For the next four weeks, Bellarmine University is hosting a series of free public events in February to celebrate Black History Month.
The highlights kicks off with a guest lecture by Tony Bonta on the Catholic Church’s role in advocating for racial justice in the U.S, and a February 15 lecture on Trappist monk Thomas Merton’s lessons on race for the 21st century. There are also several concerts and events scheduled throughout the month.
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February 1: Black History Month Guest Speaker Tony Bonta (7 p.m. in Hilary’s) Tony Bonta is pursuing his doctorate in historical theology, with a specialization in American Catholic life and thought, at Marquette University. Bonta’s presentation will focus on three areas: 1) a brief discussion and summary of the history of the Catholic Church in the United States as it relates to racial justice; 2) an understanding of the shift in the 20th century and key theological teachings and formative issues that highlight the successes, limitations and efforts of these Catholic leaders; and 3) the lessons and challenges for us today, as individuals and communities, to understand and address the realities of bigotry, racism, and their implications for prejudice and discrimination.
Feb. 8: Documentary “Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin” (7 p.m. in Hilary’s) “Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin” is a biography about one of the most controversial figures in the civil rights movement. He was a Freedom Rider, advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and an organizer of the March on Washington. However, Bayard was forced to play a background role in the civil rights movement because he was gay. This documentary sheds light on this charismatic leader and the progressive movements of the 20th century.
Feb. 15: Faculty Jazz Band Performance (11 a.m. to noon on the first floor of Horrigan Hall, by Cafe Ogle) Come enjoy the smooth sounds of Bellarmine’s Faculty Jazz Band as they perform their favorites pieces!
Feb. 15: Fifth Annual Thomas Merton Black History Month Lecture (7 p.m. in Frazier Hall) Sister Jamie T. Phelps, O.P., Ph.D., will discuss “Religion and Racism: Thomas Merton’s Insights for the Twenty-First Century.” Phelps has been a member of the Adrian Dominican Sisters since 1959 and is a professor of systematic theology and director of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana.
Feb. 20: Black History Month Concert (4 p.m. in Wyatt Center for the Arts, Cralle Theatre) Enjoy beautiful music performed by Bellarmine students and guest artists, featuring works by famous, classical African-American composers in celebration of Black History Month.
Feb. 22: Documentary “Uncommon Vision: The Life and Times of John Howard Griffin” (11 a.m. in Pasteur 102) John Howard Griffin is best known as a white man who in 1959 disguised himself as a black man and traveled anonymously through the heart of Dixie. From his experiences he wrote Black Like Me. This film focuses on Griffin’s social activism and examines how a spiritual commitment led him from a segregated childhood in Fort Worth to fighting with the French Underground, sustained him during 10 years of blindness incurred by war injuries, and inspired him during a prolific creative life as a writer and photographer. A short discussion will follow the film.
Feb. 25: Voice Recital (5 p.m. in Wyatt Center for the Arts, Wyatt Theatre) Baritone Phillip Morgan, winner of the Bellarmine Chorale’s 2010 Black History Month Festival of Music Vocal Competition, will be the featured performer in this event which will showcase music by African-American classical composers. Mr. Morgan will be accompanied by pianist Austin Echols.
Feb. 26: Second Annual Vocal Competition (1 p.m.; Collegiate Division is in Wyatt Center for the Arts and High School Division is in Norton Music Building 101) This unique and exciting event is co-sponsored, for the second year, by the Bellarmine University Chorale and the Kentucky Chapter of the National Association of Negro Musicians. This statewide vocal competition features both collegiate and high school divisions and requires all contestants to offer a Traditional Negro Spiritual or a classical composition by an African-American composer. This is in addition to the ‘usual’ Handel, Mozart, Puccini or Verdi that would be required in most vocal events.
Feb. 27: Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Talent Hunt (4 p.m. in Wyatt Center for the Arts, Cralle Theatre) The Bellarmine Chorale is once again co-sponsoring the Annual Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Talent Hunt! Started in 1946, this yearly contest exposes young people to the arts and gives them a platform to display their talents. Winners receive monetary prizes and the winner of the top prize represents Louisville in the Omega’s national competition.