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Mount to Focus on “The Vote” as Part of African American History Month

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Mount St. Mary's University's celebration of African American History Month includes several events addressing the 2020 theme of the annual national observance, "African Americans and The Vote."

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment that gave black men the right to vote following the Civil War. It also is the centennial of the 19th Amendment granting all women voting rights.

"This year's theme recognizes the struggle for voting rights among both black men and women throughout American history," said Vice President for Student Life Bernard Franklin, Ph.D. "It is an ongoing struggle experienced by people of color that continues into the 21st century."

At the center of the Mount's events related to the theme is a lecture by Political Science Professor Michael Towle, Ph.D., titled “Getting the Vote, Keeping the Vote, Using the Vote,” set for February 18 at 4 p.m. in Laughlin Auditorium. This lecture will include an overview of the political experience of African Americans from the end of the Civil War through the Voting Rights Act of 1965,  an analysis of current statistics concerning African American turnout, and a discussion of continued issues for African Americans (and others) gaining fair access to balloting. 

A two-day voter registration drive in Patriot Hall will begin on the same day as Towle’s lecture and displays related to voting history will be on display at various times during the month in Patriot Hall.

Student organizations, including The V.O.I.C.E. and the Black Student Union, have planned a number of the month’s myriad events. The V.O.I.C.E. is hosting a self-love conversation (February 10 at 7 p.m. in Laughlin Auditorium), a book discussion on Malcolm X’s Why Do You Hate Yourself (February 13 at 5:30 p.m. in the Center for Student Diversity) and a visit to campus by the Feed Your Soul food truck (February 12 at noon near the Palmieri Activities Center).

The Black Student Union (BSU) is creating displays in Patriot Hall focused on African Americans and the Vote (February 7), Before They Were Slaves (February 12) and African American inventions and games (February 20). In addition the BSU has planned a discussion on royalty in the African diaspora (February 12 at 7 p.m. in O’Hara Dining Room) and Royals Dance (February 22 at 8 p.m. in the Palmieri Activities Center).

The keynote speaker of the month is Monica Moody Moore, Ed.D., dean of graduate admissions at the F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. In her presentation, set her February 21 at noon in the Seminary Dining Room, Moody Moore will bring her many years of hard work and resilience to inspire Mount students to pursue their dreams and to live lives of service to God and to mankind.

In her lecture, titled From Passion to Impact: The Quest to Level Up Post Desegregation, Moody Moore will provide a framework and a platform for further discovery and action.  Participants will tap into their "readiness zone" through lively discussion, and receive insight and inspiration to level up in order to achieve maximum impact to fulfill their passions. The keynote speech is being cosponsored by the Richard J. Bolte, Sr. School of Business, the Center for Student Diversity and the Office of Student Life.

The Men of Color group will also be inspired by February 10’s lecture by Sidney A. Ribeau, Ph.D., former president of Howard University and Bowling Green State University, on Identity—Man to Man. This event will be in the O’Hara Dining Room at 5:30 p.m., and all are welcome.

Several events are planned regarding the Catholic Church’s role in race issues. Leon Dixon, director of the Center for Student Diversity, and David McCarthy, Ph.D., associate provost and professor of theology, will facilitate Church on Race lunchtime discussions in Patriot Hall on February 18, 19, 24 and 25. The Office of Campus Ministry has arranged for the Sisters in Residence to give their presentation “When It Was No Way” before Mass at 6:45 p.m. on February 16 in the IC Chapel and at 9”15 p.m. on February 17 at Pangborn Chapel.

In addition, the month’s celebration will include several film nights in Laughlin Auditorium, including showings of “Do the Right Thing” (February 6 at 6 p.m.), “Django Unchained” (February 19 at 6 p.m.) and “Fences” (February 27 at 9 p.m.).

All African American History Month events are listed on The Mount Calendar.