Pellissippi State hosts events throughout Black History Month

Pellissippi State Community College celebrates Black History Month with a series of events throughout this month.

Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual February celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of black people in U.S. history.

All Pellissippi State events for Black History Month are free and open to the public:

Feb. 4-28: “One Hundred Fifty Years … The Changing America,” a month-long exhibit in the Community Room of the Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave.

Feb. 6: Healthy Pelli: a Pellissippi State health fair with workshops, screenings and displays at the Magnolia Avenue Campus.

Feb. 7: The WordPlayers perform “Lift Every Voice,” in the West Chevrolet Auditorium of the Blount County Campus, 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy., at 7 p.m. “Lift Every Voice” is a one-act presentation in drama, song and dance that tells the story of the Harlem Renaissance (1919-1929). The Knoxville-based theatre group follows up with performances on Feb. 11 in the Community Room of the Magnolia Avenue Campus at 10:45 a.m. and Feb. 12 in Clayton Performing Arts Center at the Hardin Valley Campus at 12:45 p.m.

Feb. 8: The Magnolia Avenue Campus hosts Dr. Richard Grapski, an oncologist with the University of Tennessee Medical Center, for a Common Book lecture on “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” Lacks was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells, taken without her knowledge in 1951, were discovered to be “immortal”: they can grow indefinitely. Her cells became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for development of the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization—yet for many years her family couldn’t afford health insurance.

Feb. 25: Panel discussion, “Why Does Diversity Matter?” in the Community Room of the Magnolia Avenue Campus at 1 p.m.

Feb. 27: Reception for Bobby Cain and the Clinton 12 at the Goins Building College Center of the Hardin Valley Campus at 2 p.m. In 1957, Bobby Cain became the first black male to graduate from an integrated public high school in the South, and a year later, Gail Epps Upton became the first female graduate of an integrated high school in Tennessee.

For more information, call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.