Black History Month Celebrated in Art, Music and Lectures

The Southampton Cultural Center is marking Black History Month with a slate of programs. The celebration includes an art exhibition, live jazz and a lecture series on the history of the civil rights movement.

Black History Month is being celebrated with art, music and a lecture series at the during its 2nd Annual Black History Month Celebration.

“We present diverse programming as part of our mission as a cultural center,” SCC Executive Director Kirsten Lonnie said. “Last year, we had an art exhibition, a jazz workshop and a lecture series. This year, we’ve expanded the series and will again present an art exhibition and live music as part of our Black History Month Celebration.”

The art exhibition, runs throughout February. An will be held on Feb. 5 from 4 to 6 p.m. A by curator Arlene Bujese is being held on Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. The group show features African-American artists Reynold Ruffins, Brent Bailer, Sheila Batiste, Nancy Brandon and Maxine Townsend-Broderick. The reception, gallery talk and exhibition viewing are all free.

On Feb. 11, a “musical journey through the history of jazz” is being presented by the group Touché, according to SCC. Tickets are $15, or $10 for students younger than 21.

The Shinnecock-based group features bassist Pat Johnson and Charles Certain on saxophone. Their music can be described as funk, Nu-Jazz and rhythm and blues, according to the group's MySpace page.

A lecture series on the "History of the American Civil Rights Movement" will be presented in four parts. Each lecture is one and half hours and is free. Lectures will be held at 4 p.m.; at 5 p.m.; at 1 p.m. and at 5 p.m.

The series is led by Kimble Humiston, a professor for Center for World Cultural Studies. His academic credits include a post-doctoral degree from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in cultural history from the Florida State University Center for the Humanities. Humiston is also an author, playwright and lecturer.

This year’s lecture series is an expansion from the series presented by Humiston during last year’s Black History Month celebration at the SCC, he said. A grant from the New York Council for the Humanities allowed the series to grow.

“The lectures give people a complete historical overview starting where the civil rights movement came from,” Humiston said.

This includes presenting the contributions by Harriet Tubman (1822-1913), W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963) and Booker T. Washington (1856-1915). These individuals and others were fighting for equal rights before the civil rights movement formally existed and the concept of equal rights for all began to sweep the country.  

“These people, Harriet Tubman, W.E.B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, were acting without having an organized movement to support them,” Humiston said. “This was dangerous to do, back then, even more so than the danger faced by those acting during the times of the civil rights movement.”

Lectures will discuss Rosa Parks (1913-2005), Malcolm X (1925-1965), Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) and others, Humiston said. Presentations will mix music (protest songs from the 60s), film footage (“Malcolm X” directed by Spike Lee) and recordings of actual speeches. Topics include constitutionally guaranteed rights (such as freedom of speech and assembly) plus issues on abolition, voting rights, educational desegregation and more.

While the lecture series represents the historical viewpoint, the art exhibition presents the African-American experience through artists living now. The exhibition is titled "Visual Heritage II" since it channels a spectrum of experiences and influences, Bujese said.

Artwork includes figurative, abstraction, abstraction expression and scenes from Caribbean life. Colorful works are contrasted with stark compositions, Bujese said. Paintings, drawings, quilts and etchings make up the show. Each artist has extensive exhibition credits. Most are also educators, she said.

A late addition to SCC's Black History Month programs is “Ellington, Jazz, the Opposites — and You!” Dr. Edward Green, an award-winning composer and Fulbright specialist in American music, "will examine the creative process and sociology of music as they relate to our everyday lives," according to SCC. Dr. Green will also be making use of recorded examples and his own demonstration at the piano.

The event, scheduled for Feb. 26 at 1 p.m., is free and presented in collaboration with the East End Arts Council and the Long Island Winterfest.

Information on the Southampton Cultural Center’s 2nd Annual Black History Month Celebration can be found at www.scc-arts.org or by calling 287-4377.


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