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Presbyterian College observes Black History Month with a lecture and campus events throughout February.

This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Crystal R. Sanders, associate professor of history and African American studies at Penn State University.

Sanders will speak on the college campus Thursday, Feb. 28, on the topic, “Hidden Histories and Forgotten Folks: What the Past Can Teach Us About Our Current Moment.”

The event will begin at 6 p.m. in Kuhne Auditorium in Neville Hall. The program is free and open to the public. A reception will precede the event in Cornelson Center Lobby beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Dr. Sanders directs the Africana Research Center at Penn State. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history and public policy from Duke University and a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University. Her dissertation received both the C. Vann Woodward Prize from the Southern Historical Association and the Claude Eggertsen Prize from the History of Education Society.

Sanders is the author of numerous articles, essays and op-eds that have appeared in a variety of outlets including “The Journal of Southern History,” the “The Journal of African American History,” “The History of Education Quarterly” and the “North Carolina Historical Review.”

Her first book, A Chance for Change: Head Start and Mississippi’s Black Freedom Struggle, was published by UNC Press as part of its John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture.

The book received the New Scholar’s Book Award from the American Educational Research Association (Division F) and the Critics’ Choice Book Award from the American Educational Studies Association.

The book was also a finalist for the Benjamin Hooks National Book Award. Her other awards and honors include the Huggins-Quarles Award from the Organization of American Historians and fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and the Spencer Foundation. Sanders is currently working on a new book project about African American efforts to secure graduate education during the age of Jim Crow.

Two events are planned before Sanders’ talk on Feb. 28. Jacqueline Chiari, assistant director of Student Involvement & Multicultural Programs, said it’s “exciting” to see offices across campus plan events to celebrate Black History Month at PC with the community and students.

There's a good mix of events that examine and celebrate the past, affirm the present, and empower us to look ahead and embrace hope for the future,” Chiari said.

Kai Davis, a Philadelphia poet whose work deals with topics of race, gender, power and sexuality, will perform spoken word at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 12 in Kuhne Auditorium. This event is also free and open to faculty and staff.

During the Multicultural Student Union’s "Let's Talk About It" event, students and staff will discuss the cultural and historical impact of Al Jolson, an early 20th-century performer who wore blackface during many of his performances. This event will take place on Feb. 20 in Kuhne Auditorium at 8 p.m. The event is open to faculty and staff.

Making sure our black students feel acknowledged, included and celebrated is important,” Chiari said. “Just as important is making sure that our non-black community members take advantage of opportunities to more deeply understand the experiences and talents of African Americans."