student dancers

Black History Month

Black History Month at Oberlin, recognized since 1967, has helped to foster greater awareness of the history, politics, culture, and economics of the African diaspora. Our annual celebration features prominent civic and political leaders, scholars, and musicians of African descent, as well as events in arts, literature, and performance aesthetics that make our observance more enriching. Our theme, 2020 Vision-Black in Focus, features a range of programs that explore the many facets of black arts, culture, and scholarship.

Noted scholar Carter G. Woodson established Negro History Week in 1926, now known as Black History Month. His extensive research on black life and culture continues today through the organization he founded: the Association for the Study of African American Life and History or ASALH.

See full event schedule

Past Events

Bridging The Gap: African Immigrants and Black American Culture

Bridging The Gap: African Immigrants and Black American Culture

Thursday, February 21, 2019
7:30 pm
Afrikan Heritage House (Lord-Saunders)

Barbara Thelamour, assistant professor of psychology at the College of Wooster, will present her mixed-methods research on how African immigrants are perceived to adjust to black American culture...

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Black History Month: Opening Dinner

Sunday, February 2, 2020
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Lord-Saunders Dining at Afrikan Heritage House

Join us at the annual meal to kickoff Oberlin’s recognition of Black History Month, a monthlong celebration to recognize and honor the contributions, achievements, and legacy of African...

smiling man standing in a lobby wearin gray suit and purple tie.

Currency, Race, and the Circulation of an American Ideal

Thursday, February 6, 2020
4:30 pm to 6:00 pm
Wilder Hall (Student Union)

In this talk, Jonathan Holloway, provost and professor of history and African American studies at Nortwestern University, explores how ideas of racial belonging and citizenship are articulated...

Afrikan Heritage House (Lord-Saunders)

Africana Studies/Afrikan Heritage House 50th Anniversary Panel

Friday, February 7, 2020
12:00 pm
Afrikan Heritage House (Lord-Saunders)

Help celebrate the 50th year of Oberlin’s Department of Africana Studies and its companion Afrikan Heritage House as you learn about its past and present. Featured panelists will be Donna Akiba...

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BDSM as an Afro-Atlantic Religion

Friday, February 7, 2020
4:45 pm
Hallock Auditorium

Please join the art department and Professor J. Lorand Matory, Lawrence Richardson Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University for the lecture, BDSM as an Afro-Atlantic Religio n. Through a...

African American woman in flowing yellow dress dancing.

Black History Month: Bomba and Plena

Saturday, February 8, 2020
7:30 pm
Finney Chapel

As part of Black History Month, Latinx Music Union has collaborated with Oberlin College Black Musicians Guild and the Oberlin Jazz Society to invite the Afro-Puerto Rican dance group Instituto Folcl...

Anna von Mertens (American, b. 1973), "6:01 pm until 7:05 pm, April 4, 1968, from the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee (looking in the direction the shots were fired)," from the series "As the Stars Go By," 2006, hand-stitched cotton. Gift of Driek (OC 1965) and Michael (OC 1964) Zirinsky in honor of the Oberlin College Class of 1965 and the Martin Luther King Commencement Address, 2015.28.4

Sunday Object Talk with Lucy Haskell ’20

Sunday, February 9, 2020
2:00 pm
Allen Memorial Art Museum

Lucy Haskell ’20 speaks about a quilt by Anna von Mertens, titled 6:01 pm until 7:05 pm, April 4, 1968, from the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee (looking in the direction...

Wilder Hall (Student Union) 112

Celebrating Black Resilience Panel and Workshop

Tuesday, February 11, 2020
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Wilder Hall (Student Union)

Workshop offers chance to learn ways to remain resilient during difficult times and difficult situations. Panelists will share their experiences and techniques; workshop to follow.

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Annual Moses Hogan Sing-Along

Thursday, February 13, 2020
7:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Warner Concert Hall

A Moses Hogan Sing-Along cosponsored by the Oberlin College Black Musicians Guild in celebration of Black History Month. Come prepared to sing the music of Hogan, a celebrated pianist and arranger of...

Warner Center Main

Soul Session of Love

Friday, February 14, 2020
7:00 pm
Warner Center

Soul Session is a tradition at Oberlin’s Afrikan Heritage House that has been around since the 1970s. Soul Session is an opportunity for individuals to express themselves creatively through...

black man singing with his arm outstretched.

