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Lecture by first African American to walk in space scheduled Feb. 25

An historian, astronaut-physician and panel of faculty members are campus events during February’s Black History Month.

The month began with a Feb. 7 lecture by John David Smith, the Charles H. Stone Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Smith provided a historical perspective about slave reparations, a debate that has continued to as recently as a 2008 discussion in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The month concludes with the 11th Equity & Diversity Conference featuring CNN journalist Soledad O’Brien and actor Hill Harper. The conference is Feb. 25-26.

 Remaining events include:

Feb. 23 Black in America panel discussion

The Multicultural Center hosts a panel discussion, Black in America, featuring faculty and speakers. The free discussion, inspired by the CNN series Black in America, is at 7 p.m. in the University Union, Room 413.

 Feb. 25 - Lecture, Bernard Harris, M.D., first African American to walk in space

Bernard Harris, M.D., left, physician, venture capitalist and former astronaut, will speak at 11 a.m. in Curry Hall, Room 204, in the College of Business Distinguished Speaker Series. Series speakers provide students and faculty with observations about the business world, management and leadership.

Harris is chief executive officer and managing partner of Vesalius Ventures, Inc., a venture capital firm that invests in healthcare technologies and companies.

Harris served as chief scientist of SPACEHAB, Inc. space commercialization company where he was involved in business development and marketing of the company’s space-based products and services.    

Harris traveled more than 7.2 million miles in space during his 18 years as an astronaut and is the first African American to walk in space. Harris also participated in the first telemedicine conference from space with the Mayo Clinic. He has received the NASA Space Flight Medal and NASA Award of Merit.

He holds faculty appointments at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Baylor College of Medicine.

Harris earned a bachelor of science from the University of Houston, a master of medical science from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, an MBA from the University of Houston and a doctorate of medicine from Texas Tech University School of Medicine.  

Feb. 25-26 - 11th Equity & Diversity Conference, Celebrating the Big I.D.E.A.: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access, University Union, Silver Eagle Suite.

  • Participants should register by Feb. 24 to receive a reduced registration rate, but onsite registration will be available Feb. 25.
  • Find registration information.

The conference sessions explore mentoring, equal pay, black masculinity, communication skills for student leaders, the teaching of social justice and veterans’ transition to civilian student life.

O’Brien will give the first keynote address of the conference at 10 a.m. Feb. 25. Harper will close the conference at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 26.

 Black History Month, also known as African American History Month, began in 1926, when historian Carter G. Woodson, a dean at Howard University, launched a movement to study Negro history.

The month has grown into a national observance with events and activities sponsored by  and at schools, churches and civic groups throughout the country. President Gerald Ford issued a message of observance in 1976, the year of the U.S. Bicentennial, urging Americans to “honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

The Denton County African American Museum tells the story of African American families who settled in an area known as Quakertown in 1875. The museum is at Mulberry and Carroll Boulevard, the Historical Park of Denton County, and is open from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

Posted on: Sat 12 February 2011

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