CUNY Colleges Celebrate Black History Month With An Array Of Events, From Readings and Exhibits To Music, Food and Dance

February is the 43rd  Black History Month, and CUNY campuses throughout the city will mark the annual salute with more than two dozen events celebrating African-American cultural, artistic, political and scientific heritage. ​ 

These include curated exhibits by the Department of African American Studies at New York City College of Technology and Black Inventors at Queensborough Community College. At the College of Staten Island, Black Lives Matter activist and author Darnell L. Moore will read from his memoir about growing up in New Jersey.

“Black History Month is a powerful opportunity for us to acknowledge and celebrate the vital contributions that African Americans have made to our nation in so many ways,” said Interim Chancellor Vita C. Rabinowitz. “The events and programs taking place at CUNY colleges during Black History Month will help us all to remember the complexity of the African-American experience in America and appreciate the incredible diversity and richness of the CUNY community.”

Below is a list of some of the events that are planned at CUNY colleges for Black History Month:


Cultural Identity and Work Ethics Panel
Feb. 19, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
NVC 1-107
55 Lexington Ave.

We have invited Baruch alumni and notable professionals to speak candidly about their cultural upbringing and how it influences their professional identity and work ethic. Refreshments will be provided.


All events will be at 199 Chambers St.

Film Screening of “Detroit”
Feb. 1, 3 p.m.
Room N-453

African Heritage Month Opening Ceremony
Feb. 6, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Student Cafeteria

The theme of this year is “Africa United,” in a ceremony that will feature African drumming, spoken word, African art, and dance performances by the Eclectic Butterfly Dance Theater. A sampling of African and Caribbean dishes will be provided as well. All are welcome.

Film Screening of “Paris is Burning”
Feb. 8, 3 p.m.
Room N-453

Movement of the People
Feb. 8, 12 p.m.
Student Cafeteria, 12 p.m.

Please join us for a performance by Movement of the People dance company. The group is dedicated to addressing historical and current sociocultural injustices through dance. The event will include a one-hour workshop on dances from the diaspora.

A Taste of the Black Diaspora
Feb. 13, 12 p.m.
Richard Harris Terrace

Traditional dishes from Africa, the Caribbean, and Southern United States have a reputation of being tasty, but not nutritious. Join the Health Education Department’s Health and Wellness Club to experience a taste of the Black Diaspora: Healthy and Healing Recipes from our culture.

What’s Next? Civil Rights, Black Health and Social Justice
Feb. 14, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Room N-451

Join us for a conversation with Dr. Robert Fullilove, professor of Sociomedical Sciences at the Columbia University Medical Center and associate dean for minority affairs at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Fullilove, along with BMCC faculty, will discuss resilience, coping, and social justice in the black community.

Film Screening of “Moonlight”
Feb. 15, 3 p.m.
Room N-453

Staged Reading of Our Lady of 121st Street
Feb. 19, 7 p.m.
Room N-451

Following a staged reading of Stephen Adley Guirgis’ Our Lady of 121st Street, there  will be a discussion facilitated by professor Jermaine Rowe (LaGuardia Community College, Broadway and West End Performer). The reading relates to African heritage as it pertains to notions of behavior in community, ideas of forgiveness and honesty, and how the church and the idea of God’s love intersect, as well as clash.

Film Screening of “Hidden Figures”
Feb. 22, 3 p.m.
Room N-453


Black History Month Art Exhibit
Reception and talk: Feb. 11, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Jan. 31 – Feb. 28, Mon: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 4 p.m., Tues. – Thurs., 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Bliss Hall, Hall of Fame Art Gallery
2155 University Ave.

“Light on Color,” an exhibition of paintings by artist Carlton Murrell. Carlton began exploring his artistic talents by drawing and painting the various aspects of everyday life in his native Barbados.

Amadou Diallo 20th Year Youth Commemoration
Feb. 2, 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Brown Center Playhouse
2155 University Ave.

Feb. 4, 2019, is the 20th anniversary of the death of Amadou Diallo. Shot to death in front of his Bronx apartment building in 1999 by four New York City Police Officers, Amadou became the martyr for the modern national movement to address the killings of unarmed black males by the police. Join Bronx Community College and Amadou’s mother, Mrs. Kadiatou Diallo, founder of The Amadou Diallo Foundation, as we present the Amadou Diallo 20th Year Youth Commemoration for middle and high school students.


Student Town Hall: Meet the New Black Studies Director
Feb. 7, 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Shepard Hall, Room 350
160 Convent Ave.

