Mercer wordmark

Mercer Celebrates Black History Month

February 1, 2011

Media Contact: Mark Vanderhoek, (478) 301-4037,

Mercer University programs, clubs and organizations will hold a number of events throughout February to honor Black History Month. Among the events to celebrate African-American history and culture are lectures, a concert and a play.

Feb. 8

The Swilley Library on the Atlanta campus will hold a film screening and panel discussion on the film Good News: The Story of Mather School at 3 p.m. in the Coffee Lounge of the library. Mather was a Christian boarding school for black girls and women in Beaufort, S.C., that operated from 1867 to 1968. Good News was made in 1949 and follows one fictional student's life on campus. It was recently restored by the American Baptist Historical Society, which is based on the Atlanta campus. The event will also feature a panel discussion and reception. The speakers include Dr. Anthony Harris, a professor in Mercer’s Educational Leadership Program, Dr. Deborah Bingham Van Broekhoven, executive director of the American Baptist Historical Society and Gwendolyn Marks, a Mather School alumna.

Feb. 9

Lecture by veteran journalist and author Hank Klibanoff, who won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for history with the book The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation. His presentation is titled “The Race Beat: Then and Now.” The lecture will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Presidents Dining Room of the University Center on the Macon campus, and is free and open to the public. The event is sponsored by Mercer’s Southern Studies Program as part of its yearlong series of special events, titled “Remembering the Civil Rights Movement.”

Feb. 9

Lecture by nationally recognized CNN commentator and educational consultant Dr. Steve Perry. His presentation is titled “M.I.S Education (Making Intellectual Strides)” The purpose of this lecture is to focus on education, leadership and community development within the urban community. The talk will be held at 7 p.m. in the Medical School Auditorium on the Macon campus. Dr. Perry has committed his life to educating young people and encouraging their greatness. He is the founder and principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Connecticut, which is known for sending 100 percent of its graduates to college.

The event is sponsored by Mercer’s Organization of Black Students, Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity, Student Government Association, Quadworks and the Office of Federal TRIO Programs and Minority Affairs.

Feb. 15-16

Donald Baxter and Sam Oni were roommates during Oni’s first year as Mercer’s first black student and the two return nearly 50 years later to speak to audiences on the Macon and Atlanta campuses sharing their struggles and successes during that tumultuous time. The two will speak to several audiences on the Atlanta campus Feb. 14 and 15 and return to the Macon campus for a series of events on Feb. 15 and 16.

On Feb. 15, the two will address a luncheon of students, faculty and staff on the Atlanta campus in the Trustees Dining Room. In Macon, Baxter and Oni will be recognized at half-time of the men’s basketball game between Mercer and Kennesaw State University on Feb. 15. The pair will also give the Founders’ Day presentation in Macon at 10 a.m. on Feb. 16 in Willingham Auditorium on the Macon campus. The Founders’ Day presentation is titled “Breaking the Racial Barrier at Mercer.”

Feb. 15

The African Children’s Choir will perform on Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Centenary United Methodist Church. This event is co-sponsored by Mercer’s Africana Studies and Research Program, The College of Liberal Arts, Environmental Studies Program and Office of Federal TRIO Programs and Minority Affairs. The concert is free and open to the public.

Feb. 15

“An Evening of Art and Culture,” an event that will feature a play highlighting negro spirituals by Michael Scott and a performance by Kali Dance Studio. It will be held at 6 p.m. in the Medical School Auditorium, and is free and open to the public. The event is sponsored by Mercer University’s Office of Federal TRIO Programs and Minority Affairs.

Feb. 22-23

The Mercer Commons Seventh Annual “Building the Beloved Community” Symposium is based on the theme “Who Is Our Neighbor? Poverty in the Beloved Community [II Corinthians 8:9].” The Rev. Leroy Barber, president of Mission Year will deliver two keynote lectures, the first on Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. in the Newton Sanctuary on the Macon campus, and the second at 10 a.m. on Feb. 23 in the sanctuary of Centenary United Methodist Church. His Feb. 23 lecture will be followed by breakout sessions at 11 a.m. and conclude with a luncheon at noon, including his response to the breakout sessions. The event is sponsored by Mercer Commons.

Feb. 23

The Southern Studies Program will hold another lecture by Peter H. Wood, emeritus professor of history at Duke University, about a famous Civil War era painting by Winslow Homer. The presentation is titled, “Near Andersonville: Winslow Homer’s Long-Lost Painting of an Enslaved Black Woman.” The event will be held in the Medical School Auditorium on Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Wood, a leading expert on Winslow Homer’s images of blacks, reveals the long-hidden story of Homer’s Civil War painting, locating its setting in southwest Georgia in August 1864 and providing its military and political context.