Black History Month 2024

"February is Black History Month"

In honor of Black History Month, Associate Dean for Equity and Belonging Adrianne Fletcher shares four select podcasts, one for each week of February. The podcasts come from NPR's Code Switch and Doin' The Work: Frontline Stories of Social Change.

"Everyone from the Tea Party to Immigrants Rights Groups Want a Piece of Dr. King"

Martin Luther King Jr. was relatively unpopular when he was assassinated. But the way Americans of all political stripes invoke his memory today, you'd think he was held up as a hero. In this episode, learn about the co-optation of King's legacy with Hajar Yazdiha, author of The Struggle for the People's King: How Politics Transforms the Memory of the Civil Rights Movement.

"The Women who Masterminded the Montgomery Bus Boycott"

When people think back to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, they often remember just the bullet points: Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and voila. But in this episode, you hear directly from the many women who organized for months about what exactly it took to make the boycott happen.

"Constructing a White Nation: Social Work in the Americanization Movement"

Host Shimon Cohen, LCSW, talks with Dr. Yoosun Park, an associate professor in the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. They talk about her article, co-authored with Michael Reisch, entitled, "To 'Elevate, Humanize, Christianize, Americanize': Social Work, White Supremacy, and the Americanization Movement, 1880–1930", featured in the Oct. 2022 issue of Social Service Review. Dr. Park explains the key points of the article: how social work was a major part of the Americanization movement, which was a national project rooted in Whiteness, aimed at defining what it means to be an American and who gets to be an American, along with the full rights of American citizenship and the ability to enact those rights. She breaks down how the Americanization movement, which included many white social reformers and social work leaders, viewed European immigrants as Americanizable, or White, whereas Indigenous Peoples and Africans, along with Asian and Mexican immigrants—and even this wording is problematic because the U.S. took parts of Mexico—were seen as un-Americanizable and the Other. They also discuss how many of these same White supremacist beliefs, policies and practices show up in social work today.

"Abolitionist Social Work"

In this episode, host Shimon Cohen, LCSW, talks with Durrell Washington, Vivianne Guevara, Cameron Rasmussen and Michelle Grier of the Network to Advance Abolitionist Social Work (NAASW). Washington is a PhD student at the University of Chicago School of Social Work; Guevara is the director of social work at the Federal Defenders of New York in Brooklyn, NY, adjunct faculty at Columbia University School of Social Work, and a facilitator in the community; Rasmussen works at the Center for Justice at Columbia University and is a PhD student in social welfare at CUNY; and Grier is a Black feminist, Brooklyn-raised and social worker-trained, who is leaning into practices that foster radical healing, racial and gender justice. Their collective grew out of the need for social workers to support each other in abolition work, particularly out of the discussions over the last year where many social workers and national social work organizations have supported social workers either working with the police or replacing police, and the NAASW says a loud “no” to both. They share their definitions of abolition and discuss how—and if—abolition can be applied as a framework for social work. They talk about ways that social work has supported—and continues to support—carceral systems, surveillance and gatekeeping—and the connection to White supremacy and liberalism/individualism. There is also discussion on social workers—and social work as a whole—not living up to the Code of Ethics and social work values, especially with emphasis on licensure and private practice. They emphasize the need to engage in collective work and support to envision the world we want, as well as how to take smaller steps to implement abolition in the present while working towards a long-term larger vision.

Black History Month Events

Stand in solidarity with the Mandel School's Black Student Association every Tuesday this month:

  • Feb. 6: Wear ALL black
  • Feb. 13: Wear a red clothing item
  • Feb. 20: Wear a green clothing item
  • Feb. 27: Wear a yellow clothing item

Follow the group on Instagram to see their upcoming events and initiatives.

Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Engagement

Documentary Film Screening and Exhibit Opening

Join us in celebrating Black History at Case Western Reserve on Friday, Feb. 2, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at Kelvin Smith Library's Freedman Center.

We will be screening the documentary, A Trumpet at the Walls of Jericho, and hosting an exhibit called Did You Know? Black History at CWRU. We will also be serving snacks!

Documentary Film
A Trumpet at the Walls of Jericho (2005) is director Mike Kirk's historic documentary profiling Black abolitionist Rev. Samuel Harrison, with narration by Ossie Davis, Wynton Marsalis and Mario Van Peebles. Born into slavery in 1818, Harrison attended Western Reserve Academy from 1836 to 1839 and later served as chaplain in the Union Army to the 54th Regiment.
Did you know that the first Black alumni of the University dates back to 1832 and that the abolition of slavery played an important part in shaping the history of the University? Did You Know? Black History at CWRU is an exhibit featuring the University’s history of notable Black alumni, organizations and things you see around campus relating to Black history.

