February is Black History Month, and Wilkes University is celebrating with a variety of lectures and events. Events are free and open to the public and presented by the Division of Global Cultures: History, Languages and Philosophy, the Center for Global Education & Diversity and the Sordoni Art Gallery.
Art In Context Lecture Series: “Harlem Renaissance: Art of Black America,” presented by Thomas Aiello. Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 5 p.m., in the Sordoni Art Gallery, 141 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre.
Though often not discussed as much as literature and theater, visual art was at the heart of the Harlem Renaissance, and Harlem Renaissance art was at the heart of David Driskell’s collection (on display at the Sordoni Art Gallery until Feb. 26). This presentation will focus on the painting of the Black 1920s, with particular emphasis on the work of Richard Bruce Nugent and Aaron Douglas.
Thomas Aiello is professor of history and Africana studies at Valdosta State University in Georgia. He is the author of more than 20 books and dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles. His work helped amend the Louisiana constitution to make non unanimous juries illegal and was cited in the United States Supreme Court as part of its decision ruling them unconstitutional. Among his most recent books is The Artistic Activism of Elombe Brath (Mississippi, 2021), which explores radical Black nationalist art of the 1960s and 1970s. He holds PhDs in history and anthrozoology.
Lecture: “Blackety Black, Y’all,” with Dan Kimbrough.
Thursday, Feb. 9, from 11 a.m. to 12 noon in the Miller Room of the Henry Student Center.
This presentation by Park Multimedia CEO Dan Kimbrough, will explore the meaning of “Black” as a racial category. Among the discussion are the differences between race and ethnicity, how supremacist and colonial mindsets have used race to create and demonize “others” and what it means to be Black in America today.
The Fourth Annual Douglass Day Transcribe-a-thon
Tuesday, Feb. 14, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in 107 Breiseth Hall.
NOTE: media are invited to cover this event. It is not open to the public.
Members of the Wilkes community take an active role in preserving Black history during the nationwide transcribe-a-thon. This year’s event, which honors both Frederick Douglass Day and Black History Month, focuses on transcribing the records of Mary Ann Shadd Cary, a Black American-Canadian woman who led an extraordinary life. No prior transcription experience is necessary and participants can stop by and leave at any time during these hours.