Published on February 17, 2021 by Morgan Black  
Thurgood Marshall Symposium 2020
Guests enjoy the 26th Annual Thurgood Marshall Symposium in February 2020.

Throughout February, Samford University will continue to celebrate Black history and culture during its recognition of Black History Month 2021. A variety of on-campus and virtual events, many led by Samford’s Office of Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives, honor the contributions of African Americans to our campus community and our society.

Such events have included diversity night at the Feb. 4 women’s basketball game against UNC Greensboro, a candlelight worship service to kick off the Lead with Love series, a community conversation titled “Acting Black,” and a virtual discussion titled “What Would Dr. King and Malcolm X Teach in 2021?”.

Several upcoming events will continue Samford’s recognition of Black History Month:

African American Ministry Emphasis Month Worship Service

February 18, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Hodges Chapel

During Black History Month 2021, Beeson Divinity School kicked off its second annual African American Ministry Emphasis Month which seeks to highlight God’s continued work among African American alumni and friends and to celebrate what God is doing in and through Black churches in America. Included in the 2021 commemoration is a special worship service with Thomas Beavers, senior pastor of New Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church in Birmingham’s Eastlake community. The service will be held in Hodges Chapel; a livestream will be available as well. More details, including the Order of Worship and the livestream information may be found here.

The February 11 sermon, “Reflecting on God’s Righteousness,” offered by Thomas Wilder is available to view here. In addition, the Beeson Podcast features numerous episodes emphasizing African American Ministry.

27th Annual Thurgood Marshall Symposium

February 18, 6 – 7 p.m.

Cumberland School of Law's Black Law Students Association will present the 27th Annual Thurgood Marshall Symposium. The annual event recognizes the legacy of the first African American associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by addressing historical and contemporary issues that affect minority communities. This year's virtual conversation is titled, "To Whom Much is Given: The Past, Present, and Future of the Legal Profession." The event will feature Hon. Sybil Cleveland, J.D. ’90, municipal judge for the City of Huntsville; Courtney French, J.D. ’98, senior partner at Petway, French & Ford; Leon Hampton Jr. ’13, principal at the Beasley Allen Law Firm and president of the Alabama Lawyers Association; Denzel Okinedo, J.D. ’19, attorney at Burr & Forman LLP; and Sara Williams, J.D. ’06, attorney at the Alexander Shunnarah Law Firm and coach for Cumberland’s National Trial Team. The discussion will be available to view here.

Songs of the Soul: An Evening of Music by African American Composers

February 21, 7 – 9 p.m.
Livestreamed from Brock Recital Hall

The School of the Arts’ student-led Diversity Series Committee will kick off its inaugural Diversity Series during Black History Month. Songs of the Soul will feature baritone Christopher Jordan and pianist Cindy St. Clair, representing two different aspects of African American art music: traditionalists and modernists. It will contain a variety of African American responses to European classical vocal music through the incorporation of traditional American music elements, including folk songs, spirituals, blues and jazz. Original compositions will be presented along with arrangements of African American music of the 20th century. The livestream from Brock Recital Hall will be available to view here.

Caste: A Virtual Conversation with Bestselling Author Isabel Wilkerson

February 25, 6 – 7 p.m.

The Office of Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives invites the Samford community to hear from Isabel Wilkerson, New York Times bestselling author of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. Caste is “an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of American life today.” As the featured guest in the September 2020 “For the Good” interview with President Andrew Westmoreland, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, J.D. ’07, encouraged all adults to read this book.

In addition to these special events, Samford’s Davis Library is hosting a Black history exhibit that will be on display until the end of the month.

“The contributions of Black Americans to our society are an integral component of our country’s history and are crucial to its future,” said Denise Gregory, assistant provost for diversity and intercultural initiatives. “It’s so important that we, as a university, collectively celebrate and recognize these contributions, not only during Black History Month, but throughout the year.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.