Colorado State University - Pueblo hosts activities for African American History Month

Colorado State University - Pueblo hosts activities for African American History Month
PUEBLO – The commemoration of African American History Month at Colorado State University-Pueblo this month will culminate next week with a celebration of black music and a presentation by a speaker whose relationship with a Ku Klux Klan wizard impacted his life forever. The month-long celebration has included a black history trivia contest as well as activist Angela Davis, who spoke on Feb. 20 as part of the University’s Distinguished Speaker Series.

Daryl Davis

What we now call Black History Month was originated in 1926 by Carter Godwin Woodson as Negro History Week. The month of February was selected in deference to Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, who both were born in that month. In 1976, Negro History Week turned into Black History Month, which we celebrate today.

On Monday, February 25, Daryl Davis will present, “Klan–Destine Relationships,”
 at 7 p.m. in the Occhiato University Center Ballroom.

Having spent his early childhood in Europe and Africa as the son of a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, Davis didn't experience racism until he returned to the United States at age 10 and was pelted with rocks, splintered bottles and debris while carrying the American flag for his all-white Cub Scout troop at a parade near Belmont, Massachusetts. At 15, he was jeered by the head of the American Nazi Party and told he would be shipped back to Africa. As an up and coming musician in his 20s and 30s, he was attacked by a racist Baltimore City and Montgomery County, Maryland police officers.

His mesmerizing story, told in gritty words and startling photographs, is both harrowing and awe-inspiring. Davis set out to meet Roger Kelly, Imperial Wizard of the Invincible Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. After a cathartic first encounter at the end of which Kelly poses for pictures, as long as "we don't have to stand with our arms around each other," the two slowly form as close a friendship as a Black man and a Klansman can. Through Kelly and other Klan members from around the country, Davis begins to explore the Klan, gaining real insight into its workings and members' minds.

Using music to bridge the gulf between the Klan's hatred and the Black man's rage, Davis travels an uncharted road filled with gripping highs and lows.  He journeys into the heart of ignorance and hatred with a ray of hope for harmony between the races and the future of mankind.

Activities will conclude at noon on Wednesday, February 27, with a celebration of black music and a name that tune competition in the Diversity Resource Center, OUC 031. Food will be provided.

For more information, contact LaNeeca Williams at

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.