New College’s annual Black History Month program rallies the campus community as we celebrate and explore the rich history, culture, and contemporary realities of Black people and communities. As an annual program, Black History Month at New College intentionally focuses on Black communities in the United States and abroad in order to highlight the complexity and multiplicity of blackness and Black experiences.


Established by the visionary work of Dr. Queen Zabriskie and four undergraduate students– Nasib McIntosh, Donovan Brown, Paul Loriston, and the late Ijeoma Uzoukwu–, the inaugural Black History Month program took place in February 2015. Working together, these individuals addressed a need on campus to illuminate, preserve, increase information about Black life for the campus community. Since then, the committee has grown to consist of students, staff, faculty, and administrators who collaborate to bring the design and implementation of the program to life!

What kind of programming will there be?

The pillars of the annual programming include the Black Arts and Performance series, the Conversations on Race and Ethnicity public lecture series, the African Diaspora Film Festival, the Black Literature Read-in, the New Schools of Black Thought Symposium, and a display in the Jane Bancroft Cook Library. Additionally, the committee arranges opportunities to serve the surrounding community in partnership with various local schools and organizations. All events are appropriate for community members of any age and of many different interests. Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.

Thank You Sponsors!

This year’s events are being sponsored by Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, the Humanities Division, the Social Sciences Division, and Sociology discipline at New College of Florida; the Andrew Mellon Foundation: New College Connecting the Arts and Humanities on Florida’s Creative Coast Grant; the Andrew Mellon Foundation: New College and the CCA in the Community Grant; Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities; New Music New College; and the Manasota Branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

Tuesday, February 1

Interactive Library Display
Jane Bancroft Cook Library

Black Literature Listen-in live event
7:00 – 8:00 PM

Wednesday, February 2

Black Literature Listen-in
6:30-7:00 PM
WSLR 96.5

Friday, February 4

Healing Dialogues: The Healing Drum (collaboration with Conversation on Race and Ethnicity series)
6:00 – 7:30 PM
College Hall, Music Room  

“The Healing Drum” will feature a dialogue among Dr. Kyaien Connor, an associate professor in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy at the University of South Florida, Tampa; Cheikh N’Dong, Master Drummer and Music Director for Kuumba Dancers and Drummers; and Dr. Hugo Viera-Vargas, an assistant professor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Music at New College of Florida. Connor, N’Dong, and Viera-Vargas will discuss and explore the healing capacities of the west african and afro-caribbean drumming practices grounded in their research and practice with the audience.

Saturday, February 5 

Black Student Union Backyard BBQ
1:00 – 4:00 PM

Tuesday, February 8

Proper Pronouns Film Screening
7:00 PM
Sainer Auditorium

A collaboration with WSLR 96.5/Fogartyville and ALSO Youth. Dialogue after the screening will feature panelists: Yoleidy Rosario-Hernandez, Ringling College of Art and Design; Reverend Robin White, Unity of Sarasota;  Megan Daniels, Director of Film; Alex Griffin, Assistant Professor of Religion, New College of Florida.

Wednesday, February 9

Black Literature Listen-in
6:30-7:00 PM
WSLR 96.5 – On the Radio 

Saturday, February 12

Storytelling for Transformation: Poetry, Spoken Word, and Memoir from the Griot Tradition
12-2 PM
Ringling College of Art and Design Library 

In this generative workshop, award-winning and international performing artist, Carla Christopher, will guide participants through the core traditions of creative storytelling as cultural preservation, communal spirituality, and soul healing. Participants will practice multiple techniques for effective writing, editing, and performance. We will gather ideas and write together, departing with at least two in-progress (or even completed) pieces.

Poets Unplugged: An Evening of Spoken Word and Music 
7:00 – 10:00 PM
WSLR Fogartyville 

Former Poet Laureate of York, Pennsylvania, multiply published and award-winning poet and writer, Carla Christopher, will be sharing interactive and theatrically inspired new work based on research and personal pilgrimage around the hidden stories of the underground railroad and our ongoing journey towards freedom. Be inspired by Carla’s combined spoken word, performance poetry, and historical storytelling as she escorts us on a journey in the griot tradition.

