Department of Africana Studies, the Black Student Union (BSU), NABJ-Student Association of Black Communicators and the Black Alumni Association, will be available to provide information.
“Black history is American history,” said Cedric Hackett, a professor in the Department of Africana Studies and chair of the department’s organizing committee. “It is imperative for our campus community to understand the historical legacy of African Americans and what we meant to this country.”
Crystal Hatcher, president of CSUN’s BSU, said the theme for this year’s celebration reflects a national effort to recognize the sites of African-American memories, where blacks made history.
“The imprint of Americans of African descent is deeply embedded in the narrative of the American past,” Hatcher said.
Other highly anticipated events include an address by Sekou Odinga, a Black Panther who spent 30 years in jail, who will discuss mass incarceration at 11 a.m. on Feb. 2 in the University Student Union (USU) Grand Salon. The W.E.B DuBois-Fannie Lou Hamer Institute for Academic Achievement will host the Black Youth Guidance Forum from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 13 at the USU. Organizers have invited anyone — including students in elementary school through college — interested in the health, well-being and educational attainment of African-American students and other students of color in grades pre-K-12. Registration for the Black Youth Guidance Forum is still open.
CSUN also has expanded its participation in Super Sunday, an outreach partnership event with local churches to increase college enrollment among African-American students, to four churches. On Feb. 14, Associate Vice President of Financial Services Deborah Wallace will speak at Agape Community Church in Lancaster; and on Feb. 28, CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison will speak at H.O.P.E.’s House Christian Ministries in Granada Hills; William Watkins ’74 (Urban Studies), vice president for student affairs and dean of students will be at Praise Christian Center in Chatsworth; and CSUN Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Brandon E. Martin will speak at Bethel AME Church in Oxnard.
Other events scheduled for Black History Month include:
• Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Armer Theatre – screening of the documentary, Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race, and panel discussion with Lorraine Bradley, daughter of the late mayor; the filmmakers and organizers of CSUN’s Tom and Ethel Bradley Center.
• Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. in the Oviatt Library’s Jack and Florence Ferman Presentation Room – Department of History professor Josh Sides will talk about how South Central Los Angeles became the center of black Los Angeles during the 20th century and how the recent Latin Americanization of South Central portends even greater regional demographic shifts.
• Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. in the Santa Susana Mezzanine – Spoken Word with Vocal ARTillery.
• Feb. 12 at 4:30 p.m. in the USU Grand Salon – Katherine Dunham film, lecture and demonstration.
• Feb. 18 at noon in the Oviatt Library Learning Commons – Vocal ARTillery performance with D.J. hip-hop/spoken word and sketch artists.
• Feb. 20 at 11 a.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Armer Theatre – Haiti International Film Festival.
• Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. in the USU Northridge Center – lecture and book signing by Department of Africana Studies professor Marquita Gammage, author of Representations of Black Women in the Media: The Damnation of Black Womanhood.
• Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. in the USU Flintridge Room – Black Lives Matter: Queer Involvement in the Black Liberation Movement, featuring special guest Povi-Tamu Bryant of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.
• Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. in the Oviatt Library, Computer Lab A – Black Lives Matter Wikipedia Edit-a-thon.
• Feb. 26 at 8:30 a.m. in the USU Northridge Center – Harambee High School Conference.
• Feb. 26 at 5:30 p.m. in the USU Northridge Center – Faculty/Staff, Alumni and Student Talent Showcase.
• Feb. 29 at 3 p.m. in the Oviatt Library’s Jack and Florence Ferman Presentation Room – Civil Rights Pioneer: A Symposium on Judge Loren Miller.
For more information about the Black History Month celebration, contact the Department of Africana Studies at (818) 677-3311.