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HCC announces Black History Month events for February

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College is celebrating Black History Month this February with a series of online events that includes conversations about the 400-year span of African-American history, voting rights, and health issues such as COVID-19 and their disproportionate impact on communities of color.

All events will be held virtually and advanced registration is required through HCC’s Black History Month celebration webpage:

Events kick off on Tuesday, Feb. 2, with “Historically Speaking: Four Hundred Souls,” from 7 – 8:30 p.m., a discussion with African-American scholars Ibram Kendi and Keisha N. Blain about their book of the same name. In this new work, editors Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist, and Keisha N. Blain, author of Set the World on Fire, have assembled 90 writers to document the 400-year journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present. Many of the book’s contributors will join Kendi and Blain in this discussion about the impact of the African American community on the historical trajectory of social justice in America.

On Wed., Feb. 10, at 11 a.m., HCC anthropology professor Vanessa Martinez, Ph.D., will lead “The Legacy of Poor Health: Communities of Color From 1619 to COVID.” Martinez will share data on the legacy of American racism and how it amplifies the challenges of living during COVID-19, especially for communities of color. By using a historical anti-racist perspective and health equity lens, she will offer some concrete ways we can improve the lives of our most vulnerable communities.


On Wed., Feb. 17, at 11 a.m. HCC will host a watch party and discussion of the film “Fannie Lou Hamer: Voting Rights Activist” about the outspoken civil rights leader, who was the granddaughter of a slave and the youngest of 20 children. In this rare documentary, Hamer’s struggles and triumphs are expressed through her own words as well as those of friends and colleagues. HCC history professor Maura Henry, Ph.D., will lead a discussion following the viewing.


Capping off the month on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 1 p.m., HCC history professor Gaylord Saulsberry, Ed.D., will lead a discussion about One Person, No Vote: How Voter Supression Is Destroying Our Democracy, by Carol Anderson, the award-winning author of White Rage. In One Person, No Vote, Anderson explores the history of voting rights in the United States. The book is part of a Holyoke Community College community read project. Copies are available for free as an ebook through the HCC Library.


Holyoke Community College is the Commonwealth’s oldest community college, serving more than 9,500 students annually in credit and noncredit programs and courses. The college holds transfer agreements with more than 20 colleges and universities. Recognized for its Honors Program, distance learning curriculum, learning communities, and service to students, HCC also offers business development opportunities through the Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development. Please visit us on the web at