On Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu sent the following message to the campus community about Black History Month celebrations on campus: 

Dear Campus Community,

This month we are celebrating Black History Month across campus and around the city of Charleston. There are many events taking place at the College that I hope you will take advantage of and attend.

While this is certainly not a complete list, I encourage you to check out some of the events here. There is something for everyone – film screenings, dance performances, lectures, among many other activities. The Avery Research Center, which recently received a $2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation in support of its collections and preservation work, is hosting an open house, scholar lecture and reading circle discussion (check them out on Instagram at @averyresearchcenter for more details). The 2023 Geography Lecture, co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science, African Studies Program and Pre-Law Advising Program, features alumnus Mike Delagrange ’04, who will speak on his work in humanitarian law and experiences in Africa and South Asia. And the Office of Institutional Diversity has Black history facts in rotation on the digital signs across campus.

I want to especially invite you to attend a screening of If These Walls Could Talk, an award-winning documentary featuring the College’s faculty, staff and students as they explore and discuss our institution’s complicated past as it relates to slavery. Here are the details:

  • Time: Tuesday, February 7: screenings at 10:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
  • Location: Sottile Theatre (44 George St.)

These screenings are free and open to the entire campus community (faculty, staff and students). Supervisors are encouraged to allow employees to attend. A brief question-and-answer session, led by Charissa Owens, the film’s producer and director of diversity education and training in the Office of Institutional Diversity, will follow each 45-minute screening. As part of an initiative within our strategic plan, Tradition & Transformation, Subcommittee Five (part of the Strategic Plan Pillar 3 Committee on Employee Success) developed the event as a way to bring faculty, staff and students together for a shared activity that builds community among campus.

Also, I invite you to attend a celebratory event for the installation of a new museum-style exhibit highlighting the life of Septima P. Clark (1898–1987), a pioneering Civil Rights figure and Charleston native. This project is being led by the Committee on Commemoration and Landscapes.

  • Time: Thursday, February 23, 5:00 p.m.
  • Location: Thaddeus Street Jr. Education Center (25 St. Philip St.), Room 118, Septima Clark Memorial Auditorium

Finally, if you are in the mood for some shopping and want to wear your pride, I recommend you check out the CofC Bookstore and pick up one of the new CofC pan-African T-shirts.

I hope you will engage and participate in as many Black History Month events and activities as you can as we celebrate the Black contributions to our campus and beyond. This month shines a spotlight on a subject we, as a campus community, should and that we do study, honor and commemorate year round.


Andrew T. Hsu, Ph.D.
College of Charleston