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Black History Month

Photo by Evan Krape

UD honors the contributions of African Americans in art, literature, advocacy

The racial uprisings of 2020 reignited an ongoing reckoning with America’s roiling history of white violence. They also sparked reflection among citizens of all backgrounds on the resilience of the Black community, whose struggle for equity is rooted in generations of dissent, protest and social justice advocacy. 

February, Black History Month, presents several opportunities for this reckoning and reflecting. At the University of Delaware, a robust lineup of events — panels to poetry, serious to satirical — will aid in the processing and contextualizing of recent (and not-so-recent) demonstrations as well as the need for a more equitable future. 

All events in the following list, which will be updated throughout the month, are open to the wider community, unless otherwise noted. 

Listen to an audio performance

Who: The Resident Ensemble Players (REP), a professional theatre located at UD.

What: An original audio production of Talk About Race, a fast-moving, entertaining and thought-provoking performance that takes an unflinching look at current race relations in America. Expect an engaging mix of vignettes, comedy, music and contemporary and historical oratory.

When: Anytime between Feb. 5 and Feb. 28

Where: The show will stream online through REP’s website. 

How much: Free.

Know this: Talk About Race is a world-premiere, written and directed by REP company member, Broadway vetearn and adjunct UD professor Hassan El-Amin.

More info: Visit rep.udel.edu/presentations/talk-about-race.

Learn about racial disparities in healthcare

Who: UDance, a registered student organization at UD that raises money for pediatric cancer patients and their families.

What: A discussion exploring the intersection of racism and healthcare.

When: Feb. 8, 6 p.m. 

Where: On Zoom, via this link https://udel.zoom.us/j/93469958880.

How much: Free.

Know this: The conversation will be led by two members of the UD faculty: Latoya Watson, assistant dean of the Associate in Arts Program and mother of a B+ Hero (the UDance name for a child fighting cancer) as well as Erin Knight, assistant professor in the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration and associate director of UD’s Partnership for Healthy Communities. They will take questions throughout.

More info: If you have any questions, please direct them to udance2021@gmail.com.

Converse constructively

Who: The Office of Institutional Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

What: Dialogues on Diversity is a course for UD students and employees designed to equip participants with skills needed to have difficult conversations on diversity-related issues. Attendees will learn more about their own identities and how they intersect with those who are different. 

When: Feb. 9, 10-11:30 a.m.

Where: On Zoom. Register via ConnectingU (employees) or via the student registration page.

How much: Free.

Know this: This is one of many workshops offered for members of the UD community throughout the semester that address topics such as implicit bias, cross-cultural communication, allyship and more.

More info: Visit sites.udel.edu/oei/.

Attend a panel discussion

Who: The Newark NAACP/UD Partnership.

What: A panel discussion featuring Freeman Williams, president of the NAACP Newark Chapter; Cami Seward, a member of the Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow; and a representative from the UD Library. 

When: Feb. 11, 4-5 p.m.

Where: Via Zoom.

How much: Free.

Know this: The event is part of an ongoing speaker series designed to provide solutions to current racial inequalities in our local and global communities. 

More info: Find the event, listed under Racial Justice Through Collaborative Programs and Projects, at eventbrite.com

Celebrate black poetry

Who: UD’s Department of English in conjunction with Library, Museums and Press.

What: The Sixth Annual African American Read-In, which will celebrate the works of Black authors in the UD community and beyond.

When: Feb. 16, 5-6:30 p.m.

Where: Online. You can RSVP (to read or listen) here

How much: Free.

Know this: Featured poets will be Randall Horton, former poet-in-residence for the Civil Rights Corp in Washington, D.C., a nonprofit organization dedicated to challenging systemic injustice in the American legal system, and Yolanda Wisher, member of the Philadelphia-based Afroeaters band and producer of the podcast Love Jawns: A Mixtape.

More info: To be placed on the list of scheduled readers in advance, please contact Prof. Délice Williams at diwill@udel.edu or Librarian Aimee Gee at gee@udel.edu. You will also be able to sign up to read as the event is happening.

Learn about an important black suffragist

Who: UD Library, Museums and Press.

What: Part of UD’s Scholar in the Library series, this gripping talk is entitled “Sharing Mary Church Terrell’s Legacy: From Family Heirlooms to the National Mall and the Oberlin College Archives.” It covers the work of a 19th and 20th century civil rights and Black feminist activist who served as the first leader of the National Association of Colored Women and co-founded the NAACP.

