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Black History Month

DATE: Wednesday, January 29, 2020

HCC Black History Month events run from Feb. 4 - Feb. 27

Shirley Chisholm speaks at HCC Commencement

Holyoke Community College will celebrate Black History Month in February with events both on and off campus, including a TED Talk broadcast, workshops on 19th-century African-American literature, an art exhibit, a food festival and a free screening of a documentary about Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and who ran for president in 1972.

All events are free and open to the public, except where otherwise noted.

Black History Month events at HCC begin on Tues., Feb. 4, with a screening of a 15-minute TED Talk by Jedidah Isler, the first black woman to earn a PhD in astrophysics from Yale University and one of the first black women in the United States to earn a PhD in any physics-related field. Her talk, "The Untapped Genius That Could Change Science for the Better," will be shown in HCC's Center for Excellence, room 265 in the Frost Building, at 1 p.m. The screening will be followed by a discussion led by Adrienne Smith, HCC interim dean of Science, Technology, Engineering & Math, the first African-American woman to earn an engineering degree from Western New England University.

On Wed., Feb. 5, 10 - 11:30 a.m., also in the Center for Excellence (Frost 265), Marie Troppe, HCC's director of Transition to College & Careers program, will led a workshop exploring how 19th-century African-American literature, such as Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs, can illuminate modern views on race. Troppe holds a PhD in English with a focus on 19th-century African-American literature. 

Troppe's workshop, "What's the 19th Century Got to Do with Our Views on Race Today?" will also be offered Wed., Feb. 12, from 9 to 10:30 a.m., and Tues., Feb. 18, from 3 to 4:30 p.m., in the Center for Excellence (Frost 265).

Other Black History Month events include HCC Community Night on Thurs., Feb. 13, from 5 to 8:30 p.m., at the Smith College Museum of Art in Northampton. HCC students, faculty and staff will receive free admission to the museum and its featured exhibit, "Black Refractions: Highlights from the Studio Museum in Harlem." Adult guests accompanying members of the HCC community to the museum will be charged a $5 fee ($4 for seniors).


Wed., Feb. 19, 10 -11 a.m.,  FPA 137
"The History of Black Gospel Music,"
Presented by the HCC Music Dept. and featuring performances by Evelyn Harris of Sweet Honey in the Rock, Mary Witt of the O-Tones, and HCC vocal instructor Ellen Cogen.

Also on Feb. 19, at 11 a.m., Leslie Phillips Theater (second floor, Fine & Performing Arts Building)
HCC will hold a free screening of the 2004 documentary, "Shirley Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed."  In addition to being the first black woman elected to Congress in 1968, Chisholm, D-New York, was the first black major party candidate to run for President of the United States. She was also HCC's keynote speaker at Commencement in 1984.

Feb. 26, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Campus Center 2nd floor Lobby
Black-Owned Business Showcase

Meet and greet local business-owners, peruse their products, and learn about the experience of black entrepreneurs. All are welcome to attend. 

Feb. 26, 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m., HCC Library
Panel Discussion: Black Holyoke Oral History Project

Erika Slocumb,  Project Scholar for the Black Holyoke Oral History Project (on display in the HCC Library, on loan from the Wistariahurst Museum) will lead a panel discussion about the Project with Holyoke community members featured in the work.  HCC is honored to have Erica and guests visit and talk about her important work.  All are welcome to attend.

Feb. 27, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., Leslie Phillips Theater Lobby
Black Heritage Food Fest

This event will feature free food for HCC students and employees, cooked by local chefs who specialize in food from the Southern United States, Creole Coast, Caribbean, etc. There will be a suggested donation of $5 at the event, and all funds raised will go toward the creation of an annual award for an active student member of the HCC Black Student Alliance. All are welcome.

PHOTO: Legendary educator and politician Shirley Chisholm speaks at HCC Commencement in 1984.