Music, poetry and more at UMass celebration of Afro-American history
Compiled by BONNIE WELLS (Published on February 15, 2008)
Live jazz by James Carroll kicks off a wide-ranging celebration of Black History Month next week at the University of Massachusetts. The evening, hosted by the W.E.B. DuBois department of Afro-American studies, features music, poetry and talks by new department chair Amilcar Shabazz, as well as watercolor artist Richard Yarde. The event, Feb. 21, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall, is free and open to the public.
After a keynote speech by Shabazz, department graduate students Jason Hendrickson, Keli Stuart and McKinley Moulton will read from their own poetry as well as works by prominent African-Americans. Next to take the podium will be UMass English professor Ron Welburn, who will read from his poetry.
Welburn, a subject in the video documentary series “Poets of New England,” is the author of “Coming Through Smoke and the Dreaming: Selected Poems” and “Roanoke and Wampum: Topics in Native American Heritage and Literatures.”
The program continues with a reading by New York poet Aracelis Girmay from her new collection “Teeth,” and a talk by by watercolor artist and UMass professor Richard Yarde on the topic of his painting series “Ringshout.” The title and inspiration came from an African-American healing ceremony that took place during slavery in the South.
After a blues set by The King Bees, featuring Afro-American studies faculty member Steven C. Tracey on vocals and harmonica, faculty and local authors will be available to sign copies of their books.