RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington State University Tri-Cities will host a series of events to celebrate advocacy efforts and to raise awareness about the African American experience in the Tri-Cities in honor of Black History Month.

Feb. 5: Black History Month Celebration

The month kicks off with a Black History Month celebration this week from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, in WSU Tri-Cities Student Union Building 120N. The event will feature two guest speakers who will share about their experiences of being African American in the Tri-Cities, as well as their experiences generally around race and advocacy.

Closeup of Wayne Jenkins
Wayne Jenkins is the pastor of New Hope, a local African American church, and former member of the Black Panther Party.

Guest speaker Wayne Jenkins is the pastor of New Hope, a local African American church, and former member of the Black Panther Party. Guest speaker Chaune Fitzgerald is the 2020 recipient of Columbia Basin College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Spirit Award and is the owner of Salon Remedi.

Light refreshments will be served and the event is free and open to the public. The event is hosted by the WSU Tri-Cities MOSAIC Center for Student Inclusion.

WSU Tri-Cities student Stephanie Warner, who is one of the coordinators of the event, said she is excited to bring further African American perspectives and experiences to campus.

Closeup of Chain Fitzgerald
Chaune Fitzgerald, owner of a Richland beauty salon, has been chosen as the 2020 Martin Luther King Jr. Spirit Award winner.

“I’m excited to hear about the speakers’ experiences living in today’s age being African American and climbing the professional ladder, as well as the day-to-day experiences,” she said. “As one of the speakers is a former member of the Black Panther Party, it will be very interesting hearing his story.”

Feb. 20: Black History Month Film – Selma

The WSU Tri-Cities history department will host a film showing of the movie “Selma” from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20, in the East Auditorium on campus. The film is based on the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights marches led by civil rights leaders James Bevel, Hosea Williams, Martin Luther King Jr., and John Lewis. The movie showing is free and open to the public. Attendees will receive free popcorn.

Feb. 21: Hanford History Project debuting oral histories regarding African American migration and experiences at Hanford

The WSU Tri-Cities Hanford History Project will launch a series of oral histories “Documenting African American Migration, Segregation and Civil Rights History at the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, Hanford,” beginning Feb. 21 online at hanfordhistory.com.

The oral histories include 42 interviews with former and current African American Hanford employees, their family members, as well as influential figures in the mid-Columbia region. The project was made possible by a grant and partnership with the National Park Service.