Skip to main content

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s annual celebration of Black History Month kicks off Wednesday, Feb. 1. The month will include lectures, the 18th annual Black Issues Conference, art showcases and more in celebration of Black cultural contributions and achievements throughout history.

Each year, groups across campus host events that celebrate and honor Black history. Among those hosting are the Office of Multicultural Student Life, UT’s chapter of NAACP, the Commission for Blacks, the Black Cultural Programming Committee, the Office of the Dean of Students, the Department of Africana Studies, and the Division of Diversity and Engagement.

Here are some highlights of the Black History Month calendar:

International Coffeehouse

Wednesday, Feb. 1, 1 to 3 p.m.

The Commission for Blacks and International House are partnering for this month’s International Coffeehouse, an event that provides free coffee and a snack featuring a country, region or cultural group. Coffeehouse events also feature a campus resource or organization that has a program or service that engages students in intercultural learning.

Frieson Black Cultural Center Open House

Thursday, Feb. 2, 6 to 8 p.m.

The Office of Multicultural Student Life is hosting an open house at the Frieson Black Cultural Center. There will be a tour of the space as well as information about the center’s services, initiatives and organizations. All students are welcome.

18th Annual Black Issues Conference

Saturday, Feb. 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This year’s conference topic is The Black Agenda. The conference is hosted by the Office of Multicultural Student Life in collaboration with UT’s NAACP chapter. Advance registration is required.

UTHC Distinguished Lecture: Roopika Risam, “No Data without Representation: Principles and Practices for Intersectional Data”

Monday, Feb. 6, 3:30 p.m.

The UT Humanities Center’s Distinguished Lecture Series brings acclaimed humanities scholars and renowned artists to the Knoxville campus and connects UT humanities faculty to the best researchers in their fields. The lecture will be presented by Roopika Risam, an associate professor of film and media studies and comparative literature at Dartmouth College.

Testing and Vaccine Clinic: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Wednesday, Feb. 8, 1 to 4 p.m.

In honor of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, join the Pride Center, the McNabb Center, and the Knox County Health Department for free HIV testing, hepatitis C testing, and mpox vaccination. This observance is a day to acknowledge how HIV disproportionately affects Black people.

Frederick Douglass Day Celebration and Transcribe-A-Thon

Tuesday, Feb. 14, noon to 3 p.m.

Celebrate Frederick Douglass and his birthday by helping to transcribe records from famed newspaper editor and activist Mary Ann Shadd Cary.

Wellness Wednesday: United at the Rock

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 4 to 5:30 p.m.

Join the Campus Multifaith Council and the Division of Student Life to paint the Rock with multicolor handprints to show campus unity. Families and community members are welcome to attend.

Distinguished Lecture in Religious Studies: Todne Thomas, “A Black Church Burned: Sanctuary, Loss, and Place-Making in Knoxville”

Thursday, Feb. 16, 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The annual Distinguished Lecture in Religious Studies brings exciting new scholarship to UT’s campus community. This year’s lecture will be presented by Todne Thomas, an associate professor of African American religious studies at Harvard Divinity School.

Black and Boujee

Friday, Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m. (new date/time)

Celebrate music and other arts created by Black artists. Sponsored by the School of Music, the event will be held in person and livestreamed.

“Trouble in Mind”

Throughout the month

The Clarence Brown Theatre will be presenting the work of playwright Alice Childress, the first African American woman to have her work professionally produced on the New York stage. “Trouble in Mind” tells the story of a leading actress who must choose between the role of a lifetime or compromising her values. Visit the theatre’s website for tickets.

The Sculpture of William Edmondson: Tombstones, Garden Ornaments and Stonework

Throughout the month

The McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture will be showcasing the art of William Edmondson (1874–1951), a notable sculptor active in Tennessee during the 1930s and ’40s and remembered for his yard art, sculptures of everyday people and the grave markers he carved for African American families.

For a full list of Black History month events, visit the campus events calendar and select the BHM tag.


Maggie Palmer (865-974-3993,