Queens College is Celebrating Black History Month With a Full Calendar of Exhibitions and Performances

Flushing, NY, January 29, 2024 – Queens College will celebrate Black History Month with a full calendar of events, including exhibitions and performances. Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library and the Queens College SEEK Program are marking the month by cosponsoring “Struggle to Learn, Learn to Struggle”: The Impact and History of the SEEK Program at Queens College, 1966–Today. The exhibition showcases the history of the Percy Ellis Sutton Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge (SEEK) Program, which—through the efforts of activists and legislators—grew out of the civil rights movement. Originally intended mainly for African American and Puerto Rican students, its aim was and remains to make college education more accessible to underserved communities, notably by offering select courses for students’ first and second years, individualized academic advising and services, community, and financial assistance.

The multimedia exhibition features holdings of the SEEK History Project (part of Special Collections and Archives). Mounted in the library’s Barham Rotunda, it includes photographs, ephemera, publications, clippings, and reports. Additional cases in the Tanenbaum Room highlight oral histories conducted with SEEK faculty, staff, and alumni.

The exhibition showcases the 58-year trajectory of the SEEK Program from its grassroots origins to its emergence as a national model for higher education. Emphasizing SEEK’s innovations, resilience through changing times, and impact, the exhibition was curated by Annie Tummino (head of Special Collections and Archives) with the assistance of the SEEK Exhibit Advisory Committee, consisting of faculty, counselors, and alumni active with SEEK: Norka Blackman-Richards, William Modeste, Carmine Couloute, Cicely Rodway, Rajvir Kaur, Sandra M. Córdoba, Michael Robinson, James Mellone, and Seymour Hodge.

The exhibition will be on display February 1–May 2. A reception open to the public will be held on Thursday, February 8, 5:30–6:30 pm; it will start with a ceremony in the rotunda, followed by refreshments in the Tanenbaum wing. In addition, throughout the Spring semester there will be weekly day and evening events featuring past and present stakeholders in SEEK.

The Office of Student Development and Leadership will be hosting several events for students, including a Black Inventions Interactive Exhibit, on Wednesday, February 7, from 10 am­­­­­-4 pm. The walk-through experience features over 175 authentic artifacts, such as patent designs, personal letters, rare photographs, and brief biographies of black inventors, interspersed with motivational placards and video documentaries.

A Career and Educational Journey: How Being a Globally-Engaged Citizen and Traveler Led to my Success, Featuring Sentwali Bakari, will take place on Tuesday, February 13, from 12:15-1:15 pm. Restorative Justice in Action Featuring Dr. Shana Eutsay will take place on Wednesday, February 14, from 12:15-1:15 pm. Eutsay’s presentation will focus on identifying gaps within social experiences and building genuine outcomes within diverse group settings to strengthen trust among the campus community. It aims to help audience members gain a better understanding of social and emotional learning through an inclusive lens that reflects equity and success in both the classroom culture and overall campus community.

Social Justice Careers Featuring Author and Activist, Shola Gbemi will be held on Wednesday, February 21, from 12:15-1:15 pm. The workshop, led by Gbemi, aims to inform students about careers in social justice. Gbemi will share his experience as both an undergraduate and graduate student and his professional journey, focusing on the tools and steps needed to gain a better understanding of social justice-focused careers. The first 10 students in attendance will receive a free copy of Gbemi’s book, They Were Chosen. So Black. So Queer. So Beautiful., a hybrid panel discussion led by Connect + Commune, will take place on Wednesday, February 21, at 6 pm. The discussion will explore mainstream standards of beauty and their impact on the physical and psychological health and self-expression of queer and trans people, specifically those of color.

Black History Month events at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts start on February 4 at 3 pm with a staged reading of Mississippi Land. Set in 1945 and inspired by a real story, the play explores an African American family’s efforts to keep property they acquired after the Civil War.

On February 10 at 3 pm, Cubop to Hip-Hop explores Afro-Latin music.

The following Friday, February 16, Kupferberg features the String Queens, a classically trained violin-viola-cello trio described as “schoolteachers by day and concert performers by night.” Their repertoire spans baroque music, jazz, and Billboard Hot 100 hits.

As usual, the Louis Armstrong House Museum is highlighting Black History Month with a tour centered on Armstrong and civil rights in America. The tour is available Thursdays through Saturdays during February; advance ticket purchase is required. Please click here for more info.



Maria Matteo

Media and College Relations