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Clemson celebrates Black History Month with talks, food and music

Clemson University will celebrate Black History Month this year with a series of events designed to inform faculty, staff and students about African-American history.
“The celebration will provide a valuable opportunity for all members of our campus community,” said Keenan Jones, Graduate Assistant for Multicultural Programs at Clemson University and Chair of the planning committee for Black History Month programs, “The events are designed to celebrate culture and allow attendees to become better educated on the rich contributions of those of African descent to the greater society.”
Clemson’s Black History Month celebrations kicked off on Feb. 1 when spoken word artist Clint Smith and three students put on a performance in the Hendrix Student Center. Smith is a National Poetry Slam champion as well as a teacher, writer and doctoral candidate at Harvard. He came to Clemson’s campus to discuss “a series of work relevant to the past, present and future of Black America.”
Additional celebrations will take place throughout the month, including Step Afrika, which took place on Feb. 4; special dining hall menus each week; and a day trip to Atlanta to learn about the civil rights era.
Celebrations will wrap up with the Black History Month Address, which will take place on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. in Tillman Hall. The keynote speaker is Lawrence Ross, a prominent African American speaker, writer, author and lecturer. He has lectured at over 600 colleges and universities.
“We are electrified to have [him],” Jones said. “His recent published work speaks at the historical and contemporary issue of campus racism on predominately white campuses.”
Jones said Black History Month wouldn’t be a success if it weren’t for the planning committee and the celebration’s sponsors, which include the Harvey and Lucinda Gantt Multicultural Center, the Division of Student Affairs, University Housing and Dining, Office of Inclusion and Equity, CLEMSON LiVE, the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, the Department of Pan African Studies and the Academic Success Center.
“This is the first time in a very long time that Clemson has had an organized calendar of events celebrating black history during this time,” Jones said. “This is in response to a true desire to support the black student community at Clemson.”
“The black community wants to be celebrated. We want to share our culture with the campus. But it goes beyond us – nurturing a climate of diversity, inclusion and respect is a key component of The Clemson Forward plan. Our efforts support this effort,” he said.

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