WPI Celebrates Black History Month in February

Media Contact
January 26, 2007

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will observe Black History Month with a number of events sponsored by the Office of Diversity Programs and Black Student Union. They include speakers, dinners, theater performances, and workshops that focus on the culture and history of the African American community.

Black History Month is an annual celebration that dates back to 1926. Harvard Scholar Carter G. Woodson, determined to bring black history into the mainstream arena, organized the first annual “Negro History Week,” which took place during the second week of February. The date was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of two men who made an impact on African Americans, Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. Over time, “Negro History Week” evolved into Black History Month.

“Black History Month is a time for all to reflect on the history and legacy of African Americans in the United States,” says Calvin Hill, director of the Office of Diversity Programs. “By acknowledging their contributions, we will be able to forge a brighter future here in Worcester, not only for our students, but for all generations.”


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

100 Institute Road

Worcester, Mass.


  • Jan. 28: A trip to see “Race,” a production at the Charlestown Working Theater, in Charlestown, Mass. The play “explores the emotions of ordinary Americans, both black and white, about this country’s most explosive issue.”
  • Feb. 1: Black History Month Dinner, Rubin Campus Center, Odeum; tickets $5.
  • Feb. 3: A showing of the film “The Color Purple” (sold out).
  • Feb. 5: Speaker James McLurkin, at 5:30 p.m., Barnes and Noble Rubin Campus Center Book Store at WPI. McLurkin is a roboticist, inventor, researcher, and teacher. A PhD candidate in computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, he built his first robot, Rover, in 1988, and created the Robotic Ants at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab for his undergraduate thesis.
  • Feb. 12: Speaker Timothy Branner, 5:30 p.m., Rubin Campus Center, Hagglund Room. Branner is manager of workforce diversity and EEO compliance at the Otis Elevator Company in Farmington, Conn.
  • Feb. 23: Diversity Awareness Workshop and Luncheon, noon, Rubin Campus Center, Hagglund Room, presented by Mabel Milner, assistant dean and director of multicultural education at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.
  • Feb. 23: International Student Council African Dinner, 6:30 p.m., Rubin Campus Center, Odeum.