Black History Month
In 2002, two faculty members at Reed proposed to President Colin Diver the creation of a faculty-led committee charged with creating a forum, drawn from across college divisions, for deliberation, discussion, and program development. The goal of the forum would be to institute a program or set of practices that would establish a renewed commitment to diversity as an important, routine, and integral component of college life.
Reed’s Black History Month program came about as a result of that proposal. Each February since 2003 Reed has hosted some of the nation’s foremost thinkers, scholars, and artists in honor of Black History Month.
A Sampling of Black History Month Events
Ethnic Heritage Ensemble with David Ornette Cherry
For more than 30 years, the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble has carried on the African American tradition of percussive jazz from a distinctly Midwest-Chicago perspective. The ensemble features the talents of three internationally renowned musicians: Dr. Kahil El’Zabar, percussionist, composer, and a prolific jazz innovator; Ernest Dawkins, a premier jazz saxophonist and composer; and Corey Wilkes, trumpet, an artist in residence and board member with the Jazz Institute of Chicago.
Annette Gordon-Reed joined the Harvard faculty in 2010 as a professor of law at Harvard Law School, a professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She is the winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in History for her book The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, and the recipient of a 2010 MacArthur Fellowship.
Manning Marable was the M. Moran Weston and Black Alumni Council Professor of African-American Studies and professor of history and public affairs at Columbia University. He was founding director of African American Studies at Columbia from 1993 to 2003. From 2002 to 2011, he directed Columbia’s Center for Contemporary Black History.
Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble
The Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) was founded by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook in 1969 with the mission of bringing children, especially those in Harlem, the opportunity to learn about dance, creative expression, and artistic excellence. The award-winning group has performed at the 2004 summer Olympics, given premieres at Lincoln Center, and had the honor of giving the first performance of Firebird to a sold-out house in China in 2000.
Imani Winds, hailed as “nothing less than the future of the wind quintet” by the Washington Post, presents a program influenced by tango and Cuban music.
Melissa Harris-Lacewell is an associate professor of politics and African American studies at Princeton University. Her academic research is inspired by a desire to investigate the challenges facing contemporary black Americans and to better understand the multiple, creative ways that African Americans respond to these challenges.
Peniel E. Joseph
Peniel E. Joseph, professor of history at Tufts University, is the author of Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama (2010) and the award-winning Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America (2006) as well as editor of Neighborhood Rebels: Black Power at the Local Level (2010) and The Black Power Movement: Rethinking the Civil Rights-Black Power Era (2006).