PSU announces Black History Month activities for campus, community 

The Office of Student Diversity, Black Student Association, Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, and the Music Department at Pittsburg State University are planning an exciting line-up of events in February as part of the national observance of Black History Month.  

All month 

Black History Month displays created by the Black Student Association will be featured at Leonard H. Axe Library, 1605 S. Joplin, and in the display case by the PSU Office of Student Diversity in the lower level of the Overman Student Center, 302 E. Cleveland.  

Feb. 6-17 

An exhibit will be on display in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts gallery, 1711 S. Homer, featuring photos of and correspondence from world-renowned performer and choral conductor Eva Jessye, who served as Artist in Residence at PSU from 1978-1981. 

A Kansas native, she was the first Black woman to win international distinction as a director of a professional choral group. In 1935, she became the chorus trainer for George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, the first true American opera.  

Later, the Eva Jessye Choir toured internationally giving concerts in war-torn Europe, and she walked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 during his civil rights march; her group was the official choir for the event.  

Jessye was also a writer, composer, actress, and celebrated authority on Afro-American music, speech, literature, and art. Her papers and collected materials are kept in the Axe Library Special Collections. 

This exhibit will be done in conjunction with the PSU Music Department "Salute to Eva Jessye" concert. 

Feb. 8 – Eva Jessye Salute 

This evening will begin at 7 p.m. in the Linda and Lee Scott Performance Hall at the Bicknell Center and will celebrate the life and legacy of Eva Jessye.  

The one-hour performance is being organized by Lydia Bechtel, assistant instructional professor of music in the PSU Music Department. 

“Vocal soloists, choir, and band will all be represented, and students from the theater department will be reading selections of her poetry,” Bechtel said. “The night will be a brief glimpse at her life through some narration of her biography, musical moments that tie into specific events in her life, and some video and image projections to help tie everything together — like a short documentary presented live.” 

Feb. 9 – Jazz Poetry Night 

The Black Student Association will host Jazz Poetry Night from 6 to 8 p.m. at the U-Club in the Overman Student Center, open to students and community members. Those who would like to perform are encouraged to sign up at 

Questions? Contact BSA executive members Khadija Ceesay or Coleen Ndedi Ntepe.

Feb. 11 - MLK Ball 

The community, along with the PSU student body, are invited to attend the 7th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Ball from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom of the Overman Student Center.  

Dress is formal and attendees are encouraged to bring their own masquerade masks!  

The ball, which aims to foster diversity and engaging with one another, will include catering from Sodexo, a DJ and dance floor, speeches, and performances.  

The ball is free and is sponsored by the Black Student Association, the Office of Student Diversity, and the Tilford Group. RSVPs by Gorilla Engage at MLK Jr Ball are required.