Northwest Missouri State University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion will celebrate Black History Month by hosting activities, including a movie night, a trivia night and guest performers.

“The importance of all the different heritage months that we celebrate is to spread information and knowledge of different cultures that we have around our campus,” Latonya Davis, a Northwest coordinator of diversity and inclusion, said. “This is very important so students can feel represented.”

Black History Month was founded as Negro History Week in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson with the goal of educating Blacks about their cultural background and instilling a sense of pride in their race. Since 1976, Black History Month has been celebrated annually in the United States.

All of the month’s activities at Northwest are free and open to the public.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion will begin its celebration by hosting Step Afrika! at 7 pm, Wednesday, January 31, in the Mary Linn Auditorium at the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts.

Step Afrika! tours to 50 colleges each year, practicing dance styles rooted in African American fraternities and sororities, along with performing traditional African dances. The company headlined former President Barack Obama’s Black History Month Reception and performed at the White House’s first-ever Juneteenth celebration.

Northwest’s Black History Month celebration continues with a movie night, featuring “Do the Right Thing,” at 6 pm, Tuesday, February 6, in the JW Jones Student Union Boardroom. Featuring actors Spike Lee and Samuel L. Jackson, the movie is a comedy-drama that depicts racial tension in a Brooklyn neighborhood.

The university also will host Black History Month Trivia at 6 pm, Thursday, February 22, in the Student Union Ballroom.

The office of diversity and inclusion will conclude the month’s events by hosting country music artist Rissi Palmer on Thursday, February 29. Palmer will host a songwriting workshop at 10 am in the Student Union Living Room and a workshop covering her radio show at 1 pm in the Charles Johnson Theater at the Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building. She will perform an acoustic concert at 7:30 pm in the Charles Johnson Theater.

Palmer is one of five African American women to appear on the Billboard charts in the history of country music. In 2007, she became the first Black woman to have a record on the country music charts in 20 years. Palmer, a two-time Grammy nominee, has performed at the White House and the Apollo Theater.