Detroit Mercy celebrates Martin Luther King, Black History Month with programming

January 07, 2023

University of Detroit Mercy is commemorating the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and celebrating Black History Month with a series of programs on the McNichols Campus in January and February. 

Below are details for the University’s events. Stay up to date with this and other programming by visiting Detroit Mercy Live.

All event dates and times are subject to change.

BHM events 

Wednesday, Feb. 1-Sunday, Feb. 26 

MLK/BHM door decorating contest 

School of Dentistry 

School of Dentistry employees can show their MLK/BHM spirit by decorating their doors and offices. Doors will be judged on originality, creativity and enthusiasm. Winners will be announced Feb. 28. 

Those participating must register online and adhere to the following competition guidelines. Check with supervisors before hanging any decorations; do not place decorations on or around lights; do not cover office numbers or names; no glitter should be used; and decorations cannot restrict movement through hallways, entrances or exits.

Supplies to decorate doors or office spaces will be provided by the School of Dentistry’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. 

Wednesday, Feb. 1-Tuesday, Feb. 28 

Documenting Detroit exhibit 

McNichols Campus Library, First Floor (Hours posted on McNichols Campus Library website)

The Detroit Historical Society’s Documenting Detroit exhibit will be displayed in the McNichols Campus Library throughout February. The traveling exhibit includes 20 photos that show Detroit’s past and present, with an emphasis on people. 

This exhibit is sponsored by the Student Life Office and the McNichols Campus Library.

Wednesday, Feb. 1-Tuesday, Feb. 28 

Black Lives Matter exhibition 

School of Dentistry Library (Hours posted on Dental Library website)

A collection of images, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.  

Wednesday, Feb. 1 

Fashion Show 

7-10 p.m. — Student Union Ballroom, Second Floor 

Join Detroit Mercy’s Black Student Union for a fashion show featuring clothing made by several Detroit designers. Chris Scott ’05, founder and CEO of Positive Thoughts Solutions, will serve as master of ceremonies while Barraka Baber ’18, faculty advisor for Phi Beta Sigma and network administrator for Detroit Mercy’s ITS department, will be the DJ. 

Light refreshments will be provided. 

The fashion show is sponsored by the Black Student Union, Student Life Office and Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. 

Learn more about the dress designers participating in the event.

(Note: the fashion show was originally scheduled on Wednesday, Jan. 25 but was postponed due to an impending winter storm.)

Monday, Feb. 6 

Virtual webinar with author Tiya Miles 

7-8:30 p.m. 

Tiya Miles, author of six books on African American and Indigenous history, will discuss her latest book, All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, A Black Family Keepsake. The book, which won the 2021 National Book Award for Nonfiction, tells the story of an enslaved mother and daughter, separated by sale, and the artifact that continued to connect them. 

Those interested in attending the webinar are asked to register in advance.

This event is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts & Education, Black Abolitionist Archive, Student Life Office and the African American Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies programs.  

Wednesday, Feb. 8 

Interfaith Dinner 

5:30-7 p.m. – Architecture Building, Exhibition Space 

The Interfaith Dinner allows the Detroit Mercy community to celebrate each other over a multicultural meal and listen to a panel of speakers from various faith traditions. This year’s theme is Art and Spirituality, and speakers will share how these two elements combine and the meaning it brings to their community. 

Kosher and halal options will be offered at the dinner, as well as opportunities to participate in different art forms, including henna tattoos, making and coloring mandalas and more.  

This is a joint event between the Muslim Student Association, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Student Life Office, University Ministry and other student faith organizations at Detroit Mercy.

Thursday, Feb. 9 

Painting with vibes 

6-7:30 p.m. – School of Dentistry, Special Function Room 

The School of Dentistry’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion is hosting Paint, Vibe and Celebrate with Painting Vibe Art Studio, a Black-owned business in Detroit. All painting supplies will be available in the Special Functions Room with artist instruction. No matter your art experience or how you identify, come have a good time with fellow Titans.   

Those interested in participating must register in advance as space is limited to 30 people.  

