the present moment of ‘racial reckoning’

Black Studies in 21st Century Higher Education talk with Sanchez, Bracey

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In honor of Black History Month, the University of Maine Black Student Union and the University of Maine Alumni Association will welcome Dr. Sonia Sanchez and Dr. John Bracey to discuss the importance and impact of Black Studies in 21st century higher education, Thursday, Jan. 28, at 6 p.m. EST, over Zoom.

Register for the free, public event at tinyurl.com/BlackStudies21. “Black Studies in 21st Century Higher Education” also will be livestreamed on the UMaine Alumni YouTube channel.

Sanchez and Bracey were among the intellectuals who initiated the movement for Black studies in the 1970s. Reflecting on their decades-long commitment to, and work toward, racial justice in academic and community spaces, they will discuss the present moment of “racial reckoning,” as it has been dubbed in the media. 

Sanchez and Bracey will talk about the history of Black Studies, current urgencies, and the relevance of Black knowledge, creativity and spirituality in higher education.

The talk is intended as a space for connection, reflection, and inspiration, echoing Dr. Sanchez’ invitation from her poem Catch the Fire:

CATCH YOUR FIRE...DON'T KILL

HOLD YOUR FIRE...DON'T KILL

LEARN YOUR FIRE...DON'T KILL

BE THE FIRE...DON'T KILL

Catch the fire and burn with eyes

that see our souls:

WALKING.

SINGING.

BUILDING.

LAUGHING.

LEARNING.

LOVING.

TEACHING.

BEING.

Here is my hand.

Catch the fire...and live.

Live.

Livelivelive.

Livelivelive.

Live.

Live.

The conversation will begin with an address by University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy and will feature some of Sanchez’s poetry. In addition to the dialogue between Sanchez and Bracey, there will be time for attendees to ask questions.

Sanchez is a key figure in the Black Arts Movement, a multi-award-winning poet, activist, and an academic who has impacted the fights for gender rights, racial justice, and peace around the world. 

Bracey is a former chair and current graduate certificate co-director at the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an award-winning academic and activist.

This event is supported, in part, by a grant from the Cultural Affairs/ Distinguished Lecture Series Fund, the McGillicuddy Humanities Center, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, departments of Anthropology, Communication and Journalism, Native American Studies, Political Science, Sociology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. 

For more information, contact Lauren Babb, Black Student Union advisor, at lauren.babb@maine.edu

About the University of Maine:

The University of Maine, founded in Orono in 1865, is the state's land grant, sea grant and space grant university. It is located on Marsh Island in the homeland of the Penobscot Nation. As Maine's flagship public university, UMaine has a statewide mission of teaching, research and economic development, and community service. UMaine is the state's only public research university and among the most comprehensive higher education institutions in the Northeast. It attracts students from all 50 states and more than 75 countries. UMaine currently enrolls 11,741 undergraduate and graduate students who have opportunities to participate in groundbreaking research with world-class scholars. UMaine offers more than 100 degree programs through which students can earn master's, doctoral or professional science master's degrees, as well as graduate certificates. The university promotes environmental stewardship, with substantial efforts campuswide to conserve energy, recycle and adhere to green building standards in new construction. For more information about UMaine, visit umaine.edu.

Event Date: 

Thu, 01/28/2021 - 6:00pm

Event Location: 

Zoom and UMaine Alumni YouTube channel