400: Mapping the Hidden Traumas, Triumphs, and Trajectories of Black Life

This year’s Black History Month theme is 400: Mapping the Hidden Traumas, Triumphs, and Trajectories of Black Life. Why 400? The classic account of Africans’ first arrival to what became the US is that in August of 1619 a Dutch vessel disembarked “20. and odd Negroes” in Port Comfort (Hampton), Virginia. According to this timeline, 2019 marks 400 years since Africans were first brought to what became the U.S.  Of course, we also know from other sources, such as late Rutgers professor Ivan Van Sertima’s foundational They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America (1976), that Africans traveled to the Americas of their own accord well before this date.  Nonetheless, 1619 marks a watershed moment in black diasporic history because it provides a provisional starting point to consider the forced migration of Africans to British North America. In collaboration with several campus units and community partners, the Black History Month Committee is proud to reflect on four centuries of black determination and innovation through a month-long series of events.    


The Unauthorized Biography Series: Hosted by TedX Presenter and Hip-Hop Artist, Shaun Boothe (Monday, January 28, 11:15 to 12:30; Multi-Purpose Room)

The power of hip hop is in the stories we CHOOSE TO TELL. OUR STORIES CAN EITHER BUILD US UP OR BREAK US DOWN. – Shaun Boothe

The Unauthorized Biography Series is a celebration of greatness. As a youth speaker Shaun Boothe has created this series not just to entertain and inform but to awaken the greatness within us all. In his keynote/assembly presentations, Shaun performs a selection of his musical biographies (usually 3 to 4 bio songs in a 1hr presentation), and then he explores the life lessons we can all learn from these icons. Half TED Talk, half live concert, Shaun uses music, multimedia and motivation to deliver powerful and transformative messaging in a way that truly sticks.

The Unauthorized Biography Series is a musical project that celebrates the world’s greatest cultural icons through biographical hip hop songs. Each chapter of the series captures the legacy of a positive and influential iconic figure in a documentary-style music video.


Courageous Conversations: Bias and microAggressions (Thurs, Jan. 31, 6-7pm; Student Works Gallery)

Have you ever heard the following comments: “You don’t speak like a normal black person,” “You’re not like other Muslim people,” or “Your name is too hard to pronounce; can I call you Mary?”  These remarks are classic examples of what are known as “microaggressions.” The Office of Diversity & Inclusion invites you to its monthly talk on race and interesectional subjects to learn more about this important concept.


Black History Month 2019 Opening Event: Black Lives Matter at School (Monday, Feb. 4, 11:15-12:30, Multi-Purpose Room)

Whose perspectives and experiences are centered in our textbooks and curriculum?

How are students differently impacted by school policies and disciplinary practices?

What conversations are we not having in schools, and how can we start this dialogue?

How can we work towards transformative justice in education?

In support of the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action, members of the Rutgers–Camden community are invited to “Speak Up.” Participants will share poetry, music, readings, or personal stories and reflections on racial justice in education.

Lunch will be provided.

To sign up to participate, contact Kate Cairns at kate.cairns@rutgers.edu


Ida B. Wells Barnett Black History Month Lecture: “400 Years of African Descended People in the New World” by Dr. Prentiss Dantzler (Monday, Feb. 4, 6pm; Multi-Purpose Room)

This year’s Black History Month calendar is headlined by Rutgers-Camden alumnus, Dr. Prentiss Dantzler, who earned his Ph.D. in Public Affairs from RUC in 2016. Dr. Dantzler is currently an assistant professor of Sociology at Colorado College.  Watch the event live HERE!


Slam Poet Ashley Haze (Wed, Feb. 6, 8-10pm; Multi-Purpose)

Returning to Rutgers Camden is Ashlee Haze, a poet and spoken word artist from Atlanta by way of Chicago. Earning the nickname “Big 30″ because of her consistency in getting a perfect score, she is one of the most accomplished poets in the sport of poetry slam. She has been a part of the Atlanta Poetry circuit for over a decade and has been writing over 15 years. Ashlee Haze is a 3- time Queen of the South poetry Slam Champion, 2-time Women of the World Poetry Slam Finalist and 2- time National Poetry Slam semi-finalist. She recently appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk series alongside Blood Orange. Her sophomore book Smoke is scheduled for release Summer 2019.


CREED II (Thurs, Feb. 7, 8pm; Multi-Purpose Room)


Beyond the Mill: Episode 4, The African Diasporic Experience (Wed, Feb. 13, 11:20-12:20; South ABC, Campus Center)

Join Dr. Oscar Holmes IV in conversation with Dr. Eliezer Marcellus and Ms. Marla Blunt Carter on the African Diasporic Experience.