Monday, Feb. 13-Thursday, Feb. 16 

Create an African Mask 

McNichols Campus Library, First Floor 

Detroit Mercy students and employees can create their own African masks for an arts and crafts contest. Those interested in participating can pick up masks at the McNichols Campus Library Monday, Feb. 13 by 5 p.m. Masks entering into the competition must be returned to the library by Thursday, Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. Creators of the top three masks, voted on by the Black Student Union, will receive a $50 gift card from the Student Life Office. All African masks created and submitted for competition will be displayed in the McNichols Campus Library’s first floor lobby starting Feb. 20. The Student Life Office’s Instagram will also showcase masks in a virtual museum.

This event is co-sponsored by the Student Life Office and the McNichols Campus Library. 

Tuesday, Feb. 14 

Love Stories from the Underground Railroad 

12:45-2 p.m. — Student Union Ballroom, Second Floor 

Roy E. Finkenbine, professor of History and director of the Black Abolitionist Archive, will share the story of Thorton and Lucy Blackburn, a couple who escaped enslavement in Kentucky and settled in Detroit, only to be captured in 1833 by slave catchers and legal authorities. Through the intrepid action of Detroiters, the Blackburns were rescued and rushed to Canada, where they became individuals of historical significance. 

This year marks the 10th consecutive year for the Love Stories event, which is free and open to the public. The event also features music from the African American tradition performed by the University Chorale. Lunch will be provided. Attendees are asked to RSVP on Detroit Mercy Live

Love Stories is sponsored by the Black Abolitionist Archive, Student Life and the Office of Student Affairs.

Tuesday, Feb. 14 

BHM Jeopardy 

5:30-6:30 p.m. — School of Dentistry, Room 1430 

Participants can test their knowledge and learn about African American people, events and terms in a Jeopardy-style game hosted by the School of Dentistry’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The goal is to deepen appreciation of African Americans’ contributions in math, science, government, the arts and many other areas that have shaped our nation’s history. 

Wednesday, Feb. 22 

Ossian Sweet documentary and panel discussion  

7-8:30 p.m. — Student Union Ballroom, Second Floor 

In 1925, Black physician Ossian Sweet was charged with murder after using armed self-defense against a white mob protesting his move into an all-white neighborhood of Detroit. The following year, Sweet and the other people inside his home were acquitted of murder in a landmark case that led to advances in equal criminal justice for African Americans. 

Daniel Baxter ’01, founder of the Ossian Sweet Foundation and director of elections for the city of Detroit, will preview his new documentary on Sweet. Baxter will join Kevin Boyle ’82, author of Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age, which explores Sweet’s story, and Arthur Beer, professor emeritus and director and producer of Malice Aforethought: The Sweet Trials, for a panel discussion.  

An alumni reception will precede the event. 

This event is sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations, African American Studies program and Black Abolitionist Archive.

Wednesday, Feb. 22 

Mental health and self-care workshop 

5:30-7 p.m. — School of Dentistry, Room 1460 

We hear words like self-care and self-compassion regularly, but what do they really mean? Clinical Assistant Professor Candace Ziglor will explore these words in order to increase awareness around personal tools of self-care. 

Past events 

MLK events

National Day of Healing from Racism, Student Dialogues

National Day of Healing from Racism was celebrated on the third Tuesday of January. The day was established in 2017 to create space for individuals to discuss ways in which racism has impacted their lives. On that day, the University community came together to recognize the perils of racism and how we can move forward as a group.

Panelist discussion: Breaking Down Barriers 

Lauren Hood ’03, ’12, founder of the Institute for AfroUrbanism at Detroit Mercy’s School of Architecture & Community Development, facilitated a panelist discussion of campus and community leaders around the theme of “Breaking Down Barriers.” 

Panelists included: Darnetta Banks, neighborhood engagement manager for Brilliant Detroit and president of the Prairie Street Block Club; Sr. Helen Marie Burns, RSM, member of Detroit Mercy’s Board of Trustees; Michael Carter, managing partner of Pinnacle Construction Partners and member of Detroit Mercy’s Board of Trustees; Dan Pitera, dean of SACD, Kyndal Wofford, president of Black Student Union; and Zach Cotton, vice president of Black Student Union. 

This talk was sponsored by the Institute for Leadership & Service, Student Life Office, Dean of Students Office and School of Architecture & Community Development.

MLK screening of Selma

The historical drama centers on King as a key figure, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the fight for suffrage and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But, most prominently, Selma chronicles the historic Selma to Montgomery marches that King led in 1965.