When: Feb. 17, 12-1 p.m.

Where: Via Zoom. Please register here.

How much: Free.

Know this: The expert speaker will be Alison M. Parker, Richards Professor of American History and chair of UD’s Department of History. She is also a co-chair of the UD Antiracism Initiative.

More info: Visit library.udel.edu.

Attend an exhibition

Who: UD Library, Museums and Press.

What: Lift Every Voice, a year-long, nationwide celebration of the 250-year-tradition of African American poetry, its richness and diversity and its central place in American poetry.

When: Whenever you would like — the exhibition will be on display indefinitely.

Where: Online at exhibitions.lib.udel.edu/lift-every-voice/.

How much: Free.

Know this: Lift Every Voice encourages visitors to reflect upon five intersecting themes that emerge from a close examination of the African American poetic tradition: The Freedom Struggle, Black Identities, Black Experience in History and Memory, Black Language and Music and Family and Community.

More info: Visit library.udel.edu.

View art

Who: UD Library, Museums and Press.

What: An Art and Civil Rights exhibition, which brings together a range of artworks — from photography to wire sculpture — that relate to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

When: Whenever you would like — the exhibition will be on display indefinitely.

Where: Online at exhibitions.lib.udel.edu/art-civil-rights/.

How much: Free.

Know this: Among the displays are photographs of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first Black aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corp, a precursor to the U.S. Air Force. They put an end to a ridiculous and widespread belief that Blacks could not become successful military pilots, and they helped usher integration of America’s armed forces.

More info: Visit library.udel.edu.

Get social

Who: Residence Life and Housing.

What: A daily social media campaign.

When: Feb. 22-27.

Where: On Instagram. Follow the @livingatUD account as well as residence hall-specific pages for interactive content, information about contacting government representatives regarding social justice initiatives and opportunities to win prizes. 

How much: Free.

Know this: Stay tuned for updates from Residence Life and Housing regarding safe and socially distanced service opportunities for giving back to the community during Black History Month.

More info: Simply look for the #ContinuingtheLegacy hashtag.

Listen to a hero of historical preservation 

Who: The Biden Institute, in partnership with UD’s Office of Institutional Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the Center for Black Culture.

What: This event, entitled “Exhibiting the Past, Imagining the Future: A Conversation with Lonnie G. Bunch III,” is a discussion with the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and first Black person to head the Smithsonian Institution.

When: Feb. 24, 6-7 p.m.

Where: Via Zoom.

How much: Free.

Know this: The agenda includes what went into creating and curating the museum, Bunch’s vision for the Smithsonian going forward and how preserving history plays an important role in telling the story of all​ people for future generations.

More info: Visit bidenschool.udel.edu/bideninstitute.

Make art

Who: University Student Centers.

What: An opportunity for Blue Hens to paint-by-number historical Black figures important to the Civil Rights Movement. 

When: Feb. 24, 4-6 p.m.

Where: In the Trabant multipurpose room.

How much: Free.

Know this: The event is one in a series of “Hump Day Hangouts,” safe, physically distanced opportunities for undergraduate fun and socialization. Masks required. There will be food.   

More info: Visit studentcentral.udel.edu/events.

Attend a book talk

Who: The history department’s Speaks-Warnock Lecture Fund, the Department of Africana Studies, and the UD Antiracism Initiative.

What: A conversation led by Cheryl Hicks, associate professor of Africana studies and history at UD, with Douglas Flowe, Washington University assistant professor and author of the new book, Uncontrollable Blackness: African American Men and Criminality in Jim Crow New York.

When: March 2, 4-5 p.m.

Where: Via Zoom. You can register at history.udel.edu.

How much: Free.

Know this: Flowe’s book draws on prison and arrest records, trial transcripts and personal letters to explore the ways in which working-class Black men of the 20th century employed extralegal methods to confront racial injustice at the hands of police and citizens.  

More info: If you have trouble registering, contact Angie Hoseth at hoseth@udel.edu.


Who: Student Diversity and Inclusion.

What: A book giveaway.

When: Throughout February.

Where: On Instagram.

How much: Free.

Know this: In order to enter, you’ll be asked to answer a question prompt related to Black History Month.

More info: To enter or learn more about the importance of Black History Month, follow the @udstudentdiversity account on Instagram.

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