Rhode Island College, Office of College Communications and Marketing, News Release

RELEASE DATE:   Jan. 29, 2014


CONTACT:           Rebecca Keister, 401-456-4679, rkeister@ric.edu

Laura Hart, 401-456-8977, lhart@ric.edu


PROVIDENCE, R.I., Jan. 29, 2014 – To honor the role of African Americans in U.S. History, Rhode Island College will hold several events to celebrate African American History Month this February.

RIC’s Unity Center will hold film screenings, lectures, discussions and festivities to educate attendees on African American history and to inspire further exploration on the subject.

Two film screenings will showcase African Americans whose courage in advocating social change influenced America in the 1960s. “Brother Outsider: The Bayard Rustin Story” will be shown on Monday, Feb. 3 at 4:30 p.m. in the Unity Center, located in the mall area of the Donovan Dining Center on campus. The film is a portrait of civil rights activist Rustin, who was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. Spike Lee’s biopic chronicles Malcolm X chronicles Malcolm X’s rise and fall in the Nation of Islam, and will be shown on Friday, Feb. 21, at 12:30 p.m. in the Unity Center.

Other film screenings include “Good Hair,” a 2009 documentary examining black women’s perceptions and treatment of their hair and an exposé on the industry, on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 12:30 p.m. in the Student Union room 422; and “Fruitvale Station,” a fictionalized recounting of the 2009 shooting of 22-year-old Oscar Grant by a Bay Area Rapid Transit, shown on Monday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. in Student Union room 307.

To celebrate that “civil rights are women’s rights,” RIC Feminists United is sponsoring two performances of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues: RIC Chapter 2014” on Feb. 13 - Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. in Gaige Auditorium. Ensler’s play is based on interviews with women about sexuality and the social stigma surrounding rape and abuse. The performance coincides with V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and revitalize local anti-violence organizations. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for RIC students with ID.

RIC Professor Emeritus of Anthropology Richard Lobban Jr. will present a lecture on his exhibition, “Mapping the Ancient Nile,” a collection of original African historical maps on Thursday, Feb. 13 from 6-8 p.m. in the Bannister Focus Gallery. The exhibition illustrates the changing consciousness and information about the Nile River and its history from ancient times through modern Egypt, Sudan and South Sudan. This event is co-sponsored by the James P. Adams Library.

On Tuesday, Feb. 18, photographer and writer Michael July will present “Afros: A Celebration of Natural Hair,” a talk on what he calls “the renaissance and rebirth of the Afro occurring in communities all over the world.” July’s book, “Afros: A Celebration of Natural Hair,” is an encyclopedic collection of Afros and ‘fro-inspired hairstyles. The talk, co-sponsored by the RIC Student Union, Bannister Gallery and Harambee, will be held from 4-6:45 p.m. in the Alumni Lounge, followed by a book signing and light refreshments.

Journey to the Motherland, RIC’s eighth annual celebration of African cultures, will be held on Saturday, Feb. 22, from 6-10 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom. The evening includes dinner, music and entertainment and is sponsored by RIC Women of Color. Tickets are $10 for the public at the door and $7 in advance for RIC students with ID.

The public is invited to visit the collection of linocut prints by the late African American artist and educator Margaret Taylor Burroughs in the James P. Adams Library. Burroughs, who was co-founder of the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, received an honorary doctorate of public service from RIC in 1990. A guide for this collection, permanently on display, is available at www.ric.libguides.com/Margaret_Burroughs.

The RIC Office of Health Promotion and the Rhode Island Blood Center will co-sponsor a blood drive on Monday, Feb. 10 and Tuesday, Feb. 11, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom. The blood drive commemorates Dr. Charles Drew, an African American who invented the modern blood-banking process.

The month’s events conclude on Wednesday, Feb. 26 with an open forum titled “In Memoriam-Injustice in the Justice System,” from 5-7 p.m. in Student Union room 307. This facilitated discussion will encourage public commentary about the efforts of racial profiling, mass incarceration and the media on African American life and death in America. This event is co-sponsored by L.I.F.E.

For a full list of events celebrating Black History Month at RIC, visit http://www.ric.edu/unitycenter/events.php.

Rhode Island College’s Unity Center provides a forum for exploring issues of diversity, equity and inclusion to promote cultural awareness among students, faculty and staff.

Established in 1854 as the state’s first public higher education institution, Rhode Island College serves approximately 9,000 students and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in liberal arts, business and professional programs.