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Black History Month at MSU, JSU Alum to Direct Stennis Center, and Cookbooks for a Cause at USM

The Black History Month events at MSU will include two panel discussions, an awards luncheon and the "Imitation of Life" art exhibition. Photo courtesy MSU

The Black History Month events at MSU will include two panel discussions, an awards luncheon and the "Imitation of Life" art exhibition. Photo courtesy MSU MSU

Mississippi State University has announced four events that will be part of its Black History Month celebrations in February. The events include two panel discussions, an awards luncheon and the "Imitation of Life" art exhibition.

Members of MSU's African American studies program and the Department of History will host "A Tough Row to Hoe: Black Farmers and a History of Struggle in the South" on Tuesday, Feb. 12, from 3:45 to 5:30 p.m. in the Colvard Student Union. Pete Daniel, Mark Hersey, Shandrea Stallworth and Kymara Sneed will hold a panel discussion with Jim Giesen, associate professor of history, as the moderator.

On Tuesday, Feb. 19, Kiese Laymon, the Ottie Schillig Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi, and author of "Heavy: An American Memoir" and "How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America," will serve as the Black History Month keynote speaker in a panel on his life and work. The panel will take place from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Turner A. Wingo Auditorium.

MSU's Society of African American Studies is sponsoring the "Imitation of Life" art exhibition, which features photographs depicting African American reinterpretations of famous artworks such as Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" and Egyptian sculptor Thutmose's "Bust of Nefertiti." The exhibit will be on display on the second floor of the Colvard Student Union throughout February 2019. There is a reception on Wednesday, Feb. 20, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the second floor's Old Main Lounge.

The Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, Holmes Cultural Diversity Center and the African American Studies program will host a luncheon for the winners of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Change essay writing contest on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 11:30 a.m. in the second-floor ballroom of the Colvard Student Union. MSU President Mark Keenum will honor three high-school students from Starkville, West Point and Columbus during the event. The contest's first-place winner will deliver the keynote address for the afternoon.

For more information, email MSU Society of African American Studies President Morgan Alexander at mea190@msstate.edu or associate professor and Interim Director of African American Studies Donald Shaffer at ds649@msstate.edu.

JSU Alum and Professor Named as Director of Stennis Center

The John C. Stennis Center for Public Service Leadership recently named Jackson State University alum Brian Pugh, deputy executive director of the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration, as the organization's next executive director. Pugh will replace Rex Buffington, who has served in the position for 30 years.

The U.S. Congress established the Stennis Center in 1988. Its namesake, the late John C. Stennis, was a U.S. senator who served for more than 41 years. The center offers training and development opportunities for leaders in local, state and federal governments, Congressional staff and more. A mix of Democratic and Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives appoints the board of trustees that serves as the organization's governing body.

Pugh received a bachelor's degree in political science and government from Mississippi State University in 2007, and a Master of Public Policy and Administration from the school in 2008. He worked as a program assistant at the Stennis Center while attending MSU. Pugh later received his doctorate degree in public administration from JSU in 2014. He is currently an adjunct professor at JSU, and formerly served as director of finance for Gov. Phil Bryant.

Cookbooks for a Cause at USM

University of Southern Mississippi history professor Andrew Haley will discuss his research into Mississippi community cookbooks on Wednesday, Jan. 30, as part of an event called "Cookbooks for a Cause."

Haley and University Libraries professor and curator Jennifer Brannock used the resources in USM's Culinary Collection, which includes nearly 8,000 cookbooks, to study the role of Mississippi foodways over the past century. The term refers to the cultural, social and economic practices relating to the production and consumption of food. Part of Haley and Brannock's research concerned how the sale of cookbooks has been the focus of fundraisers for community initiatives.

"Cookbooks for a Cause" will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Hattiesburg Public Library. Admission is $10. Proceeds from the event will support Extra Table, a charity that provides resources for food banks in the Pine Belt. For more information, visit extra-table.networkforgood.com.

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