2017 Black History Month

Invisible Bodies Disposable Cloth artJoin the University of Rhode Island community for a celebration of Black History Month, beginning with a series of MLK Week events, Feb. 6-10, sponsored by the department of Community, Equity, and Diversity. This year’s theme of MLK Week—“We Are Confronted With the Fierce Urgency of Now’’—is from King’s 1967 speech opposing America’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

Events continue throughout the month, including an exhibit that continues through Feb. 17 at the Fine Arts Center Main Gallery, “Invisible Bodies, Disposable Cloth: Slavery in Rhode Island, 1783-1850s,” and events sponsored by the department of Africana Studies. Thanks go to the many departments and groups throughout the University that have co-sponsored events or contributed to the 2017 URI celebration of MLK Week and Black History Month.

Sun., Feb. 5

4-6 p.m., Cheryl Albright in Concert: Ella 100! The Music of Ella Fitzgerald, URI Providence Campus, Paff Auditorium.

MLK Week Events

Mon., Feb. 6

4 to 5 p.m., After the End of the World: Black Lives, Matter and the Anthropocene, Galanti Lounge, Robert L. Carothers Library and Learning Commons. Vanessa Agard-Jones, assistant professor of anthropology at Columbia University, will talk about climate change and the vulnerability of African Americans.

6 to 8 p.m., Art as Activism: A Conversation and Workshop on the Role of Art and Artists in Today’s Political Climate, Hardge Forum at the Multicultural Student Services Center. Speakers are Joe Wilson, Jr., resident actor, Trinity Rep, and URI alumna and Rhodes scholar Rachel Walshe, a lecturer in the theater department.

Tues., Feb. 7


12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Unity Luncheon, Memorial Union, registration required.

Keynote address: Joe Wilson, Jr., resident actor, Trinity Rep. URI student Kinte Howie will emcee the event—a sharing of food, song, and reflection to preserve the memory of King’s life and legacy.

4 to 5:30 p.m. Beyond the 2016 Election: King’s Radical and Revolutionary Vision for Where Do We Go From Here? Hardge Forum, Multicultural Student Services Center. Paul Bueno de Mesquita and Norman Barber will coordinate a workshop that explores how listening leads to reconciliation and empathy and brings people closer to King’s vision of the “beloved community.’’

Wed., Feb. 8

10 a.m.-1 p.m. Martin Luther King Day of Service, Hardge Forum, Multicultural Student Services Center. URI students meet with middle-school students to talk about King and promote college awareness.

5 to 6:30 p.m. Martin Luther King and the March on Washington, Hardge Forum, Multicultural Student Services Center. Associate Professor of Theatre Bryna Wortman will coordinate the discussion.

Fri., Feb. 10

Noon-1 p.m., Compassion Meditation Workshop, Multicultural Student Services Center. Thupten Tendar, a Buddhist monk and URI instructor, will offer guidance on how to be kind, an undervalued quality in today’s world. Research has shown that compassion brings happiness, reduces fear, enhances self-image, increases empathy and boosts immunity.

5:30-7:30 p.m., The Avi Schaefer Multicultural/Multifaith Shabbat Dinner, Norman Fain Hillel Center. As part of URI’s Critical Community Conversations, the dinner brings together students of diverse backgrounds for an evening of ethnic foods and small-group discussions. To attend, please register.

Other events:

Now through Feb. 17

Gallery Exhibition: “Invisible Bodies, Disposable Cloth: Slavery in Rhode Island, 1783-1850s,” Fine Arts Center Main Gallery. Gallery hours: Monday-Friday, noon to  4 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 11

Talks and Contexts: Rhode Island and Slavery, 1783-1850s, Hardge Forum, Multicultural Student Services Center

11-1:45 a.m., From Harriet Jacobs’ “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” performance by Elon Cook

Noon-12:45 p.m., “Forgetting and Remembering Slavery in Rhode Island,” a presentation by Joanne Pope Melish.

1:15-2 p.m., Performance by Sylvia-Ann Soares, who will portray “Silvy Tory” the elder slave in South County.

2:15-3 p.m., “From Manumission to Moby Dick: Black Labor in Rhode Island from Slavery to Textiles and Whaling” by public historian Peter Fay.

Mon., Feb. 13

2-3 p.m., Cheryl Albright in Concert: Ella 100! The Music of Ella Fitzgerald, Hardge Forum, Multicultural Student Services Center, sponsored by the department of Africana Studies

Fri., Feb. 17

4-5 p.m. “Invisible Bodies, Disposable Cloth” exhibition guide and talk with artist-in-residence, Deborah Baronas, and exhibition contributing scholar, Dr. Marcus Nevius

5-5:45 p.m. Gallery Reception

6-7 p.m. Keynote address by Dr. Christy Clark-Pujara, author, Dark Work: the Busines of Slaery in Rhode Island, followed by book-signing at 7:30 p.m.

Tues., Feb. 21

11 a.m., History of Slavery in America “born free”: Southside Virginia’s Antebellum Free Black Communities and Petit Marronage by Dr. Marcus Nevius, Swan Hall, Room 205

Banner art: Artist Deborah Barones, with assistance by URI art students Nora Nozolo, Julia Lawson and Pablo Youngs, and members of the URI Committee for the Understanding of Slavery in Rhode Island, from the “Invisible Bodies, Disposable Cloth” exhibit, curated by Professor of Art Bob Dilworth.

Photo credit: Nora Lewis