The Black Studies Program presents Student Town Hall: Meet the New Black Studies Director Dr. Valdes. It is open to BSP majors, minors and all interested.


Darnell L. Moore reads from his memoir No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America
Feb. 7, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Green Dolphin Lounge – 1C
2800 Victory Blvd.

When Darnell Moore was 14, three boys from his neighborhood in Camden, N.J., tried to set him on fire because they thought he was gay. He escaped, but just barely. Three decades later, Moore is an award-winning writer, a leading Black Lives Matter activist, and an advocate for justice and liberation. In No Ashes in the Fire, he shares the journey taken by that scared, bullied teenager who not only survived, but found his calling.

Artistic Celebration
Feb. 28, 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Green Dolphin Lounge – 1C
2800 Victory Blvd.

An afternoon of celebration to honor our rich African and African-American artistic heritage. This event will feature artistic expressions in forms of live music, song, dance, spoken word and photography. Refreshments will be served.


Dining at the Coon Chicken Inn: Why do racist restaurants matter for public health?
February 6, 4pm – 5:30pm
Room 708

A psychologist by training, Dr. Naa Oyo A. Kwate has wide ranging interests in racial inequality and African American health. Her research has centered primarily on the ways in which urban built environments reflect racial inequalities in the United States, and how racism directly and indirectly affects African American health.

The Power to Heal – Medicare and the Civil Rights Revolution
February 11, 6pm – 9pm

The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy is proud to present The Power to Heal: Medicare and the Civil Rights Revolution, a documentary that recounts how civil rights activists, the federal government, and medical professionals used Medicare funding to desegregate America’s hospitals, medical practices and medical schools, opening the door to Black Americans in both the North and South.


All events will be held at 50 W. 40th St

Highlighting African Americans with Disabilities
Feb. 5, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

In conjunction with the Office of Accessibility Services, this program will discuss the contributions and achievements of prominent African Americans with disabilities.

The Body is Not an Apology
Feb. 14, 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Room 401

The Office of Accessibility Services presents a workshop and discussion on Sonya Renee Taylor’s work, The Body Is Not an Apology.

Creative Connections
March 6, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Room 401

A day of Afro diasporic creativity and celebration. Workshops on Afrocentric adornment and dance.

Diasporic Discussion Film Series
Screening of Julie Dash’s “Daughters of the Dust”
March 3, 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Room 401

Discussion of migration, traditions, and conservation of African culture of the Gullah people and contemporary connections. Followed by screening of the film and Q&A session. Light refreshments provided.


Black Activism: The Radical Life of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg
Feb. 14, 2 p.m.
500 Grand Concourse, Bronx

This talk will provide an overview of the life of Harlem’s most famous archivist, Arturo Alfonso Schomburg (1874-1938). Throughout his life, Schomburg worked toward black liberation. As a young man, he was deeply involved in the struggle for Puerto Rican and Cuban independence from Spain, an effort supported by his initiation as a Freemason in an Afro-Cuban lodge in Brooklyn.

Congressman Jose E. Serrano’s Annual Black History Month Celebration
Feb. 25, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Savoy Multipurpose Room
120 E. 149th St., Bronx
D Building

Hostos will host Congressman Jose E. Serrano’s annual BHM celebration. This event honors leaders and community activists.


Black History Month Convocation with Maya Wiley
Feb 7, 5:30 p.m.
Lang Recital Hall
695 Park Ave

Professor and lawyer Maya Wiley is the Henry Cohen Professor of Public and Urban Policy at The New School’s Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment. She has litigated, lobbied the U.S. Congress, and developed programs to transform structural racism in the U.S. and in South Africa. She is a Legal Analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.


All events will be at 250 Bedford Park Blvd. West, Bronx

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration
Feb. 13, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
East Dining Hall, Music Building

Hosted by The Urban Male Leadership Program, the Lehman chapter of CREAR (College Readiness, Achievement and Retention) Futuros, and the Department of Africana Studies. Professor Gary L. Ford Jr. from Lehman’s Department of Africana Studies will be the keynote speaker. Free admission. No RSVP or registration necessary. 

Black History Month Welcome Reception
Feb. 13, 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.
East Dining Hall, Music Building

Hosted by The Urban Male Leadership Program and the Lehman chapter of CREAR) and Futuros. RSVP by email or telephone to: (718) 960-8801 or 

Lehman English Department: “The Third World Women’s Alliance and Intersectionality”

Spring 2019 Lecture series with Dr. Arianevani Kannan
Feb. 14, 12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Carman Hall Room 221

The Third World Women’s Alliance was a multiracial coalition of Black, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous, and Arab women that grew out of the civil rights/Black Power movements. The group maintained active chapters in NYC and the Bay Area during the 1970s. Kannan will discuss the Alliance’s foundational work in developing what we know today as intersectionality. 

