August 27, 2014  

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Black History Month Schedule Includes James Brown as speaker for Armstrong-Branch Lecture

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Famed Sportscaster James Brown will be the guest speaker for the annual Armstrong-Branch Lecture Feb. 18 on the Southern Miss Hattiesburg campus.

One of the most respected sportscasters in the profession will be the guest presenter for The University of Southern Mississippi’s prestigious annual Armstrong-Branch Lecture on the Hattiesburg campus, part of Black History Month events at the school.

James Brown, host of CBS Sports’ The NFL Today and Showtime’s Inside the NFL, will speak Monday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. at Bennett Auditorium. The Armstrong-Branch Lecture series was established in honor of Gwendolyn Armstrong and Raylawni Branch, the first African American students at Southern Miss, who enrolled in September 1965.

This event and many other Black History Month events are sponsored by the Dean of Students Office, the Honors College and the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services.

“We’re thrilled to have James Brown come to Southern Miss as our guest and be the presenter for the Armstrong-Branch Lecture,” said Valencia Walls, program coordinator for the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services chair of its Black History Month Committee. “He’s a great role model not only for African-Americans, but for anyone who pursues their dreams with hard work and sacrifice.”

Brown is a Harvard University alumnus, where he was captain of the varsity basketball team and received All-Ivy League honors. He is an Emmy Award winner and received wide acclaim for his book, Role of a Lifetime: Reflections on Faith, Family and Significant Living, published in 2009. He also serves as a community ambassador for the AARP.

The university’s chapter of the NAACP is also holding its second annual student essay contest, with the entry deadline set for Friday, Feb. 15 at 11:59 p.m. The contest is open to undergraduate and graduate students (one essay per person), focusing on the topic “What would our African American ancestors think of our progress in today’s struggle for equality in America? Submissions should be between 750-1,100 words. A $100 scholarship will be awarded to the undergraduate and graduate student winners. Contact Valencia Walls at Valencia.walls@usm.eduor call 601.266.5057 for more information.

 Other Black History Month events include the following:

*Thursday, Jan. 31, 12:15 p.m. R.C. Cook Union Lobby: NPHC Reenactment

The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Reenactment will include dramatic interpretation of an important event in African American history.

*Soul Food Luncheon, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Thad Cochran Center

The Soul food luncheon is an annual event held as the kick-off to Black History Month festivities. Approximately 150 invited guests, consisting of student leaders, faculty, staff and community leaders come together and enjoy traditional African American cuisine.

This event is sponsored by the Black History Month Committee

*State of the Black Union, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 7 p.m., Trent Lott Center

The State of the Black Unionis an annual program focusing on issues of particular relevance in the African American community, featuring prominent speakers from the university and Hattiesburg area. This event is sponsored by Men of Excellence.

*Lampkin-Hughes Oratorical, Tuesday, Feb. 19 Cochran Center Ballroom III, 6 p.m.

This speech contest is designed to inspire youth to motivate and inform others through the public speaking. It provides young people with the opportunity to compete for scholarships and express their views on a pre-assigned topic. The Lampkin-Hughes Oratorical is named for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity members Keith Lampkin, Esq. and Cresean Hughes. This event is sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Future Black Law Students Association and the Afro-American Student Organization.

*NPHC Movie Night, Stout Hall, Thursday, Feb. 21, 6:30 p.m.

The NPHC Movie Night will feature a film and discussion of the movie “A Raisin in the Sun.” Admission is free. This event is sponsored by The National Pan-Hellenic Council.

*Eagle Awards, Monday, Feb. 25, 7 p.m., Cochran Center Ballrooms

The 3rd annual Eagle Awards is the culminating event for Black History Month. Started in 2012, the Eagle Awards celebrates the achievements of minority students, athletes, organizations and individuals who have made lasting contributions to the community.  They are celebrated through the arts and presentation of awards. The Black History Month Essay Contest winners will also be announced at this event, which is sponsored by the Black History Month Committee.

*Essence of Black, Thursday, Feb. 28, 6 p.m., Hattiesburg Cultural Center

Essence of Black is a black history program dedicated to the arts, through several different art forms extending from modern spoken word to the song and dance of our native land. Sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the program’s goal is to portray the true essence of black, and how it has shaped our lives through the arts. The Hattiesburg Cultural Center is located at 723 Main St. in the city's historic downtown.

For more information on Black History Month events at Southern Miss, contact the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services at 601.266.5057 or e-mail Valencia.walls@usm.edu.