Tuesday, February 15

Sip and Paint organized by Jada McNeill, SA[U]CE Office
6 PM
Z Balcony

Wednesday, February 16

Black Literature Listen-in
6:30-7:00 PM
WSLR 96.5 – On the Radio

Thursday, February 17

Healing Dialogues: Maternal Health and Women’s Knowledge (collaboration with Campus Conversations series)
5:30 -7:00 PM
Cook Hall Living Room

This conversation will lay out the stakes of maternal health and birthing experience for Black women and their children in particular, bringing together a historian, a medical doctor and community health activist, and a practicing doula to discuss these issues and experiences with the audience. Participants include: Dr. Lisa Merritt, founder and director of the Multicultural Health Institute (MHI) and adjunct professor at New College of Florida; Amelia Villada, local birth consultant, doula, and Hypnobirthing practitioner in our community; and Dr. Maneesha Lal, Associate Director of Faculty Development and a scholar of health and illness history.   tragic costs to the health of Black women and their children of the intersection between access, culturally-competent care, and the social determinants of health, from environment to the long term impact of racism. We will focus in particular on the positive—how Black women and their communities work together to recognize and support mother and child through the birthing process. “The knowledge about how to give birth is born within every woman: women do not need to be taught how to give birth but rather to have more trust and faith in their own body knowledge.” ~BirthWorks

Friday, February 18

Eleanor Merritt: Remembrance
Exhibit at the Ringling Museum of Art until August 21st

Nulls at Night: Erotic Poetry with Immani Love &  Bein Reace aka Y’all Know I’m Nasty
9:00 PM
Black Box Theater

Saturday, February 19, 2022

New Schools of Black Thought Black History Month Symposium: “Reclaiming Wellness”

Interactive Wellness Activities and Vendors
3:00-4:30 PM

Workshops and Activities: 

  • Yoga facilitated by Crishuana Williams and Becca Hadwen 
  • Creative Writing workshop facilitated by Melanie Lavender
  • Tours of the NCF Food Forest w/ Lilly Fields 
  • Earth Boxes Workshop – Orange Blossom Garden – Barbara Powell Harris 
  • Paint and Relax with Shavonne Rose 


  • Newtown Farmers Market – Fruits and Veggies 
  • Scott’s Exotic Plants and Original Art 
  • Asmaa Zabriskie author of The Veggiegasms Cookbook  
  • Shavonne Rose Paintings  
  • New College of Florida Council on Green Affairs 
  • Multicultural Health Institute – Health Screenings 

Panel Discussion: Health, Wellness and Healing 
4:45 – 6:00 PM
Asmaa Zabriskie (Healthy Eating and Plant Based Medicine), Steve Jones (Meditation and Mindfulness) and Odessa Ammons (Multicultural Health Institute) 

Dinner Break
6:00 – 7:00 PM
Visions of the Black Experience Film Festival Shorts about Black Empowerment 

Keynote Address
7:00 – 8:30 PM

  • Poetry by Melanie Lavender 
  • Keynote Address – 45 min. Talk and 15 min. Q&A

Monday, February 21

My Name Is Pauli Murray Film Screening
Panelists: Dr. Emily Fairchild; Sonia Fuentes, JD; Judge Karimu Hill Harvey; Moderated by Judge Charles Williams

Wednesday, February 23

Black Literature Listen-in
6:30-7:00 PM
WSLR 96.5 – On the Radio

Thursday, February 24

Healing Dialogues: My Sister’s Keeper
6:00-8:00 PM
College Hall Living Room 

“My Sister’s Keeper” will feature a dialogue between Tosha Alston, founder and artistic director of Ayodele Drum and Dance in Chicago; Janet Taylor, a community psychiatrist and expert in healing racial trauma; Deidra Larkins, Sarasota native who runs a local Sister Circle dedicated to Black women’s health and wellness; and Dr. Queen Zabriskie, associate professor of Sociology and Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies and Interim Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at New College of Florida. The dialogue among Alston, Taylor, and Zabriskie will examine Black women’s history and contemporary practice of resisting and healing from racialized gender oppression through collective work and the formation of networks of support.

Friday, February 25

Sur La Bay Concert
7:00-10:00 PM
College Hall Bayfront


Monday, February 28

Black Literature Listen-in live event (organized by Aurlie Campbell)
7:00 – 8:00 PM

Funding for Healing Dialogues was provided in part through a grant from Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.