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Citadel News Service
9 Jan 2008

Black History Month at The Citadel goes “Beyond the Playing Field”

Athletic standouts on the hard court, diamond and football field will return to The Citadel in February as part of Black History Month.

“Beyond the Playing Field” is the theme for this year’s Black History Month events. Cadets, faculty, staff and guests of The Military College of South Carolina will explore the achievements of accomplished athletes away from their field of play.

“Many of today’s athletes have not accepted the role they play as role models or they have failed to live up to it. The Black History Month Committee thought it was important to highlight some of the individuals that have not only excelled in sports, but have gone above and beyond in achieving their goals in areas beyond their field of play,” said Robert Pickering, director of multicultural studies at The Citadel.

Several outstanding activities are planned during Black History Month, including a performance by opera sensation and Citadel graduate Morris Derhon Robinson, Class of 1991, and a panel discussion featuring four former Citadel athletes who have gone on to successful careers in law and business. This year’s keynote speaker will be Paul Robeson Jr., son of the legendary and late Paul Robeson, a former athlete, author and civil rights activist.

“We are pleased to have Paul Robeson Jr. join us to discuss his father’s life and to share his views on some of the contemporary issues regarding African American athletes,” Pickering said.

Here’s a complete schedule of events, which are all free and open to the public.

Feb. 2 - Annual Black History Month Bazaar
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Buyer Auditorium, Mark Clark Hall.

The bazaar features music, exhibits and food and attracts visitors to campus from all across the Lowcountry. Marquetta L. Goodwine, Queen Quet, the chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, will present a history of the Gullah/Geechee culture. Music will be performed by the bands A Touch of Class and Equal Rights. Exhibitors will include Group Egypt , the Tut-Tut Kemetic Group Egyptian exhibit and the Sankofa African American Museum on Wheels. The museum on wheels is a 200-foot exhibit showcases the heritage, legacy, and challenges of African-Americans with five categories of collectibles spanning history from 1860 to the present. 

Feb. 5 - Keynote address featuring Paul Robeson Jr.
6:30 p.m., Copeland Auditorium, Grimsley Hall

Paul Robeson Jr. is the only son of the legendary Paul Robeson, a famous African-American athlete, singer, actor, and civil rights activist. He rose to fame when segregation was legal.  The son of a runaway slave, Robeson Sr. went on to graduate from college where he lettered 15 times in baseball, basketball and track. He was twice named to the All American Football Team. In 1995, 19 years after his death, Robeson Sr. was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. At the pinnacle of his artistic career in the 1940s, Robeson Sr. turned his attention to human rights, becoming an eloquent, often controversial spokesperson against racism and discrimination. His son, Paul Robeson Jr., followed in his father’s footsteps and lectures widely on political, socio-economic and cultural issues. He will discuss his father’s life and legacy during the keynote speech. 

Feb. 12 - Beyond the Playing Field – An Alumni Panel Discussion
6:30 p.m., Copeland Auditorium, Grimsley Hall


Panelists Tom Slawson '80, Xavier Starkes '84, Anthony Jenkins '90, and Terrence Rivers '94, will share what they are doing now and how participating in athletics at The Citadel helped them to achieve their goals.

Feb. 21 - Opera singer Morris Derhon Robinson,'91
6: 30 p.m., Summerall Chapel


Robinson attended The Citadel on a football scholarship with dreams of turning pro; he never imagined that pro might mean taking center stage at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Yet that is precisely where his versatile talents have taken this two-time All-American college lineman, once dubbed the "singing knob" of Second Battalion. Graduating in 1991 with a degree in English and the moniker "Massive" for his authoritative presence on the football field, Robinson tried his hand at a conventional career, making sales calls for 3M. Fortunately, he found himself unable to outrun his talent. Weekend stints with the Choral Arts Society of Washington and the New England Conservatory led to his operatic discovery. He released his debut album, “Going Home in 2007,” putting his vocal stamp on traditional spirituals and gospel hymns. From the football field to the opera house, Morris Robinson credits The Citadel for instilling the mental toughness to push on toward success—and above all, the confidence and sense of self to take the stage and sing.

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