CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is celebrating Black History Month in February with a host of free events that highlight the achievements and perseverance of Black and African American communities from the past to the present.

“Black History Month presents an opportunity to bring greater focus to the sustained work to create equity and confront anti-Black racism,” said Teresita Alvarez-Cortez, acting assistant vice president, Strategic Diversity Initiatives, with the OSU Office of Institutional Diversity. “During this month, we invite everyone to join us in reflection to collaboratively imagine a more equitable future and explore the commitments we can exercise in our daily work to make that future a reality.”

The following is a selection of the events on Oregon State’s Corvallis campus:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Keynote presentation with Jelani Cobb:

Jelani Cobb is this year’s keynote speaker of the university’s 41st annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration. Cobb is a staff writer at The New Yorker. He writes on race, history, justice, politics and democracy and is Columbia University’s Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism and dean of the Columbia Journalism School. Cobb’s keynote is titled, “The Half-Life of Freedom: Race and Justice in America Today.” The address will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Cobb, facilitated by Nana Osei-Kofi, director of OSU’s Difference, Power, & Discrimination Program and professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.  Cobb will speak at 7 p.m. on Feb. 1 at The La Sells Stewart Center on the Corvallis campus. The talk is free to attend, open to the public and  will be livestreamed; registration is required for both in-person and online attendance.


The Little Gallery Presents:  Jeremy Okai Davis Paintings and Lithos:

This exhibit is a retrospective of the Portland artist’s past accomplishments and a tribute to his current ones. His work has been shown nationally at the Studio Museum of Harlem, THIS Los Angeles, Wa Na Wari in Seattle and The Rotating Art Program at Portland International Airport. Davis’s work resides in the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center at OSU and the University of Oregon’s permanent collection. Davis’s figurative paintings are rooted in his interest in the relationship between photography and portraiture. The show runs Jan. 23-Feb. 28 in the Little Gallery, Kidder Hall 210.


Black Excellence Celebration:


The Black Excellence Celebration honors Black students, staff and faculty who have contributed to the success of the Corvallis area community and Oregon State’s Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center. This celebration showcases successful events and programs that have taken place in the last year and includes a presentation of awards and scholarships, followed by a keynote speaker, food and music. This year’s keynote speaker is Ramycia McGhee, a professor of English and literature at Linn-Benton Community College. McGhee has initiated a number of events at Linn-Benton highlighting Black history and women’s history, serves on the Oregon Humanities Board of Directors and is the founder of the Valencia Cooper Second Chance Scholarship Opportunity Award which benefits Black students attending a community college in the state of Oregon. The celebration will take place from 7 to 9 p.m., Feb. 2 at the Toyota Club Level at Reser Stadium. Click here to RSVP.


My People Are Rising: The History and Legacy of the Black Panthers in the Pacific Northwest:

Aaron Dixon will deliver a lecture drawing on his published memoir, “My People are Rising.” Dixon co-founded the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1968. He led the chapter for four years, launching a free breakfast program for children and a community health and legal clinic. Dixon has spent years working for social justice through involvement in electoral politics, community activism, and non-profit organizations. At this event, Dixon will discuss his experiences fighting for Black empowerment and racial justice. This lecture is free and open to the public. It will take place at 5:30 p.m., Feb. 9 in the Memorial Union Horizon Room.

The Making of American Whiteness: The History of Race in America:

The Cabildos Speaker Series presents Carmen Thompson, a historian and author who analyzes the origin of white supremacy and its role in defining America's racial history. Thompson wrote the book, “The Making of American Whiteness: The Formation of Race in Seventeenth- Century Virginia.”  Thompson is a highly sought expert on race and whiteness in America. She has held visiting scholar appointments at the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University and in the Black Studies Department at Portland State University and has taught courses on the Black experience and whiteness at Portland State University and Portland Community College. The lecture will take place from 5 to 7 p.m., Feb. 16 in the Memorial Union Horizon Room.

General OSU

About Oregon State University: As one of only three land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 36,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport, OSU Portland Center and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.

Story By: 

Theresa Hogue, 541-737-0786, [email protected]


Teresita Alvarez-Cortez, 541-737-8268, [email protected]

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