Black History Month Events at Amherst College

New events will be added to this list throughout February.

Campbell Brothers

Music at Amherst: The Campbell Brothers Sacred Steel Guitars
Friday, Jan. 29, 8 p.m.
Arms Music Center, Buckley Recital Hall

Purchase tickets online or by email: 

The Campbell Brothers have a unique sound characterized by the soulful, wailing tone of the pedal steel guitar. According to National Public Radio, their music is “a soul-stirring blend of gospel and ... electric blues and rock, a sound as hot as brimstone that kicks holy butt.” 

Steven Rosenfield

The Amherst College Community Photo Project
Tuesday, Feb. 2–Friday, Feb. 5
Keefe Campus Center

Nationally acclaimed photographer and founder of the What I Be project, Steven Rosenfield, will be at the Keefe Campus Center to direct a unique photo project for the Amherst College community. This project will be a powerful opportunity to capture the change and inspiration of our present times, and to unite our community through difference. Sponsored by The Office of Student Life and The Multicultural Resource Center.

Reception Poster

Newport House Reception: An Enslaved Man's Amherst Legacy
Saturday, Feb. 6, 3:30–4:30 p.m.
Newport House, First Floor Common Room

Named in 1984 after two descendants of Amos Newport, an enslaved man whose arduous efforts for freedom impacted the history of our country, Newport House beckons us to recall the reality of our colonial past and a time when slavery was widespread in the Pioneer Valley. Please join us in commemorating the black history of Amherst College as we welcome Amos Newport’s direct descendant, Alyssia Bailey, to Newport House. This reception will include remarks on the historical implications of Amos Newport’s story by author and Professor Emeritus Robert Romer ’52. Refreshments will be provided. Sponsored by the Multicultural Resource Center, Office of Advancement, Student Life, Dean of Students' Office and French Department.


WGC Film Series: "Belle"
Friday, Feb. 12, 7 p.m.
Keefe Campus Center

Celebrate Black History Month with the first screening of WGC films by and about women. "Belle" is a fictionalized account about Dido Belle, a mixed-race woman born in the West Indies, whose involvement in the infamous Zong case catalyzes the abolitionist movement in Britain, directed by British-Ghanaian Amma Asante, and starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Belle. Popcorn and pizza will be served and a brief discussion will follow.

HIV/AIDS awareness

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Monday, Feb. 15, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
Keefe Campus Center

Swing by the Keefe Atrium to grab a cupcake and learn about the impact that HIV and AIDS have on the Black community. Sponsored by the Queer Resource Center.


Marisa Parham

The "F" Word: No Apologies with Professor Parham
Tuesday, Feb. 16, 6 p.m.
Keefe Campus Center

The Women's and Gender Center is proud to present Professor Marisa Parham as a speaker for the series “The ‘F’ Word: No Apologies," where inspirational women from the community share their feminist stories of growth and success unapologetically. Professor Parham will discuss how she has navigated the world of academia as a Black woman. Dinner will be provided.

BHM Octagon

Art, Story, Legacy: The Black Experience at Amherst College
Tuesday, February 16, 8 p.m.
The Octagon

In celebration of Black History Month, the Multicultural Resource Center will commemorate the rich history and legacy of black individuals at Amherst College. Join us in welcoming, Kevin Soltau ’01, the original artist of the iconic and timeless mural located in the Gerald Penny Center of the Octagon, back to campus. During his visit Kevin will expand upon the mural he began as a student at Amherst, adding depictions of current members of our community who have significantly supported diversity at Amherst College. On the evening of Tuesday, February 16th, we will reveal the updated mural, and join Kevin as well as several alumni, faculty and administrators depicted in the mural, as they speak about their experiences at Amherst College, the inspiration/meaning behind the mural, and the importance of the work for our community. This is an event you won’t want to miss! This event is co-sponsored by The Black Students Union.

Donna Brazile

Donna Brazile, "Race and Politics in America: The Past & 2016"
Thursday, Feb. 18, 7:30 p.m.
Stirn Auditorium

Free and open to the public. Followed by Q&A with Brazile.

Brazile worked on every presidential campaign from 1976 through 2000, when she became the first African-American to manage a presidential campaign. She’s an adjunct professor, author, syndicated columnist, vice chair of voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee, and former chair of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute. She is an on-air contributor to CNN and regularly appears on ABC’s This Week.  

Chris Abani

Chris Abani, "My Face and Ours: Views of Today's America"
Wednesday, Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m.
Stirn Auditorium

Free and open to the public. Followed by Q&A and book signing with Abani. 

An accomplished novelist, poet and essayist with more than a dozen highly regarded books to his name, Abani is perhaps best known for his award-winning 2004 novel GraceLand. He has become an internationally recognized voice on humanitarianism, art, ethics and our shared political responsibility. His most recent book of essays, The Face: Cartography of the Void, was released by Restless Books, whose publisher is Amherst professor Ilan Stavans.

MLK recording

Listening for Change: A Community Airing of MLK’s Lost 1964 Speech, The Summer of Our Discontent
Monday, Feb. 29, 7–9 p.m.
Keefe Campus Center

 The Office of Student Life and the Multicultural Resource Center invites the Amherst College community to come together and listen for change to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1964 speech, “The Summer of Our Discontent.” This speech, originally given at the storied New School for Social Research, was lost to the world for decades and only recently discovered by Amherst College archivists in 2015. The speech will be broadcast live via WAMH 89.3 FM and played in the Multicultural Resource Center and in Keefe Atrium.

New events will be added to this list throughout February.