Post Date and Author: 
- by  Abby Weingarten

This year’s Black History Month theme at New College is “Black Healing”

Outdoing itself annually with vast and insightful programming—from Black literature listen-ins to spoken word nights to film screenings and symposiums—Black History Month (BHM) at New College of Florida enriches the entire surrounding community every February. This year’s theme: “Black Healing.”

Under the guidance of Queen Zabriskie, Ph.D. (New College’s interim dean of diversity, equity and inclusion; and an associate professor of sociology), the BHM lineup has expanded to include an event nearly every day, with programming extending from February 1 to March 5. Offerings will be held in various forms: on the New College campus, at locations throughout Sarasota-Manatee, and also virtually. Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.

“Black History Month at New College has developed into a remarkable institution, enjoyed by and engaging the campus as a whole—and, increasingly—the Manasota community,” said New College Dean of Outreach Bill Woodson, Ph.D.

The BHM planning effort begins each October, and more than 24 students, staff and faculty members contribute to the programming of 20-plus events. The inaugural BHM program took place in 2015 with Zabriskie and four undergraduate students: Nasib McIntosh, Donovan Brown, Paul Loriston and the late Ijeoma Uzoukwu.

The pillars of this year’s program include the “Black Arts and Performance” series, the “Conversations on Race and Ethnicity” public lecture series, the “African Diaspora Film Festival,” the “Black History Month Listen-in,” the “New Schools of Black Thought Symposium” and a display in the Jane Bancroft Cook Library.

“Participating students in BHM have had the tremendous agency to conceive, develop and execute programming that celebrates Black art, literature, scholarship and performance in a dazzling array of forms,” Woodson said.

BHM begins on Tues. Feb. 1 with “healing: a bell hooks bibliography” in the Jane Bancroft Cook Library—a display that will be available all month long. This year’s BHM events surrounding Black literature will reflect the celebration of the life of the late bell hooks, whose history with New College dates back decades.

The same day, from 7 to 8 p.m., there will be an in-person “Black Literature Listen-in” in Z-amphitheater, produced by New College student Aurelie Campbell. The event will continue virtually from 6:30 to 7 p.m. Wed. Feb. 2 on the WSLR 96.5 radio station, with other opportunities to listen throughout the month.

Other BHM events include “Healing Dialogues: The Healing Drum” on February 4 in College Hall, a Black Student Union Backyard BBQ on February 5 on Z-Green, a “Proper Pronouns Film Screening” on February 8 in Sainer Auditorium, a “Visions in Black” juried art exhibition opening reception on February 10 at Art Center Sarasota, a “Storytelling for Transformation: Poetry, Spoken Word and Memoir from the Griot Tradition” presentation on February 12 in the Ringling College of Art and Design Alfred R. Goldstein Library, the “New Schools of Black Thought Black History Month Symposium: Reclaiming Wellness” on February 19 in Sainer Pavilion, a “Sur La Bay Concert” on February 25 on the New College bayfront, and a “Dante Between Dread and Hope” presentation on March 5 in Sudakoff Conference Center.

Events are sponsored by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Florida Humanities, and by several on-campus offices and local organizations.

“Black History Month has evolved into more than just a month of exploring Black history; it has become a love letter to our community,” Woodson said. “It is a celebration of the cultural contributions of descendants of the Diaspora.”

For more information and a full schedule of BHM events at New College, visit

Abby Weingarten is the senior editor in the Office of Communications & Marketing.