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UHV prepares to host Black History Month events

The University of Houston-Victoria is gearing up for Black History Month with a variety of free, public events and activities, including a poster contest for fifth-grade students, an educational symposium and a demonstration of African dances.

Bob Glenn

“Black History Month is an opportunity for the university to show its support for our African American students,” UHV President Bob Glenn said. “We are excited to offer events that will showcase the importance of this month for our students and the community.”

The university is beginning the month with the annual Black History Month Poster Contest. The contest is a partnership between UHV, Victoria College and the Victoria Black History Committee Inc. and is open to Victoria fifth-graders, including homeschooled students and students from the Victoria Independent School District and private schools. The students are asked to design posters about individuals who fit a theme. This year’s contest theme is “Celebrating Local Black Leaders.”

Once the posters are submitted, they are judged and prizes will be announced during the Black History Month Poster Contest reception at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 11 in the UHV University North Multi-Purpose Room, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. The first-, second- and third-place winners will receive scholarships to UHV and vouchers to VC summer camps. Honorable mention winners will be given gift bags from UHV and VC.

Beverly Tomek

On Feb. 19, UHV will host two public events. The first event will be the fifth annual A.D. Sheffield Symposium on African American History at 7 p.m. in the UHV University West Alcorn Auditorium, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. This year’s symposium will feature a lecture by Rebecca Czuchry, a professor of history and African American Studies program director at Texas Lutheran University. She will talk about difficulties faced by African Americans during the Reconstruction Era in Texas.

“The Sheffield Symposium has helped UHV and the community learn about some of the major national and local figures and moments in African American history,” said Beverly Tomek, UHV associate provost and dean of the University College. “This is a great event for people of all ages. During past events, we’ve talked about the Civil Rights movement, local African American leaders, and the history of segregation in Victoria. The more we learn about the past, the more likely we are to do better in the future.”

Freddie Cantu

Just across campus and following the symposium, UHV Student Life will host a Dance Africa performance by the KoumanKe’le’ group at 8 p.m. in the UHV University North Walker Auditorium, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. The group is made up of dancers from Houston who present traditional West, South and Central African dances and culture.

“This event is meant to be a celebration of Black History Month,” said Freddie Cantu, a UHV Student Life coordinator. “Students and attendees will have the opportunity to observe and learn traditional African dances. It will be a fun way to connect to traditional African culture.”

In addition to its own events, UHV plans to have a float in the annual Black History Parade and Festival on Feb. 16 hosted by the Black History Committee. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at Patti Welder Middle School, 1604 E. North St., and continue down North Street to the Victoria Community Center, 2905 E. North St. A festival will be held in the community center annex immediately after the parade.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to 70 bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degree programs and concentrations in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as a teaching center in Katy, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All Initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student popular, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.