The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s annual Black History Month activities are dedicated to informing and educating the campus community while commemorating the accomplishments and feats made by African Americans throughout history.
The month-long celebration commences with a kickoff event on Thursday, Feb. 1, in Lupton Hall.
“They bring some really cool events our way and I learn just as much as the students,” said Office of Multicultural Affairs Assistant Director Christopher Stokes. “I am humbled to be in this field working with so many talented people from different backgrounds. I am able to see the thought and impact that goes into their work and we are able to do so many amazing things here on campus.”
Every February, Multicultural Affairs partners with organizations and groups on and off campus to bring a celebration of Black history to UTC, and this year’s theme is “African Americans and the Arts.” Events will feature many familiar vendors from last year as well as some new sponsors.
“There has been a resurgence of art appreciation in so many different spaces,” Stokes said, “One of our partners this year is the Hunter Museum (of American Art). They have been doing several things in addition to the exhibits; they have created interactive opportunities—even to the point that one of the events is art and yoga.”
As part of the month’s activities, Taste of Black Chattanooga returns for its third year. The event showcases vendors from Black-owned local businesses and gives UTC students, staff and faculty a chance to try signature dishes. The event will be held from 2-4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22, in the University Center Tennessee Room.
Check the Multicultural Center’s Black History Month page for up-to-date information and Mocsync event links.
Stokes said the focus of UTC Black History Month is to celebrate, appreciate and learn from the contributions made by African Americans.
“Our Multicultural Center is celebrating 15 years,” Stokes said, “and this event pays tribute to so many of the leaders here that have created spaces for people from various backgrounds, especially the students.
“I am a part of the history that helped support me to get where I am. My goal is to make UTC feel a little smaller; that way, everyone feels like they are a part of something. We are a larger campus, but when we all come together, everyone feels like they have a place and they have a family.”
Highlights of the Black History Month calendar include the following events (all take place in Lupton Hall unless noted):
- Black History Month Kickoff Celebration (Thursday, Feb. 1): A visual timeline of contributions and accomplishments. Learn more about the origins of Black History Month through the music, culture and heritage within American history.
- Fresh Fridays—Art and Soul (Feb. 9 and 23): A pair of Friday networking events.
- International Teatime (Tuesday, Feb. 6): The Center for Global Education invites the campus community to enjoy different types of tea while learning about Black History Month.
- Hired Like Me (Feb. 12 and 26): The Multicultural Center will host two noon-hour meet-and-greet sessions with local professionals who graduated from UTC. These sessions allow students to understand the career journey of those who once navigated UTC.
- Showtime at UTC—Open Mic and Trivia Night (Thursday, Feb. 15): A night of karaoke, trivia, games and more in the spirit of the Apollo Theater of Harlem.
- Black History Month Artful Yoga (Sunday, Feb. 18): February’s monthly Hunter Museum of American Art series will be focused on African American art.
- UTC Taste of Black Chattanooga (Thursday, Feb. 22): The annual event, featuring signature cuisine from local Chattanooga-area vendors, takes place this year in the University Center Tennessee Room.
- Vision + Verse (Thursday, Feb. 22): The Hunter Museum of American Art event features local Black creatives responding to artworks in a special exhibit, including poet Erika Roberts and dancers from Pop Up).
- Multicultural Center 15th Anniversary Celebration (Thursday, Feb. 29): Join the Office of Multicultural Affairs staff as they host the celebration event for the 15th anniversary of the UTC Multicultural Center.
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A pair of high-profile events are coming to campus in February as part of Black History Month.
On Friday, Feb. 16, UTC LIVE! will present The Core Ensembles’ “Of Ebony Embers: Vignettes of the Harlem Renaissance,” a chamber music theatre work for actor and trio (cello, piano and percussion). The presentation celebrates the lives of the great African American poets Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen and Claude McKay—as seen through the eyes of muralist/painter Aaron Douglas. The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Roland Hayes Concert Hall.
The following week, from Feb. 22-24, the College of Arts and Sciences will present “Baldwin vs. Buckley” as performed by the New York-based american vicarious theatre group. Following critically acclaimed runs in New York City and London, the production of the historic 1965 debate between James Baldwin and William F. Buckley Jr. is reenacted over three nights in three locations:
- Thursday, Feb. 22, Guerry Center Reading Room, 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, Feb. 23, UTC Library Roth Reading Room, 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Feb. 24, Roland Hayes Concert Hall, 7:30 p.m.