Black History Month Programs Planned at UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. – Black History Month will be observed at the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a series of events, including theater productions, panel discussions, lectures and appearances by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, singer and activist Bernice Johnson Reagon, poet and playwright Sonia Sanchez, former NAACP chairman Julian Bond and Professor Griff of the hip-hop group Public Enemy.

All events are free and open to the public.

The Black History 101 Mobile Museum, an innovative traveling tabletop exhibit depicting black memorabilia spanning slavery to hip-hop, will be on display on Tuesday, Feb. 11 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Campus Center Auditorium. The exhibit will be followed with a 7 p.m. lecture by rapper and spoken word artist Professor Griff of Public Enemy.

Julian Bond and his siblings, James Bond and Jane Bond Moore, will discuss coming of age in a community of distinguished black intellectuals, including their father Horace Mann Bond, a historian, social science researcher and college administrator whose papers are housed in UMass Amherst’s W.E.B. Du Bois Library. The panel, “Growing Up Bond,” takes place on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 4 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom.

Toni Morrison, Bernice Johnson Reagon and Sonia Sanchez will discuss “Black Women in the Arts in the 21st Century” on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Mullins Center.

A staged reading of the play “Project Unspeakable,” with a focus on Malcolm X, will be presented Friday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Commonwealth Honors College Event Hall. Directed by Gilbert McCauley of the UMass Amherst theater department, the reading will be by students and faculty members. A discussion led by project director and chief scriptwriter Court Dorsey and Bill Strickland, professor emeritus of Afro-American studies, will follow.

Three performances of “A Man for All Times: W.E.B. Du Bois” by the Pulse Ensemble Theatre will mark the 146th anniversary of the birth of the African-American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist and Pan-Africanist in Great Barrington. The play will be staged as follows:

  • Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Saturday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m.
  • St. John’s Congregational Church, 45 Union St., Springfield, Sunday, Feb. 23, 10 a.m. Followed by the church’s annual Du Bois Tribute at 3 p.m. This year, the event focuses on service as exemplified by Du Bois, Nelson Mandela and others.
  • UMass Amherst Campus Center Auditorium, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 4 p.m.

Students, staff and faculty will share their experiences about being LGBT and a person of color on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. in 102 Wilder Hall, UMass Amherst.

As part of the women, gender, sexuality studies department’s 40th anniversary, a symposium on “Critical Feminist Thought and the African Diaspora” is being held Friday, Feb. 28 from 9:30 am to 5:30 p.m. in the Amherst Room, 10th floor of the Campus Center. Professor Dorothy E. Roberts of the University of Pennsylvania will give the kenynote address, “The Place of Black Feminism.” Register online at

Black History Month wraps up Friday, Feb. 28 with a carnival in the Student Union Ballroom from 8 p.m. to midnight. The event is hosted by Students of Caribbean Ancestry.

Sponsors of Black History Month events include the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, UMass Amherst’s Chancellor’s Office, College of Humanities and Fine Arts, Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success, Union Programming Council, Residential Life, Black Student Union, Black Mass Communication Project, Student Government Association, History Department, UMass Amherst Libraries, Students of Caribbean Ancestry, Stonewall Center, Center for Health Promotion, Malcolm X Cultural Center, Sankofa Interest Group and the W.E.B. Du Bois Center.