HUNTSVILLE – Alabama’s poet laureate will be a keynote speaker as the University of Alabama in Huntsville celebrates Black History Month with three events reflecting African Americans and the Arts.
The Black History Month theme is chosen by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. The programs are set for Feb. 15.
“Black History Month provides all Americans an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans and pay homage to their contributions to the fabric of American society,” said Dr. Bryan D. Samuel, UAH vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. “Essentially, there are no fields of endeavor that these accomplishments do not touch.”
Ashley M. Jones, the poet laureate of Alabama, will be the keynote speaker for the annual Black History Month luncheon, presented by the UAH Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with sponsorship from the City of Huntsville DEI and Avadian Credit Union.
The luncheon will be 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Room 112 of the UAH Student Services Building. It is open to the public free of charge, but registration is required. Registration will close Feb. 12, or when event capacity has been reached.
Jones is the first person of color and the youngest person to be chosen as Alabama poet laureate in its 93-year history. She holds an MFA in poetry from Florida International University, and she is the author of “Magic City Gospel” and other collections. Her awards include the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award, the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry and the Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize. She is founding director of the Magic City Poetry Festival and is the associate director of the University Honors Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
ODEI will collaborate with the UAH Constellation Concert Series to bring soprano Dr. Phyllis Lewis-Hale to campus for two programs on Feb. 15. She is an instructor of music and the director of the Opera/Musical Theatre Workshop at Jackson (Miss.) State University. These events are made possible in part by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.
First, Lewis-Hale will coach singers from UAH and Alabama A&M University during a performance master class from 9:40 to 10:50 a.m. in Roberts Recital Hall. The class is free and open to the public.
That evening, Lewis-Hale and pianist Karen Laubengayer will perform “Songs of Love, Sorrow, Hope and Healing” in Roberts Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. This presentation of Afro-Creole folk songs and Negro spirituals will explore the historical and cultural differences between these two uniquely American musical genres.
Tickets to the evening concert are $10 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors. Only debit or credit cards will be taken; no cash will be accepted at the door. The concert also will be livestreamed for a $10 access fee.
For more information on the master class and concert, visit uah.edu/music/events.