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Honoring the roots of a race

Some 40-odd years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed his now-legendary “dream,” solidifying his status as one of the greatest and most influential historical figures of all time. He and other seminal black figures have helped alter the nation’s perception of race, creating a more cohesive society in the process.

In 1976, February was officially proclaimed Black History Month, bringing King’s dream one step closer to reality.

Although this year’s celebration is already winding down, the Bay area still holds countless opportunities to commemorate Black History Month. Here is a rundown of some of the remaining activities on or around campus. All events are free and open to the public.

Today at 5 p.m., a black history contest called “Blac Fax!” will test the knowledge of history’s greatest black leaders in Phyllis P. Marshall Center Room 132.

On Wednesday, Lee Green will discuss the relationship between cancer and the black community in “The Big C.” This “brown bag lunch” takes place at noon in the President’s Dining Room (CTR 283). Then, at 7 p.m. in Cooper Hall Room 103, a “Tribute to Motown” will feature performances of some of the most memorable soul tunes from the classic Motown era.

The Black Graduate and Professional Student Organization presents “Hip Hop: Is It Dead?” on Thursday at 5 p.m. in Marshall Center Room 106. This panel discussion will address the state of hip-hop music as a branch of black culture.

At 7 p.m. on Thursday, Phyllis McEwan, professor of Africana Studies, will present “Living Sacrifice: A Staged Reading.” Taking place in Marshall Center Room 106, the performance will focus on the life of Fannie Mae Hamer, who devoted her life to the civil rights cause.

On Saturday, the Marshall Center is hosting a community discussion called “State of Black Tampa” at 10 a.m. on the fourth floor. Presented by the USF Black Student Union, representatives of various local agencies will be in attendance.

Also, the Robert W. Saunders Library at 1505 Nebraska Ave. is holding a black ethnic and cultural extravaganza. Starting at 6 p.m., the event will feature African dancing, gospel singing, a poetry reading and other activities. A number of special guests are also expected to appear. On Feb. 26, Iota Phi Theta presents “Home Front: The Civil Rights Struggle in Tampa,” a panel discussion featuring local civil rights activists sharing their personal experiences in the fight against racism. Likewise, several USF black alumni will reveal their own experiences on Feb. 27 at “Through Our Eyes: A Look Back,” scheduled at 6 p.m. in Marshall Center Room 132, presented by the Black Student Union. At 8 p.m. in the Marshall Center Ballroom, The Poets are holding “One Mic and a Stage: Poetry Slam,” which is open to local talent.

Finally, the Leadership Luncheon will honor outstanding student leaders on Feb. 28 on the fourth floor of the Marshall Center at 1 p.m., and Progressive Black Men will offer preventative health tips in the same location at

5 p.m. with “Eat Right Today, Live Better Tomorrow.”