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John A. Logan College to Host Events in Celebration of Black History Month

Published on February 8, 2023

In celebration of Black History Month, John A. Logan College will host a poetry reading by Allison Joseph on February 15 at 10:00 AM in the John A. Logan College Conference Center. Allison Joseph lives in Carbondale, Illinois, where she is a professor of English at Southern Illinois University. She is the Director of the SIUC MFA program in Creative Writing and poetry editor of the Crab Orchard Review. Her most recent collections of poems are Lexicon (Red Hen Press, 2021, winner of the Best Book of 2021 Award from Poetry by the Sea: A Global Conference), Any Proper Weave (Kelsay Books, 2022), Speak and Spell (Glass Lyre Press, 2022), and Confessions of a Barefaced Woman (Red Hen Press, 2018). Confessions of a Barefaced Woman won the 2019 Feathered Quill Book Award and was a finalist for the 2019 NAACP Image Award. She was named Illinois Author of the Year for 2022 by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. Her poems have appeared in the New York Times and the Best American Poetry Series. Her next book, Dwelling, will be published by Red Hen in 2025. After reading, Professor Joseph will sign copies of her books and conduct a writing workshop. The event is free and open to the public. In addition to the Poetry reading, the Black Student Association will host a membership information table on Thursday, February 9, from 9 AM to Noon at the E wing entrance information booth. A club meeting will be immediately followed in room E 139, where lunch and refreshments will be served. 

According to club sponsor Toyin Fox, the association is a great way to network.

“If you are looking for ways to connect and be part of a new generation of leaders who are making an impact on campus and beyond through service, education, and community development, or you are interested in networking, or you need the support of good fellow students, please join us,” said Fox.

On Wednesday, March 1, the College will host award-winning author and journalist Jerry Mitchell to discuss his Book Race Against Time. According to the book’s publisher, Simon and Schuster, in Race Against Time, Mitchell takes readers on the twisting, pulse-racing road that led to the reopening of four of the most infamous killings from the days of the civil rights movement, decades after the fact. His work played a central role in bringing killers to justice for the assassination of Medgar Evers, the firebombing of Vernon Dahmer, the 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham, and the Mississippi Burning case. Mitchell reveals how he unearthed secret documents and found long-lost suspects and witnesses, building up evidence strong enough to take on the Klan. He takes us into every harrowing scene along the way, as when Mitchell goes into the lion’s den, meeting one-on-one with the very murderers he is seeking to catch. His efforts have put four leading Klansmen behind bars years after they thought they had gotten away with murder.

Award-winning author John Grisham praised Mitchell’s work.

“For almost two decades, investigative journalist Jerry Mitchell doggedly pursued the Klansmen responsible for some of the most notorious murders of the civil rights movement. This book is his amazing story. Thanks to him and courageous prosecutors, witnesses, and FBI agents, justice finally prevailed,” said Grisham.

John A. Logan College President Dr. Kirk Overstreet is proud of the work of the John A. Logan College Diversity and Inclusion Committee to bring events to campus to help educate and inform students.

“Black History Month is a time for us to reflect on struggles, triumphs, setbacks, and progress. As educators, we are responsible for standing with, supporting, and teaching our students and the community these stories of struggle and triumph, said Overstreet. “Over the next month, we will be posting stories on the JALC website and supporting events that are taking place in our communities and on campus in honor of Black History Month. I hope everyone will take the time to engage, learn, and grow.”

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosts various events throughout the year. Events scheduled for the Spring semester can be found at