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Student Life

Black History Month

2023 Theme: Resistance & Persistence: Celebrating Black Leadership in our Community

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 book How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America 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 "Moments of Resistance in Sports," on view in the HCC Library display cases. 


Feb. 6, 2023
12:30 p.m.
Watch: Screening of Mass Humanities' virtual reading of Frederick Douglass's speech, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?"
FR 265 & Zoom

Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery in 1838 and lived for many years in Massachusetts. He delivered the Fourth of July speech on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, to the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society. The most celebrated orator of his day, Douglass' powerful language, resolute denunciations of slavery, and forceful examination of the Constitution challenge us to think about the histories we tell, the values they teach, and if our actions match our aspirations. To quote Douglass, "We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the future."


Feb. 8, 2023
11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Teaching & Learning as Resistance: The Truth School – Building Social Movements Through Education
Campus Center Cafeteria (2nd floor) & Zoom


Feb. 15, 2023
11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Speaker: "Black Resistance Through Sports: Combating Discrimination & Other Social Injustices"
KC 301/303 & Zoom
Speaker Billy McBride serves as the Associate Athletic Director for Diversity & Inclusion, the Director of Club Sports, and a Senior Coach at Amherst College. He is the department's liaison to the Center for Community Engagement, Admission Office, Dean Office, and Human Resources Office and served as a NESCAC conference Diversity Inclusion Equity Committee Member in 2021 and as Amherst's Diversity & Inclusion representative to the NCAA in 2019. McBride specializes in how athletes can use sports to combat discrimination and other social injustices, and diversity and inclusion in higher education. He has been a sought-after motivational speaker in the region, traveling to various colleges, elementary and high schools, and consulting firms in western Massachusetts as an invited guest.


Feb. 22, 2023
11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Panel: "Black Leaders in Business Panel: Leadership Through Resistance & Persistence"
KC 301/303 & Zoom
Come meet local Black business leaders as they share their inspiring stories of overcoming barriers and challenges to success, and how their lessons can be applied to your personal journey.


March 22, 2023
11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Reading Frederick Douglass @ HCC
CC Cafeteria & Zoom
This community reading will occur in hybrid format (in person in the Center for Excellence and virtually via Zoom) on March 1, 2023 at 11 a.m. We are currently looking for volunteers (students, faculty, and staff) to read short excerpts of Douglass's speech with us, and hope you'll be able to join us. If you are interested in participating as a reader, please sign up here!


community events

All Month
Gallery Exhibit: Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow
Wistariahurst Museum, Holyoke

For the month of February, Wistariahurst Museum & Garden will display a poster exhibition entitled, "Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow," organized and distributed by the New York Historical Society Museum & Library with lead support for this traveling exhibition provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor. The exhibit will be in the gallery at Wistariahurst and will be supplemented with artifacts and images from the Black Holyoke collection.


Feb. 9, 2023
6 p.m.
Webinar: "The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration"

The Spring 2023 Justice Education Series and the Center for African American History & Culture at Virginia Union University present, "The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration." During this webinar, our panelists will help us understand the policies and practices that have harmed Black families while also helping us grapple with the impact of mass incarceration on Black families and communities. While we are learning about how incarceration produces income loss for families, pushes children into foster care, makes families vulnerable to housing insecurity, maintains or leads to over-policed communities, increases risk of incarceration to children of incarcerated parents, etc., our panelists will also help us understand how to advocate for policies and practices that restore Black families and Black communities. We are thrilled to have Dr. Bahiyyah Muhammad as our moderator of this conversation. Our panelists include Chelsea Higgs Wise, Executive Director of Marijuana Justice, Josie Pickens, Program Director at the upEND Movement, and Region LaCour, Mentee at Daughters Beyond Incarceration. 


Feb. 24, 2023
12:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Sixth Annual Black Experience Summit: Embodying Faith, Seeking Racial Justice
Veritas Auditorium, Elms College

The sixth annual Black Experience Summit: Embodying Faith, Seeking Racial Justice explores the impact of racism in the life and mission of religious institutions. Keynote speaker Shannen Dee Williams, Ph.D. explores how Black Catholic sisters struggled to expose the rampant discrimination, misrepresentation, and erasure that existed historically within the U.S. Catholic Church. These courageous women used their particular roles as educators and social justice warriors to seek equality and integration within the larger struggle for Black liberation. An interfaith panel will discuss how faith practitioners raise their voices to exemplify the pivotal role that places of worship could play to eradicate racism and white supremacy both internally and externally. Keynote speaker Olga Marina Segura addresses how contemporary movements for Black liberation, such as Black Lives Matter, are not only consistent with the social justice teachings of the religious faithful, but also continue to challenge the ongoing marginalization and invisibility of racial justice. The Summit will close with a call to action.

This event is at no cost and open to the public. Please register by Feb. 23, 2023.