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Colby will celebrate Black History Month with a series of films, a panel and a concert, all focused on the 2003 centennial anniversary of the publication of W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk. With its essays on African-American life following the Emancipation Proclamation, The Souls of Black Folk is considered fundamental to the development of African-American and black studies programs. All of the following events are open to the public free of charge.
Wednesday, February 5, at 7 p.m. the 1996 documentary film W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography in Four Voices will be shown in room 215 of Lovejoy Building.
Thursday, February 6, at 4:15 p.m. a panel of Colby professors will present “Reflections on an American Intellectual Legacy: W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk.” The panel will be held in room 100 of Lovejoy Building and will be chaired by Charles Bassett (American studies and English, emeritus). Panelists include Cedric Bryant (English), Alec Campbell (sociology), Jill Gordon (philosophy), Rob Weisbrot (history) and Cheryl Townsend Gilkes (African-American studies and sociology).
A film series on the theme of the “Education and the Liberation of the Souls of Black Folk” will feature a different movie on four consecutive Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in room 215 of Lovejoy Building. On February 12 the 1969 drama The Learning Tree, based on Gordon Parks’s novel about growing up as a black man, will be shown. On February 19 the 1974 movie The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman will be shown. It is the story of a black woman born into slavery in the South in the 1850s who lives to become a part of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. On February 26 the 1999 movie A Lesson Before Dying about an African American wrongly accused of murder in the 1940s will be shown. On March 5 the 1979 film The Liberation of L.B. Jones will be shown.
Sunday, February 23, at 8 p.m. in Lorimer Chapel baritone Clinton Johnson, a member of Colby’s Class of 2002, will perform “A Celebration of the Sorrow Songs: A Concert in Honor of W.E.B. Du Bois.” Pianist Cheryl Tschanz, professor of music, will accompany Johnson. The concert program will feature spirituals, including many of the “sorrow songs” that W.E.B. Du Bois considered to be the core themes of the African-American experience in the United States. Colby students will read excerpts from Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk at the concert.
Black History Month grew out of “Negro History Week,” begun in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson and tied to the birthday of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. February is also the birth month of African-American historian and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois.