Black History Month

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Each year a theme is announced by the founders of Black History Month, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) in Washington DC. This year ASALH is celebrating their centennial and have chosen “Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories” as their theme.  An official state proclamation of Black History Month can be found here.

February is Black History Month at UNC

All Month

Windows on Death Row Art Gallery

All day | Carolina Union Art Gallery and Carolina Union Aquarium Lounge

The Carolina Union is currently hosting the largest art Gallery in its history. The Gallery will be held in the Carolina Union Art Gallery & Aquarium Lounge from February 1st – March 21st. This program is sponsored by: UNC Student Life & Leadership. Organized by Patrick Chappatte (International NYTimes cartoonist) and Anne-Frédérique Widmann (Swiss Journalist). Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs is glad to support this project, which aims at fostering inclusive and constructive debates on the death penalty. In collaboration with the Carolina Union Activities Board, the Summer Reading Program and Frank Baumgartner Ph.D. of the Political Science Department. Artwork was gathered with the help of Compassion, R.E.A.C.H., Minutes Before Six, Who Decides Inc., Witness to Innocence, and Art for Justice. Also sponsored by Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights.

Distinguished Lecture Series: Race, Innocence and the End of the Death Penalty

5:30 pm | Genome Sciences Building (G100)
Tickets: All events are free and open to the public

The UNC Department of Political Science is pleased to host this distinguished speaker series in conjunction with POL 203: Race, Innocence and the End of Death Penalty. The speakers will address one of the most important policy puzzles our state and nation face: Why is the death penalty fading away, and should it be abolished? The series is made available through the Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professorship. Eight sessions across February, March and April will provide space for a conversation on the issue. Series sponsors include department of American Studies, Institute of African American Research, Carolina Summer reading Program, Center for the Study of the American South, UNC School of Law, Death Penalty Project, Duke Law School Innocence Project, NC Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Caroline Justice Policy Center and the ACLU-NC

Monday, February 1
Featuring Anthony Ray Hinton: Mr. Hinton served 30 years on Alabama’s death row; he was innocent. Hinton will be accompanied by a representative of the Equal Justice Initiative led by Bryan Stevenson, which was responsible for Hinton’s demonstration of innocence.
Monday, February 8
Fernando Bermudez, LaMonte Armstrong and Theresa Newman: Bermudez served 18 years in New York; Armstrong served 18 years in North Carolina; both were innocent and exonerated through the Duke Innocence Project.  Newman is an attorney with the Duke Innocence Project.
Monday, February 22

Gary Griffin and Ken Rose: Griffin served five years on Mississippi’s death row before his death sentence was overturned. He was released from prison after 23 years and is now an investigator working on post conviction death penalty appeals in Jackson, Mississippi. Rose has been a capital litigator for over 30 years and practices in Durham, NC at the center for Death Penalty Litigation, and was Griffin’s appellate lawyer.
Monday, February 29
Beverly and Katie Monroe: Beverly Monroe was sentenced to 22 years in prison for murder in 1992, in fact the death was a suicide. Katie, her daughter, had just left school and devoted the next 11 years to demonstrating the innocence of her mother, which she secured in 2003. Katie is now the executive director of

Black and Blue Tour

3:00 pm | UNC Visitors’ Center
Program webpage: Priceless Gems Tours

A distinctive walking tour on the African-American history of the University, with emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Black and Blue tour hopes to contribute to a real understanding of our African American past as we build a better Carolina and work to create a fuller perspective on our University’s history. Our guide, Robert Porter, has over thirty years of experience as a lecturer for UNC’s department of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies, winning numerous teaching awards. He remains passionate about his interests in history, public history, and African-American history, all of which go back to his grade school days.  Honoring BLACK HISTORY MONTH with tours and photo exhibition. Tours begin at UNC Visitors’ Center, located in the west wing of Morehead Planetarium, on campus, at 250 East Franklin Street.  The entrance faces McCorkle Place quad, has large columns and true blue welcome banners flanking the door. Due to high demand, we must LIMIT registrations to 75 per tour date. A photo exhibit in UNC Visitors’ Center supplements the tour experience. Questions???  Call UNC Visitors’ Center at 919-962-1630.

