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Black History Month activities promote 'We Are One' theme

Matt Hanley, News Bureau 
(217) 244-0470

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — “We Are One” is the theme of this year’s Black History Month at the University of Illinois.

Black History Month was born in 1926 when scholar Carter G. Woodson promoted what was then called “Negro History Week” in an effort to educate people about the accomplishments of African Americans.  In 1976, the celebration was extended to include the entire month of February, the birth month of Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

Nina Patterson, assistant director for multicultural education and programs in the UI Housing Division, said the month provides a “variety of programs to reach out to the diverse community” on and off the UI campus.

Activities scheduled for Black History Month:

• Wednesday (Feb. 9):  Nia Raps, a poetry presentation, 7 p.m., African American Cultural Program, 708 S. Matthews Ave., Urbana, sponsored by Nia.  Nia, which means purpose, is a UI student organization.

• Friday (Feb. 11):  “Culture Shock,” 6 p.m., Illini Rooms A, B and C and South Lounge, Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana, co-sponsored by Illini Union Board and TEAM.  Various music and talent acts will perform; admission is free.

• Saturday (Feb. 12):  “Night of Chocolate,” 7:30 p.m. to midnight, Illini Rooms A, B and C, Illini Union, sponsored by Illini Union Board.  A disk jockey and dancing will be featured, including salsa music.  Admission is $10; tickets are available at Ticket Central in the Illini Union.

• Saturday (Feb. 12):  Dance, 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Illini Union, sponsored by the Black Greek Council.

• Feb. 14:  “Black Love,” noon, Parkland College Gallery Lounge, 2400 W. Bradley Ave.  A keynote speaker and African art, food, vendors, garments and more.

• Feb. 14:  “Northern Crime/Southern Parole:  Black Women, Black Families,” noon, 1201 W. Nevada St., Urbana.  An African American Studies Research Program brown bag lecture with Cheryl Hicks, Chancellor’s Minority Postdoctoral Fellow.

• Feb. 17:  “The Best Man,” 8 p.m., Courtyard Cafe, Illini Union.  A 1999 film directed by Malcom D. Lee and starring Taye Diggs and Nia Long; admission is $2 at the door.

• Feb. 18:  Fashion Show, 7 p.m., Illini Union, sponsored by Beautiful And Together Sisters of the Lincoln Avenue Residence Hall.

• Feb. 18:  Dance, 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Illini Union, sponsored by the Black Greek Council.

• Feb. 18:  Toni Morrison Birthday Celebration Read IN, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., 1201 W. Nevada St., featuring oral presentations of Morrison’s work.

• Feb. 19:  Cotton Club, 3 and 8 p.m., Foellinger Auditorium, 709 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana.  Cotton Club, a UI tradition, will feature musical performances with a Carnival/Mardi Gras theme.  The 3 p.m. show includes performances by community members.

• Feb. 22:  Let’s Skate with Academic Cultural Enrichment, an after-school program at the Douglas Community Center, 7 p.m., Skateland, Savoy, sponsored by African American Community Empowerment Program of the American Friends Service Committee.

• Feb. 23:  Solango Soul Food Dinner, 5 p.m., Florida Avenue Residence Hall Ogelsby Dining Room, 1001 W. College Court, Urbana. The 33rd annual dinner presented by Solango will feature traditional soul food dishes.

• Feb. 25:  Dance, 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Illini Union, sponsored by the Black Greek Council.

• Feb. 27:  Black History Month Celebration, 6 p.m., sponsored by the Douglas Community Center, 512 E. Grove Court.

• Feb. 29:  “Duke We Love You Madly,” a dinner theater performance presented by the African American Cultural Program Performing Workshop, 7 p.m., Illini Union Rooms A, B and C, Illini Union.  A musical and dramatic tribute to the life of Duke Ellington, one of America’s great composers.  Admission is $3 for students and $10 for faculty, staff and community members.  Reservations are required and should be made by Feb. 22 with Angela Clark at (217) 333-2092.  The event is sponsored by African American Cultural Program, Illini Union Student Programs and Activities, School of Music and the Central Black Student Union.