Detroit Mercy celebrates Black History Month with February events

January 26, 2018

Collage of influential African Americans to promote Black History Month.DETROIT—University of Detroit Mercy will celebrate Black History Month throughout February with a variety of events and engagements that are open to the public.  All of the events are FREE and take place on the McNichols’ Campus.

Speaking Engagement: Professor Tiya Miles — POSTPONED - Due to severe weather the Tiya Miles speaking engagement scheduled for Feb. 9 has been postponed.

Miles will discuss and sign her latest book, The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straights, which recovers the city's early complicity in slavery.  It has recently been highlighted in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the New York Times and other national publications.

Miles is the Mary Henrietta Graham Distinguished University Professor at the University of Michigan, where she teaches courses in American Culture, History, Afro-American & African Studies, Women's Studies and Native American Studies.  She is a MacArthur "Genius" Fellow.  The event is supported by the Drs. Karen and Thomas Waters African-American Studies Program Enrichment Fund.
The Henry "Box" Brown Performance — Feb. 13, 7 p.m., Student Center Coffeehouse
Actor and magician Rory Rennick will portray the life of Henry "Box" Brown in this one-man show.  Brown was shipped out of slavery in a box, became a prominent speaker and performer in the transatlantic antislavery movement, and toured after the Civil War as a mesmerist and magician.
Love Stories from the Underground Railroad — Feb. 14, 1 p.m., Student Center Ballroom
This event is a bicentennial tribute to Frederick Douglass, the most famous and important African American of the 19th Century.  Roy E. Finkenbine, Detroit Mercy professor of History and director of the Black Abolitionist Archive, will talk about Douglass's escape northward to join his beloved Anna, their subsequent marriage and his importance as a black abolitionist speaker. 

The University Chorus will perform two spirituals related to Douglass's life.  A dramatic reading by the Theatre Company of one of his most famous antislavery speeches will follow.

To make a reservation for the lunch performance, please call University of Detroit Mercy Student Life at 313-993-1150. 
Born in the Struggle w/Educator/documentary filmmaker and alum Kamasi Hill — Feb. 21, 7 p.m., Student Center Ballroom
Hill will screen his recent documentary about the children of African-American radical activists of the 1960s and 1970s.  Those featured include Tupac Shakur, Ayanna Gregory, Fred Hampton, Jr., Ras Baraka and Ta-Nehisi Coates.  Hill grew up on the west side of Detroit and attended Detroit Public Schools.  He earned a BA in Film Studies at Howard University, an MA in Secondary Education at Detroit Mercy, a Master of Divinity from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta and a Ph.D. in Religion from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary at Northwestern University.  He taught from 2002 to 2004 at University of Detroit Jesuit High School.  A talkback by Hill will follow.
Author/Professor Ibram X. Kendi — Feb. 26, 7 p.m., Student Center Ballroom
Kendi will discuss his recent book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Following his discussion, all in attendance with a copy of his book will receive a bookplate, personally signed by the author. Kendi is Professor of History and International Relations and founding Director of the Anti-Racist Research and Policy Center at American University.

He has published numerous academic essays as well as op-eds in publications such as The New York TimesThe Huffington PostSalon, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Kendi is also the author of the award-winning book, The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965-1972.

As the follow-up to the Ta-Nehisi Coates lecture, tickets for this event are also extremely limited, so reserve your tickets today!  To order tickets, visit and bring your ticket to the event.  Seating is general admission: first come, first seated and free.