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February is Black History Month, and the University of Delaware will celebrate critical contributions and activism of African Amercians.
February is Black History Month, and the University of Delaware will celebrate critical contributions and activism of African Americans.

Black History Month

UD to celebrate the contributions of African Americans in art, activism, leadership and literature

February is Black History Month, and the University of Delaware community will recognize, engage and discuss achievements and continuing challenges through a series of events. Panel discussions, poetry readings, dance performances, art exhibits and more will celebrate the critical contributions and activism of African Americans.

Attend a fireside chat

Who: The College of Engineering

What: Leading While Black — a conversation between COE Dean Levi Thompson and University of Maryland President Darryll J. Pines.

When: Monday, Feb. 27, 2 p.m.

Where: Mitchell Hall.

How much: Free. More details and registration information can be found on COE’s website.

Know this: Open to all faculty, staff and students, Leading While Black will examine leadership development and experiences of Black professionals and the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in society. During a fireside chat, Thompson and Pines will share how personal experiences have shaped their careers. Pines will then join a panel discussion with Dr. Joan Coker, a UD Trustee; Cedrick Johnson, a 1995 graduate of the College of Engineering and president of Airport Design Consultants, Inc.; and Dr. Kara Walker, a 1999 graduate of the College of Engineering and executive vice president and chief population health officer at Nemours Children’s Health. The panel will be moderated by Fatimah Conley, UD’s vice president of equity and chief diversity officer, and will include an audience Q&A session. A reception to meet the panelists will follow the event, which is cosponsored by UD’s Center for Black Culture and COE’s RISE program.

Listen to or perform poetry

Who: Student Diversity and Inclusion.

What: Power to the Poet: Reclaiming Black Stories Through Poetry.

When: Wednesday, Feb. 8, 6-8 p.m.

Where: Perkins Student Center West Lounge, 325 Academy St, Newark, DE 19716.

How much: Free.

Know this: The event will feature student poets and keynote spoken word poet Ebony Stewart, a poet, writer and performance artist whose work speaks to the Black experience with emphasis on gender, sexuality, womanhood, queer-positivity and race. Her work aims to be relatable, remove shame, heal minds, encourage dialogue and inspire folks in marginalized communities. Free food will be served at the event. Registration is required, and if you would like to perform poetry at the event, please indicate that on the registration form by Monday, Feb. 6.

More info: More information can be found on UD’s Events Calendar.

Watch a dance performance

Who: Resident Ensemble Players.

What: Suite Blackness: Black Dance in Cinema, a production combining live dance, spoken word and song on a journey through the racial and cultural tensions in movies from the 1920s to the present.

When: Thursday, Feb.16, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Feb. 18, 2 p.m.

Where: Thompson Theatre of the Roselle Center for the Arts, 110 Orchard Rd, Newark, DE 19716.

How much: $15.

Know this: The performance is the first event in a series celebrating the history of Black dance and is a collaboration involving the REP Theatre, UD theatre and dance faculty, and regional choreographers and dancers.

More info: Purchase tickets online, call the REP Box Office at 302-831-2204, or visit the REP Box Office at the Roselle Center for the Arts (110 Orchard Rd, Newark, DE 19716) Tuesday-Friday, 12-5 p.m.

Learn about the history of Black dance

Who: Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center.

What: The 2023 Paul R. Jones Distinguished Lecture, “African-American Concert Dancers: Activism, Advocacy and Protest,” given by John O. Perpener III, dance historian and scholar.

When: Tuesday, Feb. 21, 5-7:30 p.m.

Where: Gore Recital Hall in the Roselle Center for the Arts (110 Orchard Rd, Newark, DE 19716) or via livestream.

How much: Free.

Know this: The Paul R. Jones Annual Lecture honors Paul R. Jones and his gift of African American art to the University of Delaware. Sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the lecture underscores the significance of Black arts to humanistic studies and showcases individuals whose contributions to the field are exemplary, interdisciplinary and inspiring. Registration is required.

