This year marks two momentous anniversaries in U.S. history: 150 years ago, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that released enslaved Africans from bondage; a century later, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. King’s speech is credited with helping to shape civil and economic rights for African Americans and all U.S. citizens. The significance of these two benchmarks of U.S. history will be recognized during the University of California, San Diego’s celebration of Black History Month.
This 2013 Black History Month theme, Our History is Our Future: At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality––Remember, Create and Celebrate, is designed to pay tribute to the significant achievements of African Americans in U.S. history and their impact on the world today.
“This year gives us the opportunity to commemorate two landmark anniversaries: The sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) and the golden anniversary of the March on Washington lead by Martin Luther King Jr. that have coincided with the second inauguration of the United States’ first African American President,” said Pamela Frugé, chair of the UC San Diego’s Black History Month planning committee. “This is an historical moment which helps us reflect on heroes who have broken barriers and shattered the ceilings of exclusion while forging a path of opportunity for African Americans today.”
Many of the Black History Month events at UC San Diego integrate personal histories of triumph through art and performance. The events include film screenings, musical performances, and art and cultural displays. New to UC San Diego’s Black History Month celebration, the campus will host the four-day Afrikan Black Coalition (ABC) Conference for students throughout the University of California system. More than 600 students from nine UC campuses and San Diego State University are expected to attend the conference, which aims to improve the conditions of students of African descent on UC campuses.
“UC San Diego is an incredible place with an exceptionally bright future,” said Linda S. Greene, UC San Diego’s first vice chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. “The university will continue to grow in greatness if we create a welcoming environment that is safe, productive and nurtures all parts of our diverse community.”
Highlighted events for UC San Diego’s 2013 Black History Month celebration include the following; a full list of events and details can be found at http://blackhistorymonth.ucsd.edu/2013.
- Theatrical performance: Walking in the Shadows with August Wilson, 7 p.m., Feb. 12, Thurgood Marshall College/ Visual Arts Performance Space: Actor Antonio Johnson will perform “Walking in the Shadows with August Wilson” in celebration of Black History Month at UC San Diego. This one-man performance presents background on August Wilson, an American playwright whose work included a series of ten plays, “The Pittsburgh Cycle,” for which he received two Pulitzer Prizes for drama. Admission is free.
- Afrikan Black Coalition (ABC) Conference, Feb. 15-18, various times and locations: The ABC annual conference works toward improving the conditions of students of African descent on UC campuses. The goal of the conference is to promote networking, celebrate leadership and provide information that furthers the interest and the pursuit of students invested in furthering their education at the graduate level. Lead sponsors of the conference include Intel Corporation, Life Technologies and Union Bank.
- Annual President’s Day roundtable discussion, 11:30 a.m., Feb. 22, Price Center Forum: Every year, the UC San Diego Black Staff Association hosts a conversation with guest speakers and community members about the U.S. presidency.
- Celebration and scholarship jazz brunch, 10:30 a.m., Feb. 23, UC San Diego Faculty Club: This scholarship fundraiser includes “soul food jazz” brunch with performances by San Diego jazz legend, saxophonist and pianist Daniel Jackson with the advanced UC San Diego student jazz ensemble. The event honors the achievements of UC San Diego’s students while building scholarships to help support their academic success. Tickets may be purchased at the UC San Diego Box Office or by phone at (858) 534-TIXS.
- Lincoln film screening, 6 p.m., Feb. 26, the Price Center Theater: This critically acclaimed film by director Stephen Spielberg focuses on President Lincoln’s efforts in 1865 to only have Congress pass the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and end slavery. Admission is free.
Black History Month is celebrated annually in the U.S. and Canada during the month of February. This event offers donors an opportunity 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 giving.ucsd.edu/blackhistorymonth.