Annual Black History Month Student-Faculty Reading: “A Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Iconic African-American Poet Ntozake Shange”
March 6, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Leonard Lief Library 2nd Floor Atrium

Poetry reading with Maria Fernandez “Mariposa,” songs, spoken words by students, faculty, staff, community members, and some of Shange’s fans, friends and family members.


Golden Legacy: Illustrated History Magazines and Comic Book Series
Feb. 5 – Feb. 28, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Charles Evans Inniss Memorial Library Archives, Lower Level
Bedford Building, 1650 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn

The ground-breaking “Golden Legacy” comic books series was initially published from 1966 through 1976 with the intention to implant pride and self-esteem in black youth. The books are dedicated to the lives and deeds of Toussaint L’Ouverture, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Robert Smalls and other prominent black figures in history. The Library Archives will present the 16 original magazines. The collection is a gift from Mr. Jacob Morris, who will be the guest speaker. 

Life and Times of Marcus Garvey: Panel Discussion and Tribute
Feb. 8, 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Edison O. Jackson Auditorium
AB1 Health and Science Building, 1638 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn

As a prominent black leader, whose ideas about black economic independence and entrepreneurship inspired and encouraged black communities to take ownership and responsibility for their social and economic destinies, Marcus Garvey’s life reflects the significant values of Black History Month and its objective to celebrate and honor the heroes of black culture.

Blacks in Government: Roundtable Discussion, Part One
Feb. 11, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Edison O. Jackson Auditorium
AB1 Health and Science Building, 1638 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn

A panel of black elected officials from the New York City metropolitan area, along with black government officials from federal, state, and local agencies, will discuss the role of blacks in government and future opportunities for students.

Soul Food Festival: Delicious Sampling of Dishes
Feb. 20, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Main Lobby
AB1 Health and Science Building, 1638 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn

The Office of Student Life and Development presents a sampling of dishes that expresses the role of soul food in the lives of past and present generations of African-Americans. The luncheon also features music, dance and poetry.

Medgar Evers College’s Big Read: Author’s Event and Dinner
Feb. 20, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Edison O. Jackson Auditorium
AB1 Health and Science Building, 1638 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn

This collaborative, interdisciplinary endeavor features the book The Fire This Time, edited by Jesmyn Ward. This collection of essays, memoirs and poetry features major authors and thinkers, including Carol Anderson, Jericho Brown, Edwidge Danticat, Kevin Young, Claudia Rankine and Honoree Jeffers. Join us for the event with guest speaker Mitchell S. Jackson, author and a professor at New York University.

Telling Our Story: Photo Exhibit, Second Floor
Feb. 25, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Charles Evans Inniss Memorial Library, Second Floor
Bedford Building, 1650 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn

This photo exhibit presents images of people of the African diaspora. It expresses and celebrates the diversity influenced by the mix of African and European traditions. Viewers will be able to relate to the subjects, their personal and familial journeys, their challenges and victories. There will be a presentation by guest speaker Marcia Wilson, followed by refreshments in the Welcome Center.

Jazz Dinner
Feb. 27, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
AB1 Health and Science Building, 1638 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn

Join us for a celebration of unsung female jazz artists. In collaboration with the Women’s Her Story Month Committee, we honor Joshua Hutchinson, MSW, and feature music by renowned jazz artist Branice McKenzie.


Join African American Studies at City Tech during Black History Month as it continues to present The Legacy of Storytelling: Celebrating 50 Years of African American Studies.

The Life of Zora Neale Hurston: A Curated Exhibit
Feb. 1 – 28
Ursula C. Schwerin Library at City Tech – 4th Floor
300 Jay St., Brooklyn

This curated exhibit will include archival images and footage of Zora Neale Hurston, whose work as an anthropologist, novelist, essayist, and folklorist highlights the unique stories created and disseminated throughout the Africana world.

The Annual African American National Read-In
Feb. 14, 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
City Tech Academic Complex – Room A105
285 Jay St., Brooklyn

City Tech students, faculty and staff will read excerpts from classic and contemporary Africana texts with special recognition of W.E.B. DuBois and Audre Lorde. This national event gives communities like City Tech an opportunity to promote literacy and to celebrate Africana writers. This event is followed by a morning reception.

