Black History Month Collage

Four Ways to Honor Black History Month at CU Denver This Year

January 30, 2024

During Black History Month in February, we take time to reflect on the many contributions African Americans have made—and continue to make—to U.S. history. And while many people recognize historical figures like Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who was instrumental in the civil rights movement, or Mae Jemison, a doctor and first black female astronaut, many others are less well known.  

For example, Justina Ford moved to Denver in the early 1900s and became the first African American woman physician licensed to practice in Colorado. Denied access to work in local hospitals, she served the community for 50 years and specialized in gynecology, obstetrics, and pediatrics.  

This year, Black History Month’s theme focuses on visual arts, music, and culture movements. CU Denver got an early start on this celebration when it hosted the Theorizing African American Music Conference in November, 2023. But there are plenty of events to keep the momentum going in February, including four on our downtown campus.  

Time and Spaces: The Life of Eddie Henderson 

This exhibit features work from 36 CU Denver students who were enrolled in a digital design course taught by Professor Michelle Carpenter and Associate Professor Travis Vermilye in the fall. The exhibit is focused on Dr. Eddie Henderson, a jazz artist, Olympic-level figure skater, psychiatrist, and medical doctor. The opening gallery reception on Feb. 1 will include film excerpts and a musical performance by Henderson.  

When: Feb. 1 to May 31 
Where: CU Denver Experience Gallery in the Denver Performing Arts Complex

Workplace Equity Summit 2024, The Power of Our Stories 

The one-day event is an opportunity for Auraria campus community members to network with one another and learn from Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion professionals about workplace equity and best practices. A keynote speaker and panel will kick off the event in the morning and breakout sessions will continue in the afternoon. Topics will include identity-based mentorship as a career accelerator, crafting an authentic personal brand, and transforming workplace culture through storytelling, and more. CU Denver and MSU are sponsoring the event. RSVP here. 

When: Feb. 8, 9:45 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. 
Where: Tivoli Student Union 

Film Screening: “Dr. Eddie Henderson: Uncommon Genius” 

CU Denver Professor Michelle Carpenter’s film chronicles the life of Dr. Eddie Henderson. The film will premiere at film festivals in New York and California in early February before being distributed nationally through PBS in the same month.  

When: Feb. 15, 11 a.m. 
Where: Emmanuel Gallery 

Criminal Justice Series: “Racial Justice in Community Violence Prevention”

Hosted by the Center for Community Safety and Resilience (CCSR) in the School of Public Affairs, this panel discussion will explore root causes of gun violence, their intersection with race, and potential community-based solutions. Click here to register.

When: Feb. 20, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. (check-in and hors d’oeuvres from 5 – 5:30 p.m.)
Where: Lawrence Street Center, Terrace Room

Black Education Impact Conference 

The CU Denver Black Student Success Initiative is hosting an interactive summit that aims to give Black youth, college students, and community members an opportunity to discuss and share strategies that contribute to student success. The conference, through the University Innovation Alliance (UIA), will include engaging breakout sessions that highlight the student voice and experience, as well as a resource fair that provides participants the opportunity to meet campus and community members committed to Black student success. The event is free and includes lunch, but you must RSVP via this link.  

When: Feb. 23, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
Where: North Classroom Building 

Want to know more about CU Denver’s efforts to become the nation’s first equity-serving institution? Click here to learn about the 2030 Strategic Plan.