MURRAY – The Calloway County Public Library plans to host a virtual Black History Month 2021 Celebration Presentation on Thursday with Murray native Dr. MarTeze Hammonds.

A news release said the presentation will be from 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday on Zoom. The event is presented free of charge, but will be limited to 100 attendees. Attendance will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis via the event log-in link, which will begin at 5:40 p.m. The link may be found on the CCPL’s website, callowaycountylibrary.org.

“Back by popular demand, guest speaker Dr. MarTeze Hammonds will present on the historical experiences of African American/Black people in the United States,” the news release said. “This presentation will timeline experiences from 1619 to present day. and will focus on the struggle, stride and success of the Black experiences. The presentation will conclude with an interactive discussion about the Black experiences in Murray/Calloway County.”

Hammonds is a social justice advocate/trainer, C-Suite consultant, student affairs professional, K-12 consultant, educator, motivational speaker and life coach from Murray, the release said. He attended Murray State University and earned his bachelor’s of science degree in theatre and dance in 2005, earned a master’s of science degree in organizational communication in December 2006, and a second master’s of science degree in human development and leadership (emphasis in college student personnel) in August of 2008. Hammonds earned his educational doctorate (higher education administration) from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville in less than two years.

Hammonds has more than 10 years of unique professional experiences in corporate America (profit/non-profit) and higher education. As a sought-after diversity and inclusion master facilitator, consultant, public speaker and logistic strategist, he has traveled almost every state, sharing his skills and knowledge.

Throughout his tenure as an undergraduate student, graduate student and professional, Hammonds has earned many awards and honors. He is earned honors/awards stemming from areas of academia, leadership, fraternal, volunteerism and the community. Most notably, Hammonds’ hometown of Murray proclaimed on May 25, 2012, that May 25 of every year would be forever known as Dr. MarTeze D. Hammonds Day in recognition of young role models.

CCPL Director Mignon Reed said Hammonds had a longstanding relationship with the library and gave a Zoom presentation on diversity last summer. She said his aunt, Wanetta Buck, worked at the library around the time she herself began her career there, and Hammonds grew up coming to the library, especially when he was a student at Murray Middle School and would walk to the library at the end of the day.

“I’m very excited about this and I know everyone else is too,” Reed said. “He always does a really good job and he is a fantastic educator, so I’m sure the presentation will be great.”

Hammonds gave a short preview of his presentation during a telephone interview.

“What I’m finding is that a lot of people really don’t know and are not abreast of the Black experience and the true history of the journey of African Americans and Black people here in America. The national theme for Black History Month this year is, ‘The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity.’ What I’ve learned is that people say, ‘I know about Martin Luther King and several other people during the Civil Rights Movement, but I don’t know much more about Black history. 

“So on this journey I’ll be taking (the audience) on will be from 1619 to the present day. There’s no way I’ll be able to scratch the surface, but I really just want to highlight some of the historical moments. Black history is American history, so that’s pretty much the point. I’ll lead us through this history, and it’s a pretty high-energy interactive (presentation). We’ll be talking about a lot of ‘Did you know?’ moments.”