Events Celebrating Black History and Culture
Attend events that celebrate Black history and culture run by student organizations, cultural centers, colleges and more. Visit the Office of Equity and Inclusion’s events page and select the Black Presence filter.
Wednesday, Feb. 8, 4 p.m.
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, Feb. 16, 7:30 - 9:30 p.m.
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.
Wednesday, Feb. 22, 5-6 p.m.
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.
Thursday, Feb. 23, 6-7:30 p.m.
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.
Thursday, Feb. 23, 6-8 p.m.
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, Feb. 23, March 30, April 27, 6 p.m.
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.
Saturday, Feb. 25
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.