The University of California, San Diego is celebrating a century of black life, history and culture as part of the campus’s 2015 recognition of Black History Month. Events throughout February and March include art exhibits, lectures, film screenings, spoken word performances and the annual Black History Month Scholarship Brunch on Feb. 28 featuring special guest speaker, Giancarlo Esposito. Esposito is an Emmy Award-nominated actor whose credits include the television series “Breaking Bad” and “Revolution” as well as films, such as “Malcom X” and “The Usual Suspects.”
“Black History Month is an opportunity for our UC San Diego campus and community members to come together to celebrate the legacy and contributions of African Americans throughout U.S. history,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “I thank the UC San Diego Black History Month Planning Committee for organizing a wide range of educational and celebratory events and programs to mark this important campus commemoration.”
Many of the Black History Month events at UC San Diego integrate the arts to showcase the achievements and contributions black Americans have made in U.S. history. These events include spoken word performances, designed to uplift performers and audiences, which will be held on Feb. 5 and Feb. 19. Other events include as a theatrical performances of the play Venus, running from Jan. 31 to Feb. 7, which tell the true story of Saarje Baartman, a South African girl bought, sold and displayed as a sideshow oddity in the U.S. for the shape of her body. In addition, the campus will celebrate the official dedication of the Black Legacy Mural on Feb. 11. The artwork depicts 24 individuals and groups who hold a significant place in national, international or local Black history—from Billie Holiday and Maya Angelou to Thurgood Marshall and the Tuskagee Airmen.
Additional, highlighted events for UC San Diego’s 2015 Black History Month celebration, which were coordinated by the Black History Month Planning Committee, include the following; a full list of events and details can be found at blackhistorymonth.ucsd.edu.
- Black History Month Opener, Feb. 2, Noon to 2:30 p.m., Price Center Plaza: UC San Diego students, faculty, staff and members of the community will gather together to celebrate the achievements, struggles and persistence of people of African descent through spoken-word poetry and musical performances.
- A Century of Black Life, History and Culture and 100 Rainbow Years, a UC San Diego Library Exhibit, beginning Feb. 3, Geisel Library: This exhibit, co-sponsored with the African American and African Studies Research Center (AAASRC), illustrates the intersections of families and communities evolving toward global social justice, cooperation and universalism. Josephine Baker’s Rainbow Tribe was an inspiration and a centerpiece for the exhibit, which juxtaposes the families of AAASRC Board members who moved from slavery to freedom and from slave holders to promoters of social justice.
- Dive into Complexion – Movie and Discussion (screening of Dark Girls documentary), Feb. 10, 5 to 7 p.m., Location TBD: The film “Dark Girls” explores the deep-seated biases and attitudes about skin color, particularly dark skinned women, outside and within Black American culture. For more information and to RSVP, contact Victor Ekuta at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-514-1537.
- Black Legacy Mural Dedication, Feb. 11, 5 to 7 p.m. Price Center East: Dedication of the Black Legacy Mural located on the first floor of the UC San Diego Price Center.
- “The Kansas City Style: A Marriage of Blues and Jazz with Jeannie Cheatham,” Feb. 12, 3:30 p.m., the Seuss Room in Geisel Library: International jazz legend Jeannie Cheatham will give a presentation on Kansas City blues, featuring live music, engaging storytelling and recently rediscovered video. Cheatham will perform on piano with a jazz trio, underscoring the readings of special guests. An exhibit on the Kansas City style, which will feature Jimmy Cheatham’s trombone, will also be on view in Geisel Library throughout February.
- 7th Annual President’s Day Forum: Past is Prologue – What’s Next, Feb. 17, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Cross-Cultural Center, Comunidad Room: This interactive forum which reflects on U.S. presidents past and considers the potential impact of U.S. presidents in the future. Admission is free. For more information, contact: email@example.com.
- 13th Black History Month Scholarship Brunch, Feb. 28, 10:30 a.m., Price Center West Ballrooms: This event raises funds for student scholarships, recognizes student academic achievement and will feature keynote speaker Giancarlo Esposito, who will be speaking to this year’s Black History Month theme of a 100 years of black life, history and culture. Esposito is a celebrated television, film and theater actor who was nominated for an Emmy and won the Critics’ Choice award for his iconic portrayal of Gustavo “Gus” Fring on AMC’s critically-acclaimed series, “Breaking Bad.” He is currently starring in the popular NBC show “Revolution” and will direct and star in an independent historical drama, “Political Tension,” about abolitionist John Brown. Esposito will play Fredrick Douglas opposite four-time Academy Award nominee Ed Harris. Tickets to the brunch may be purchased at the UC San Diego Box Office or by phone at (858) 534-TIXS.
Black History Month is celebrated annually in the U.S. and Canada during the month of February. These events also offer donors the occasion to make a difference with several giving opportunities.
Diversity giving at UC San Diego is focused on securing private philanthropic support for initiatives that enhance the campus and welcome a diverse community. To learn more or to give, go to bhmscholarship.ucsd.edu.