As, Not For: Dethroning Our Absolutes
Feb. 22, Opening Reception, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Art Exhibition Feb. 19 – March 29
Namm Building, 11th Floor – Grace Gallery
300 Jay St., Brooklyn

City Tech students, faculty and staff are welcome to attend the art exhibition free of charge. Jerome Harris, curator of the exhibition is an independent graphic designer and teaching fellow at Maryland Institute College of Art. Refreshments will be available at the opening reception.

Black History Month Keynote Event: The Legacy of Storytelling
Feb. 26, 2:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.
City Tech Academic Complex Auditorium
285 Jay St., Brooklyn

For this keynote event, T.R. Simon author of the children’s book series Zora and Me

and musician/composer Kent Rose will participate in a community conversation about the ways in which stories are told in Africana communities. The event will also include student presentations and a musical selection by Rose on the steel pan. A reception and book signing by Simon will follow the program.


Black Inventors Exhibit
Feb. 19, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Student Union Lounge
222-05 56th Ave., Queens

The event will feature freestanding displays with informational panels that include 3-D artifacts and memorabilia. It’s a “museum experience” that features black inventors.


All events will be held at 65-30 Kissena Blvd.

Queens My Brother’s Keeper Conference
February 1, 2019 from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm in the Rosenthal Library, room 230.
Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, NY 11367

High school students from North and South Queens participate in this day of learning that includes team activities, networking and peer youth dialectic about a range of student-driven topics such as resiliency, conversations with law enforcement, and transitioning from youth to adulthood in college. Guests include keynote speaker Dr. Lester Young from the NYSED, presenters from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Department of Education and Queens College leadership.

Space is limited to 250 participants, with priority given to the youth in attendance.

There is no fee to attend.

Queens College Celebrates Jazz History and the Publication of the book Art Kane. Harlem 1958
February 7, 2019 from 7:00 – 9:00 pm in the Rosenthal Library, President’s Conference Room 2 on level 5
Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, NY 11367

Queens College celebrates the new book Art Kane. Harlem 1958, which tells the full story of one of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century, Art Kane’s A Great Day In Harlem. In August 1958, photographer Art Kane assembled as many of the great jazz musicians of the era for a group photo in Harlem. The image became world famous, inspiring tributes from artists around the world. Joining the discussion of the photograph are Benny Golson, who appeared in the picture; Jonathan Kane, who wrote the book’s introduction; and moderator, musician, bandleader and educator Jerome Jennings.

There is no fee to attend.

In the Footsteps of Dr. King
Feb. 25, 12:15 p.m.
Student Union/Ballroom West

Students share their experiences during a trip to Georgia and Alabama to visit major sites of the civil right movement. Under the direction of educators who worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, students made the five-day journey during the week of Jan. 21,  through the historic landscape of the movement.

Black Business Expo
Feb. 27, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
President’s Lounge/Q Side

The Queens College Black Student Union will host the Black Business Expo to commemorate Black History Month and as a way for students and other black business owners to network with one another, promote their businesses, and share how they were able to build their businesses.

“Our Story” Exhibit of Caribbean Creative Arts
Feb. 28, daylong
Student Union Ballroom, 4th Floor

Queens College’s Caribbean Students Association hosts “Our Story,” a celebration of the art and artists from across the Caribbean. The event will feature artists, poets, musicians and historians whose works are linked to the people of the Caribbean.

Stonewall 50: Remembering Transpeople of Color
February 27 from 12:15 to 1:30 pm in the Student Union Ballroom East
Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, NY 11367

This panel will highlight trans identities, specifically those of color who are often forgotten due to the common portrayal of white, cisgender gay men as the sole pioneers of the Gay Liberation movement, and discuss TGNC realities as they currently exist post-Stonewall.

There is no fee to attend


Screening of “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise”
Feb. 21, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
AARC, AC – 3B04
94 – 20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., Queens

Presented by the York College Women’s Center, the screening is the story of iconic writer, poet, actress and activist Maya Angelou whose life intersected some of the most significant moments in the recent history of the United States.

The 30th Annual National African American Read-In
Feb. 4, 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.
African American Resource Center – Room 3B04
94 – 20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., Queens


The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in 1847, CUNY counts 13 Nobel Prize and 24 MacArthur (“Genius”) grant winners among its alumni. CUNY students, alumni and faculty have garnered scores of other prestigious honors over the years in recognition of historic contributions to the advancement of the sciences, business, the arts and myriad other fields.  The University comprises 25 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, CUNY Graduate Center, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, CUNY School of Law, CUNY School of Professional Studies and CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.  The University serves more than 275,000 degree-seeking students. CUNY offers online baccalaureate and master’s degrees through the School of Professional Studies.