Rice celebrates Black History Month with inaugural kickoff event and month of programming

Black History Month

Rice University will celebrate Black History Month with a series of events including its first ever kickoff, “Called to Create: African Americans and the Arts,” 5:30 p.m. Feb. 7 at Rice Memorial Center’s Grand Hall. It will feature singers, dancers, poetry readings and remarks from President Reginald DesRoches and other university and community leaders.

“Black History Month symbolizes a period for African Americans to celebrate the successes, journeys and accomplishments of those who came before us,” said Avery Hartwell, chair of the Black History Month committee and associate director of DEI for student engagement. “It's a time to explore new opportunities for today's African Americans, fostering the creation of fresh ideas and contributions and ensuring that the next generation possesses the resilience and strength to prosper and carry forward the inherited light.”

Christelle Bonzil, a senior in Lovett College who served on the planning committee, underscored the importance of the kickoff and ensuing programming.

“To me, Black History Month is a time to proudly shine a light on the Black diaspora's histories and unsung historical figures and an overall celebration of Black Excellence,” she said. “The Black History Month kickoff highlights and honors our ancestors' artistic contributions and achievements. I hope this event builds momentum for the rest of the month.”

Nicole Owens, a committee member and assistant director of academic advising, shared similar sentiments.

“With the Black History Month kickoff and subsequent events, the overarching goal is to foster a deeper understanding, appreciation and celebration of Black history, culture, and contributions within the Rice community,” she said. “We hope to create a platform at Rice to allow for celebrating the richness and diversity of African American culture, art, music, literature and more.”

The month will offer opportunities for all Owls to learn Black history through the lens of artistic expression. The schedule is as follows:

  • Black History Month talk series, sponsored by the Center for African and African American Studies, reception at 5 p.m., event at 6 p.m., Feb 1, 22, 26 and 29, location to be determined.
  • Black Renaissance in Houston’s performing and visual arts: An exhibit highlighting unique collections at Fondren Library, Feb. 1-29 during Fondren’s open hours, Lovett Lounge on the third floor.
  • Black History Month book display, Feb. 1-29, Fondren Library’s first floor.
  • Thursday Hangouts, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. at the Multicultural Center.
  • Called to Create: African Americans and the arts, 5:30 p.m., Feb. 7, Grand Hall
  • Blackstreet – Celebrating Black Innovators, 4 – 7:30 p.m., Feb. 8, The Ion (sign-up is required).
  • Open Mic, 4 – 6 p.m., Feb. 12, Anderson Clarke Building, sponsored by the Center for Education.
  • Faculty/Staff happy hour, 4:30 – 7 p.m., Feb. 15, Urban Social Lounge.
  • BGSA Black History Month Coffee Chat, 2 – 5 p.m., Feb. 16, Multicultural Center, sponsored by the Black Graduate Student Association.
  • Line Dance 101 – Know before you go, 7 – 8:30 p.m., Feb. 18, Brown College Magister House and Patio.
  • Spring 2024 Visiting Artists Lecture Series, featuring Kameelah Janan Rasheed, 7 p.m., Feb. 19, McMurtry Magister’s Houston, sponsored by the department of art and Center for African and African American Studies.
  • Instructional Best Practices in Promoting Black Excellence, 12 – 1 p.m., Feb. 20, Herring 129, sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence.
  • Storytelling and the Resilience of Black Voices, 12 – 1:30 p.m., Feb. 21, HUMA 117, sponsored by the Center for Civic Leadership (sign-up is required).
  • Greek Divine 9 Day, Feb. 21.
  • The Black press: past, present and future, 12 – 1 p.m., Feb. 22, RMC Miner Lounge, sponsored by Rice Thresher (sign-up is required).
  • Beaumont’s Black History – In Moving Pictures, 4 – 6 p.m., Feb. 22, Grad Bubble – PCF 1.
  • Soul Night, 6 p.m., Feb. 24, Haman Hall (Tickets required).
  • Spades Sunday, 6 p.m., Feb. 25, McMurtry Magister’s House.
  • The BHM “Family Reunion”, 4:30 p.m., Feb. 25, Sid Richardson College, Seibel Servery.
  • The History of Blacks at Rice, 4 p.m., Feb. 27, Welcome Center, Sewall Hall, sponsored by Multicultural Community Relations in Public Affairs.

For more information, visit rice.edu/bhm.