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Black History Month- African Americans & The Arts

Black History Month

Black History Month Kick-off

Step afrika presents: Step 101

Founded in 1994 by C. Brian Williams, Step Afrika! is the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping. Under Mr. Williams’ leadership, stepping has evolved into one of America’s cultural exports, touring more than 60 countries across the globe and ranking as one of the top 10 African American Dance Companies in the US. Step Afrika! blends percussive dance styles practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities; traditional African dances; and an array of contemporary dance and art forms into a cohesive, compelling artistic experience.

Step Afrika! has earned Mayor’s Arts Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education, Innovation in the Arts, Excellence in an Artistic Discipline, and was inducted into the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) Hall of Fame, the first Dance Company to earn this honor. Step Afrika! headlined President Barack Obama’s Black History Month Reception and performed at the first ever Juneteenth Celebration at the White House. The Company is featured prominently at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture with the world’s first stepping interactive exhibit.

DATE: Monday, January 29, 2024
TIME: 6:00 p.m. Hors d’oeuvres, buffet and open reception
              6:30 p.m. Performance by Step Afrika!
              7:45 p.m. Closing reception and program end
WHERE: Metropolitan Community College South Omaha Campus, CAM Building , Room 120

hybrid LECTURE: AARON dOUGLAS, unl Class of ’22: Visual Artists of the Harlem Renaissance

Peggy Jones, MFA, Associate Professor, Black Studies; Associate Director, Women & Gender Studies Program, University of Nebraska Omaha

This visual presentation will introduce the artist Aaron Douglas, the “Father of Black Art.” Douglas was the first Black graduate of the UNL Department of Art. His work is a celebration of Afrocentric Modernism, with which he established one of the earliest affirmative depictions of Black identity, history, and experience.

DATE: Thursday, February 1
TIME: 12:30-1:45 p.m. CST
WHERE: Elkhorn Valley Campus, Room 114
Register for Zoom at: Visual Artists of the Harlem Renaissance


Dr. Kwakiutl L. Dreher, Associate Professor, English, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dr. Kwakiutl L. Dreher, shares her experiences as Director and co-writer of the Bell Affair. She conceived the day-to-day interactions within and conversations held by a community of enslaved and free people as they negotiated time and resistance moves, as well as weighed thoughts and ideas in their private spaces. Every strand of dialogue, scene direction, and character cue testifies to the endurance of enslaved and free people as they navigated their whole being confined within the plantation regime.

DATE: Thursday, February 8

TIME: 4:00-5:00 p.m.CST

WHERE: South Omaha Campus, CAM Building, Conference Room 120

Register for Zoom at: From The Director's Chair

Documentary Screening: The Bell Affair

This feature film project focuses on the particular experiences of one enslaved family who sued for their freedom in Washington, D.C., at a pivotal moment in the national struggle over slavery. It tells the story of Daniel and Mary Bell from Prince George's County. Daniel launched a lawsuit to make his family free just as a labor strike, a lynch mob, and a race riot erupted in the nation's capital in the late summer of 1835. The threat of violence prompted U.S. District Attorney Francis Scott Key to prosecute dozens of white strikers, indict an enslaved man accused of attempted murder, and charge an abolitionist editor with sedition for inciting a slave revolt. Key had previously represented dozens of Maryland enslaved families suing for freedom. The Bell Affair depicts his turn against black freedom. Key's brother-in-law Roger B. Taney, another Maryland lawyer, figures prominently in the film because he is being nominated to the Supreme Court.  
DATEThursday, February 8
TIME6:00-8:30 p.m. CST
WHERE: South Omaha Campus, CAM Building, Conference Room 120


Discussion led by Marlon Johnson, ten-time Emmy award-winning producer and director

The documentary chronicles generations of African American mentors in Louisville, Kentucky’s West End neighborhood and their work to empower children and teens through creative expression. For three decades, Edward “Nardie” White has been teaching ancestral Pan-African culture and drumming traditions in the River City Drum Corps in order to instill a foundation of purposeful resilience within his neighborhood youth. Against the backdrop of the American South, Mr. White’s drumline and its multi-generational network of support has been a lifeline for many young African Americans. Now in his sixties, he must step down to allow the drum corps to evolve with a new generation. In his final year as director he trains his successor Albert Shumake, a young artist whose troubled life was transformed by the drumline and Mr. White’s mentorship when he was a teen. During this transitional year, Mr. White and Albert reflect on the tragedies and triumphs in their lives and the legacy of the drum corps. Featuring powerful drumline performances and the stories of its parents, youth and mentors, RIVER CITY DRUMBEAT is a testament to the lasting impact of art, love and community.
DATE: Monday, February 12
TIME: 2:00-4:00 p.m. CST
View the dicussion again at River City Drumbeat

Hybrid LECTURE: The Kansas City Monarchs and America's National Pastime

Phil S. Dixon, Historian and co-founder of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

The history of Negro League baseball in America mirrors the racial strie experienced by African Americans in Society. It was plagued by discrimination, racism and inequity, while its athletes were celebrated for their resiliency, professionalism and athleticism. The Kansas City Monarchs barnstormed across Kansas and the region to lay more than 400 games between 1920 and 1957 against local towns. This talk sheds new light on this sports history and the history of baseball. Mr. Dixon will also share information about his new book, American Baseball Chronicles, Great Teams: The 1910 Chicago Leland Giants Volume II.
Audience members are encouraged to wear Negro Leagues Baseball attire!
DATE: Tuesday, February 13
TIME: 6:30-8:00 p.m. CST
WHERE: Fort Omaha Campus, Bldg 10, Room 110
Watch The Kansas City Monarchs and America's National Pastime again.

HYBRID LECTURE: Black Educators/People's Resistance against Book Bans throughout History

Barry Thomas, Vice President of Community Engagement, Teach for America, B.S. Wayne State College, M.S. Doane College

So, in 2024, we are still banning books? The struggle for children to learn about the experiences of Black people and the firm control of racism in this country is not a new fight. For centuries, Black people and their allies have been striving for a just and equitable education where they can learn the truth about their role in the development of America. This engaging and interactive discussion will highlight how and why the same obstacles that were being overcome in 1724 will continue to be overcome today.
DATE: Monday, February 19
TIME: 12:30-1:45 p.m. CST
WHERE: Fort Omaha Campus, Bldg 10, Room 110
Register for Zoom at: People Resistance Against Book Bans Throughout History 

Participation for all programs is free and open to the public.
Contact Intercultural Education or 531-622-2253 for more information.

ACCOMMODATIONS:  Audience members requiring accommodations due to a disability must contact International/Intercultural Education,, 531-622-2253 at least two weeks prior to the program.

Additional International/Intercultural Education virtual programming can be found on YouTube. 

Metropolitan Community College affirms a policy of equal education, employment opportunities and nondiscrimination in providing services to the public. We are committed to ensuring our websites and facilities are accessible and usable to everyone. To read our full policy statement, visit