Honoring Trailblazers: Black History Month at TCU 

TCU will recognize Black History Month in February with a range of opportunities for students, faculty and staff. The events share a common mission: to support ongoing campus diversity and inclusion and celebrate the achievements of African Americans and appreciate their central role in U.S. history.  

“Black History Month is important, because it calls upon society as a whole to slow down and recognize past achievements and sacrifices made by African Americans to help move America forward. Americanot just African Americans,” said Ayvaunn Penn, a member of TCU’s theatre faculty and founder of the #ForBo Initiative. 

Furthermore,  Black History Month also serves as a reminder that history is as close as yesterday,” she continued. It reminds us of how far we have come as a country in terms of racial equality as well as the great distance we have to go. That is why the Black History Month event I am organizing for the theatre department and campus at large is honoring the life and legacy of Botham Jean: a young man of color whose murder by a police officer made history. Yet, that history was just in 2018 and still feels like yesterday.”  

Black History Month is recognized nationally during the month of February, and TCU kicked-off events Jan. 29 with an evening with Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five, who detailed his experiences of being wrongly accused and convicted of a brutal attack 30 years ago and inspired the audience.  

“Dr. Yusef Salaam provided everyone a renewed sense of hope. He said everyone who was in that room was there because they were supposed to be there,” said Timeka Gordon, TCU director of inclusiveness and intercultural services. “We all go through trials and tribulations in our life. It’s only when you triumph over your challenges and get to the other side that you realize the growth and understanding you gained. You can choose to be bitter and stagnant, or you can walk through your journey and understand that it was to set you up for your purpose.” 

In addition to campus events, the TCU website and social media will share stories of Horned Frogs who are making a difference for the greater good and blazing the trail for the next generation of Horned Frogs. 

Below are a few ways to get involved:* 

Feb. 5 – TCU’s Black Alumni Alliance and the African American and Africana Studies Minor will cohost “Purple, Black and White,” a professional development event for students that will feature a conversation centered around being a black professional in the 21st century. The event is free. 

Feb. 6 – TCU Alphas present a Black History Month Panel at 7:06 p.m. Feb. 6 in Sid W. Richardson Hall, Lecture Hall 4. 

Feb. 12 – Theatre TCU and Black And Making It will present a staged reading of a new original play, For Bo: A Play Inspired by the Murder of Botham Jean by Officer Amber Guyger, at 7 p.m. in Betsy and Steve Palko Hall, room 130 at TCU. Following the staged reading, an interdisciplinary panel of representatives from across the TCU campus and other community leaders will join the all-student cast and playwright and director Ayvaunn Penn, adjunct professor in theatre, for a discussion to promote cross-cultural understanding. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited, and an advance reservation is required.   

Feb. 19 TCU Comparative Race & Ethnic Studies will host Dr. Khalil Muhammad, professor of history, race and public policy at Harvard University Kennedy School and the Suzanne Young Murray professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, as the Green Honors Chair. His keynote address, “The Condemnation of Blackness: Slavery, Racial Capitalism, and Abolition in the 21st Century, will be at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 19, in the Kim and Bill Shaddock  Auditorium in the Spencer and Marlene Hays Business Commons. It is free and open to the public. Watch your email for details and registration information. Muhammad is one of the nation’s leading scholars of race, democracy, inequality and criminal justice in modern U.S. history. He also contributed a key piece to The 1619 Project and is an expert on diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education.  

*If you are hosting a Black History Month event for the campus community and would like it listed, please email us at News.