L.D. Lovett, director of The University of New Mexico-Gallup Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, speaks during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Commemorative Service in the Calvin Hall Auditorium on campus Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023.
UNM-Gallup celebrates Black History Month
By Richard Reyes | Thursday, Feb. 3, 2023
Events in February to focus on poetry, music and history of African American experience
GALLUP, N.M. — The University of New Mexico-Gallup will host several free and open events throughout February in celebration of Black History Month.
Specifically, the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, the Charlie Morrissey Education Center and the Zollinger Library will be presenting lectures and performances on the poetry, music and history of Black Americans.
“I’m hoping Black History Month and other events we do will change the hearts and minds of certain people who make decisions that impact all of us,” UNM-Gallup Director or Diversity, Equity & Inclusion L.D. Lovett said. “The bottom-line for me is that Black History Month is dealing with the minds, hearts and behaviors of people. I’m hoping to have that positive impact.”
Lovett noted that the upcoming events are meant to be light-hearted showcases of the past, present and future of the African American experience.
UNM-Gallup Assistant Professor Dr. Andrew McFeaters is scheduled to present “Jes Keeping It New: The African American Journey Through Jazz” in person at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, in the Zollinger Library. It will be a multimedia presentation on the history of jazz and the cultural significance it holds.
Dr. Doris Fields, a New Mexico poet and artist, is scheduled to present “A Night of Poetry” in person at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, in the Calvin Hall Auditorium.
Clifton Taulbert, an Oklahoma entrepreneur and author originally from Mississippi, is scheduled to deliver a hybrid virtual presentation entitled “The Fabric of History: The Heartbeat of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion” at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16.
Taulbert’s presentation can be viewed remotely via Zoom at https://unm.zoom.us/j/91770010133 with the passcode 240121. Community members are also invited to gather and watch the presentation live in Room 200 of the Student Services and Technology Center. Light refreshments will be served.
Brenda Hollingsworth-Marley, an Albuquerque singer and educator, is scheduled to present “From Negro Spirituals to Jazz: A Night of Music with the Story Songbird Woman” in person at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, in the Calvin Hall Auditorium. Hollingsworth-Marley will be accompanied by keyboardist Kevin Pollack and saxophonist Duane Gettis. Light refreshments will be served.
All events are free and open to the public.
Dr. Doris Fields (top), Clifton Taulbert (middle) and Brenda Hollingsworth-Marley (bottom).
‘Awareness, understanding and appreciation’
Lovett said it is important to celebrate Black History Month because it is a time to learn about African Americans who made significant achievements or contributions to the United States, many of whom are overlooked or not taught about in schools.
“It’s an awareness, understanding and appreciation of African Americans in this country,” he said. “And it’s just not Black people who benefited from it. That’s a critical thing to explain. A number of people have benefitted.”
For example, Lovett talked about more well-known historical figures such as Frederick Douglas, a formerly enslaved man who became an activist, an author and a leader in the movement to abolish slavery in the mid- to late-1800s, and Booker T. Washington, who was born into slavery and rose to become a leading African American intellectual of the 19th Century.
But Lovett also highlighted other African Americans who are not as well known, such as Dr. Charles Drew, a surgeon who became known as the “Father of the Blood Bank.”
“He created a situation where blood could be preserved longer, which helped save a number of people’s lives,” Lovett said. “We never hear about it. That’s not just a contribution to the Black community, but look at blood banks and hospital surgery everywhere today.”
Another person whom Lovett mentioned was Garrett Morgan, an inventor, businessman and community leader who developed a traffic signal with a warning light that would lead to the three-way traffic signal used today.
Morgan also patented a breathing device, or “safety hood,” that could be worn in the presence of smoke and other pollutants. Morgan and his brother even used the hoods to save two lives following a natural gas explosion in a tunnel in Cleveland in 1916.
“So there’s some things people are aware of, but we need to keep the discussion out there about who they are, what they did and what does it mean,” Lovett said. “I’m hoping it’s going to shape how people think, feel and how they act. I guess for me that’s what it means. It’s not just one day or one month. It’s part of this country and we all need to be aware that we all benefit from what African Americans have actually provided throughout the years.”
To stay up to date on UNM-Gallup’s events throughout Black History Month and other events, please visit gallup.unm.edu/news/events.php.
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