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Student Life

Black History Month

2022 Theme: “Locs, Knots, and Braids: The Legacy of Black Hair”

Click here for more information and resources gathered by the Black History Month committee.

Common Read: All members of the HCC community are invited to read the introduction to the book Blackberries & Redbones: Critical Articulations of Black Hair/Body Politics in Africana Communities entitled "The Legacy of Black Hair & the Black Body," as part of a campus community read. An electronic copy of the book is available for free as an ebook through the HCC Library. 

Fundraiser: Support the cause! Every year the Black History Month Committee commits to developing a fundraiser to support the Black Student Alliance (BSA) Award, given annually to an upstanding member of the BSA. This year we have created a t-shirt fundraiser with a unique HCC design as a way for our community to join together and support this great cause.

In a collaboration with the HCC Foundation, we have opened a shop on Bonfire where members can purchase a t-shirt, sweatshirt, or hoodie in support of the award. These items are not limited to the HCC community – please share with your friends and family members!

Visit the Library: Explore "Black Hair through the Decades," on view in the HCC Library display cases. 


Feb. 1, 2022
2 – 4 p.m.
Watch: Good Hair (PG-13) (1 h 36 min)
KC 205/Zoom

Prompted by a question from his young daughter, comic Chris Rock sets out to explore the importance of hair in black culture. Rock interviews celebrities such as Ice-T and Raven Symone, and visits hair salons, stylist competitions, and even an Indian temple to learn about hair culture.


Feb. 2, 2022
11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Speaker: Griffin-Fennell, Ph.D (she/her)

Title:"Black Hair: Resistance, Empowerment, and Celebration." There is a complex history that people of the African Diaspora possess as related to their hair. Through this talk, we will explore how Black hair has served as a source of social communication, political protest, othering, empowerment, and uplifting.

Bio: Felicia D. Griffin-Fennell, Ph.D serves as Director of the Academic Fellows Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. AFP supports students who identify as BIPOC, first generation, and coming from low income backgrounds within the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences. She is also a Lecturer of Sociology at the university. Formerly, she was the Activity Director for the U.S. Department of Education HSI STEM (Title III, Part F) grant and Director of the STEM Center at Springfield Technical Community College. She was also the college's Founding Director of the STEM Starter Academy. A triple graduate of the University of Connecticut, she earned a bachelor of science degree, a master's degree, and a doctorate degree in psychology, as well as a graduate certificate in women's studies. She has been an administrator and faculty member at Post University in Waterbury, CT, and has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University. She is an alumna of the HERS Institute, a member of the Sisters of the Academy, and a participant in the Escala Summer Teaching Institute. She has delivered approximately 30 presentations at conferences and a number of invited talks at universities, and authored/co-authored scholarly publications in journals and edited books, including the Journal of Black Psychology; Culture, Health, and Sexuality; and the SAGE Encyclopedia of Psychology & Gender

Selected publications include:

  • Brown, D. L., Blackmon, S., Rosnick, C. B., Griffin-Fennell, F. D., & Johnson, R. W. (2017). Initial development of a gendered-racial socialization scale for African American college women. Sex Roles. Advanced online publication. doi: 10.1007/s11199-016-0707-x
  • Griffin-Fennell. F.D. (2016).  STEM careers and gender.  The SAGE Encyclopedia of Psychology and Gender.
  • Brown, D., Johnson. R., & Griffin-Fennell, F.D. (2013). Breaking the chains: How positive racial esteem reduces African American women's endorsement of the Jezebel. Culture, Health, & Sexuality, 2013 Mar.
  • Brown, D.L., Griffin-Fennell, F.D., & White-Johnson, R.L. (2011). Women's mental health: Considering multiple dimensions of social identity and diversity. In Lundburg-Love, P., Nadal, K., & Paludi, M. (Eds.), Women and Mental Disorders. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Publishers.


Feb. 8, 2022
2 – 3:45 p.m.
Watch: Nappily Ever After (TV-MA) (1 h 38 min)
KC 205/Zoom
When a perfectionist ad exec experiences a romantic setback, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery that begins with a dramatic hair makeover.


Feb. 9, 2022
11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Speaker: King Curry
"Black Hairstory: The Beauty Industry & Black Hair Care"
Race and privilege contribute to Black Hair discrimination in the United States, and the beauty industry has been created to further bolster this discrimination against Black women and women of color. There are hairstylists in the beauty and salon industry who are systematically dismantling this mindset. Hair stylist King Curry is in the forefront of this work. Their work confronts race and bias against textured hair in the industry in a way that is unashamed, bold, and reveals the beauty of textured hair outside of a European gaze and male perspective. Join us for an engaging discussion on Curry's mission to educate other hairstylists behind the chair not only on textured hair, but also on the realities of having Black folx in the chair and ways to combat the beauty industry's discrimination.

