Luther hosts Black History Month events

Luther College invites the public to recognize Black History Month in February by attending a series of campus events.

Luther College invites the public to recognize Black History Month in February by attending a series of campus events.

The series features international music performances, a Mother Language Day workshop and several speakers including the Black History Month Distinguished Lecture. All events are free to the public with no charge for admission.

“Black History Month is an annual celebration that honors the contributions and achievements of African Americans as part of the fabric of American history and is now being celebrated in countries across the world,” says Dr. Robert Clay, chief equity and inclusion officer and assistant to the president for community engagement. “It is important that Luther College acknowledges Black History Month as our mission challenges us to be a campus where we are transformed by encounters with one another. This celebration helps us to learn about the rich histories and experiences of all members of our community.”

On Feb. 4 and 5, the 29:11 International Exchange music ministry is on campus. The South African singing ensemble’s mission is to facilitate hope and reconciliation through music, cross-cultural relationships and individual artist development. All are invited to their community Sing and Share event at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, and a Gospel Worship service at 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 5. Both events take place in the Noble Recital Hall in the Jenson-Noble Hall of Music. This group believes that “by recognizing that each of us is worthy of understanding and love, we can bridge the ideological, racial and socio-economic gaps that divide us and live together as citizens of the world.”

At 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, celebrate Mother Language Day in Mott-Borlaug Rooms in Dahl Centennial Union. Recognized by the United Nations, International Mother Language Day is a worldwide annual observance “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world.” All are invited for conversation and snacks.

March 2 lecture

Gary Phillips will present the Black History Month Distinguished Lecture entitled “The Intersection of Crime Fiction and Social Change” in the Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall on April 26 (not March 2 as was previously scheduled) at 6 p.m. (Please note rescheduled date and time).

Phillips is a renowned Los Angeles author in the genres of noir, crime and mystery. He has published novels, comics and short stories and hs edited several anthologies including “South Central Noir” and the award-winning “Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir.”

“Gary Phillips’ work finds refreshing ways to explore Black American history and our racial landscape within the noir fiction genre,” said Novian Whitsitt, professor of Africana studies and English. “I’m excited to hear him discuss this literary space and how it serves as an artistic and political canvas for his ideas.”

Phillips is a community activist and labor organizer in his native Los Angeles. His lived experience and continued engagement in these areas inform and inspire his work. The Black History Month Distinguished Lecture is sponsored by Luther’s Identity Studies program and the Center for Ethics and Public Engagement. A link to the livestream will be posted under the event listing at on the day of the lecture.

Haywood Stowe will present “The Importance of Servant Leadership” Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 6 p.m. in the Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall. Stowe is an experienced director and servant leader. He is currently the director of customer support at Collins Aerospace in Decorah, Iowa, ¬†with a demonstrated 25-year history of working in both the consumer goods and aviation and aerospace industries. Stowe will share how the servant leadership philosophy has become ingrained in his leadership practice.

For more information or questions about Black History Month events at Luther College, contact