Register Here.

Service with CWRU African American Alumni Association

Feb. 3 at 9 a.m., Greater Cleveland Food Bank, 13815 Coit Road

The African American Alumni Association invites you to join us for a day of volunteering at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.This is an opportunity for us to unite and support the Food Bank's mission to "nourish hungry people and lead the community in the fight against hunger." Let's contribute our time and effort to make a positive difference!

Register Here.

School of Medicine Multicultural Mixer

Feb. 6 at 11 a.m., Wolstein Research Building (WRB Lobby 1420)

Join us for a mixer with our diverse School of Medicine students, staff and faculty. We encourage our students to attend, meet and mingle with fellow diverse students across all School of Medicine academic programs, and meet with diverse faculty and staff. Hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be provided.

Register Here.

Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative: CTSC Black History Makers Series

Feb. 14 at noon

The speaker will be Gregory Hall, MD, Founder of the National Institute for African American Health (NIAAH), a nonprofit whose central goal is to improve the health of African Americans by providing a trusted source of health information tailored to the needs of the African American community. | Moderator: LaRese Purnell, Co-owner, Managing Partner, CLE Consulting Firm

Register Here.

Second-annual Black Business Expo

We are excited for our second annual Black Business Expo on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Tinkham Veale University Center’s Ballroom. This expo will highlight Black businesses around Greater Cleveland, while giving vendors the resources needed to enhance their business. The event will be open to the public, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. If you or a business you know are interested in participating in the event, please fill out this form by Monday, Feb. 5, 2024. 

The Alumni Association: Dr. Camille Warner—Profiles of Inclusive Excellence

Feb. 21 at 6 p.m.

Join us for an engaging installment of the Profiles of Inclusive Excellence Speaker Series. Delve into insightful conversations highlighting faculty and staff work and research in this virtual 1:1 interview format hosted by Dr. Heather E. Burton, associate vice president and senior director for faculty and institutional diversity.

Register Here.

Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative: CTSC Black History Makers Series

Feb. 21 at noon

The speaker will be Da'na Langford, Founder of Village of Healing, the first and only clinic for Black women in Cuyahoga County in need of gynecological, antepartum, and post-partum care. | Moderator: Kimalon Dixon, Chief of Staff, Jumpstart

Register Here.

Power of Diversity Lecture Series

Spencer Paysinger
Feb. 23, 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.

A Super Bowl-champion linebacker turned Hollywood writer/producer, Spencer Paysinger brought his own poignant story of living in South Central LA and playing football at Beverly Hills High to the hit CW and Netflix series, All American. 

Register Here.

Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative: CTSC Black History Makers Series

Feb. 28 at noon

The speaker will be Kimberly Seals Allers, Maternal Health Tech Founder, The IRTH App, #1 “Yelp-like” platform for the pregnancy and new motherhood journey, made by and for people of color. | Moderator: Jazmin Long, President and CEO, Birthing Beautiful Communities

Register Here.

Other Events

OMA: Black History Month Kickback

Feb. 9, 12:30 to 2 p.m.

The Black SLP Experience

Feb. 12, 1 to 2 p.m.

Intersections: Celebrating Black LGBTQ+ Narratives

Feb. 13, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Bonhoeffer's Black Jesus by Dr. Reggie Williams - Noon Book Discussion

Feb. 15, Noon to 1 p.m.

Black Business Expo

Feb. 15, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

BHM Party Series: Love Galore

Feb. 16, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Lunch & Learn – Antiracism in an Era of Racial Regression: Implications for Mandel School Students

Feb. 20, 1 to 1:50 p.m.

Reflections of Black Alumni on the Practice of Law

Feb. 20, 5 to 7 p.m.

E-Week: Black Trivia Night

Feb. 22, 4 to 6 p.m.

DEIE Black History Month Brunch Movie Screening: We Belong: Navigating Medical School As Black Women

Feb. 24, 10 to 11:45 a.m.

Lunch & Learn: NASW Presentation on Anti-Oppression and Advocacy for Trans Populations

Feb. 27, 1 to 1:50 p.m.

Conversations with... "Women Who’ve Lived and Worked Across the Seven Continents"

March 9, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

See more Black History Month events on Campus Groups