Marshall kicks off Black History Month, celebrates winners of poster contest

The Dr. Carter G. Woodson Lyceum at Marshall University kicked off Black History Month 2023 Tuesday, unveiling the 2023 Official Black History Poster and honoring the Marshall University and K-12 student winners of the Black History Poster Competition and their teachers.  The event featured keynote speaker Dr. Leonard White, physician, and associate dean for diversity at Marshall’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

This year’s theme is “Black Contributions in American Life and History.” The winning poster was created by Marshall University senior Gracie Stephens, who is from Willow Wood, Ohio, and is working on a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree with an emphasis on printmaking. A merit award was presented to Cassandra Bhagroo from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. She is also a Marshall senior and is studying toward a B.F.A. with an emphasis on graphic design.

The K-12 students whose posters were recognized include:

  • Pippa Oxley of Meadows Elementary, first place, whose art teacher is Charity Baker;
  • Madison McCallister of Barboursville Middle School, first place, whose art teacher is Jessica Minnix;
  • Nevaeh Farmer of Barboursville Middle, runner-up, whose art teacher also is Minnix; and
  • Jocelyn Baker of Huntington High, first place, whose art teacher is Marisa Main.

The Carter G. Woodson Lyceum has been helping educators integrate Black history into school curricula since 2016 and serves as a forum that provides opportunities to address this and other education issues. Woodson was a Huntington educator and West Virginia coal miner who is recognized as the Father of Black History.  The lyceum is a resource for the region on the observance of Black history and Woodson’s teachings about improving education.

The Black History Month schedule of events for February was also shared during the event. They include:

  • Continuing through Thursday, Feb. 9, Student Gallery in the Visual Arts Center –  Exhibition of Student-Designed Posters, School of Art and Design. Contact: Sandra Reed,
  • Friday Feb. 3, 10, 17 & 24, 6 p.m. — “Food for the Soul: A Cooking Show,” MarshallU YouTube Channel, Easy-to-follow cooking demonstrations for tasty, traditional African and African American foods. Sponsored by the Center for African American Students. Contact: Shaunte Polk,
  • Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, 6 p.m., Joan C. Edwards Playhouse – “From Slavery to Freedom: The Power of Music.” An aural history tour through time in a one-of-a-kind musical performance by gospel singer and educator Mary D. Williams, who combines spirituals sung by the enslaved and Civil Rights Movement protest songs, highlighting the power of music in building community and resisting injustice and oppression. Sponsored by the Center for African American Students. Contact: Shaunte Polk,
  • Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 8:30 a.m., Henderson Center – “Spotlight on Athletics: Black History.” Join our discussion with a panel of athletics community members speaking on Black history in Thundering Herd Athletics and the impact it has on who WE ARE and where we are going. Attendees will receive free tickets to the Marshall women’s basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 11, vs. Texas State. Contact:  Arlin Vieira,
  • Monday, Feb. 13, 4 p.m., Memorial Student Center, Shawkey Room. Dr. Karsonya Whitehead, associate professor, communication and African and African American studies, Loyola University, Maryland. Topic: “Black Resistance: Centering Voices From Within the Veil,” addressing the National Black History theme. Contact: Burnis Morris,
  • Wednesday, Feb. 15, 4:30 p.m., Memorial Student Center, Shawkey Room— Drinko Academy’s Annual Dr. Carter G. Woodson Lecture. Presented by Dr. Ericke S. Cage, president, West Virginia State University, “The Future of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.” Co-sponsored by the Woodson Lyceum. Contact: Burnis Morris,
  • Thursday, Feb. 16, 4-6 p.m., Memorial Student Center –  “From the Valley to the Mountaintop: Hip-Hop Appalachia.” A panel discussion and performance around hip-hop, Black culture and Appalachian identity. Contact: Dr. Cicero M. Fain, III,; phone: 304-696-3347.
  • Thursday, Feb. 16, 6:30 p.m., documentary screening; 7:30 p.m., blues concert, Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center – Documentary: “Those Who Came Before” celebrates the history and culture of Black music in West Virginia. Performer Lady D is known as West Virginia’s “First Lady of Soul,” and her song “Go Higher” won the national competition for best Obama Inaugural song. Free tickets for Marshall students.
  • Monday, Feb. 20, 6 p.m., Memorial Student Center, Shawkey Dining Room – “My Beautiful Black Hair,” presentation with author St. Clair Deitrick-Jules, award-winning documentarian and photographer, in a powerful discussion exploring the deep, complex relationships across generations between Black women and their hair. Sponsored by the Center for African American Students. Contact: Shaunte Polk,
  • Monday, Feb. 27, 6 p.m., Memorial Student Center, Shawkey Dining Room – “Am I Black Enough: Growing Up Biracial/Multiracial,” a panel discussion. Sponsored by the Center for African American Students. Contact: Shaunte Polk,
  • *TBA – Black History Month Music Power Hour, WMUL-FM radio station,  — “Celebrating Black Culture through Music.” Break out your bell bottoms, leg warmers or parachute pants as we take you on a musical journey each Friday afternoon in February. We will play R&B’s biggest and best hits of the ’70s, ‘80s, ’90s and 2000s. Sponsored by the Center for African American Students. Contact: Shaunte Polk,
  • Thursday, March 30, 10 a.m., Smith Recital Hall. “Artist Talk and Panel Discussion,” School of Music. Contact: Dr. Carline Waugh,
  • Friday, March 31, 7:30 p.m., Smith Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. – “Heard but not Seen: The African American Voice Within the Musical Landscape.” Performance featuring distinguished guest artist Daniel Washington, Marshall University choirs and faculty members in the School of Music. Contact: Dr. Carline Waugh,
  • June 19-23, Institute on Black History / Program for Teachers – The Dr. Carter G. Woodson Lyceum is offering a Black History Institute for K-12 teachers, especially those who teach art, English, literature, history and social studies. Teachers selected for the program will receive $500 stipends, and they may receive three graduate professional development credits with paid tuition. This is the lyceum’s fifth institute since 2017. Deadline: by 5 p.m. March 31, 2023. Contact: Burnis Morris, Locate the application process and link soon, at

For more information, contact Burnis R. Morris, director of the Carter G. Woodson Lyceum, by e-mail at