Friday, February 5: Black and Blue Tour
Friday, February 12
: Black and Blue Tour

Friday, February 19: TWO TOURS OFFERED!
1. Black and Blue Tour
2. American Indian Center Presents the Native Narrative:  Using traditional storytelling, this guided campus tour will give participants an accurate and complete story of the American Indian presence on Carolina’s campus.  Focusing on past, present and future, American Indian staff, alumni, students and community members will recall personal experiences and stories from their time at the University and discuss how they relate to Carolina today. The tour will also demonstrate the integration of indigenous knowledge and Westernized knowledge both in the past and today.
Friday, February 26: Black and Blue Tour
Tour will begin at the School of Government in order to visit the mural, “Service,” the cemetery and the Stone Center.

We Are Proud to Present a presentation about the herero of Namibia, formerly known as South-West Africa, from the German Sudwestafrika, between the years 1884-1915

Feb 24 –  March 13, 2016
7:30 pm |Paul Green Theatre
Tickets: Start at $15 ($10 for UNC students; UNC Faculty & Staff get 10% off)
Performances: 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays and Saturday, March 5. Previews: Feb. 24, 25, 26. Opening Night: Feb. 27.

an emotionally charged journey into the past…In the rehearsal room, a performance piece on a little-known episode of early 20th century genocide takes a jolting turn when the actors – three black and three white – tap into personal resentments and ingrained prejudices. Tensions mount as they expose more of themselves than they ever wanted to.
In conjunction with “We Are Proud to Present…” PlayMakers hosts “The Vision Series-Directors in Conversation.” “The Vision Series” is a behind-the-scenes preview on Feb. 17 at 6:30 p.m. Theater-goers and all others interested in the creative process are invited to the Paul Green Theatre to share refreshments, learn about the production in process, and get a look at the design and vision for the show. This event is free, but space is limited. Please RSVP to the PlayMakers box office. For information and to purchase tickets, call (919) 962-7529 or visit

February 2

Race: The Power of An Illusion – The House We Live In  film segment viewing and discussion

6:00 pm|Auditorium, Stone Center
Tickets: Free and open to the public

The Kappa Omicron Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. at UNC-Chapel Hill will present a film viewing and discussion that looks at how the U.S. Government promoted segregation in housing which has influenced wealth disparities that continue today. The program at 6 p.m., February 2, 2016 in the auditorium of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, will highlight a segment from the PBS documentary, “Race: the Power of an Illusion – The House We Live In”.
After viewing the 30-minute segment, the audience will hear about social and political trends that provide perspective on housing segregation in the U.S. from Ferrel Guillory, who founded the Program on Public Life in the UNC School of Media and Journalism. The Program on Public Life builds bridges between the academic resources at UNC and governmental, journalism and civic leaders of North Carolina and the South. Also, Guillory is an adjunct faculty member in the UNC Department of Public Policy.
Participants will then be led in a discussion by Barb Lee, President of the New York-based production company Point Made Films, Inc. Point Made’s focus is on films and documentaries that help define American race and identity.  Point Made Films’ list includes, “The Prep School Negro,” which just aired again on PBS last week, the documentary, “I’m Not Racist… Am I?” which tours U.S. high schools with a facilitated post-screening discussion about racism.  And, Barb’s latest film participation is as an Executive Producer of “The Birth of a Nation,” Nate Parker’s record-setting film at Sundance about the life of Nat Turner.  Barb has led numerous discussions about race and racism in America, with people of all ages, races and perspectives.

Windows on Death Row Art Gallery Keynote Lecture and Reception

6:30 pm – 9:00 pm | Carolina Union Great Hall
Tickets: Free and open to the public

The program will include the project founders Anne-Frédérique Widmann and Patrick Chappatte as well as speakers from two of the artists, one of whom was released from death row in 2012 when his innocence was proven & another will be calling into the opening from death row. This program is a powerful educational opportunity to address the realities of our prison industrial complex as well as the issues surrounding death row. Immediately after the keynote event there will be a gallery reception in the Carolina Union Art Gallery & Aquarium Lounge from 7:30 – 9pm.
This program is sponsored by: UNC Student Life & Leadership. Organized by Patrick Chappatte (International NYTimes cartoonist) and Anne-Frédérique Widmann (Swiss Journalist). Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs is glad to support this project, which aims at fostering inclusive and constructive debates on the death penalty. In collaboration with the Carolina Union Activities Board, the Summer Reading Program and Frank Baumgartner Ph.D. of the Political Science Department. Artwork was gathered with the help of Compassion, R.E.A.C.H., Minutes Before Six, Who Decides Inc., Witness to Innocence, and Art for Justice. Also sponsored by Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights.

