Historian J.E. Robinson led a full bus on a tour of Alton stops on the Underground Railroad Feb. 14, 2019. The tour culminated with a visit to the Lovejoy Monument and the grave of abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy. L&C file photo
Historian J.E. Robinson led a full bus on a tour of Alton stops on the Underground Railroad Feb. 14, 2019. The tour culminated with a visit to the Lovejoy Monument and the grave of abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy. L&C file photo.

GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College will celebrate a leap-year Black History Month this February with a full slate of programming, most of which is free and open to the public.

The month will kick off with a Soul Food Luncheon for L&C Students on Feb. 6, giving Trailblazers a taste of traditional soul food favorites.

“I am very excited about our programming to celebrate Black History Month,” said Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Excellence Mya Lawrence. “These events, curated by Student Activities Coordinator Jared Hennings, highlight our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, our community's cultural differences, and provides educational opportunities for our students and team members."

The college opens many of these experiences to the larger community as well.

On Feb. 8, the public is invited to join L&C students and team members for a presentation and performance of “The Blues” by Big George Brock beginning at 10:45 a.m., in The Commons.

Among returning favorites this year is an interactive presentation, including drums and an audience participation segment, by the East St. Louis Community Performance Ensemble, at 10:45 a.m., Feb. 13 in The Commons.

“We are very excited about the slate of activities this year,” Hennings said. “There’s something to engage everyone, no matter their interests.”

A Celebration with the SIUE Black Theatre Workshop (11 a.m., Feb. 21, Trimpe 141) will present poems, spoken word, song and ensemble collaborations, exploring the many facets of what it means to be Black in America through the dynamic and powerful voices of young adults who exemplify Black Excellence, Hennings said. 

Reid Memorial Library will welcome Rene Knott of KSDK at 11 a.m., Feb. 27, and will host a Criminal Justice Presentation by Marc McLemore, former captain of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, at 11 a.m., Feb. 28. Knott will discuss how communications and journalism have changed over time and their impact on modern society. McLemore will discuss his career in law enforcement — sharing the challenges and benefits in serving the public in this dynamic and sometimes controversial field.

To finish out the month, L&C’s Black Student Association will host a Blood Drive with Free Pizza for Donors from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Feb. 29, in The Commons.

Two of this year’s events require pre-registration.

The first is the ever-popular Underground Railroad Bus Tour, led by local historian J.E. Robinson, which will depart from the Campus Safety parking lot at 1 p.m., Feb. 15. Stops will include the Enos Apartments and Old Rock House, and information pertaining William ‘Scotch’ Johnson will be discussed. While the event is free, RSVPs are required, due to limited seating. To reserve a spot, contact Hennings at (618) 468-6400 or jhenning@lc.edu.

The second is a Dance Workshop, Performance & Panel, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Feb. 24, in the Hatheway Cultural Center’s Ann Whitney Olin Theatre. Participants, from beginner to experienced, will be engaged in learning more about hip hop, jazz, tap, majorette, cheer and more. This event costs $5 per participant, which includes lunch. Register today by contacting Hennings at jhenning@lc.edu.

New this year, L&C’s original Unfiltered Lens Photography Exhibition, featuring photos from the Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam War captured by Robert J. Ellison, is reopening Feb. 17 at the Jacoby Arts Center. The exhibit’s Opening Event will take place from 2-4 p.m., featuring an introduction by Hennings, who was instrumental in the conception and creation of the original exhibit, held in the Hatheway Gallery last fall. Jacoby’s exhibit will continue through March 27 in the JAC Main Gallery, with gallery hours from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Wednesday – Sunday.

“These events offer something for everyone,” Hennings said. “We hope students, team members and the general community will take advantage of these opportunities to celebrate all month long.” 

For more information on these events and more, including DEI programming throughout the year, contact Hennings at jhenning@lc.edu or Lawrence at mylawrence@lc.edu.