COLUMBIA – African American history is an integral aspect of the mid-Missouri community’s past, and Columbia is embracing its roots with events during Black History Month.
Two events are taking place Tuesday evening.
A lecture entitled “Black History and 'Black Lives' since Ferguson: Contemporary Meanings of the 1960s Freedom Struggle in St. Louis, Missouri” will start at 6:30 p.m. in Jesse Wrench Auditorium in Memorial Union on the University of Missouri campus.
Assistant professor of history Keona Ervin, and the executive director of the State Historical Society of Missouri, Gary Kremer, are curating the series.
“Our speaker tonight is Professor Clarence Lang of the University of Kansas and he’s speaking on black history and black lives since Ferguson and really exploring kind of contemporary meanings of the 1960s,” Ervin said. “And really thinking about or thinking through the significance of black freedom struggle in St. Louis during the 1960s and how that informs kind of contemporary struggles over race and racial justice.”
She said the narrative forms a critical piece of a larger story of race in United States history.
The African American Experience in Missouri Lecture Series is the result of collaboration between the State Historical Society of Missouri’s Center for Missouri Studies and the University of Missouri’s Division of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity.
The lecture series aims to provide the community the chance to gain a greater understanding of present-day Missouri by learning about the African American history in the state.
The second event of the evening is the film "Within Our Gates,” showing at the Armory Sports Center at 7 p.m.
The movie is part of the city’s Black History Month 2017 Celebration Film Festival showcasing the life and works of Oscar Micheaux, an African American film producer.
Bill Thompson, recreation specialist with Columbia Parks and Recreation, said the department wants to show pieces of African American history and how they fit together in the total picture of American history.
“This film is a film by Oscar Micheaux, which shows society of the African American population here in the early 1900s,” Thompson said. “It shows the good, the bad, the educated and the poor and it gives you a snapshot into life of African Americans in early America.”
The upcoming showings for the film festival are "Body and Soul," on Feb. 14, "Murder in Harlem," on Feb. 21 and "Swing!" on Feb. 28, all of which will begin at 7 p.m.
Another lecture will take place on March 14 at 6:30 with Sowande Mustakeem, assistant professor of African and African American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis in Stotler Lounge in Memorial Student Union on the University of Missouri campus.
A third lecture is scheduled for April 4 at 6:30 p.m. with James W. Endersby, an associate professor of political science at the University of Missouri in Stotler Lounge in Memorial Student Union on the University of Missouri campus.
Below is a map of events.