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UTPA activities celebrate Black History Month in February
By Gail Fagan, Public Affairs Representative
(956) 665-2741
Posted: 01/26/2011
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Both students and the community will be able to learn about, honor and celebrate the achievements of African-American men and women throughout history during a number of activities planned at The University of Texas-Pan American during February, traditionally regarded as Black History month.

The public is invited to explore the roots of Afro-Latinos in the United States in a presentation Feb. 17 sponsored by the Mexican-American Studies Program, Department of History and Philosophy, Humanities Texas, and the Department of Modern Languages.


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Speakers will be renowned Latino scholar Juan Flores, professor of Latino Studies in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, and Miriam Jiménez Román, director of the Afro-Latinos Forum.

Flores and Román are co-authors of the newly published "The Afro-Latino Reader-History and Culture of the United States" (Duke University Press, 2010), which presents a kaleidoscopic view of Black Latinos in the United States. The book addresses history, music, gender, class and media representations in more than 60 selections. Flores is the 2009 recipient of the Latino Legacy Award from the Smithsonian Institution. Román is a scholar in residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research unit of the New York Public Library and generally recognized as one of the leading institutions of its kind in the world.

The presentation will take place at 6 p.m. in the Borderlands Room on the third floor of UTPA's Educational Complex.

The public is also welcome to attend a series of free film screenings offered by the UTPA Library highlighting five world-famous African-American authors. All screenings will take place in UTPA's Student Union Theater. A discussion of each film will be led by Mychal Odom, part-time lecturer in the Department of History and Philosophy. The schedule includes the following films:

Feb. 1, 7-9 p.m.: "Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun"

Feb. 8, 7-9 p.m.: "James Baldwin: The Price of a Ticket"

Feb. 10, Noon-1 p.m.: "For My People: The Life and Writing of Margaret Walker"

Feb. 21, 4:30-6:30 p.m.: "Ralph Ellison: An American Journey"

Feb. 28, 4:30-6:30 p.m.: "Richard Wright: Black Boy"

Students, faculty and staff will be able to participate in the Dream Quilt project on Feb. 1 and 3, planned by the Office of Student Development (OSD). Participants will be able to depict on a small fabric square how they would complete the statement "I have a dream ..." The quilt will be on display in the Student Union.

Other events for students sponsored by OSD are an African-American history trivia competition on Feb. 8 and a Poetry Night/Coffee House Feb. 22 featuring readings from works of African-American writers co-sponsored by the University Program Board. Representatives from the Rio Grande Valley chapter of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) will participate in the Poetry Night event. Also, on Feb. 24 a screening and discussion will be held on the film "On my Sister's Shoulders," an award-winning documentary about the heroines of the civil rights movement in Mississippi. Leading the discussion will be Dr. Jerry Polinard, UTPA professor of Political Science.

"Our office is committed to providing a wide variety of programs that celebrate and affirm diversity year round. To commemorate Black History Month, several student events are being hosted as part of its diversity and multicultural initiatives programming," said Rebecca Gadson, assistant dean of students.

A schedule of upcoming events is available at the Dean of Students' website.

For information on the presentation by Flores and Román, contact Dr. Stephanie Alvarez at smalvarezm@utpa.edu.