Bio: King Curry (they/them) is a non-binary icon from Denver, Colorado. They received their Bachelor's of Science from Middle Tennessee State University in Theatre in 2006. Following that they attended the University of California, Irvine and received their Masters of Fine Arts in Theatre. Curry has created their own textured hair curriculum, taught with Aveda Institutes, and presented on numerous professional beauty panels. Curry is also a stylist to several A-list natural hair clients and music industry professionals and is a well known multi-hyphenate Black Creative, entrepreneur and micro-influencer in this industry. Learn more about Curry.


Feb. 15, 2022
2 – 2:30 p.m.
Watch: Braided: An American Hair Story (19 min)
KC 205/Zoom
Beyond three strands of hair interlocked around each other, there's a complicated story. Black women in America have been braiding their hair since there have been Black women in America. And during most of that time, the look was derided or ignored by mainstream culture. Lupita Nyong'o, Young M.A, Ayana Bird, Vernon François and more talk about braids and black hair culture in America.


Feb. 16, 2022
11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Speaker: Justin Beatty
"Hair as Cultural Expression: An Indigenous-Afro Perspective"

Hairstyles have long been an expression of culture. Justin Beatty (Ojibwe/Saponi/African-American) will discuss how hair has been used in different ways as a means of conveying cultural information not only within a given culture but externally. Looking at some of the parallels between the role of hair and hairstyles in the intersecting world of some people of mixed Native and Black heritage. 

Bio: Justin Beatty is a cultural educator, visual artist, powwow emcee, and powwow singer. He comes from a mixed cultural background of Native American (Ojibwe/Saponi) and African American heritage. Justin holds a B.A. in Indigenous Policy, Culture & Art, a degree program he designed himself, from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. A guest lecturer with over 20 years of experience, Justin has spoken at a myriad of educational institutions including Connecticut College, Bridgewater State University, American International College, UMass-Amherst, Northfield Mount Hermon, Springfield College, Mount Holyoke College, Holyoke Community College, and others. He is the founder of the Odenong Powwow and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Social Distance Powwow, an online cultural organization with over 295,000 members in over 100 countries. 


Feb. 22, 2022
2 – 4 p.m.
Watch: Barbershop (PG-13) (1 h 42 min)
KC 205/Zoom
Barbershop is a smart comedy about a day in the life of a barbershop on the south side of Chicago, Calvin (Ice Cube), who inherited the struggling business from his deceased father, views the shop as nothing but a burden and waste of his time. After selling the shop to a local loan shark, Calvin slowly begins to see his father's vision and legacy, and struggles with the notion that he just sold it out.


Feb. 23, 2022
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Black History Month Student Panel
A panel exploring this year's Black History Month theme from the student perspective. Black students from HCC and other local colleges sit down to have an open, honest discussion about their experiences with, beliefs about, and significance of their hair. The panel will conclude with a Q&A portion where attendees can further their education/awareness by continuing to hold space for Black voices. The Q&A portion is not meant to be a debate or space for non-Black attendees to assert their opinions but rather, a respectful time of listening and learning from the panelists.


Feb. 28, 2022
1 – 2 p.m.
Speaker: Tuesday L Cooper, Ed.D. (she/hers)
"The Crown Act: What Did We Gain and Where Do We Go From Here?"

Twelve states have passed their own versions of the Crown Act, legislation first enacted in the state of California in 2019. A similar act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in September 2020, but failed to get any traction in the U.S. Senate. In March 2021, it was reintroduced by Senators Corey Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, and several others. Almost a year later, there has been little action. What does this mean for the possibility of enacting a law that offers the protections of the Crown Act? Join us and explore the legal benefits of the Crown Act (on both the state and federal levels) and the future of equal protection for members of the African Diaspora.

Bio: Tuesday L. Cooper, Ed.D. has over 25 years of experience in higher education in administration and as faculty. Cooper began teaching interdisciplinary and criminal justice-related courses at the School of Human Services at Springfield College and currently serves as a professor of Social Sciences/Criminal Justice at Manchester Community College in Manchester, CT.  Prior to her career in higher education, she practiced law (criminal defense and landlord/tenant) and worked in the human services field.  She has 25 years of experience working in the non-profit arena including front-line work, community advocacy, capacity building, and leadership development.  

Cooper serves as a reviewer for the Journal of Negro Education.  She is the author of  The Sista' Network: African American Women Faculty Successfully Negotiating the Road to Tenure and Diversity on Campus (second edition, co-authored with David Schuman and Carolyn Pillow).  In addition to publishing two articles, Cooper has made over 30 academic conference presentations (invited and peer-reviewed).  Lastly, she's served as a consultant for the City of Hartford's Department of Families, Children, Youth & Recreation (Youth Services), and the State of Delaware, Department of Health & Human Services, Substance Abuse & Mental Health (Prevention). 

Cooper earned an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst; a J.D., from Western New England College School of Law; and a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.  More recently, she's earned certificates in Online, Hybrid & Blended Education and Working Adult Education from Laureate International Universities.