Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University will once again celebrate Black History Month, with a month full of lectures, music, food and art.

The University's Black Student Alliance is spearheading the celebration in conjunction with the African American Studies Program, the Women and Gender Studies Program and the Saint Louis University Museum of Art.

Michael Eric Dyson
Michael Eric Dyson, Ph.D. Submitted photo

This year, the month's celebration will include a keynote lecture, "The State of the Black Community," delivered by Michael Eric Dyson, Ph.D., author and professor of sociology at Georgetown University, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, at the Center for Global Citizenship. This event is free and open to the public.

Hailed as one of the nation's most inspiring African Americans, Dyson has been credited with revitalizing the role of the public intellectual with the fervor of an ordained Baptist minister.

Infusing intellectual thought with popular culture, Dyson focuses on topics of interest to the public. He eloquently melds scholarly insight with the phenomena of contemporary culture, emphasizing their interconnectedness and force in shaping society.

Most recently, he can be heard doing just that on his hour-long radio show on NPR, The Michael Eric Dyson Show.

His books provide some of the most significant commentary on modern social and intellectual thought, interwoven with a combination of cultural criticism, race theory, religion, philosophical reflection and gender studies. Works such as Making Malcolm X; I May Not Get There with You; Holler if You Hear Me; Mercy, Mercy Me: The Art, Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye; Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?; Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster; and the recent Can You Hear Me Now? The Inspiration, Wisdom, and Insight of Michael Eric Dyson, deeply probe social themes and cultural politics.

Other events include:

  • Jonathan Smith, Ph.D., will share wisdom at Black Student Alliance's Black History Month Opening Ceremony, at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3, in Boileau Hall.
  • The Black Student Alliance will host an evening of Soul Food and Jazz from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, at Il Monastero.
  • Linda Brown and Cheryl Brown-Henderson will discuss "Remembering Living the Legacy: Brown v. Board of Education" at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20. This event is sponsored by the African American Studies Program, the Office of Academic Affairs, the Center for Global Citizenship, the Center for Service and Community Engagement, the Cross Cultural Center, the Division of Mission and Ministry and the School of Law. 
  • Daphne Brooks, Ph.D., a professor at Princeton University, will present "(Liner) Notes for the Revolution: Black Feminist Phonographies from Zora Neale Hurston to Janelle Monae" at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art. The lecture is sponsored by African American Studies, American Studies, Department of English, Department of Fine and Performing Arts, Department of History and Women's and Gender Studies.
  • Ibram Kendi, Ph.D., a professor at SUNY-Albany, will discuss his award-winning book, The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, in the Wool Ballroom of Busch Student Center.

Find more Black History Month events at the Black Student Alliance website.

Hayes Juke Joint
Juke Joint, by Vertis Hayes. Oil on canvas.

Additionally, beginning Friday, Feb. 21, the Saint Louis University Museum of Art will host Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African American Art.

The exhibition features more than 60 sculptures, oil paintings, mixed media and ceramics by celebrated African-American artists including Romare Bearden, Thelma Johnson Streat and Henry O. Tanner. Contemporary artists include Radcliffe Bailey, Howardena Pindell and William T. Williams.

The exhibition was organized by the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Arts and Culture of African-Americans and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Tradition Redefined is supported in part, by a special fund from the Office of the President at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. The works are owned by the Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia and The Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Collection of African-American art. 

Larry and Brenda Thompson have collected more than 600 pieces of art since their marriage in 1970. Brenda Thompson received her doctorate clinical psychology from Saint Louis University in 1980.

For more information about the exhibit, visit the SLUMA website, or contact Mary Marshall at 314-977-2666 or at