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Former NFL player among Black History speakers at Wingate

by Luanne Williams

A former NFL player, a pair of spoken-word poets, and a trio of researchers will be featured during Black History Month at Wingate University. An interactive dance workshop will kick off a series of 10 events, all free and open to the public. Presenters will discuss the Civil Rights movement, the history of Wilmington and the controversy surrounding blackface, among other topics.

“We are so excited about our Black History Month programming this year,” said Antonio Jefferson, the University’s director of Lyceum and Multicultural Programming. “This great lineup of events will provide students and the community the opportunity to learn more about African-American history through art and social issues.”

For details, check the schedule below:


Dance Africa: History & Interactive Workshop

Feb. 1 | 1 p.m. | McGee Center Classroom 222

Elsie of Mufuka Dance Company will host an interactive dance workshop, where she will share the historical significance of African dance while teaching participants rhythm and moves!


Who was Emmett Till?

Feb. 5 | 6 p.m. | Recital Hall, Batte Center

Dr. Davis Houck, professor of Rhetoric Studies at Florida State University, will retell the story of Emmett Till. Till, whose lynching at 14 years old in Mississippi sparked international outcry, was a catalyst for starting the Civil Rights Movement. The case is still discussed today as new details continue to be discovered. Dr. Houck, who has researched it for several years, will share accounts of the case and the aftermath of this horrific incident. 


Pass the Mic: Art Through Spoken Word Poetry

Feb. 6 | 6 p.m. | Recital Hall, Batte Center

DeAngelo Dia and Precious Pauling, spoken word artists from Charlotte, will share some of their most influential pieces. They will also discuss their inspiration for poetry and allow Wingate students to share some of their work.


Unmasking Blackface

Feb. 10 | 6 p.m. | Recital Hall, Batte Center

Blackface has been at the center of controversy for many years, dating back to the abolishment of slavery in the late 1860s. Dr. Debra Smith, professor of Africana Studies at UNC-Charlotte, will present the history of blackface, why it is so offensive, and the reasons blackface imagery continues to resurface in today’s media.


Factuality: A Game of Differences

Feb. 12 | 3:30 p.m. | Laverne Banquet Hall

Factuality is a facilitated dialogue, crash course and board game that simulates real-life experiences in America. The game uses a rich group of diverse characters that encounter a series of fact-based advantages and limitations based on the intersections of their race, gender, sexual orientation, faith and class.


The Lost History of Wilmington, N.C.

Feb. 24 | 3 p.m. | Burris Hall 210

Wilmington is home to rich African-American history, dating back to the Wilmington Riots of 1898. Cedric Harrison, a native of Wilmington and founder of The Port Foundation, has worked tirelessly to preserve the history of African-Americans in the city. Harrison will discuss the untold history of “The Port City” and the current progress that has been made to preserve that history. 


Faith in Action: Visionary Leadership in Sports, Business and Ministry

Feb. 24 | 3:30 p.m. | Recital Hall, Batte Center

This faith-based lyceum will explore leadership, sports and business with 2017 Wingate football alum Andre Foulks, who published a book last year titled Faith in Action.


Slave Patrols: The Earliest Forms of Policing in the U.S.

Feb. 26 | 6 p.m. | Recital Hall, Batte Center

This lecture will examine how early forms of U.S. policing stem from the institution of slavery. A historical context of policing in the U.S. will be discussed to highlight contemporary race relations.


From Friday Night Lights to the NFL

Feb. 26 | 7 p.m. | McGee Theatre, Batte Center

Michael Sam was a standout football player at the University of Missouri who was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the 2014 NFL Draft. Sam was the first-ever openly gay man to be drafted into the NFL and has served as an example for resilience and inclusion ever since. He will discuss time spent as a college star, life in the NFL, and the importance of diversity and inclusion in the world of sports. Tickets are required for this event, but there is no cost. Visit to reserve your seat.


Faith and Black Churches: A Staple in the Civil Rights Movement

Feb. 27 | 4 p.m. | Neu Building 127

Dr. Davis Canton, associate professor of history at Connecticut College, will share the importance of faith and black churches throughout the Civil Rights Movement. He will also highlight the importance of pastors and other faith leaders, black churches as a central meeting location, and reasons that black churches were subject to bombings by groups such as the KKK. 

Jan. 31, 2020