Rollins Celebrates Black History Month

February 01, 2023

By Office of Marketing

Rollins honors the lives and contributions of pivotal Black Americans and offers myriad opportunities for education, engagement, and reflection.

Every February, the U.S. honors the achievements and sacrifices of African Americans who have helped shape our nation. At Rollins, we’re observing Black History Month with a diverse lineup of events on campus and in the community that offer a host of ways to honor and celebrate cultural heritage with thought-provoking conversations, service-focused opportunities, themed celebrations, and more.

“Black History Month is important because it focuses on education and awareness as well as on experiences that have been shared by the Black community as a whole,” says communication major Jaheim Morris ’24, vice president of the Black Student Union. “This month highlights progressive moments and creativity within our culture, and through BSU, we all strive to make a difference for each other, for the organization, and for ourselves academically, professionally, and interpersonally.”

From student-led events to a variety of programming on campus, explore a few of the ways the Rollins community is both honoring the triumphs and adversities of Black Americans throughout U.S. history and looking toward the future as agents of change.

A close-up of a book at Olin Library by a Black author.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Olin Library

Throughout February, tables near the Olin Library main entrance will be packed with book and film titles related to Black history—from Christopher Lebron’s The Making of Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of an Idea to The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, a documentary series that examines the people, society, culture, and style that fueled an era of explosive change.

Students participating in an Immersion focused on food insecurity.

EMBARK Immersion

  • When: February 10-12
  • Where: Hollywood, Florida

To honor Black History Month, members of the EMBARK program—which brings together incoming students from historically marginalized populations—are volunteering with the Caring for Life Foundation. The students will learn about the various ways the organization supports underserved people in this area, focusing on issues of food insecurity while passing out meals to the local community.

Let's Get Literary promo

Let’s Get LITerary

On their podcast that launches on February 10, the Rollins “literarians” will discuss Toni Morrison’s first novel, The Bluest Eye, a profound look at humans’ obsession with beauty and conformity while asking questions about race, class, and gender. Cheyenne Morman, assistant director of career explorations in the Center for Career & Life Planning, joins the chat with regular hosts Jen Atwell ’11 ’20MBA, associate director of internal communications, Sam Vega, director of the Student Center for Inclusion & Belonging, and Kourtnie Berry ’12, assistant women’s basketball coach.

Blaze Pizza Fundraiser

  • When: Friday, February 17 | 4-8 p.m.
  • Where: Blaze Pizza

Join your fellow Tars at Blaze Pizza in Winter Park to help raise funds for the Black Student Union. Your dollars will support everything from service projects in the community to educational opportunities aimed at furthering the conversation around social justice.

Roll Bounce

  • When: Friday, February 24 | 6-9 p.m.
  • Where: Semoran Skateway

Lace up your skates and hit the rink for an evening of movement and music with friends from the Black Student Union.

A grid of images of students supporting Black History Month.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Campus Celebrations

Trivia: Black Theater and Dance Artists

  • When: Friday, February 3 | 3:30-5:30 p.m.
  • Where: Bush 201

Join the Theatre & Dance Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility Council in partnership with the Rollins Players as you team up to learn more about the contributions of Black theater and dance artists throughout history and present day.

The Civil Rights Movement Through Film

  • When: February 9, The Long Walk Home; March 2, Selma | 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Where: Bieberbach-Reed Room, Cornell Campus Center

The Africa and African American Studies program is featuring two movie screenings: The Long Walk Home, the story of two women’s response to the famous bus boycott led by Martin Luther King Jr., and Selma, which chronicles MLK’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.

Open Mic Night

  • When: Thursday, February 9
  • Where: Dave’s Boathouse

After opening messages from Rev. Katrina Jenkins, dean of religious and spiritual life, and Marjorie Trueblood, dean of the Student Center for Inclusion & Belonging, the Rollins community is invited on stage to show off their skills for a lively evening of entertainment and open dialogue.

5-Minute Difference

  • When: Thursday, February 23 | Common Hour
  • Where: Outside Campus Center

Facilitated by the Center for Leadership & Community Engagement, this 5-Minute Difference event asks you to contemplate what Black history means to you and to reflect on the importance of continuing to learn. You’ll also have the opportunity to partner with local nonprofits as they support communities of color.

Soul Food Sunday

  • When: Sunday, February 26 | 4-6 p.m.
  • Where: Rice Family Pavilion

Fill up on delicious soul food like johnnycakes, black-eyed peas, and stewed greens while engaging in meaningful conversations around the importance of food in African-American culture at this much-anticipated event sponsored by the Black Student Union and the Center for Inclusion & Belonging.

Black Representation in Art

  • When: Tuesday, February 28 | 12:30-1:30 p.m.
  • Where: Rollins Museum of Art (RMA)

Conclude Black History Month with a tour of artworks that engage themes of representation, agency, and omitted histories in relation to Black American identities. Led by David Matteson ’15 ’18MBA, RMA’s associate curator of education, this tour is presented through the museum’s Common Conversations series. Rollins students, faculty, staff, and members of the wider Central Florida community are invited to join these themed tours of works from RMA’s permanent collection. No pre-registration is required.

A mural depicting the Black neighborhood of Hannibal Square.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Community Celebration

1619 Festival

Named for the year the first enslaved African people came to Virginia, the three-day 1619 Festival is one of the area’s most anticipated celebrations of Black History Month, and it’s just steps from campus.

Events kick off with the annual 5K Rebel Run through the historic Hannibal Square neighborhoods, followed by yoga classes sponsored by 2004 Track and Field Olympic Gold Medalist and certified yoga instructor Moushaumi Robinson, a host of live music performances, and the fourth anniversary of Winter Park’s weekly SOKO Marketplace, a collection of local Black vendors.

Read More

June 12, 2024

Rollins Celebrates Juneteenth with Community and Reflection

Commemorating the end of slavery in Texas, Juneteenth serves as a powerful “day on” for embracing cultural vibrancy and resilience in the Black community.

June 11, 2024

Full STEM Ahead

The Bush Science Center’s new STEM Hub fosters opportunities for learning, connection, and equity.

June 05, 2024

Cohen ’25 and Pool ’26 Named Ginsburg Fellows

Alexandria Cohen ’25 and Joseph Pool ’26 have been selected as 2024-25 Ginsburg Fellows, a scholarship and mentoring program for students passionate about social justice.