Attend events that celebrate Black history and culture run by student organizations, cultural centers, colleges, and more. You may also go to our Events page and select the Black Presence filter.
Wednesday, February 8, 2023, 4:00pm
Professor Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina is an internationally acclaimed scholar widely known for her work in British literary and cultural studies. Much of her award-winning work explores for-gotten lives. Most recently, an updated edition of her book Black London was published in the U.K. under the new title Black England: A Forgotten Georgian History, with a foreword by Zadie Smith. Gerzina’s work reaches beyond the field of literary studies and has made significant contributions to scholarship in history, art history, and African American studies.
Thursday, February 16, 2023, 7:30 - 9:30pm
Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “offering an object lesson in what an inventive jazz musician can do with a familiar song,” guitarist Bobby Broom has been defying conventions for four decades. After early years touring and playing with such giants as Sonny Rollins, Kenny Burrell, Miles Davis, and Stanley Turrentine, Broom has led and recorded with numerous trios and quartets since the 1990s. Broom was a regular opening act for pop legends Steely Dan. He is a five-time winner for best jazz guitarist in DownBeat magazine’s annual polls.
Commonwealth Honors College Black Heritage Month Celebration: Slavery, Mobility, and the Creolized Counter-Knowledge of Resistance
Commonwealth Honors College Events Hall
For its Annual Black Heritage Month Celebration, Commonwealth Honors College welcomes groundbreaking presenters who are working at the intersection of art praxis, racial justice, and the embodiment of change as pathways to liberation.
This year's talk will be presented by Charmaine A. Nelson, Provost Professor of Art History in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at UMass Amherst. Nelson's lecture will adopt an extended conceptualization of creolization – the transformation of cultures, societies, and populations within the context of the contact between Europeans, enslaved Africans, and colonized and enslaved Indigenous peoples in the Americas – to explore the intersection of and conflicts between knowledge production, enslaved mobility, and anti-slavery solidarity.
James Baldwin Lecture: None of Us Is Free Unless All Are Free: Anti-Imperialism and the Black Radical Tradition
Thursday, February 23, 2023, 6:00pm
From joining with First Nations peoples to contest European settlement to protesting the annexation of foreign territory, the political struggles waged by African Americans have fostered a vibrant Black Radical Tradition consistently opposed to U.S. imperialism. Those drawing on this tradition have not only protested U.S. invasions of other nations as a matter of principle, but also highlighted the interconnections between injustices waged abroad and oppression at home. In doing so, this tradition has often served as the basis for solidarity with those struggling against U.S. imperialism, a solidarity that has helped to inform radical movements here against patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalist exploitation. Presented by Bill Fletcher Jr.
Annual Du Bois Lecture: Chad Williams, "The Wounded World: W. E. B. Du Bois and the First World War"
Thursday, February 23, 2023, 6:00-8:00pm
For nearly two decades, W. E. B. Du Bois attempted to write what he believed would be the definitive history of the African American experience in World War I. In this talk, Chad Williams explores Du Bois’s complex relationship with the history and legacy of World War I and what it reveals about the struggle for democracy, racial justice and peace in the 20th century.
Thursday, February 23, March 30, April 27, 2023, 6:00pm
Randolph W. Bromery Center for the Arts Lobby
Hosted by acclaimed performer Lyrical Faith, this new series is dedicated to building the local community of emerging artists while featuring some of the best spoken word poets from the national scene. Lyrical Faith is a Black American educator, activist, and spoken word poet from the Bronx. She is the third-ranked woman poet in the world as of the 2022 Womxn of the World Poetry Slam, an inaugural Bronx Poet Laureate finalist, a two-time recipient of the Bronx Council on the Arts BRIO Award, and the 2015 Syracuse University Poet of the Year.
Through her poetry, Lyrical Faith strives to inspire, educate and advocate for intersectional and institutional issues by merging the arts and activism from a faith-based worldview.
Thursday, February 23, 2023, 2:00pm
We welcome Claude Johnson, author of The Black Fives: The Epic Story of Basketball’s Forgotten Era, for this event. The program, introduced by our A-10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade, will be a fascinating and informative conversation about African American basketball teams – both men’s and women’s – and the pioneer Black athletes who defined the game prior to the formation of the NBA.
Saturday, February 25, 2023
Organized by the UMass Brotherly Union, the Men of Color Summit Conference empowers, educates and motivates our students to strive for excellence in education and in their own communities. Check their instagram page for updates on events and speakers for this year's summit.
Monday, February 27, 2023, 4:00pm
South College Atrium
To commemorate Black History Month and the birthday of social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman Frederick Douglass, the College of Humanities & Fine Arts (HFA) will host a Reading Frederick Douglass Together event. During the event, students, faculty, and staff will publicly read and discuss Douglass’s influential address, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”
Monday, February 27, 2023, 5:00-7:00pm
UMass Old Chapel Great Hall
Meet new colleagues and reconnect with old friends at this annual event. RSVP requested.