Lisle, Illinois~ Understanding that blacks around the world, such as the late former South African President Nelson Mandela and current U.S. President Barack Obama, have made indelible marks on world history, Benedictine University is hosting a number of inspirational guest speakers and other activities throughout February to recognize and celebrate Black History Month and the many contributions blacks have made to society.
Artist, author and motivational speaker Daunte Henderson will host the “Black History Month Poetry Slam,” from 8:00-10:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 13 in the Coal Ben on the University’s main campus.
The event is free and will feature a variety of performers from the Chicago area during the first half of the show. Henderson will perform as a guest poet during the second half.
Henderson’s artistic talents have been featured in the St. Louis Art Museum and have garnered him many visual arts and writing awards. His best-selling and inspirational book, “Things I learned While Walking,” chronicles his struggles and triumphs with life, love and the chain of events that ultimately led him to find God.
In addition to his creative pursuits, Henderson is the founder of M.A.D.E.M.A.N. (Making A Difference for Each Man), a nonprofit organization dedicated to uplifting youth through positive mentorship and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Henderson cites rap artists Tupac Shakur, Jay-Z, KRS-One, Chuck D, Andre 3000, Kanye West and Common among his poetic influences.
Other events scheduled at Benedictine in honor of Black History Month include:
• “Life After Undergrad for Young, Black Professionals,” featuring Benedictine alumni Maraea Mason, C13, Communication Arts, and Tariq Weaver, C12, Political Science, at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, February 10 in Birck Hall, Room 112. Topics will include workplace diversity, money management, student loan repayment, graduate school and more.
• “Student Activism in the Age of Twitter: A Critical Analysis,” with author, educator, content creator and technology consultant Carl Varnado from 7:00-8:00 p.m. on Monday, February 17 in Birck Hall, Room 112.
• Cape Coast Dreams Theater presents “Dream in Color: A Celebration of African-American Art and History,” a performance showcasing Afrocentric poetry, musical numbers, dramatic monologues and performances touching on self-esteem, racism, black pride, iconic black leaders and more at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 20 in the House of Benedict, located in the Founders’ Woods complex.
• A book discussion about “The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man” by James Welden Johnson at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 26 in Birck Hall, Room 112.
• The annual Heritage Dinner at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 27 in the Krasa Dining Room.
• A Black History comedy show featuring “Showtime in Chicago” talent competition winner Brendan “Ben” Noble and others at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, February 28 in the Coal Ben on the Benedictine campus.
Benedictine University – the fastest-growing university in the country – is recognized as one of the most diverse college campuses in Illinois and the nation and endeavors to inquire, inspire, discuss, hold dialogue and celebrate a mutual exchange for understanding among all races, religions and cultures.
Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 55 undergraduate majors and 17 graduate and four doctoral programs. Benedictine University is ranked No. 1 among the country’s fastest-growing campuses between 2000-2010 in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of private nonprofit research institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among “America’s Top Colleges” for the third consecutive year in 2013. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fifth largest in the Chicago area in 2013.