UMES Celebrates Black History Month
PRINCESS ANNE, MD - Black History Month activities at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore begin in the Student Services Center rotunda on Monday, February 2, with a 9 a.m. kick-off event that offers prizes and giveaways in support of the month's theme, "The Quest for Black Citizenship in the Americas." At the University, Black History Month activities are open to the public.
Highlights for the month include a Bryan Collier art exhibition in the UMES Mosely Gallery, beginning Monday, February 2. Titled "Purpose and Promise," it showcases the unique style of painting fashioned by Collier, an African American, award winning book illustrator and painter. Collier is currently on tour with the new Barack Obama children's book, "Son of Promise, Child of Hope," written by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Collier. He will attend an opening reception, to be held in his honor on Thursday, February 12, in the gallery from 4-6 p.m. On February 5, a black history month lecture, "Sexual Discretion: Black Folks and the Politics of Passing," at 11 a.m. and a performance, "See-Saw: An (im)Balance of Identities," at 7 p.m. features Dr. Jeffrey Q. McCune Jr., assistant professor of American and Women's Studies at the University of Maryland-College Park. McCune's talk on issues of race, gender and sexuality at 11 a.m. is to be held in Hazel Hall, Room 2040, and his one-man show at 7 p.m. will be held in the Student Services Center theatre.
The President's Interfaith Prayer Breakfast offers food for the body and for the soul on Friday, February 13, at 7:30 a.m. in the Student Services Center Ballroom. General admission is $40 per person or $350 for a table of 10. The Rev. Dr. Marc Farmer will provide inspiration along with the UMES Gospel and Concert choirs. BET's Jeff Johnson, host of the network's weekly news show "The Truth with Jeff Johnson," will conduct an "African American Status Forum" in the Student Services Center theatre at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 17. At the end of the month, the African American Read-In points the community to a story of race and inheritance. Barack Obama's "Dreams from My Father," is the subject of discussion on Sunday, February 22, at 3 p.m. A one-man show culminates Black History Month activities. "Voices: Those Who Wore the Shoe," chronicles the experiences of the few thousand former slaves who were still living in the United States in 1934. On Tuesday, February 24, at 8 p.m. in the Student Services Center theatre, the multimedia "staged documentary" incorporates music, dance and archival photographs to recreate this neglected part of American history.
Health screenings are a brand new addition to Black History Month activities at UMES. On Thursday, February 5, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Student Services Center ballroom, members of the community are invited to invest in their future by receiving free screenings from UMES health professionals. Such screenings include blood pressure, body mass index, osteoporosis and diabetes. State Farm representatives will be on hand to assist. At 11 a.m. in the Student Services Center multipurpose room, join the in-depth discussion on the "Status of Health Care in Black America." Later that evening, at 7 p.m. in the Student Services Center rotunda, the Student Government Association will hold an SGA Black History Month trivia game sure to test the staunchest black history buff.
Yearly, loyal alumni travel to the campus to participate in a dual celebration of Black History Month and Homecoming. The 2009 week-long homecoming celebration begins Sunday, February 8, with a kick-off event at 4 p.m. in the Student Services Center rotunda and a Gospel Explosion at 6 p.m. in the Ella Fitzgerald Center for the Performing Arts. In a must-see performance, The Veney Singers, the Powerfied Youth, the Zionaires, and Preacher Pap and the Gospel Invisibles join the UMES Gospel Choir in concert. Admission is $5 for the general public and free for UMES students with identification. A full schedule of Homecoming events can be viewed at www.umes.edu.
Black History Month movie offerings include, but are not limited to, "Rosewood," "Malcolm X," and "The Color Purple." Movie titles and times, along with all February events, are posted online. Go to www.umes.edu, and click on Events.
Suzanne Waters Street, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: Left to right: Bryan Collier, Dr. Jeffrey Q. McCune Jr., Jeff Johnson.