African American Heritage Month Events at UNC
To commemorate and celebrate the contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week. The first celebration occurred on Feb. 12, 1926. For many years, the second week of February was set aside for this celebration to coincide with the birthdays of abolitionist/editor Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, as part of the nation’s bicentennial, the week was expanded to a month. Since then, U.S. presidents have proclaimed February as National African-American History Month.*
At UNC-Chapel Hill, numerous events are held across campus during African American Heritage Month/Black History Month in recognition of the historical background that has shaped the contributions of African Americans to our country. These include the annual African American Heritage Month Lecture, performances and more.
Please check this page often for updates.
- 1 Monday, February 3
- 2 Wednesday, February 5
- 3 Thursday, February 6
- 4 Friday, February 7
- 5 Monday, February 10
- 6 Tuesday, February 11
- 7 Wednesday, February 12
- 8 Thursday, February 13
- 9 Friday, February 14
- 10 Saturday, February 15
- 11 Sunday, February 16
- 12 Monday, February 17
- 13 Tuesday, February 18
- 14 Wednesday, February 19
- 15 Friday, February 21
- 16 Monday, February 24
- 17 Wednesday, February 26
- 18 Friday, February 28
Monday, February 3
Black History Month Kick-Off
Union West Lounge
The Black Student Movement (BSM) will hold a celebration featuring a performance by their a capella subgroup, Harmonyx. Cupcakes will be served and there will be balloons and music. BSM members are encouraged to wear their shirts for a group photo.
Bridging the Gap
This open discussion will focus on the disconnect and similarities between different ethnicities in the black community. This event is a collaboration BSM, OASIS, ALX and CSA.
Exhibit: Enriching Voices
Oct. 10 through Feb. 12
Wilson Library, Special Collections Library
For almost two centuries, African American authors have enriched the literature of North Carolina and deepened our understanding of and appreciation for the human condition.
A selection of works by 34 of these writers is featured in the exhibition “Enriching Voices: African American Contributions to North Carolina Literature.” The exhibition is free and open to the public.
Black North Carolinians have faced unique and daunting obstacles in seeking freedom, equality and opportunity. Their writings present stories of survival and persistence, individual achievement, the joys of family and community, and faith in a better future for all Americans. The earliest works in “Enriching Voices” are two poems by George Moses Horton, ca. 1837. Enslaved in Chatham County, Horton taught himself to read and to compose poetry. He eventually began visiting the University of North Carolina and writing acrostics for students in Chapel Hill.
Other featured authors include the very well known, such as Maya Angelou, Pauli Murray and John Hope Franklin. North Carolina poet laureate Jaki Shelton Green, who opened the exhibition on October 10 with a poetry reading and talk, is represented by two of her poems, “Purpose” and “Praise Song.” Alongside these familiar names are less known North Carolinians whose work has also made an impact. All the works on view, with the exception of one item on loan from the Wake County Public Libraries, are part of the North Carolina Collection at the Wilson Special Collections Library.
Exhibit: On the Move: Stories of African American Migration and Mobility
Sept. 14 through Feb. 9
Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room, Wilson Library
The year 2019 marks 400 years since the first enslaved Africans were brought by force to North America in 1619. “On the Move” uses modes of transportation to connect various points in African American history. Six modes of transportation and their intersection with the lives of African Americans are highlighted: the ships of the trans-Atlantic slave trade; movement on foot, as exemplified by those fleeing slavery; the trains that enabled the Great Migration that brought many black Americans from the rural South to urban areas in the North and Midwest; buses, which Powell calls a “chronic flashpoint” during the civil rights era; cars and the intertwined promise and dangers of personal mobility; and airplanes as a symbol of military experience.
Exhibition visitors will see an early diagram of how enslaved people were packed into ships for the voyage to the Americas. They will also learn about stories such as that of “Dolly,” who ran away while enslaved in the Carolinas; the Pullman train porters whose income raised the social class and economic status of their families; and aviator Eugene Bullard, who had to move to France to learn to fly and then piloted heroically for that country during World War I.
Filmgoers who saw the movie “Green Book” will be able to view a facsimile copy of the guide that helped African American motorists plan trips to avoid discrimination and danger.
Wednesday, February 5
CUAB “Watchmen” Screening and Trivia
Carolina Union Auditorium
CUAB will host a screening of the HBO series Watchmen and a discussion about the lack of representation of Black people in award nominations. There may also be food and t-shirts given out during the event.
Discussion: “To Be or not To Be”
Upendo (SASB North)
Discussion will focus around the complexities of dating while Black.
Thursday, February 6
Black Women and Dating
Carolina Union Room 3411
The Bridge, in collaboration with Queen in You, will host this session that will address statistics about low rates of successful marriage for Black women and the sexualization of Black women. In addition, themes regarding sexuality, “struggle love” as portrayed through media, mysogynoir and more will be addressed.
“Men Anta?” Who are you? Open Mic
Campus Y Anne Queen Room
Join the Arab Student Organization and the Black Student Movement for this identity-centered open-mic event. We want to know about you! What makes you you? We plan on providing a judgment-free atmosphere where anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity or religion, can express who they are openly through spoken word, poems, singing, music or any other medium. Through this event, we believe that our community will be able to relate to one another on a deeper level. Sign up here.
Friday, February 7
Rep Your Set: “What is the Blackness” Campaign
BSM will be tabling at the Pit, with a white board photo campaign for people to express and write how “What is Blackness” resonates with them. The “Rep Your Set” is open to interpretation. People are encouraged to wear whatever attire they feel best represents them.
Monday, February 10
Panel Event: Black Women Lead with Senator Smith
Stone Center Auditorium
This panel discussion will feature NC Senator Erica Smith and other women in politics from across the state.
Shake Like Blue Lightning
Rams Head Gym Multipurpose Room
The BSM subgroup, Blue Lightning, will perform.
Tuesday, February 11
Family Feud Trivia
The BSM First Year Class Council and the Carolina Ques, in collaboration with Psi Delta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., will partner to present Family Feud-style trivia.
Wednesday, February 12
HMX: A Four Letter Word
The BSM subgroup, HMX, will perform during this Valentine’s Day-themed show.
Thursday, February 13
(De)Constructing Difference Medicalizing Blackness and the Making of Race
University Libraries will host this talk by Rana A. Hogarth, assistant professor of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The talk will celebrate the opening of the exhibition “Race Deconstructed Science and the Making of Difference.” Hogarth is the author of “Medicating Blackness Making Racial Difference in the Atlantic World, 1780-1840” (University of North Carolina Press, 2017).
Co-sponsored with the Bullitt History of Medicine Club.
Reception and exhibition viewing at 5 p.m, Wilson Library, Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room. Program at 5:30 p.m., Wilson Library, Pleasants Family Assembly Room
Rams 1 Multipurpose Room
Hosted by Queen in You.
CBC and UNC Athletics BHM Women’s Basketball Tribute
Friday, February 14
Love Grams in the Pit/Flex Friday
BSM will distribute love grams with candy/notes. Participants are also encouraged to dress nicely for Flex Friday.
Saturday, February 15
10 p.m.–2 a.m.
Rams Head Gym
Come join in at this fun, late night party at the gym!
Sunday, February 16
Voices for Equality: “Breach of Peace”
3–4 p.m. Performance; 4–5 p.m. Reception
Admission is free, open to the public and appropriate for all ages. Advance registration requested. Call 919-962-3000, 866-441-3683, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In celebration of Black History, the Friday Center for Continuing Education proudly presents a theatrical performance presented by acclaimed actor and playwright, Mike Wiley. His one-man play, Breach of Peace, pays tribute to the 1961 Freedom Fighters Movement.
May 24, 1961 was the day 19-year-old Jean Thompson’s father had prepared her for her entire life. “My parents always talked about the injustice of segregation, but they were optimistic; they didn’t feel like it was going to last forever,” Thompson recalled. “They raised us to be ready. I remember my dad saying the day will come, and when it does, you should be ready.”
On that day, she boarded a Trailways bus in Montgomery, Alabama with 11 young Freedom Riders bound for New Orleans – and history. Within three months, approximately 300 other riders took up the mantle to desegregate buses, following the path of the first brave few. Mobs bloodily assaulted many. Others were arrested shining a light on a brutal, segregated South. Breach of Peace is based on true accounts of surviving participants of the Freedom Rides as well as many other individuals involved in the early struggle for African-American equality.
This solo-play and multi-media performance, is a living monument to those remarkable young men and women of various races, religions and backgrounds who rose to face the dangers of fighting for just and equal treatment for all. Breach of Peace offers a powerful lesson of freedom, equality, and the triumph of the human spirit.
Monday, February 17
James Williams: “My Effort to Make Black Lives Matter”
Carrboro Century Center (100 N. Greensboro Street, Carrboro)
Colonial Shadows: The Life and Afterlife of Cecil John Rhodes as a Commemorative Statue
FedEx Global Education Center, Mandela Auditorium
Sandra Klopper, Professor Emerita of Art History and former Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Cape Town will discuss the symbolic importance the statue of Rhodes played in fueling and focusing debates related to historical injustices at UCT. These culminated in demands across different campuses in South Africa, the UK and elsewhere for a radical de-racialization and decolonization of all universities and their Eurocentric curricula. Sponsored by the African Studies Center, the Art and Art History Department and the College of Arts and Sciences.
African American History Month Lecture
Beverly Guy Sheftall, Professor of Women’s Studies and Director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College, will deliver this year’s lecture. Co-sponsored by the Department of History and the Chancellor’s Office.
Tuesday, February 18
Carolina Defender Interest Meeting
Carolina Union Room 3209
Carolina Defender will host this event to allow potential members learn more about who the Carolina Defender is as an organization, both literally and physically.
“Southern Comfort” Dinner
Chase Dining Hall
Enjoy the down home southern comfort food from Mama Dip’s Kitchen, who will cater the annual BHM dinner.
Wednesday, February 19
Ebony Readers Onyx Theatre (EROT)/BATC Poetry Workshop
Rams village Multipurpose Room
This spoken word and acting workshop will be led by BSM’s EROT and Black Arts Theatre Company performance groups.
Friday, February 21
Black History Pit Trivia/Durag & Bonnet Day
BSM will be playing a trivia game in the Pit that requires people to respond to Black history-related questions. Participants are encouraged to wear durags/bonnets. Group photo at noon.
CBC Black History Trivia Night
Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews (109 E. Franklin Street #100)
Monday, February 24
Celebrate Black Business with Chef Ricky
Join us for a chat with Ricky Moore, the award-winning chef and proprietor of SALTBOX Seafood Joint, author of SALTBOX Seafood Joint Cookbook and the star of the PBS/UNC-TV program The Hook (the funkiest fish show on the planet). Cookbook raffle and free food voucher to SALTBOX Seafood Joint or Big C’s for attendees! Both food trucks will be on site after the talk. This event is open to and welcomes ALL, and will be a time of gathering, learning, sharing insights and connecting. Registration required. REGISTER HERE.
P.E.A.C.E. Monthly Meeting
P.E.A.C.E. will host this monthly meeting, focusing on the themes of self-care and compassion, body positivity, diet culture and healthism.
This event will honor and celebrate the existence, efforts and evolution of Black and Brown women. Come join this open discussion in a safe and inclusive learning environment.
Wednesday, February 26
Leadership Open House
Friday, February 28
Part of BSM’s “Celebration of Blackness” campaign, we encourage people to dress nicely for a group photo.
BSM will be holding Karaoke night. Participants are invited to bring their best throwback vocals.
*From U.S. Census Bureau