Purdue CelebratesBlack History Month

Purdue is celebrating Black History Month this February with stories about the giant leaps made by Purdue’s outstanding black alumni, faculty, staff and students. Black History Month is a time to look back at Boilermaker history to honor those who have made significant impact on our University, and those who are continuing to do so with their bold, life-changing contributions. We will add profiles, videos and student-interest stories throughout the month, recognizing and honoring black excellence during this annual event. As part of Black History Month, and beyond, we celebrate those who helped make Purdue University the outstanding institution of higher learning it is today.

Black Cultural Center Virtual Events

The University will also host virtual events all spring, with events scheduled by the Black Cultural Center leading the way. Like the BCC itself, this celebration is designed to enhance the cultural, social and academic development of the entire Purdue community.

Register for Black History Month Events

Black History at Purdue University

Learn more about black history at Purdue, including its early pioneers and key events that helped shape the University’s future through this Purdue Archives and Special Collections timeline.

Learn More

Assata Gilmore

Student Body President Assata Gilmore has made her mark on Purdue and is constantly dreaming up her next giant leap. Learn more about her campus involvement.

Meet Don and Liz Thompson

Don and Liz Thompson’s impact and commitment to Purdue, particularly the university’s Minority Engineering program, has empowered generations of students.

Black Cultural Center Video Tour

Purdue University’s Black Cultural Center is a vibrant element of campus life. The BCC offers a wealth of the African American experience through art, history, and cultural understanding education and programming.

Leroy Keyes

Purdue football legend Leroy Keyes discusses growing up Black and how Purdue University made him feel accepted.

Toyinda Smith

Purdue Hall of Famer continues to make an impact, now as an author, professor and coach, among other titles.

Black Voices of Inspiration

Established in 1975 as part of Purdue University’s Black Cultural Center performing arts ensembles, Black Voices of Inspiration (BVOI) is a choir dedicated to the performance of spirituals, gospels and contemporary songs of inspiration by African American composers.

Black Cultural Center February Events


“The Rudiments of SuPre” by Boyd Smith

“The Rudiments of SuPre” by Boyd Smith at the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette, 102 S. 10th St., Lafayette. In 1995, a criminologist named John Dilulio falsely predicted that there would be an explosion of violence caused by young Black men, whom he termed “super predators.” This myth created a baseless fear that heightened government surveillance programs, intensified policing, and fueled mass incarceration of the Black community. Boyd Smith earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Electronic and Time-based Art from Purdue. This exhibition is his thesis project, a series that highlights the unjust racial violence in America and provides a visual space to claim justice for the Black community. “ The Rudiments of SuPre” is a collection that reflects on how the idea of super predator shapes the violent realities experienced by Black people in our contemporary moment. Smith explores mixed media practices in order to highlight the complexities of this lived experience and works to provide a counter visual that re-sensitizes the audience to Black bodies and Black life. The creation of “SuPre,” a fictional character in Smith’s work, helps to challenge the demonization of Black boys as super predators and instead allows them to see themselves as protectors of their communities.


4 & 11

Book Club with West Lafayette Public Library

Book clubs with West Lafayette Public Library. 7 p.m. The BCC and the West Lafayette Public Library will present a virtual community reading group for both youth and adults. The series will feature titles from 2020 Advancing Racial Equities Indiana Humanities Grant. Books selected are intended to be uplifting and relevant to the Black community. The adult selection is “No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America ” by Darnell L. Moore.



Sol Glo

Black Joy Abound, we are taking the time to experience Life, Love & Liberation with our virtual day party.



Pursuing Racial Justice Together

Kimberlé W. Crenshaw as part of the Pursuing Racial Justice Together series. 7 p.m. Crenshaw is a pioneering scholar and writer on civil rights, critical race theory, Black feminist legal theory, and race, racism and the law. In addition to her position at Columbia Law School, she is a distinguished professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the co-author of “Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced, and Underprotected.” She assisted on the legal team of Anita Hill during her testimony at the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. This event is co-sponsored by Krannert School of Management’s Brock-Wilson Center for Women in Management at Purdue.



Love Language: KiSwahili

Our goal is to introduce the language, teach basic conversational skills, and share broader information on the history, culture, and heritage of East Africa.

Participants will master, the alphabet, basic greetings, basic numbering, and simple icebreaker conversations but the focus will be on a broadening experience rather than a deep dive into the language itself.



Decolonization Through Language

As the English language takes center stage as the global language for business, innovation, science, and academia, indigenous languages rich in ancient wisdom, culture, and history are often relegated to the background. Language is not only made up of mere words. It is cultural beliefs, traditions, ways of being, thinking, indigenous wisdom, and ideological beliefs and nuances. It guides and influences the way we move through the world.



Drum Roll with Clint Breeze

This virtual event takes walking to the beat of your own drum to the next level. Through this interactive workshop world class percussionist, Clint Breeze takes us back to the days of pencil beats on lunch tables through some advanced rhythms on the djembe and drum kit.



Black History Month Coffee House

“Intimate Artistic Expressions.” 7 p.m. BCC ensembles will present powerful music, empowering poetic messages, creative dance and drama.



Book Club with West Lafayette Public Library

The BCC and the West Lafayette Public Library will present a virtual community reading group at 7 p.m. The series will feature titles from 2020 Advancing Racial Equities Indiana Humanities Grant. Books selected are intended to be uplifting and relevant to the Black community. This evening’s book selection is “How long ‘til Black Future Month?” by N.K. Jemisin. Recommended for readers 18+.