Theatrical Performance "Daughters of Africa" presented Wednesday, February 3, 2010, at the U of M, Crookston to celebrate Black History Month; Event to take place in Kiehle Auditorium at 4 p.m.

To commemorate Black History Month this February the University of Minnesota, Crookston will host the theatrical performance, "Daughter of Africa" presented by the Mixed Blood Theatre Company. The performance will take place on Wednesday February 3, 2010, and is open and free to the public. The program will begin at 4 p.m.

Written for Mixed Blood by award-winning playwright Syl Jones, "Daughters of Africa" is a commemoration of the triumph of pride, determination, and courage. It features music made famous by Ma Rainey, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, and others in a rousing celebration of famous and unheralded African American women.

The women portrayed range from slave ship survivors to stars of the silver screen. They included Harriet Tubman, the conductor of hundreds to freedom via the Underground Railroad; Elizabeth Freeman, whose legal struggle abolished slavery in Massachusetts; Madame C. J. Walker, America's first black millionaires; Lena Horne, Ethel Waters, Rosa Parks, Oprah Winfrey, and many more.
The show features Thomasina Taylor Petrus and is directed by Warren C. Bowles. It is one of six programs toured nationally by Mixed Blood this year. Mixed Blood Theatre Company is a professional, multi-racial theater ensemble dedicated to the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream for equality and freedom.

Also taking place on Monday, February 8 is a recognition program in tribute to African Americans who have served in the U.S. military. The theme for the evening is honor and under the direction of Junior Jamal Jihad, chairman of the Black Student Association, students will pay tribute to a number of individuals they feel exemplify honor. The presentation begins at 7 p.m. in Kiehle Auditorium. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

Included in this list of individuals are Comedian Bill Cosby; NBA star David Robinson, who played basketball for the San Antonio Spurs; television personality Montel Williams, Former Secretary of State Colin Powell; Laurence Tureaud, a professional wrestler better known as Mr. T; Actor James Earl Jones; and others. The Grand Forks Air Force Base Color Guard will also be presenting the colors and Senior Athena Mussenden will be speaking on Black History Month and relating it to the evening's theme.

For more information on these events, contact Thomas Williams, director of diversity and multicultural services at 218-281-8580 (

The 2010 Black History Month theme is "The History of Black Economic Empowerment." This theme was selected in celebration of the National Urban League's centennial anniversary. This organization was founded 100 years ago by a group of dedicated reformers, black and white, to address the economic needs of migrant African Americans. To learn more, visit

Americans have recognized black history annually since 1926. The commemoration originated with historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson. He established what is now known as the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History in 1915, and a year later founded the widely respected Journal of Negro History. In 1926, he began an initiative for a special week to bring national attention to the contributions of black people throughout American history. It became a month-long recognition in 1976.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers more than 25 bachelor's degree programs and 50 concentrations, including several online degrees, in agriculture and natural resources; arts, humanities and social sciences; business; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of about 1,300 undergraduates, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit

Contact: Thomas Williams, diversity and multicultural services, 218-281-8580 ( Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (