The Library Celebrates Black History with Song, Images, and Digital History

This year, the Library is celebrating Black History Month with concerts, exhibitions, and The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. Please come to all the events if you can, and please view the events calendar of the Office of African-American Affairs for more activities.


“The Melanoids Present: Stories of the Black Mosaic,” at the Music Library in Old Cabell Hall, February 1, 2019, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.—Celebrate the multiplicity of Blackness and “The Black Experience” with song and the dramatic arts. Food will be provided by Mel’s Cafe! If you would like to sign up before the event to perform, please contact Sony Prosper. There will be an opportunity to sign up in person on the day of the concert, but there may be limited slots.

Susana Baca in Concert at UVA, Sunday, February 17, 7:00 p.m. in Old Cabell Hall—Twice winner of the coveted Latin American Grammy Award for the Best Folk Album Lamento Negro (2002) and again for participating in the Latin-American super group Los Super Seven that included Brazilian legend Caetano Veloso and Mexican stars from Los Lobos, Susana Baca has introduced Afro-Peruvian music to the world. Her whole life has been dedicated to celebrating her African heritage, keeping the irresistible rhythms of her ancestors alive. This event is free and open to the public but tickets are required. After February 3 tickets will be available online and at the Arts Box Office in Culbreth Theater, Monday through Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (434-924-3376).


“Everyday People: Images of Blackness, 1700s–2000s,” 1st floor gallery of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, January 30 through April 20, 2019—Selected anonymous and familiar African-American images. The exhibition is a photographic mosaic of lives and experiences, memories and traditions that have impacted African-American communities and the nation, arranged in four themes: “Faces,” “Family & Community,” “Recreation & Travel” and “Working Lives.” Individuals emblematic of change and transition in this cultural curation include athletes, children, couples, families, slaves, soldiers, students, and wage earners.

From February 7 through April 20, 2019 in the Reference Room on the 4th floor of Alderman Library there will be an exhibition of book covers representing titles from the Library’s collection of black history materials. The exhibition, which has been designed to complement the exhibition “Everyday People: Images of Blackness, 1700s-2000s” in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, includes book covers from such titles as Talking at Trena’s: Everyday Conversations at an African American Tavern;  Along Martin Luther King: Travels on Black America’s Main Street; and Black Nature:  Four Centuries of African-American Nature Poetry.


During the month of February, Library News & Announcements will feature articles on four historical figures who have been interviewed for the The HistoryMakers Digital Archive, the nation’s largest African American video oral history collection. Each article is being posted to coincide with Black Themed Friday events at the Luther Porter Jackson Black Cultural Center, just a few of nearly 2,700 extraordinary lives chronicling African Americans’ contributions in all areas of American life and culture:

  • February 1Eills Marsalis, Jr., jazz pianist, professor of music, father of renowned musicians Branford and Wynton Marsalis.
  • February 8Isaac Hayes, Oscar-winning composer, singer, and musician
  • February 15Barack Obama, fist African American President of the United States
  • February 22Judith Jamison, ballet dancer, director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

The archive is more than halfway toward founder Julieanna Richardson’s goal of 5,000 interviews, and the Library has been awarded a grant of $1,000,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to increase its impact within the scholarly community. University Librarian John Unsworth leads the project, continuing work he began at Richardson’s alma mater, Brandeis University.

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