Yale Celebrates Black History Month With Art, Poetry and More

A reading by Nikki Giovanni, a.k.a. “the black priestess of poetry,” a dinner featuring former NFL player Ryan Stewart and a talk by award-winning alumni artist Titus Kaphar will be among the highlights of Yale’s celebration of February as Black History Month.

This year’s program coincides with the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale (AACC). To mark that milestone, the center has created a video titled “In Our Own Words,” featuring alumni who helped organize the center. It can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnwalFbOq6U.

The following are just some of the highlights of the events being held in honor of Black History Month. A full list can be found at the AACC’s official blog, The Ebony Tower at Yale, at http://ebonytower.tumblr.com. Unless otherwise noted, all are sponsored by the AACC and are free and open to the public.

Rwandan holocaust survivor. Immaculée Illibagiza, an engineer who survived the Rwandan genocide by hiding with seven other women in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor’s house for 91 days, will present “Left to Tell: A Story of Survival, Hope and Forgiveness” at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5, in the Anlyan Center, 300 Cedar St. Sponsored by the Yale African American Affinity Association (YAAA).

Black History Month Dinner. The annual Black History Month Dinner will feature remarks by Stewart, host of “2 Live Stews” and a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Foundation to support black male youth development. The event will take place 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11, in Calhoun College dining hall, 89 Elm St. Seating for the dinner is limited, and there is a charge. Those interested must R.S.V.P. to 203-432-0740.

Exhibition and reception. A show featuring works by participants in Yale’s study- and travel-abroad programs will be held Feb. 10-28 in the AACC, 211 Park St. There will be an opening night reception at 6 p.m.

Fundraiser for Haiti. A Haitian film festival and fundraiser will take place 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13, in the Lighten Room of the AACC. Co-sponsored by the Film Studies Department.

“Building Blocks by Breaking Chains.” New Haven activist Barbara Fair will discuss the criminal justice system and the prison industrial complex at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16, in the AACC. Co-sponsored by the Black Student Alliance at Yale (BSAY) and the House Film and Lecture Series.

Black Solidarity Conference. The 15th annual event will focus on the theme “Progress Is Personal: Erasing Complacency, Embracing Our Purpose,” Friday-Sunday, Feb. 19-21. For more information, visit www.bsc2010.webs.com. Author, academic and radio host Professor Michael Dyson of Georgetown University will be the featured speaker; the musical guest will be J. Cole.

“Imagining Ourselves: The Social.” The BSAY meeting, focusing on the “Implication Behind the NAACP Image Awards Nomination for ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta,’” will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23, in the AACC.

Poet Nikki Giovanni. The renowned author, educator and activist will present a lecture and book-signing at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24, at the Yale Law School auditorium, 127 Wall St. The author of over 30 books and a Grammy nominee, Giovanni has long been committed to fighting for human rights and equality.

NAACP Image Awards Watch Party. A night celebrating African-American achievement in media, music and film will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26, in the AACC. Pizza and refreshments will be served. Sponsored by Yale NAACP.

Artist Titus Kaphar. A graduate of the Yale School of Art, Kaphar is known for taking European and American portrait paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries and reconfiguring them to create a dialogue about race, art and representation. He will discuss social justice issues and racial recognition in his own art on Friday, Feb. 26, in the AACC at a time to be announced. Sponsored by the Yale Christian Fellowship at AACC.

For further information, call 203-432-4131 or send e-mail to afam.house@yale.edu.

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