Many of this year’s Black History Month events are virtual, creating a unique opportunity for Arkansans to have increased access to a variety of programming. Every Monday in February we’ll publish a weekly list spotlighting several of these events. If you’d like your event included, please email the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
5 p.m. — The Innocence Project Discussion
During this virtual discussion hosted by the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, guests will learn about The Innocence Project and hear from exoneree Rodney Roberts. Zoom registration is required.
7 p.m. — Zuzu African Acrobats
Originating in Mombasa, Kenya, the Zuzu African Acrobats have performed in more than 25 countries. Their performances are a blend of circus style acrobatics and popular dance, set to African music. The virtual show lasts 60 minutes, followed by a discussion on the importance of orality in Bantu culture and how cultural legacies have been faithfully preserved for generations through the power of living voice. Admission is free, but space is limited.
12:15 p.m. — Honoring the Legacy: Virtual Lunch & Learn with Judge Wiley Austin Branton Jr.
This discussion is focused on honoring the 73rd anniversary of Silas Hunt’s admission to the University of Arkansas School of Law. He was the first African American to be admitted. Registration is required.
2 p.m. — Black Wall Street: A Multi-Path Journey
This virtual conversation with author, international lecturer and Pulitzer Prize nominee Clifton L. Taulbert will feature a presentation on Tulsa’s Black Wall Street. The live session will be moderated by Constance Bailey, assistant professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Arkansas. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
6 p.m. — Lift Every Voice: Why African American Poetry Matters
Constance Bailey, assistant professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Arkansas, will lead discussion on African American Poetry on the theme of Black Language and Music. Poems to be discussed include Ma Rainey by Sterling A. Brown, Dear John, Dear Coltrane by Michael S. Harper and The Black Back-Ups by Kate Rushin. The free event will take place via Zoom. Please register to receive the login information.
9 a.m. — Lift Every Voice: Special Collections Presents African American Poetry
Join archivists from Special Collections at the University of Arkansas in a video exploration of selections from their African American poetry collections. Highlights include poems by John Paul Dunbar and Langston Hughes set to music by Florence Beatrice Price Smith, selections of modernist Black poetry that influenced jazz musician John Stubblefield and an anthology of poetry published by the Works Progress Administration in 1937. A link will be posted on the Fayetteville Public Library’s Facebook page at the time of the virtual event.
11:30 a.m. — A Conversation with Reginald J. Miller: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Modern Age
Miller is a University of Arkansas alum and vice president and global chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at McDonald’s. His presentation will be followed by a short question-and-answer session. The virtual event can be attended via Zoom and registration is not required.
7:30 p.m. — The Dean Speaks – An Evening with Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch
Arkansas State University’s graduate school dean will discuss her upcoming book and Black history. The virtual event can be streamed live on the KLEK 102.5 FM Facebook page.
3 p.m. — Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Hour with Dr. Caree Banton
Banton, associate professor of history and director of African and African American Studies at the University of Arkansas, will present Subverting J. William Fulbright’s Ideals on Civil Rights: How to Approach Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The goal for these weekly conversations is to provide a platform to share experiences, ensure awareness and education, allow voices to be heard and instill a sense of belonging. The public can attend via Zoom and no registration is required.
6 p.m. — Lift Every Voice: Spotlight Authors Geffrey Davis & F. Douglas Brown
Join poets Geffrey Davis and F. Douglas Brown as they read from and discuss poems from the co-written book of poetry Begotten. The friends met in 2012 while at the Cave Canem Retreat. In between workshops, readings, and laughter, they discussed fatherhood and the poetry that stems from it. The poems in Begotten, as well as their first full-length books, are a continuation of their conversations. They borrow from one another’s poems, both in structure and in dialectic; they lift lines to create new lines; and in some cases, they write back and forth all in an effort to interrogate as many aspects and borders of fatherhood as they can handle. The discussion will take place via Zoom. Please register for login information.
7 p.m. — Mosaic Templars Cultural Center Storytime Showcase
Join director Christina Shutt at 7 p.m. every Thursday on MTCC’s Facebook Live or YouTube channel for a virtual story time that features authors and main characters of color. During the reading, Shutt will reveal a secret code for one free kid’s scoop of ice cream per family at Loblolly Creamery, located at 1423 Main St. in Little Rock. MTCC collaborated with Loblolly to create the “Maple Leaf Ragtime” flavor in honor of composer Scott Joplin. A portion of proceeds from each purchase of this flavor will benefit MTCC.
6 p.m. — #BuyBlackFridays
KLEK 102.5 FM in Jonesboro will host interviews with businesses that will provide information to enlighten students, as well as the community about where to #BuyBlack. This event will be held every Friday of Black History Month on the ASU Multicultural Center’s Instagram Live. #BuyBlack will have a photo contest on the last week of Black History Month.
9:30 a.m. — African American Migration in Arkansas: Where Did My People Go?
The Black History Commission of Arkansas and the Arkansas State Archives is hosting this virtual symposium. Topics include: African Americans, Arkansas, and the Other Great Migration 1865-1920, Any Place but Here: The 1860 Expulsion of Free Blacks from Arkansas” and Arkansas’s African Migration Movement in the late 1800s. Registration is required.
2 p.m. — Lift Every Voice: Ozakwaaba Concert
The name “Ozakwaaba” creatively represents the group’s intent to welcome all to the Ozarks, just as the Ozarks has welcomed all to its majestic natural beauty (Ozarks + ‘Kwaaba’ or welcome). The band is dedicated to keeping Afro-pop, Reggae, West and South African music alive in Northwest Arkansas. Ozakwaaba performs cover songs and originals. This concert will be livestreamed only and will be available for viewing and replay via the Fayetteville Public Library Vimeo page.
3 p.m. — You’re Invited: We Write for You II
This Black children’s book author virtual panel and book reading will feature authors Derrick Barnes, Ashley Franklin and Imani Grant. RSVP is required.
7:30 p.m. — Arkansas’ Hottest Hip Hop & Rap
Music Moves will host a livestream event highlighting Arkansas Hip Hop and Rap artists including Yung Bay, 607, LiveSosa and Zo Max.
2 p.m. — Lift Every Voice: Poetry as Healing with Na’Tosha De’von
Na’Tosha De’Von will lead a supportive poetry workshop focused on using art as a tool for healing. Participants will learn about using the five senses as a form of metaphoric expression. Guests will also write a poem to their younger selves in a moment when they were afraid and explore how to comfort that child while facing fears that may still impact them today. Those who are willing may share with the group. The discussion will take place via Zoom. Please register for login information.