USCB Commemorates African American History Month

USCB to Commemorate African American History Month with a Broad Series of Cultural Events in February

Feb. 1, 2018

USCB Commemorates African American History Month PosterBLUFFTON, S.C. – The University of South Carolina Beaufort has scheduled a broad series of cultural events to commemorate African History Month in February, including a candlelight vigil and screening of a documentary on the Orangeburg Massacre, Feb. 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Hargray lobby. All events are free and open to the public.

The Orangeburg Massacre involved the shooting of protesters by officers of the South Carolina Highway Patrol on the South Carolina State University campus, in Orangeburg, S.C., in February 1968. Three protesters, all African American men, were killed and 27 others were injured. Unlike the Kent State shootings and Jackson State shootings, which centered around protests of widening American involvement in the Vietnam War, the Orangeburg Massacre was triggered by a reaction to the failure of a local businessman to desegregate a bowling alley.

The seven cultural events at USCB will begin with an opening reception Feb. 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Hargray Lobby. University Chancellor Al M. Panu, Ph.D., will deliver welcoming remarks.

The Orangeburg Massacre Candlelight Vigil and Documentary Screening will take place Feb. 8 from 6 to 8 p.m., also in the Hargray Lobby.

On Feb. 9, the university will take students to a presentation of the Gullah Heritage Music Series featuring The Voices of El Shaddai at Queen's Chapel AME Church on Hilton Head Island. The event is a part of the Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration; it runs from 7 to 9 p.m.

A presentation and discussion entitled, "Segregation, Education & Self-Determination: Robert Smalls, Charlotte Forten Grimke and Septima P. Clark," is scheduled for Feb. 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. in Campus Center 105 on the Bluffton Campus.

On Feb. 20, a student panel, "Too Woke for the American Dream…?" will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. in Campus Center 105.

The Divine 9 and Get Down II are scheduled for Feb. 22 from 7 p.m. to midnight in Campus Center 105.

The month's activities will end with a closing reception Feb. 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Hargray lobby.

African American History Month at USCB is intended to accomplish three objectives, according to Najmah Thomas, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences at USCB.

"There is a three-part purpose to the month," she says: "To raise awareness of African American history in general, to acknowledge the importance of African American contributions to the country, and to encourage further study and application of lessons learned from the African American experience for all Americans.

"Cross-cultural awareness is valuable to everybody because it doesn't matter what your discipline is, it doesn't matter what your program focus is, it is valuable for you to be comfortable with culturally distinct individuals.

"What we're trying to do," Dr. Thomas adds, "is highlight the fact that even though it's from the African American perspective, the month is for everybody. The lessons are for everybody. There are so many things that can be used from the African American historical perspective for everybody's personal and professional development."

The planning committee that organized the 2018 African American History Month agenda drew from a wide range of perspectives in selecting the events. Serving on the committee were:

            Laura Bessent, Student Development
            Brian Canada, Ph.D., Computational Science
            Ron Erdel, Ph.D., Computational Science
            Lynne Hutchison, DNP, FNP-BC, Nursing and Health Professions
            Joleesa Johnson, Student Development
            Randy Lamkin, Ph.D., Sociology
            J. Brent Morris, Ph.D., Humanities
            Brandon Wright, Student Development

Dr. Thomas serves as chairperson of the planning committee and as the faculty member for African American Studies.


Located in the heart of the Carolina Sea Islands, the University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) is a baccalaureate member of the USC system, serving the southeast coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Since 2002, USCB has tripled its academic degree programs, doubled its FTE enrollment, opened its first on-campus housing (now serving more than 900), joined the NAIA Sun Conference, and fielded conference and national award-winning Sand Shark athletes in nine sports. The university's two campuses serve a diverse student body of 2,000 students. The Bluffton campus offers cutting-edge Computational Science and Nursing laboratories, and a broad range of academic degree programs. The Beaufort campus, located on Beaufort's downtown waterfront, houses an innovative baccalaureate Studio Art program in close proximity to Beaufort's many art galleries. The University of South Carolina Beaufort offers students an exceptional place to learn and live in an environment focused on growth, preservation and opportunity.

For more information about the University of South Carolina Beaufort, contact Kerry Jarvis, director of marketing and public relations, at 843-208-8030 or