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NMSU's Black History Month draws various guest speakers

New Mexico State University's Black Programs, in collaboration with various on-campus and community organizations, will celebrate Black History Month by hosting a collection of speakers throughout the month of February.

This year's celebration is different from those in the past in that it consists mainly of guest speakers.

"The theme for this year is enlightenment," said Festus Addo-Yobo, director of Black Programs. "We have people coming in from different backgrounds to give us an insight on how we can become progressive."

Opening up Black History Month is guest speaker Pierre Orelus, a writer and native of Haiti whose research interests include colonial and neocolonial studies, critical literacy, critical pedagogy, and pedagogy for self-liberation and liberation of others. Orelus will speak at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1, at the Corbett Center Student Union's Art Gallery.

Marjol Rush Collet, who is the cousin of the late Langston Hughes, a writer who is well known for shaping the contributions of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, will be the second guest speaker. Collet will appear at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, at Corbett Center's Auditorium.

Omar Tyree, a New York Times best-selling author who has published 16 books and has been recognized as one of the most renowned contemporary commercial writers, will be the third guest speaker at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, at Corbett Center's Auditorium.
A documentary, "Prom Night in Mississippi," will be presented by producers Paul Saltzman and wife Patricia Aquino at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, at Corbett Center's Auditorium. The documentary features a Mississippi high school that had been integrated since 1970, but was still holding separate white and black proms. They, along with friend Morgan Freeman, were instrumental in making a change.

As in years past, Gospel Jazz Night will include J.J. Harrison and Youthful Praise and will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at NMSU's Atkinson Recital Hall.

Closing out the month-long celebration is a luncheon that will replace the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner. Regent Isaac "Ike" Pino will be the guest speaker for the luncheon taking place at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, at the NMSU Golf Course Clubhouse Banquet Room.

"This year we made a change in that we wanted to have someone from our community speak at the luncheon," Addo-Yobo said. "Pino has been a great influence in the community and has gone on to do great things."

Co-sponsors for the events include NMSU's College of Arts and Sciences and College of Education, ASNMSU, Black Student Council, the State of New Mexico's Office of African American Affairs, NMSU Bookstore and Campus Activities.

"We want to encourage the NMSU campus and Las Cruces community to be a part of these great events," Addo-Yobo said.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information contact Black Programs at (575) 646-4208 or at blackpro@nmsu.edu.