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UWA students, faculty to star in Black History Month event

Flyer for the Blast from the Past event.


State Sen. Robert Stewart will present keynote address

Story: Phillip Tutor

To honor the 2023 theme of Black History Month, the University of West Alabama is spotlighting its students, faculty, staff and a first-time member of the Alabama State Legislature.

On Feb. 21, UWA will host “Blast from the Past,” a program centered around the month’s national theme of Black resistance. A select group of UWA performers will use song, dance, theater and poetry readings to present what Dr. B.J. Kimbrough, UWA’s chief diversity officer and dean of the School of Graduate Studies, describes as a “chronology of historical moments through the years” of Black Americans’ struggle for equal rights.

The program, which is sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, begins at 6 p.m. at UWA Auditorium in the Math and Science Building.

The program’s keynote speaker will be Alabama State Sen. Robert Stewart, who represents District 23. The 32-year-old Selma native, a former aide to U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, is the youngest member of the state Senate. 

Stewart’s invitation came through conversations Kimbrough had with Paul Blackmon, UWA’s assistant director of Housing and Residence Life. Blackmon suggested Stewart, whom he knew, she said. 

“I wanted someone who was local but also a known figure, somebody who could bridge the gap between generations -- an old soul, but a young person,” Kimbrough said. “That's essentially what I wanted.”

On its website, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, which determines the annual theme, has detailed the 2023 Black History Month theme as a deep acknowledgment of Black Americans’ lives and their efforts to achieve equal rights.