February 3

Poster Child: The Kemba Smith Story

6:30 pm|Stone Center
Tickets: Free and open to the public

Please join the Kappa Omicron Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. for the 2016 Break the Silence of Domestic Violence Lecture featuring Kemba Smith Pradia, which has received funding from the UNC Parents Council and Student Congress. Doors will open at 6 p.m. The first 100 participants will receive a complimentary copy of Kemba Smith’s memoir, Poster Child: The Kemba Smith Story. The presentation will be followed by a book signing, and a book discussion will be scheduled later in the year.
Justice for Kemba Smith, became a national rallying cry in 1995 for the college student sentenced to 24½ years in a federal prison. Today, Kemba Smith Pradia is a mother, motivational speaker, author and domestic violence survivor. Her story is one she is anxious to share with others in hopes they might be able to avoid the traumatic experience she endured.
The National Sentencing Project reported that Kemba Smith never used, sold or handled drugs.  Nonetheless, in April of 1995, she was tried and convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to engage in money laundering and making false statements to a federal agent.  She served 6½ years of her 24½ -year sentence. Although Kemba Smith was a college student who had never been in trouble with the law before,  she fell victim to what she refers to as “draconian drug laws” which “disproportionately affect minorities and generally entangle first-time offenders who have no history of violence.” At just twenty-three years old, Kemba became a casualty of the “War on Drugs” without fully knowing how she got there. She was a victim of mental and physical abuse at the hands of her boyfriend, Peter Hall. At the time Kemba did not know Hall was the leader of a $4 million crack cocaine ring and on the FBI’s 15 most wanted list.

Race, Power and Privilege in 2016:  Developing and Maintaining Multiracial, Multicultural, and Multifaith alliances toward Equity and Justice on College Campuses

7:30 pm|Great Hall FPG Student Union
Tickets: Free and open to the public

In these challenging days and times where harmful patterns and practices around race and racism are increasing the need for action, dialogue, and greater understanding among students across the country, how can students at UNC play a role in advancing faith-based action toward racial justice?  Join Yavilah McCoy for discussion and honest dialogue regarding the power and pitfalls of growing and advancing justice across interracial, intercultural and interfaith differences.  Explore tools for navigating multiple and emerging political and cultural differences and explore strategies for working together and apart toward common goals of greater equity and justice for all.

Yavilah McCoy is the CEO of the international diversity consulting group, VISIONS Inc. in Boston.  She is also the founder of Ayecha, one of the first nonprofit Jewish organizations to provide Jewish Diversity education and advocacy for Jews of Color in the United States. Yavilah is an educator, activist and spiritual teacher that has worked extensively within multi-faith communities to increase racial justice and expand equity and inclusion.  In celebration of the musical traditions passed down to her from three generations of her African-American Jewish family, Yavilah is also the writer, producer and performer for the Jewish Gospel theatrical production “The Colors of Water.”

February 8

12th Annual African American History Month Keynote Lecture: African American Historical Sites: Identity, Memory, History and Preservation

7:00 pm|Stone Center Auditorium
Tickets: Free and open to the public

Dr. Bettye Collier-Thomas, an award-winning author and researcher who specializes in African American women’s history, religion studies, civil rights activism, and electoral politics will deliver the keynote and lecture – African American Historical Sites: Identity, Memory, History and Preservation. Her talk will illuminate how memory and commemoration intersect to bestow meaning and relevance upon historical sites and events.

Collier is a professor of history at Temple University specializing in the social history of African American women and has written on a wide range of topics such as black theater, religion, civil rights activism, and electoral politics.  She is also a distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians and has served as a public policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center.
The 2016 African American History Month Lecture Committee is comprised of Claude Clegg (chair), Kenneth Janken, Genna Rae McNeil, William Sturkey, and Ronald Williams. and is co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of the American South, College of Arts & Sciences, Department of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies, Department of American Studies (and Folklore), Department of History, Department of Music, Department of Religious Studies, Gillings School of Global Public Health, Institute of African American Research, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Office of the Chancellor (and Associate Vice Chancellor of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs), Office of the Provost, School of Dentistry, School of Information and Library Science, Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.

February 9

Celebrating the Essence of Black Womxnhood

7:00 pm|Hanes 112
Tickets: Free and open to the public

During this event, participants will be able to learn about various black womxn who’ve had an impact on society but who have not received the proper recognition for it. We will also be discussing what are some of the barriers influential womxn face when seeking recognition and how we can bring light to these unsung sheroes. This event is sponsored by Omega Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and the Celebration of Black Womanhood committee of the Black Student Movement.

