Lafayette will celebrate Black Heritage Month in February with art, music, a research symposium on diversity, discussion forums, and performances.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.” According to John McKnight, dean of intercultural development, this captures the spirit and variety of programs that will celebrate the forward movement of blacks in American society.
“Black heritage should be celebrated all year long, but we take time out in February to focus our attention on the many accomplishments and contributions of blacks and African Americans to the United States and the world,” he says. “We hope the programming will inspire our campus community to think deeply about a variety of issues, and to find ways to continue to advance racial harmony.”
The celebration’s keynote talk on contemporary politics and African American leadership will be presented by television host and activist Marc Lamont Hill 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, in Colton Chapel. Hill is the host of the nationally syndicated television show Our World with Black Enterprise, which airs Sunday mornings on TV One and broadcast markets around the country. His work, which covers topics such as culture, politics, and education, has appeared in numerous journals, magazines, books, and anthologies. He provides regular commentary for National Public Radio, The Washington Post, Essence magazine, The New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News, where he was a political contributor and regular guest on The O’Reilly Factor. He is an associate professor of education at Teachers College of Columbia University.
A featured event will be a talk by Mark Curriden, author of Contempt of Court: The Turn of the Century Lynching that Launched 100 Years of Federalism, followed by a panel discussion 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, in Kirby Hall of Civil Rights room 100. Panelists include Philadelphia attorney Prince Altee Thomas; Wendy Wilson-Fall, associate professor of Africana studies; and John Kincaid, Meyner Professor of Government and Public Service. WFMZ Channel 69 news anchor Jaciel Cordoba will serve as moderator.
Lamar Thomas, a blues musician and author of Da Delta, Black Music & Me, will serve as the Black Heritage Month artist in residence during his visit to campus Feb. 10-12. He will hold workshop sessions with several classes; a meet and greet 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, in the Portlock Black Cultural Center; a discussion noon Monday, Feb. 11; and a film-screening and discussion 7 p.m. Feb. 11 in the Williams Center.
The exhibit in the Portlock Black Cultural Center’s EPI/Riley Temple Gallery will be Memory Fragments by award-winning artist TAFA. His abstract oil paintings, which “make strong social, political, and religious statements in audacious brilliant colors,” have been in exhibitions and collections around the world. A reception and talk on his creative process will be held 4:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, in the gallery. The exhibit runs through March 22.
The Williams Center Gallery will host Curlee Raven Holton: A Visit to My House, A Personal and Public Narrative Feb. 15-March 29. The exhibit is a 30-year retrospective of paintings and prints by Curlee Holton, David M. ’70 and Linda Roth Professor of Art and founding director of the Experimental Printmaking Institute. A talk and reception will be held 4:10 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18, in Williams Center for the Arts room 108.
Skillman Library is hosting An African Mosaic: African-inspired Artists’ Books from Skillman Library’s Rare Book Collection, an exhibit in honor of Wilson-Fall. In addition, a new artist’s book, Othello Re-imagined in Sepia, by Holton and Ian Smith, professor of English, is on display in Skillman’s Special Collections Reading Room through February. The book brings Othello into the context of issues of race, identity, and culture, exploring the effects of cross-cultural encounters and the challenge of reconciling multiple interpretations.
Other events include the Our Beloved Community Symposium from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, in Kirby Hall of Civil Rights, which features workshops and sessions highlighting the academic and co-curricular activities that make Lafayette a diverse and inclusive community of scholars, and the Black Heritage Month finale Friday, March 1, which includes student poetry, dance, and music performances.
The month’s events are coordinated by the Office of Intercultural Development and are sponsored by the Africana studies program, Association of Black Collegians, Experimental Printmaking Institute, the Office of Religious Life, and the Lafayette African and Caribbean Student Association. For more information, contact intercultural development at (610) 330-5580.
Schedule of events:
- Feb. 5, 5:30 p.m., Kirby Hall of Civil Rights room 100 – Lecture by author Mark Curriden on “Contempt of Court: Civil Rights Protections and the Role of the Federal Judiciary,” followed by panel discussion
- Feb. 6, 5:30 p.m., Portlock Black Cultural Center – Bouki Blues: a short film by Portia Cobb on cultural between tribal music of West Africa and the Mediterranean and the blues and jazz of the Mississippi-Louisiana region
- Feb. 7, 4:15 p.m., Gendebein Room in Skillman Library – “Ethnography, History, and Genealogies? Diverse Narratives of a Madagascar Past” by Wendy Wilson-Fall, associate professor of Africana studies
- Feb. 8, 4:30 p.m., EPI/Riley Temple Art Gallery – Reception and artists talk for TAFA’s exhibit Memory Fragments
- Feb. 10, 5 p.m., Portlock Black Cultural Center, Meet and greet with artist-in-residence Lamar Thomas
- Feb. 11, noon, Interfaith Chapel, Hogg Hall – Lunch discussion with artist-in-residence Lamar Thomas
- Feb. 11, 7 p.m., Williams Center for the Arts – Film screening and discussion with artist-in-residence Lamar Thomas
- Feb. 12, 7 p.m., Colton Chapel – Black Heritage Month keynote talk by Marc Lamont Hill
- Feb. 17, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., Kirby Hall of Civil Rights – Our Beloved Community Symposium
- Feb. 18, 4:10 p.m., Williams Center for the Arts room 108 – Reception for Curlee Raven Holton: A Visit to My House, A Personal and Public Narrative
- Feb. 21, 6 p.m., Hugel Science Center room 100 – “A More Concrete World: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida” by Nathan Connolly, assistant professor of history at Johns Hopkins University
- March 1, time and location TBD – Black Heritage Month finale