More info: More details and registration information can be found on IHRC’s website.

View an art exhibit celebrating dance

What: An exhibit featuring five works of art celebrating dance from a variety of perspectives.

When: Exhibit opens Tuesday, Feb. 7.

Where: Mechanical Hall, 30 N College Ave, Newark, DE 19716.

How much: Free.

Know this: The collection includes four photographs by prominent African American photographers Jim Alexander and Ming Smith and an abstract lithograph by artist Keith Morrison.

Attend a symposium on arts and activism

Who: Department of Africana Studies and the Office of Institutional Equity.

What: “Honoring James E. Newton: A Symposium on Arts and Activism,” celebrating the far-reaching impact of the late James Newton, an early leader of UD’s Black American Studies program and professor emeritus of Africana Studies. 

When: Saturday, Feb. 18, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Audion on UD's Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus (100 Discovery Blvd, Newark, DE 19713).

How much: Free.

Know this: An award-winning artist, Newton was a prolific author, recipient of several teaching and mentoring awards, and a social justice activist whose impact was felt across the state of Delaware and beyond. The symposium will include two panel discussions: one focused on mentoring as an act of activism and a second examining how the archived collection of Newton’s materials will create an active cultural memory. Newton’s honorary degree will be presented to his family on behalf of the Board of Trustees. Lunch will be provided, and a limited number of gift tickets are available for the 2 p.m. performance of Suite Blackness: Black Dance in Cinema at the Roselle Center for the Arts.

More info: Registration is required. Visit UD’s Events Calendar for more information.

Attend a legacy basketball game

Who: The men’s and women’s basketball teams.

What: The men’s basketball game vs. Drexel and the women’s basketball game vs. North Carolina - Wilmington will celebrate Black History Month, recognize important trailblazers in UD Athletics history and honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Men’s game: Wednesday, Feb. 8, 7 p.m.

Women’s game: Friday, Feb. 10, 7 p.m.

Where: Bob Carpenter Center.

How much: Ticket prices vary.

Know this: The events are blackout games in which fans are asked to wear black. The first 1,000 fans at the men’s game will receive a black Delaware Basketball Black History Month T-shirt. The first 300 fans at the women’s game will receive a black “Built on Unity” T-shirt.

More info: More info can be found at bluehens.com/promotions.

Learn about Delaware’s history with slavery and abolition

Who: Library, Museums and Press.

What: An exhibition titled “First and Last: Delaware’s Fraught History with Slavery and Abolition.”

When: Feb. 7 to May 23 during library hours

Where: Lincoln Exhibition Case at Morris Library, 181 S. College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717.

How much: Free.

Know this: Despite being the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution in 1787, Delaware didn’t sign the 13th Amendment to formally abolish slavery until the 20th century. Visitors will learn about slavery and colonization efforts in the state; Black Delawareans’ involvement in the underground railroad; and the notorious Patty Cannon gang, who kidnapped, sold and killed free and enslaved Black people in the state. Materials on view include books, letters, photographs, deeds of sale for enslaved persons, newspaper ads for runaway slaves, copies of Delaware legislative bills and more.

More info: More information can be found online.

Hear caregiver stories from communities of color

Who: The College of Health Sciences, the Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter, Pinn Memorial Baptist Church, Main Line Health, the Delaware Center for Cognitive Aging Research and The Amazing Zoe.

What: Caregiver Conversations: Stories and Voices from Communities of Color.

When: Thursday, Feb. 23, 3-5 p.m.

Where: Virtual via Zoom.

How much: Free.

Know this: Join the Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter for a virtual program that will discuss "sandwich" generation caregiving, heart healthy meals for the whole family, and being mindful of cognitive changes as we age. A special panel session with local caregivers of color will share stories of caregiver strength as well as practical strategies for meeting and overcoming dementia caregiver challenges. 

More info: Register online or call 800-272-3900.

Attend a virtual cooking class

What: A virtual cook prep event.

When: Friday, Feb. 17, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Where: Virtual via Zoom.