February 12

Public Voices, Public Discourse: Directing the Op-Ed Project

2:00 pm|Stone Center, Hitchcock Multipurpose Room
Tickets: Free and open to the public. Due to limited space reservations are required. Please RSVP to

Professors Diana Berry and Cherise Smith are co-directors of the University of Texas at Austin’s OpEd Project, New Voices in Thought Leadership Program. The program seeks to increase the representation and influences of voices and expert knowledge from women and racial and ethnic minorities in public discourse. Their talk will focus on the development, organizations and outcomes of the program. This program is sponsored by the Institute of African American Research.

February 14

One Noble Journey: A Box Marked Freedom

3:00 pm|UNC Friday Center for Continuing Education
Tickets: Admission is free, open to the public, and appropriate for all ages. Advance registration is requested. Call 919-962-3000, 866-441-3683, or email

One Noble Journey tells the story of Henry “Box” Brown, an African American born into slavery, who devises an ingenious escape plan—sealing himself in a wooden box for shipment to friends and freedom in Philadelphia. Performed by noted actor and playwright Mike Wiley, the play offers a powerful lesson of freedom, faith, and the triumph of the human spirit. Mike Wiley is a North Carolina-based actor and playwright whose compelling works of documentary theatre yield rich and powerful journeys and turning points of the African American experience.
Sponsored by the Friday Center for Continuing Education, Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, University Relations, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs – Division of Workforce Strategy, Equity and Engagement, Department of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies, Center for the Study of the American South, Program in the Humanities and Human Values, Carolina Dining Services, Carolina Black Caucus and Carolina Student Union.

February 16

Film Screening: 3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm|Carolina Union Auditorium |Panel discussion
7:30 pm | Union 3411 | Documentary screening
Tickets: Free and open to the public

In collaboration with the Carolina Union, First Year Experience (FYE) brings a documentary screening to campus. This new and award-winning documentary dissects the aftermath of a violent crime in 2012 that left a young man dead. The film features police interrogation footage, prison phone recordings, and interviews with others on the scene the night of the murder. This screening will offer students space for continued awareness and conversation surrounding the devastating effects of racial bias in our society. Prior to the documentary there will be a panel of experts present to discuss the issues presented in the film, including topics of injustice and racial bias. This program is sponsored by Carolina Union, First Year Experience (Housing and Residential Education), and Student Life & Leadership

February 19

The FYE Black and Blue Tour

3:00 pm|UNC Visitors’ Center
Tickets: Targeting First-Year students, but open and free admission

UNC was the first public university to hold classes in this country. With that time come lots of history, especially in terms of racial history here in the south. University experts will lead this tour of UNC’s historical landmarks in context of UNC’s racial history.  The Black and Blue Tour will last 1-1.5 hours and begin at 3 p.m. from UNC Visitors’ Center, located inside Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, 250 E. Franklin St. Sponsored by UNC Visitors Center and First Year Experience (Housing and Residential Education).

February 20

Music and Modern African American Culture 

11:00 am | Various locations
Tickets: Pre-registration is required. The tuition is $110 by February 2. Tuition for teachers is $55 by February 2. Teachers can also receive a $75 stipend after attending and 10 contact hours for 1 unit of renewal credit. The optional lunch is $15.00.
Program webpage:

In collaboration with the Carolina Performing Arts performance of the Count Basie Orchestra, Diane Schuur and New York Voices, this seminar will explore the various ways African American music has influenced the political and social landscape of the United States, while always remaining a means of African American creative and cultural expression. William Sturkey will explore the connections between race, popular music, and audienceship, while Seth Kotch will consider how radio stations founded by African Americans in the South used a combination of music and talk to extend, multiply, and complicate the gains of the Civil Rights Movement. Michael Figueroa will examine how notions of race, politics, and agency connect within narratives of the African American musical past, such as considering the stakes of teaching “black genius” in the university classroom during an era of racial strife. Our scholars will then bring their unique perspectives into conversation, exploring the wide-reaching effects African American music has had on American popular culture. Following the seminar, participants may opt to attend The Count Basie Orchestra with Diane Schuur and New York Voices presented by Carolina Performing Arts at 8:00 p.m. Saturday evening, and hear the sounds of swing and jazz with renewed appreciation and understanding.

