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Whitworth Celebrates Black History Month 2023

February 10, 2023

Since 1976, February has been designated as Black History Month in the United States. It’s a time dedicated to emphasizing the accomplishments of Black Americans and Black culture and to recognizing the contributions of significant leaders, moments and achievements related to Black history.

Whitworth University is celebrating Black History Month with an array of educational and community-based events including academic lectures, educational and conversational opportunities, a musical performance, a movie screening and more. 

Whitworth Profiles in Black History

This month, staff, faculty and the Whitworth community are learning about the important research being done by Professor Emeritus of History Dale Soden, Ph.D., and retired Whitworth Interim Chief Diversity Officer Roberta Wilburn, Ed.D. The pair has been documenting the university’s Black history and the impacts of African American alumni like Ernie Tanner, Frances Scott, Eugene Breckenridge, Ginger Ewing and David Casteal, who have made significant contributions to the Spokane community and beyond. Click here to read more about their research. 

A special presentation was held on Feb. 6 for the Whitworth community where alumni panelists spoke about their time at Whitworth and how that time helped create their lives of service. The panel comprised Denice Randle ’07, Whitworth trustee and educator; Rhosetta Rhodes ’99, ’11, Whitworth’s vice president for student life; Stephaine Courtney ‘09, educational specialist and founder of the Learning Project; and James Wilburn ’10, co-founder of Wilburn & Associates, LLC and former Spokane NAACP president. 

Black Student Union to Hold Mental Health Discussion and Harlem Renaissance Ball

Whitworth’s Black Student Union will host a discussion called “Black Mental Health Matters” on Friday, Feb. 10, at 5:30 p.m. in Weyerhaeuser Hall’s Robinson Teaching Theatre. The discussion will be led by BSU President Elysee Kazadi ’23 and Aleja LeVert ’24, BSU publicity chair. 

On Saturday, Feb. 25, the BSU invites the campus community to attend the Harlem Renaissance Ball for a night of music, dancing, food and good company to celebrate Black History Month. Contact for more information. 

Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Presents Panel Discussion and Screening of Movie Till

The Whitworth community is invited to attend a panel discussion followed by a screening of the award-winning film Till. The film is based on the true story of Emmett Till, who was murdered in a brutal lynching in Mississippi in 1955. His mother, Marie Till-Mobley, vows to expose the racism behind the attack while working to have those involved brought to justice. The discussion and screening will take place Friday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. in Weyerhaeuser Hall’s Robinson Teaching Theatre. 

ASWU Presents Javier Colon, Winner of NBC’s “The Voice”

The Associated Students of Whitworth University welcomes singer-songwriter Javier Colon, winner of the first season of NBC’s The Voice, on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 6 p.m. in the Hixson Union Building Multipurpose Room. In 2011, Colon received more votes than any other contestant in the show’s history and won $100,000 and a recording contract. Colon, who describes his style of music as “acoustic soul,” has released four albums and performed with artists like Joss Stone, Darius Rucker, the Indigo Girls, Stevie Nicks, Adam Levine, Natasha Bedingfield and Anthony Hamilton. His first single in 2003, Crazy, debuted at No. 95 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached No. 42 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. 

About Whitworth University:

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of more than 2,500 students, offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. 


Trisha Coder, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or