How much: Free

Know this: Join Student Diversity and Inclusion for a virtual cook prep event in celebration of Black History Month. Watch folks prepare three dishes culturally relevant to the Black diaspora, get some ideas on how you can prepare these items, and gain some knowledge on where to go to find these items for cost effective prices.

More info: Register online.

Attend a critical conversation

What: Hot Takes Over Hot Plates: Critical Conversations: Believing the Experiences of Black Women, a facilitated discussion, over hot food, about the historical tendency for our society to ignore the needs, opinions and experiences of Black women.

When: Thursday, Feb. 23, 6 p.m.

Where: Perkins Student Center, West Lounge.

How much: Free.

Know this: Ever in the mood for a deep conversation or just want to talk over some good food? Join Student Diversity and Inclusion in a conversation about how society treats the experiences of Black folk, with a specific focus on who does and doesn’t listen to Black women in critical moments. Engage with your peers over free food in a casual environment about hot issues. Registration is required

Enter the Black History Month book giveaway

Who: Student Diversity and Inclusion with Library Museums and Press.

What: Black History Month book giveaway.

When: Feb. 1-28.

Where: Instagram (@udstudentdiversity), online form, Morris Library and Perkins Student Center room 147

How much: Free.

Know this: Follow @udstudentdiversity on Instagram to stay updated on opportunities to celebrate and uplift Black voices throughout Black History Month and beyond. Enter the book giveaway online or visit one of the physical entry locations at the Morris Library or Perkins Student Center Room 147. Books include The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee and Angela Davis: An Autobiography by Angela Davis.

Attend a virtual read-in

Who: Department of English.

What: African American Read-In in celebration of Black History Month.

When: Wednesday, Feb. 22, 6-7:30 p.m.

Where: Online via Zoom.

How much: Free.

Know this: The read-in is a community-wide event and is part of the English Department’s Black History Month celebration. The event will include a featured presenter, but everyone is welcome to sign up to read from work by African American authors during the open mic portion of the program.

More info: Registration is required. Zoom information will be provided after registration.

Ask Black women faculty about their experiences at UD

Who: The Graduate College.

What: Diversity in Academia Panel Discussion Series: Experiences of Black Women Faculty at UD.

When: Thursday, March 2, 12-1:30 p.m.

Where: Please RSVP for location.

How much: Free.

Know this: On the cusp between Black History Month and Women’s History Month, the Graduate College’s Graduate Diversity Programming Initiative is taking the opportunity to amplify the voices of Black women faculty on our campus. We will join a distinguished panel of Black women, including Kimberly Blockett, chair and professor, Department of Africana Studies, and Monique H. Head, associate professor and associate chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, for a candid and thought-provoking panel discussion.

More infoRegister online.

Attend a town hall with the BGSA 

Who: The Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) and the Graduate College. 

What: Graduate College Town Hall.

When: Friday, Feb. 24, 5:30-8 p.m. 

Where: The Audion at the Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus. 

How much: Free. 

Know this: A networking reception with light refreshments will be held from 5:30-6:30 p.m., followed by the town hall from 6:30-8 p.m. Parking is free. Graduate students will be able to ask questions and share ideas as Rae Chresfield, assistant vice president of student life, student wellbeing, moderates a discussion between Lou Rossi, dean of the graduate college, and Michael Vaughan, vice provost for equity. This is an opportunity for Black graduate students to share their voices and engage with administration, faculty, staff and community members. 

More info: Please register by Feb. 21. The registration form has a space where you can suggest any questions or topics you would like to have discussed.

Attend a virtual vision board party

Who: The African Heritage Caucus. 

What: “Freedom Dreaming” virtual vision board party.

When: Tuesday, Feb. 28, 4-5 p.m.

Where: Online via Zoom.

How much: Free. 

Know this: Black staff, graduate students and faculty are invited to join the Black Racial Literacy Roundtable led by Kisha Porcher, assistant professor of English, and Jessica Edwards, associate professor of English.

More info: Register online.

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