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Check the Black History Month events calendar for a complete listing of activities. Programming will continually be added throughout February.
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Every February, the achievements and history of African Americans are recognized and commemorated as part of Black History Month.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s celebration of Black History Month will begin with a kickoff celebration from 3-5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 1, in the University Center Chattanooga Room.
The opening event is a combination pep rally and the 2nd annual Taste of Black Chattanooga, hosted by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Office of Student Success Programs.
“Taste of Black Chattanooga was such a success last year that we wanted to partner with these vendors and our UTC student organizations for the kickoff event,” said Multicultural Affairs Assistant Director Chris Stokes. “We’ll have a DJ and celebrate the culture, music, food and the arts of Black history.”
Throughout the month, the Multicultural Center, located in Lupton Hall, will serve as a visual timeline of contributions and accomplishments of Black history.
The theme of UTC’s Black History Month is “Black Renaissance.” Stokes said the emphasis of event programming was on the rebirth, revival and renewed interest in Black arts, culture, civic engagement and education. He likened it to the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s, an intellectual and cultural revival of African American music, dance, art, fashion, literature, theater, politics and scholarship.
“As a team, in selecting ‘Black Renaissance’ as the theme, we wanted to focus on all of these accomplishments—both in the past and present,” Stokes said. “Renaissance is a rebirth, so we’ll have programs looking at this resurgence, this new energy, this new revitalization throughout the Black community.”
Highlights of UTC Black History Month include:
- Documentary screening of Shared Legacy: The African American-Jewish Civil Rights Alliance (Feb. 9). The historical lessons of Black-Jewish cooperation are revisited and revived in this call to action.
- Spirituals: Celebrating the Music, Life, and Legacy of Roland Hayes (Feb. 13). Acclaimed tenor Jackson Caesar presents a portrait of Roland Hayes, including stories from his life and performances of his music.
- Open mic and trivia night (Feb. 15). A night of karaoke, trivia, games and more.
- Black Entrepreneurship in Chattanooga: The Challenges and Rewards (Feb. 16). A panel of Black entrepreneurs in Chattanooga will discuss their background, motivation and success as well as their unique challenges.
- Go Red! Fashion Show (Feb. 16): Students, faculty and staff will participate in a fashion show to benefit the American Heart Association.
- Black History Festival presented by Culture Books and Rhyme N Chatt Interactive Poetry Organization (Feb. 18). The festival will take place at the newly renovated East Lake Community Center (3610 Dodds Ave.).
Stokes said events would be added throughout the month. Check with the Multicultural Center’s Black History Month page for the most up-to-date information.
In addition, the UTC Library has a collection of Black History Month mixed media, including feature films and documentaries.
Black History Month’s forerunner, a week-long observance during the second week in February, was conceived by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926. The timeframe coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) and Frederick Douglass (Feb. 14).
The celebration was expanded to a full month in the bicentennial year of 1976 by President Gerald Ford, who urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
UTC Black History Month programming is presented by the Office of Multicultural Affairs in collaboration with the Office of Student Success Programs, Center for Global Education, Division of Diversity and Engagement, Department of Performing Arts, Black Faculty and Staff Association, Student and Family Engagement, Gary W. Rollins College of Business, UTC NAACP, Master of Public Health program, Department of Political Science and Public Service, UTC Intervarsity, The House, Honors College, Counseling Center, Center for Leadership and Professional Development, and the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.