North Adams, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) announces that this year’s celebration of Black History Month includes a number of events that are free and open to the public, including a one-man show performed by Emmy Award-winning actor Ron Jones, “The Movement: 50 Years of Love and Struggle,” which will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 4, in Venable Theater in MCLA’s Amsler Campus Center.
In addition to the one man show, the public also is invited to attend other free events in February, in association with Black History Month, including an Afro House Zumba workshop and multiple film screenings, and a student-run Open Mic Night, “Inspire.”
Michael Obasohan, assistant director of diversity programs and the Multicultural Education Center, said all are welcome to join MCLA as the College celebrates this year’s theme of “Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future.”
“Our one man show, ‘The Movement: 50 Years of Love and Struggle,’ kicks off the month by highlighting many of the political, social and cultural markers of the roughly 50 years since passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” Obasohan said. “February is filled with great programs that honor great leaders that came before us, and events that will inspire our future leaders to walk in that same light.”
In “The Movement: 50 Years of Love and Struggle,” Jones plays multiple characters and takes the audience on a journey through the ever-changing face of the African-American experience. Supported by interactive video, stock historical footage, quotes and some of the most memorable music of the last two generations, Jones weaves the tapestry of struggle and triumph.
From the “Black Power ’60s” to the “Blaxploitation ’70s” and into the “Cosby ’80s” through the so-called “Post Racial” new millennia, “The Movement” is a survey of the best – and sometimes worst – of the African-American experience.
Continuing through the month, MCLA Chief Diversity Officer Christopher MacDonald-Dennis, Ph.D., will present a Black History Month Film Series every Wednesday at 7 p.m., to be followed by a talk back. Each of the four films, to include “Selma” (2014) and “Rosewood” (1997), will be screened in the Campus Center’s Sullivan Lounge, with the exception of the Feb. 13 screening and discussion, which will take place in the Campus Center’s Empowerment Lounge.
On Saturday, Feb. 16, MCLA will present an Afro House Zumba Workshop, 7:15-8:30 p.m. in the Amsler Campus Center Dance Complex, where participants will learn some popular African dances.
As part of the College’s Global Film Series, MCLA will show “Born This Way,” a portrait of the underground gay and lesbian community in Cameroon. This 2013 film follows Cedric and Gertrude, two young Cameroonians, as they move between a secret, supportive LGBT community and an outside culture that, although intensely homophobic, is in transition toward greater acceptance.
“Born This Way” will be shown on Monday, Feb. 25, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Sullivan Lounge, in the Campus Center. The screening will be followed by a discussion with MacDonald-Dennis. Also, on Thursday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m., an “Inspire Open Mic Night” will take place in the Campus Center Marketplace.
Displays sponsored by the College’s Multicultural Education Resource Center also will be exhibited at MCLA throughout the month of February. They include an “Honoring the Past Historical Display,” on the Campus Center Bulletin Board, and “Leaders Inspiring Future Leaders Display,” on various campus bulletin boards.
And, as part of the “Social Change Film Series” offered in a collaborative effort by MCLA, Williams College and Bennington College, the public is invited to a free screening of “Jewel’s Catch One” (2016) on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m., in Williams College’s Paresky Auditorium.
The film documents the oldest Black-owned disco in America and tells the story of businesswoman, activist and healer Jewel Thais-Williams and “The Catch,” one of the original safe spaces for both the LGBT and Black communities. The screening will be followed by a talk back by Dr. Kai M. Green, an assistant professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality studies at Williams College.
Jones was awarded the Boston/New England Regional Emmy of the National Academy of Television, Arts and Science in 2002. He has been an actor, director, and trainer for more than 20 years. He has been a performing member of troupes such as ImprovBoston, StageCoach Improv, and The United States Improvisational Theatre League, as well as numerous stage and industrial productions.
For more information, contact Obasohan, (413) 662-5440.
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth’s public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.
For more information, go to www.mcla.edu.