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January 23, 2020 – A presentation by an award-winning author, an art exhibit featuring pieces with a hybrid African/western theme and a review of a comedic actor’s work are just a few of the activities Dutchess Community College is offering to mark Black History Month. All of the events will be held on DCC’s Poughkeepsie campus and are free and open to the public.
PEN Open Book Award-winner Dr. Nafissa Thompson-Spires will be on campus Feb. 11 at 12:30 p.m. in the James and Betty Hall Theatre to talk about her book, “Heads of the Colored People,” a series of vignettes about topics such as feeling disconnected with “black culture” despite being black.
On Feb. 14 at noon in room 122 of Bowne Hall, English Instructor Jordan Bell will discuss the comedic legacy of John Witherspoon, who had prominent roles in Ice Cube’s “Friday” film series as well as other movies and television shows.
DCC alum Manny Ofori will have his art displayed in the Mildred I. Washington Art Gallery between Feb. 18 and mid-March. His hybrid art utilizes African motifs, symbols, fabrics and patterns in combination with western imagery and ideas through the mediums of painting, drawing and sculpture/woodworking. An opening reception for the exhibit will take place Feb. 19 at 5 p.m. and an artist’s talk will happen Feb. 27 at 12:30 p.m., both in the gallery in Washington Center.
The full list of DCC Black History Month activities is below.
For more information about any of the events, please contact Jordan Bell at (845) 431-8424 or Willie Morris at (845) 431-8433.
Black History Month Film Series, 5:30 p.m., James and Betty Hall Theatre, Dutchess Hall
In collaboration with Communications Professor Camilo Rojas and the Communications program, a series of culturally relevant films will be shown on select dates through March, with a discussion and Q&A following each.
Jan. 27, “Poetic Justice” directed by John Singleton
Feb. 3, “Rosewood” directed by John Singleton
Feb. 10, “Down in the Delta” directed by Maya Angelou
March 2, “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
Tuesday, February 4
Mary Ann Shadd: A Brave and Brilliant Woman Who Made a Difference
12:30-1:45 p.m., Bowne Hall, room 104
Mary Ann Shadd (1823-1893) was an anti-slavery activist, journalist, publisher, teacher and lawyer who grew up in an anti-slavery activist household. The presentation by Ahmed Ismail, assistant professor of accounting, will focus on her upbringing, bravery, accomplishments and contribution to the African American struggle for full emancipation.
Tuesday, February 11
Lyceum: ‘Heads of the Colored People’ with Nafissa Thompson-Spires
12:30-1:45 p.m., James and Betty Hall Theatre
In her book “Heads of the Colored People,” Dr. Nafissa Thompson-Spires tackles subjects such as black nerds, cosplay and the devastation of feeling disconnected with “black culture” despite being black. Thompson-Spires will talk about her work and reflect on the depth and variety of ways blackness occurs in our world and in ourselves. She is the winner of the PEN Open Book Award and the Whiting Award and her book was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award and Aspen Words Literary Prize and was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her work has been included in the best books of 2018 lists from Refinery29, National Public Radio, The Root, HuffPost, Vanity Fair, Bustle, the Chicago Tribune, POPSUGAR and The Undefeated.
Tuesday, February 11
Dr. Felicia Ejiah: A Focus on Black International Excellence
12:30 p.m., Bowne Hall, room 122
Dr. Felicia Ejiah is a Fulbright Scholar from the University of Lagos in Nigeria who is working at The Ohio State University. Ejiah will share her journey through the science world, her experiences in the Fulbright program and some information about Nigerian culture.
Friday, February 14
John Witherspoon: Thanks for the Laughs
12-1 p.m., Bowne Hall, room 122
English Instructor Jordan Bell will discuss the comedic legacy of John Witherspoon, who had prominent movie roles in Ice Cube’s “Friday” series, “Boomerang” and “Talkin’ Dirty After Dark” as well as television roles in “Boondocks” and “The Wayans Bros.” among many others. The presentation will weave together biographical information and performance clips to demonstrate Witherspoon’s impact on the black community and the culture at large.
Thursday, February 20
Kinetic Vibez with Rovion Reed
12:30-1:45 p.m., Dutchess Hall, room 101
The founder of artistic wellness movement Kinetic Vibez, Rovion Reed will discuss how he fuses yoga, meditation and hip-hop to help K-12 students in the Houston area overcome stress, depression and bullying. Reed’s program was chosen by Microsoft’s Empower Possibility initiative to receive funding to help him continue his innovative work.
Friday, February 21
American Presidential Racial (il)Literacy and its Policy Implications
12-1 p.m., Bowne Hall, room 122
From President Washington to President Trump, race and racism have been salient issues that have influenced policies that have created obstacles to collective African-American success. English Instructor Jordan Bell’s lecture will highlight a few of these policies and their effects.
Friday, February 28
Morrison and Marshall: A Memorial
12-1 p.m., Dutchess Hall, room 101
Faculty, staff and students will read pieces by Toni Morrison and Paule Marshall in tribute to the two literary greats.
Art Gallery Exhibit: Manny Ofori
The DCC alum’s hybrid art utilizes African motifs, symbols, fabrics and patterns in combination with western imagery and ideas through the mediums of painting, drawing and sculpture/woodworking that bridges the gap between Africa and the Americas. The exhibit opens Feb. 18 with an opening reception Feb. 19 at 5 p.m. and an artist’s talk Feb. 27 at 12:30 p.m., all in the Mildred I. Washington Art Gallery. The work will be on display through mid-March.