Tar Heel Trailblazers Award Ceremony and Reception

1:00 pm | Chapel Hill
Tickets: Game tickets are required to watch the halftime show.
Program webpage:

For the third year in a row, Carolina Athletics will honor pioneering former student-athletes with the Tar Heel Trailblazers award. This year’s honorees are Sharon Couch-Fikes and Phil Ford. The award recognizes individuals who paved the way for success in all aspects of the student-athlete experience. The Trailblazers will be honored at halftime of the men’s basketball game on Feb. 20 vs. Miami and at a reception afterward.

Star Families: African Sky Stories

3:30 pm | Morehead Planetarium
Tickets: Regular planetarium show fees apply, and participants are asked to register in advance.
Program webpage:

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center will present the Planetarium program that includes a “sky tour” of constellations on the planetarium dome, along with African myths and legends of the night sky presented by storyteller and astronomy educator Amy Sayle. “Star Families: African Sky Stories” is part of the Star Families monthly series of programs for children, ages 7-12, accompanied by their families or other caregivers.

February 24

The Black Business Roundtable: Do You Have What It Takes?

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm|Carolina Club
Tickets: Free and open to the public

A critical conversation on the economy, business climate, and the essential tools to be a successful corporate leader or entrepreneur in the 21st century. Speakers represent the business of financial services, real estate, entrepreneurship, and non-profits. Sponsored by Kenan-Flagler Business School and the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. Please contact Dr.  Deborah Stroman for more information at or 919.843.0336

February 26

The Minority Health Conference – In Solidarity: The Role of Public Health in Social Justice

8:00 am – 4:30 pm| William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education
Tickets: Student Registration: $35 and Regular Registration: $65
Program webpage:

The Minority Health Conference will celebrate its 37th year with the 2016 theme In Solidarity: The Role of Public Health in Social Justice and will explore the intersection of public health and social justice. The conference will highlight opportunities for public health researchers and practitioners and social justice advocates to learn from each other to identify best practices for prioritizing minority health and fostering inclusive strategies for change. In addition to keynote lectures and breakout sessions, the 37th annual conference will be the first to feature an interactive skill-building workshop for participants. The Minority Health Conference is the largest and longest running student-led health conference in the country. The conference aims to raise awareness around health disparities and mobilize students, academics, and community members to take action for change.

February 28

Cookies and Conversation: An Afternoon with Two Women to Remember

3:00-5:00 pm | Campus Y

Presented by the Kappa Omicron Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., this event will feature UNC’s first black faculty member, Hortense McClinton, and actress and author Angela Ray in a relaxed setting.

McClinton came to UNC 49 years ago, in the fall of 1996, to work in the School of Social Work. From the time she began as the first black professor until she retired in 1984, McClinton watched the University take on a new look and feel as diversity increased across campus. She grew up in Boley, Oklahoma, which was developed as an all-black town created for black people to govern themselves. She received her undergraduate degree at Howard University and a master’s in social work from the University of Pennsylvania.

Ray, a 1994 Honors graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, has appeared on One Tree Hill, Dawson’s Creek, Miracle in the Woods, and more. A George Moses Horton Award winning poet, she is the author of the book of poetry, Blackberry Whispers. Also, she is a contributing author of the anthologies: Delta Girls: Stories of Sisterhood, No More Silent Cries and Gumbo for the Soul. In addition, she has two full-length plays to her credit: Loved Ones and Aluta Continua (the struggle continues) which was presented in conjunction with the University of North Carolina’s Bicentennial Celebration. Most recently, she has worked with Brand Newz, produced by Christopher “Play” Martin, and she is the founder and producer of the Mahogany Dime Awards, an annual ceremony that honors the achievements of African American women from across North Carolina.

Swimming in Dark Waters: Other Voices of the American Experience

7:30 pm | Memorial Hall
Tickets: start at $39.  UNC Students, $10.
Program webpage

Carolina Chocolate Drops’ electric, genre-bending singer/instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens, described by The New York Times as “a perpetually soulful marvel,” joins forces here with folk singer/songwriter Bhi Bhiman and cellist/singer Leyla McCalla. In this impassioned concert they delve into the profound yet too often overlooked history of protest, subversion and cultural resistance by musicians of color in the United States, from the original inhabitants to recently arrived immigrants. This performance celebrates Black History Month.  This performance is presented in collaboration with The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History and the Center for the Study of the American South.



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