Black History Month Events Announced

COLUMBUS, Ga.- Columbus State University is celebrating Black History Month 2007, themed From Slavery to Freedom: Africans in the Americas, with the following public events:

Gospel Extravaganza: 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11 in Fine Arts Hall
Return to Little Rock presentation by Minnijean Brown Trickey: 12:30 p,m, Tuesday, Feb. 20 in Fine Arts Hall
Black Applause Banquet: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23 in CSUs Cunningham Center

Trickeys visit is significant this year as 2007 marks the 50th anniversary of the historic desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., by nine African-American teenagers. Trickey is one of that group, now known as the Little Rock Nine. CSU will remember this defining Civil Rights Movement with Trickeys Return to Little Rock presentation. The program will be free and open to the public.

Prior to her public lecture, Trickey will speak to students in CSU education professor Jose Villavicencios Diversity in Education class, starting 9:30 a.m. (Not open to the public, media coverage is welcome. The site is Jordan 316.)

When Trickey faced down an angry mob to help desegregate an all-white school on Sept. 25, 1957, it marked the beginning of her career as a crusader for civil rights of minority groups and the dispossessed. Her work has garnered the U.S. Congressional Medal, the Wolf Award, the Spingarn Medal and many other citations.

Under the Clinton administration, she served as deputy assistant secretary of the Department of the Interior, responsible for diversity. Also a teacher specializing in social work education, she has served as faculty member at Carleton University (Minn.), and for various community colleges in Canada. She also is the subject of the 2004 film documentary, Journey to Little Rock: the Untold Story of Minnijean Brown Trickey, which received critical acclaim at international film festivals in England, and in Africa, South America and North America.

Prior to Trickeys appearance, CSU will stage its annual Gospel Extravaganza. The event will feature the CSU Gospel Choir, the Gospel Messengers and Musics Definition. The latter act is a teen quartet, featuring Columbus Devin Johnson, an American Idol group-audition finalist last year who performed in Hollywood after winning preliminary competitions locally and in Chicago. He returned as a solo performer in the current season and auditioned in Birmingham, appearing in an American Idol segment that aired Jan. 30.

CSU will close its Black History Month series with the 24th annual Black Applause Banquet on Feb. 23 at the Cunningham Center. A 6:30 p.m. reception will be followed by dinner at 7 p.m. The event will feature recognitions of outstanding local high school and CSU students, and the presentation of the Dr. John Townsend Achievement Award to a local individual or service group, in honor of Townsend, the first African-American to enroll at CSU.

The banquets keynote speaker will be Bismarck Myrick, former U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Lesotho and Republic of Liberia. He is a professor of history and political science at Old Dominion University, a senior fellow at Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., and he serves on the World Affairs Council among various other bodies.

Tickets are $25 per person. For more information on the banquet and all other Black History Month programs, call 706-568-2273.