Scholar, writer, and editor Adolph Reed Jr., Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, will be the keynote speaker at The University of New Mexico Department of Africana Studies 38th Black History Month Kickoff Brunch. Black History Month kickoff events also include a celebration of the life of UNM activist and alumna Barbara Brown Simmons, and performances by the Langston Hughes Project, as well as lectures by project founder Dr. Ron McCurdy.

The brunch, in partnership with the UNM African American Student Services. will be held Saturday, Jan. 28, at the UNM SUB Ballroom. Reed has taught at Howard, Yale, and Northwestern Universities, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the New School for Social Research.

Tickets for the brunch are available online. Student tickets are free, individual tickets are $50, and tables for 10 are $500.

Africana Studies has been a mainstay in the UNM community for 50 years as a shining example of the university’s commitment to diversity, gender equity, and social and ethnic justice. The goal of the Brunch is to announce the beginning of community celebrations and reflections in anticipation of Black History Month. The Brunch supports the academic and public service missions of UNM by enabling the university to offer a range of activities and provide an academic perspective that would otherwise be excluded.

Barbara Brown Simmons

A celebration of the life of the late Barbara Brown Simmons, UNM alumna and one of the founders of the Black studies program and the first Black woman to graduate from the Law school and become a member of the New Mexico State Bar, will be held Friday, Jan. 27, at the UNM Alumni Chapel starting with a community gathering and refreshments at 5:15 p.m., followed by the celebration of life program at 6 p.m.

Langston Hughes Project

The Langston Hughes Project (LHP) features the critically acclaimed McCurdy and award-winning jazz singer Nicole Henry.

McCurdy will present lectures for students Thursday, Feb. 2, at 9: 30 a.m. at the UNM College of Fine Arts, and again at 2 p.m.

The LHP will perform 12 Moods for Jazz from 10 a.m. to noon at Popejoy Hall on Friday, Feb. 3.

An evening performance with featured performer Henry with the LHP will be held at the African American Performing Arts Center at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, and again Saturday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m.

The LHP is a 90-minute multimedia show, based around Hughes’ poem Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz. Set during the period of the Harlem Renaissance, the poem deals with the struggle for freedom and dignity for African American people. The show connects the historical dots between the Civil Rights Movement, the colonization of African countries, and today’s landscape. LHP has been performed in 40 states and Mexico City, on many college campuses, and in venues ranging from a 20-person capacity to Carnegie Hall.

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