To kick off Black History Month, RCC’s Office of Student Life hosted Black History Trivia, a game designed to test student knowledge of historical African American figures and their notable accomplishments. It was a great way to bring some of the achievements of Black Americans to the forefront of conversation.
Just a few short days later, on February 11th, we co-hosted the second annual "Solutions Series" with BECMA. The auditorium was filled with scores of community members who were eager to continue a conversation on successful models business and non-profit entities have employed in addressing many of the systemic issues that affect communities of color. With TedX style presentations from James Rooney, Sheen Collier, Tameka Moss, Kevin Bynoe, Herby DuVerne, and Orlando Watkins, among others, the Solution Series kept the momentum of the month going! Visit BECMA’s website to watch the presentations and see some great photos from the event.
In the second week of February, we hosted the Black History Month Vendor Fair, an annual tradition. With over a dozen local vendors on campus selling and displaying their handmade crafts and other products, there were many great relationships formed. Bringing together a brooch from BeautyLine and a headwrap by Tafari Wrap to create a beautifully elegant headpiece exhibited the true spirit of the week. What a great example of the kind of creative collaboration we aspire to foster, here at RCC.
We are committed to using our space and resources to host events like this, in honor of Black Americans’ contribution to this country. Men like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. taught us to fight, non-violently, for our civil liberties. In recognition of the impact King made in his time as a Boston resident, Historian and Lecturer Clennon King shared stories and images of over 30 locales in Boston frequented by Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King Jr. in the early 1950s.
In celebration of the arts, Professor Justin Petty introduced audiences to the history of the steel pan, which is the only acoustical instrument invented in the twentieth century. And later that evening, we filled our Student Center with fans of last year’s Blockbuster Marvel movie, Black Panther, with Wakanda Forever: A Night of Comedy. Attendees wearing Black Panther themed outfit or African prints competed to win the Ruth Carter Costume award, named for the movie’s costume designer who recently became the first Black Woman to win an Oscar for Costume Design.
Our celebration of the arts did not stop there! Our Media Arts Center hosted "Of Ebony Embers: Vignettes of the Harlem Renaissance" – a celebration of the music and poetry of the Harlem Renaissance era in New York City. Of Ebony Embers examines the lives of three outstanding but very different African American poets - Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen and Claude McKay - as seen through the eyes of the great painter and muralist Aaron Douglas.
To close out the month-long celebrations, American Book Award recipient Askia Touré facilitated a poetic reflection of the social and cultural impact of the Obamas. Afterwards, students were encouraged to share poetry that riffed off “Black Royalty” and the legacy of the Obamas. To end our month-long celebration, The Poetry of You: An Ode to Black Women Poets paid homage to Black woman poets from Phillis Wheatley to Jessica Care Moore. The event highlighted themes of black identity, beauty, empowerment, wisdom, and womanhood.