UC Riverside Celebrates Black History Month with Variety of Events

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Speakers, musicians, writers and more come to campus to celebrate and educate

By on January 30, 2014

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Civil rights pioneer Carlotta Walls LaNier, a member of the "Little Rock Nine," helped to kick off the celebration of Black History Month at UC Riverside with a presentation on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. Photo by Carlos Puma

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — While UC Riverside kicked off the celebration of Black History Month on January 22 with the appearance of civil rights pioneer Carlotta Walls LaNier, there are several more events scheduled throughout the month of February.

“Black History Month at UC Riverside is a great way for the campus and surrounding community to celebrate the history, contributions, legacies and culture of people of African descent. It’s also an opportunity for us to bring awareness about the history and culture to the community at large,” said Ken Simons, director of African Student Programs, which is co-sponsoring many of the events.

All the events are free and open to the public unless noted otherwise. On-campus parking will be available for $5 to those without a UCR parking permit.

On Monday, Feb. 3, Dr. Geoff Ward will present “Black Child-Savers and the Civil Rights Movement” in Interdisciplinary Studies 1113 (INTS 1113) from 6 to 7 p.m. The lecture touches on the rise, fall, and complex remnants of Jim Crow Juvenile Justice, as well as the racial violence and terror that wracked the Civil Rights-era South.

There are three Black History Month events that will be held as part of the annual UC Riverside Writers Week Celebration. Each of the events will be held in Interdisciplinary Studies South, room 1128 (INTS 1128) and seating is limited.

  • Poet Douglas Kearney, whose work  “The Black Automaton” was chosen for the National Poetry Series and was a finalist for the Pen Center USA Award in 2010, will conduct a reading his works on Feb. 5 at 1 p.m.
  • On Feb. 5 at 7 p.m., California Poet Laureate and Professor of Creative Writing Juan Felipe Herrera will be among the participants honoring poet Wanda Coleman, who passed away in the fall of 2013. Known as the unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles, Coleman came up through the Watts Writers Workshop in the 1960s and published essays, memoirs, novels, and poetry.
  • On Feb. 6 at 7 p.m., Percival Everett, distinguished professor of English at the University of Southern California and author of more than 20 novels, three collections of short fiction, and two volumes of poetry, will close out Writers’ Week with a presentation on his work.

On Wednesday, Feb. 5, legendary Jamaican reggae group Black Uhuru, led by original member Derrick “Duckie” Simpson, will perform at The Barn as part of the Barn Concert Series. Tickets are $5 for students and $15 for others. Tickets are available through the Barn website.

The following night, Thursday, Feb. 6,  the Barn will celebrate what would have been Bob Marley’s 69th birthday with with a celebration beginning at 7 p.m. The show is sponsored by Caribbean Student Union and Abyssinian Student Union.

On Friday, Feb. 7, the campus will mark National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day with a screening of the FRONTLINE documentary: “Endgame: AIDS in Black America.” The film is billed as a “groundbreaking exploration of one of America’s most urgent, preventable health crises. The screening, which is co-sponsored by the LGBT Resource Center and African Student Programs, will begin at 12 noon in HUB 355.

On Saturday, Feb. 8, members of the UCR community will attend the 22nd annual Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles. The event, sponsored by African Student Programs and the UCR Pan African Theme Hall, is sold out.

The Footsteps to You - In the News, is an exhibition that contains documents printed in national minority media from 1959-79 that tell the stories of America’s unsung civil rights heroes.

The Footsteps to You – In the News, is an exhibition that contains documents printed in national minority media from 1959-79 that tell the stories of America’s unsung civil rights heroes.

On Wednesday, Feb. 12, University Theater will present Aaron White’s one man show “The Blood They Shed” at 6 p.m. The show tells the semi-autobiographical story of a young man raised in South Central Los Angeles, combining the art of storytelling narrative, poetry, and comedy.

On Thursday, Feb. 13, African Student Programs and the Barn present “The Underground Volume 2, the Rebellion from 7 to 10 p.m. The event features a lineup of painters, singers, dancers and poets. It is free and open to the public.

On Saturday, Feb. 22, the Orbach Science Library will host the 9th Annual Tuskegee Airmen Celebration from 2 to 5 p.m. The theme for the event is “The Tuskegee Airmen: Mutiny at Freeman Field,” and will discuss the 477 Bombardment Groups attempts to integrate an all-white officers club. The event is viewed as an important moment in the movement toward full integration of the armed forces. RSVP to tuskegee@ucr.edu or call (951) 827-4386.

For the second consecutive year, the UC Riverside Rivera Library will host the Footsteps to You exhibition. Presented by the Black Voice Foundation, the “In the News” exhibition contains documents printed in national minority media from 1959-79 that tell the stories of America’s unsung civil rights heroes. The official opening and closing dates have not yet been finalized, but the exhibition is expected to run between mid-February and early March. It will be on display during normal library hours in the first floor lobby.

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