The Smithsonian website traces the origins of Black History Month to 1976, a celebration initiated by the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which is now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).
The association was founded by scholar and author Carter G. Woodson, the “Father of Black History.” The son of former slaves, Woodson created the first Negro History Week in 1926 (which corresponded with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass), which later became Black History Month.
UC’s African American Cultural and Resource Center (AACRC) and the AACRC Choir are approaching their 20th anniversary on UC’s campus. The AACRC plays a key role in the mission of the university by providing services and support to the campus community, especially black students. The AACRC also hosts several large-scale traditional programs that mark significant aspects of African-American life at the University of Cincinnati.
As part of Black History Month, the AACRC kicks off its 12th annual Kuamka Week on Jan. 29. Kuamka is Swahili for “In the beginning.” The Kuamka Extravaganza is themed, “Unlocking the Vision Within.”
“UC is committed to embracing diversity as one of the core values of our institution,” says Mitchel D. Livingston, vice president for Student Affairs & chief diversity officer. “Our events to observe Black History Month reflect this commitment, as we celebrate our diverse campus community.”
Here’s the full rundown of Kuamka Week and other Black History Month events at UC.
Saturday, Jan. 29
6-9 p.m., Fun Factory Skating Rink – Kuamka Skating Party
The Kuamka Skating Party officially kicks off the week of Kuamka and an opportunity to meet the UC student candidates who could be crowned Mr. and Ms. Kuamka. To compete for Mr. and Ms. Kuamka, the registered student candidates must be upperclassmen and must display good academic and social standing and be active with the AACRC. Admission is five dollars and includes skate rental.
Monday, Jan. 31
7 p.m., MainStreet Cinema, located in UC’s Tangeman University Center (TUC)
The AACRC holds a public forum to meet UC’s 2011 candidates for Mr. and Ms. Kuamka. The student candidates will answer questions on a myriad of topics from a panel of judges and will be critiqued on poise and the clarity of their responses.
Monday, Jan 31-Monday, Feb. 28
UC Bookstore Display – The UC Bookstore display will highlight 10 new titles under the Black History Month theme as well as feature its standard assortment that covers current and cultural interest. Titles include “The Making of African America” by Ira Berlin and “Best African-American Essays” by Gerald Early.
Tuesday, Feb. 1
7 p.m., Great Hall, TUC – Kuamka Talent Show
The Kuamka Talent Show will showcase the Mr. and Ms. Kuamka candidates’ artistic abilities through song, dramatic interpretation, dance and more.
Thursday, Feb. 3
5 p.m., AACRC – Forum: The State of Education
The state of education is an issue that concerns the nation and the African-American community. The public forum will feature a panel of professionals in education. The event is free and open to the public.
Noon, AACRC: 400 Strong Initiative Kickoff Ceremony
The 400 Strong Initiative through the AACRC is a 30-day pledge to begin a process of personal excellence and community uplift. The goal is to heighten the cultural, political, spiritual and social consciousness of black students. Students take a pledge and are given a button to be worn throughout the month and academic year. Through this 30-day pledge, students are encouraged to be more proactive in their academic endeavors; they’re challenged to build community through kind words and gestures, and create coalitions outside of the university. The initiative is geared toward creating a body of students that will stand for themselves, each other, the standards of their ancestors and the university.
Saturday, Feb. 5
7 p.m., Great Hall – Kuamka Extravaganza 2011: Red, Black, Green and Gold Ball
Kuamka Week ends with this celebration involving semi-formal or African-themed attire. The extravaganza will feature the Rites of Passage program for the AACRC Transitions students, a first-year experience program geared toward building student success and retention. The event will also feature the Kujifunza academic ceremony and the coronation and crowning of Mr. and Ms. Kuamka. Mr. and Ms. Kuamka will serve as the key ambassadors for the African American Cultural & Resource Center and will develop platforms for programming during their reign. The grand prize is a $250 book scholarship and AACRC Spring Break Tour (a $400 value). The runner-up wins a $150 book scholarship. Free tickets for the ball are available in the AACRC.
Sunday, Feb. 6- Friday, Feb. 11
United Black Student Association (UBSA) Presents Black Love Week (Specific Dates and Times TBA)
UBSA will host a week full of programs and events relating to black love within the family. Comprised of movie nights, a speed-dating fundraiser, heartfelt discussion topics about the black family today and a community service event, UBSA hopes to engage and educate students of all backgrounds. Flyers will be distributed around campus listing the dates and location of each program.
Monday, Feb. 14-Friday, Feb. 18
10 a.m.-4 p.m., AACRC: A History of Black UC
The AACRC will feature a tribute to black history by displaying archives from historical events of black life at UC. The tribute, “A History of Black UC,” will feature a black museum and a black library. It will highlight historic pictures, artifacts, paraphernalia, books and audio files that had greatly influenced the black existence at UC. For more information, contact the AACRC 513-556-1177, or visit the AACRC website.
Wednesday, Feb. 16
8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Lindner Hall – Shadow Day Program
UC’s College of Business (CoB) hosts the Shadow Day program, an invitation-only event for underrepresented high school juniors and seniors. The high school students will shadow a current CoB honors student for the day – experiencing the day and life of a current student by attending classes and participating in other business-related student activities, as well as dining in the campus dining centers. Students will confirm their attendance in the program by contacting LaDreka Karikari at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, Feb. 21
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Muntz Hall at Raymond Walters College – African-American Read-In
The purpose of the 22nd National African-American Read-In is to make the celebration of literacy a traditional part of African-American Heritage Month. The National African-American Read-In is sponsored annually in February by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the Black Caucus Division and has been endorsed by the International Reading Association.
Raymond Walters College (RWC) will host a read-in in the Muntz Hall Lobby. The event will feature special guest author Lydia Lambert, author of “Kissing Frogs: The Path to a Prince.” RWC faculty, staff and students will read excerpts from books of prose and poetry written by African-American authors. The event is free and open to the public.
RWC holds the distinction of being a community host of the National African-American Read-In, encouraging churches and schools to take part in the Read-In and reporting the information to the NCTE. Last year, more than a million people in 49 states, the West Indies and countries in Africa participated in the Read-In.
RWC and the community are invited to participate by reading or listening during the Read-In while enjoying a taste of southern-style cuisine. There will also be a book signing, a book table with free bibliographies of works by African-American authors and selected novels and free bookmarks.
Contact Information: Ginny Hizer, director, college relations, 513-745-5706
8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Lindner Hall – Shadow Day Program
Noon, TUC Cinema – International Film Festival
The featured film is “In the Land of the Free,” a documentary about the so-called “Angola 3,” three men who formed a prison chapter of the Black Panther Party who between them have spent nearly a century in prison. Admission is free and open to the public. Website: http://www.inthelandofthefreefilm.com/
Information: Student Activities and Leadership Development, 513-556-6115
Monday, Feb. 28
Noon, AACRC: 400 Strong Initiative Closing Ceremony