Guest Artist Recital: Limmie Pulliam ’98

Sunday, February 16, 2020
1:30 pm to 2:30 pm
Warner Concert Hall

Hear a guest recital by acclaimed tenor soloist Limmie Pulliam ’98 followed by a Q&A with the artist. Pulliam , a Missouir native, trained with the late Richard Miller. He recently joined...

Zack Fox sitting on bench with clasped hands wearing a dark sweatsuit.

Stand Up with Zack Fox

Monday, February 17, 2020
7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Carnegie Building

At the intersection of visual art, comedy, and hip-hop, Zack Fox is right at home in the middle of it all, sipping a lukewarm Colt 45. Fox is an Atlanta-raised comedy firebrand with an ever-expanding...

collage of toni morrison and bench project.

In Celebration of Toni Morrison: A Gesture of Love and Reflection

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Irene and Alan Wurtzel Theater

On the occasion of novelist Toni Morrison’s birthday, people from all over the world are invited to participate in a gesture of love and reflection; an intentional proclamation to honor a woman...

archival photo of a group of people walking along a dirt road carrying backpacks and napsacks.

40th Anniversary of the Winter Term Underground Railroad Reenactment

Friday, February 21, 2020
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Third World House (Price House)

On January 2, 1980, nine Oberlin students began a 420-mile trek to retrace the Underground Railroad, a journey undertaken by enslaved black people that traversed through the back roads of Kentucky...

lounge area of Afrikan Heritage House with 6 lounge chairs surrounding a small table.

Literary and Culinary Tastes of the Caribbean

Friday, February 21, 2020
8:00 pm
Afrikan Heritage House (Lord-Saunders)

Students of Caribbean Ancestry (SOCA) presents ‘‘Literary and Culinary Tastes of the Caribbean,’‘ a chance for you to discover something new, learn about, and sample foods...

side by side images of two females posed in front of a mural.

WOBIE Fest Day 1: HOOK and BKTHERULA

Friday, February 21, 2020
9:30 pm to 1:00 am
Dionysus Club (the ’Sco)

A new music festival hosted by WOBC in association with Student Union Programming Committee (SUPC), Oberlin Hip-Hop Collective (OHOP) and F+ABB. Featuring six amazing artists: HOOK & BKTHERULA (2...

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Look Black At It: 50 Years of Fashion

Saturday, February 22, 2020
8:00 pm
Carnegie Building

The annual Black History Month Fashion Show is a celebration of black beauty, black style, and their impact on popular style and culture. The show is also meant to be an inclusive space, rejecting...

Author Toni Morrison (center) with film directors Geoff Pingree and Rian Brown-Orso (far right)

Film Screening: "Atlantiques" and "The Foreigner's Home"

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
7:00 pm
Apollo Theatre

The AMAM presents a free screening of two films: Mati Diop's 2009 short Atlantiques , a story about migration set in Senegal; and the 2018 feature film The Foreigner's Home , about Toni...

black and white photo of shirley graham du bois

Shirley Graham Du Bois 2020 Symposium: Plaque Unveiling Ceremony

Thursday, February 27, 2020
12:00 pm
Conservatory Library

Shirley Graham Du Bois ’34 was an Oberlin alumna, composer, playwright, biographer, nation builder, and activist. She was one of the first black women to stage an opera in the United States and...

black and white photo of shirley graham du bois

Shirley Graham Du Bois 2020 Symposium: Opening Lecture

Thursday, February 27, 2020
4:30 pm
Irene and Alan Wurtzel Theater

Shirley Graham Du Bois ’34 was an Oberlin alumna, composer, playwright, biographer, nation builder, and activist. She was one of the first black women to stage an opera in the United States and...

Lord-Saunders Dining, Afrikan Heritage House

Black History Month: Closing Dinner

Sunday, March 1, 2020
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Lord-Saunders Dining at Afrikan Heritage House

Come over to Afrikan Heritage House and partake of the closing dinner to mark the conclusion of our events relating to our celebration of Black History Month, Black in Focus: 2020 Vision. All are...

Image: Elizabeth Catlett (American, 1915–2012), "Harriet," 1975, linoleum cut. Museum Friends Fund, 2019.13

Afterwords: An Evening of Poetry at the AMAM

Tuesday, March 3, 2020
5:30 pm
Allen Memorial Art Museum

Poets from the Oberlin College community gather to reflect on the exhibition Afterlives of the Black Atlantic . ‘‘ Afterwords: An Evening of Poetry at the AMAM’’ also...