NMSU to commemorate Black History Month with special events


New Mexico State University’s Black Programs and the Black Student Association invite Aggies and community members from all backgrounds to join in a monthlong celebration of Black History Month 2024.
“In my first year of directing this historical program, I am enthusiastic that we are able to promote creativity, scholarship and innovation for this month as part of our African/African American/Black culture,” said Cecil Rose, director of Black Programs. “In this amazing month for NMSU and the city of Las Cruces, I am looking forward to celebrating and participating with our community in celebrating African/African American/Black culture as part of Black History Month 2024.”
The month will kick off with the Payoff Fashion Show at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, at Aggie Lounge in Corbett Center Student Union. The show is free to attend and open to the public. It will be sponsored by the Do What You Love student group and led by NMSU graduate student Darin McFadin. Attendees can expect to see fashion from up-and-coming, local and regional designers, including McFadin.
The following week, Black Programs will lead a two-day trip to Albuquerque for the Black Cultural Conference at the University of New Mexico. The conference, which runs from Feb. 8-10, aims to provide foundational knowledge on social activism and explore the history and legacy of Black scholars as activists in the western United States. This year’s theme is “Revisiting the Revolution.”
The Black Student Association will host a Black Love Movie Night Wednesday, Feb. 14, for students on NMSU’s Las Cruces campus.
NMSU Athletics will recognize Anita Maxwell Skipper and the Black Student Association at the women’s basketball game at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, at the Pan American Center. 
Skipper is the first Division I college basketball player, man or woman, to have at least 2,500 points, 1,000 rebounds and 300 steals in a college career. She was drafted by the Cleveland Rockers with the 29th overall pick in the 1997 WNBA Draft, the first-ever draft class for the league. Following the 1997 season, Skipper played professionally overseas for three seasons before switching careers. She later founded SuccessFull Living, a financial planning company that helps clients understand and make better financial decisions.
The Black Student Association will organize a group screening of the Bob Marley biopic, “One Love,” Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Cineport 10 in Las Cruces. A time will be determined closer to the date.  
Men of Color, DJ Black and the Doña Ana NAACP chapter will sponsor the “Bridging the Gap” variety show at 7 p.m. Feb. 17 at the Corbett Center student Union auditorium. Attendees can expect to see a variety of talent that displays diverse backgrounds and celebrates and signifies Black culture. 
Black Programs, NMSU Athletics and the Doña Ana NAACP chapter will then commemorate significant African American and Black milestones throughout Las Cruces history during the “Celebrating the Firsts” ceremony at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, on the Las Cruces campus. McKinley Boston, the first African American athletic director at NMSU, Skipper and Doris Hamilton, the first African American principal in New Mexico, will be recognized. This event is open to public. 
Later that day, Boston will receive a recognition for his service to NMSU at the men’s basketball game at 7 p.m. at the Pan American Center. The NMSU Ghana Student Association will also be recognized at the same game. This organization was established last fall to highlight and share Ghanan culture. 
Black Programs and the Black Student Association will then jointly host an esports fundraiser for video game enthusiasts Saturday, Feb. 24.
Justin Ballenger, an assistant professor of STEM education at Morehouse College and deputy director of the Atlanta University Center Data Science Initiative, plans to visit NMSU to meet Aggies and community members at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26, on the third floor of Zuhl Library.
Ballenger has extensive experience with implementing programs that supports the academic development of youth from underserved populations. His research focuses on the academic achievement of underserved populations and pathways for students from underserved backgrounds to pursue STEM careers both in the U.S. and abroad. 
NMSU will conclude Black History Month with a special event honoring the legacy of Marsha P. Johnson, a pioneering Black transgender activist and self-identified drag queen performer. To celebrate Johnson’s contributions to the Black and LGBTQ+ communities, Black Programs and LGBT+ Programs will cohost a craft night Thursday, Feb. 29. A time and location will be determined closer to the date.
Johnson was a prominent figure in the gay rights movement during the 1960s and 1970s, spurred in part by the Stonewall riot in 1969. She also advocated on behalf of homeless LGBTQ+ youth and those effected by H.I.V. and AIDS.
Throughout the month, Zuhl Library will have a “Books That Inspire” display, featuring relevant literary works selected by NMSU African American faculty and staff. The NMSU Bookstore will sell Black History Month T-shirts. And the NMSU community members will be invited to join a contest to design a logo for this year’s Juneteenth celebration. 

For more information, contact Black Programs at blackpro@nmsu.edu or follow blacknmsu on Instagram.