Why the Hell Are Black Women So Angry? (Wed, Feb. 13, 5-6pm; Multi-Purpose Room)

Join us to go over and discuss readings from Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper

The first 20 attendees who check-in using their Event Pass will receive a FREE copy of the book!


Clybourne Park (Feb, 13-17; Walter K. Gordon Theater)

Continuing its 2018-19 season, Rutgers–Camden Theater presents Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris, directed by Prof. Kenneth Elliott. Inspired by Lorraine Hansberry’s classic A Raisin in the Sun, this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play examines issues of race, class, and gentrification with crackling wit and unblinking candor. The New York Times called it, “ferociously smart,” and Variety raved, “Yes, it’s dangerous and provocative, but pulverizingly funny to boot!”

Tickets are $12 for general admission; $10 for faculty, staff, and alumni; and $8 for students. They can be purchased one hour prior to show times at the Walter K. Gordon Theater, or in advance at the Impact Booth in the Campus Center or by phone at (856) 225-6211.

February 13 — 17 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, February 17 at 2 PM
High school matinee: Friday, February 15 at 10 AM


“The Power to Heal: Medicare and the Civil Rights Revolution” (Thursday, Feb. 14, 12:45-1:45; Nursing Science Building, Auditorium 201)

The Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden warmly welcomes film producer Dr. Barbara Berney and film historian Dr. David Barton Smith for a screening of The POWER TO HEAL, an hour-long documentary about a dramatic chapter in the historic struggle to secure equal and adequate health care for all Americans. Central to the story is how a new national program, Medicare, was used to mount a momentous, coordinated effort that desegregated thousands of hospitals across the country practically overnight.  For more information, click HERE.


Dr. Mindy Fullilove, “Tipping Points: Neighborhood Restoration or Devastation.”  (Thursday, Feb. 14, 6pm-8pm; Multi-Purpose Room) 

The Department of Public Policy and Administration welcomes Dr. Mindy Thompson Fullilove. Mindy is a board-certified psychiatrist who explores the ties between environment and mental health.

Dedicated to the psychology of place, Mindy’s research started in 1986 when she linked the AIDS epidemic with place of residence and she continues to focus on the health problems caused by inequality.  For the past 30 years, Mindy has been investigating how broken connections between different sections of cities harm public health and explores ways to reconnect them.  Her work is also integral to a major collaborative effort in remembrance of 400 years of inequality begun with the Atlantic Slave Trade (www.400yearsofinequality.org). Previously, Mindy taught at Columbia University and was a lecturer at Parsons.  The event is free, but registration is required.  Click HERE for more information and to register.


CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER: COLORISM: 50 Shades of Brown (Wed, Feb. 20, 11:15-12:30; Executive Meeting Room)

This discussion will focus on internalized or covert discrimination and prejudicial experiences based on skin color within varying communities of color.


CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER: Coffee House Conversation with Chrisette Michele (Wed, Feb, 20, 6pm; Multi-Purpose Room)


Scholar and Artist Kevin Adonis Browne Shares his Work on Carnival in the Caribbean (Wed, Feb. 20, 5-6:30pm; Writers House, 305 Cooper Street)
The Writers House welcomes Kevin Adonis Browne, PhD, a photographer, writer, and scholar of contemporary rhetorical theory, specializing in the visual and vernacular expressive arts. He is the author of Tropic Tendencies: Rhetoric, Popular Culture, and the Anglophone Caribbean (2013) and High Mas: Carnival and the Poetics of Caribbean Culture (2018). He is the co-founder of the Caribbean Memory Project, a digital archiving and research initiative. He is based in Trinidad and lectures in the Department of Literatures, Cultural, and Communication Studies at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine.  For more info, click HERE.

Admission Information
Free; RSVP encouraged.

Contact Leah Falk; 856-668-4980; writers@camden.rutgers.edu

Family Feud: Black History Month Edition (Thurs, Feb. 28, 5pm; Multi-Purpose Room)


Free Concert in Honor of Black American Music (Thurs, Feb. 28, 7:30pm; Gordon Theater)


For the entire month of February, the Paul Robeson Library will be displaying Underground Railroad artifacts, courtesy of the Lawnside Historical Society (Paul Robeson Library; First Floor Bookcase). 

Please visit the Paul Robeson Library to see “Treasures from the Peter Mott House and Lawnside Historical Society.”  Artifacts originate from the era of America’s Underground Railroad, including a first edition of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, an annotated book of abolitionist poetry, photographs of the Peter Mott House Underground Railroad Museum, and the pocket watches of famed Underground Railroad conductor, William Still.  For more information, click HERE.