Upperman African American Cultural Center

A People by the Sea

Africana Lecture and
Film Series
Art Exhibits Sankofa Programming
Special Events and
Collaborations
Signature Programs The Art of Narration Cultural Excursion
Black Fridays The Excellence Project Get Lit: Black Literature Series 
Click here for a .pdf version of the calendar.

August 2017

13 | Road to Sankofa
5 p.m., Warwick Center
The Road to Sankofa program welcomes you and your family to the UNCW family. This program introduces you to the Upperman African American Cultural Center and the great legacy of the African American presence at UNCW. Join members of the UNCW faculty and administration, student leaders and other distinguished guests for this important UNCW tradition.

21 | Reading Black Narratives
from the Mountain by the Sea
2 p.m., Upperman Center

Join the Upperman Center and the English Department as consider Blackness, Geography, Race and Class in a lively discussion with and reading by Stephanie Powell Watts on her newest fictional work, No One Is Coming To Save Us.  The reading kicks off our new fall series, Get Lit., which encourages students to read fictional works by Black Authors. In conjunction with the Library’s New Literary Voices of the South Thirsty Tome. 

24 | My Lord, What A Morning
5:30 p.m., Upperman Center 

The Upperman Center is proud to present the photographic talent of UNCW’s very own Venita Jenkins. My Lord, What a Morning features a vibrant array of sunrise stills taken throughout the Gullah Geechee corridor. This exhibit serves as the introduction to the center’s theme for the year, A People by the Sea.  

25 | Black Friday: NPHC Takeover
12 p.m., Upperman Center 

Black Friday Kicks Off with an NPHC Takeover, giving us all of the shades of Blackness that we can handle. As a part of NPHC’s official week, "Unapologetically Black," students will meet local members of NPHC as they enjoy food, fellowship, and games.

29 | Rewind
6 p.m., Lumina Theater 
Join the Upperman African American Cultural Center for a night at the movies! We will screen short films courtesy of the Black Film Collective and a special feature film. This is the perfect opportunity to become acquainted with black student organizations on campus and learn more about the Upperman Center!

September 2017

7 | Fictionalizing Historical Blackness 
2 p.m., Upperman Center

Join us for our second installment of Get Lit. as Rev. Dr. Wallis Baxter, III, PhD leads a discussion on how history, race, and creative production work together to give us insight into Black fiction through the work of Charles Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition.  His lecture coincides with our Africana Film & Lecture series which considers the documentarian work of Christopher Everett in producing, ”Wilmington On Fire.”

7 | Wilmington on Fire 
6 p.m., Lumina Theater 

Join us for a movie viewing and discussion of Christopher Everett’s “Wilmington On Fire,” which is a documentary that explores the Wilmington Riot’s of 1898, and it’s effect on Wilmington’s political, social, and economic development.


8 | Black Friday and Open House:
Low Country Livin'
12 p.m., Upperman Center 

We are throwing the doors open here “een” the center as we celebrate living in what South Carolinians call the Low Country, where fish, rice, grits, okra, and field peas go together.  Join us for a Black Friday & Open House that invites all constituents into the center for an afternoon of fun, fellowship, and culture!

16 | Passports and Purpose 
Part of Family and Alumni Weekend 
10 a.m., Upperman Center 
Enjoy a Gullah Geechee inspired brunch, as parents participate in a guided conversation about how to support black college students with an emphasis on why Black students should travel abroad. Co-sponsored by the Office of International Programs. 
22 | Black Friday:
The Music of Porgy & Bess
12 p.m., Upperman Center 

Dubose Heyward wrote the book.  George Gershwin turned it into a famed opera.  But, the Black people of Charleston were its inspiration and subject.  Join us, as we explore the music and creativity behind America’s first “folk opera.”

28 | Growing Up Gullah 
6 p.m., Randall Library Auditorium 

Imagine hearing “Eee hawt,” as seagrass baskets were in mid production, while preparing to head to the praise house, as a low country boil is brewing.  Join Dr. Arlecia Simmons, a professor of journalism and theology, as she talks about what it was like to grow up as a part of the Gullah-Geechee community in Charleston, South Carolina.

October 2017

10 | Ink in Her Veins
Celebrating the Legacy of Mary Alice Jervay Thatch and the Wilmington Journal 
6 p.m., Wrightsville Beach Room 

After Thomas Manly’s press was burned to the ground in the 1898 riots, there was a twenty year absence before another Black press emerged.  It was Mary Alice Jervay Thatch’s family who gave birth to the Wilmington Journal.  A Journal that has been in production for over 80+ years.  Come learn about what it has taken to create a successful press this old and prestigious be woven into the legacy of Wilmington's social justice scene as interpreted by Mary Alice, in conversation with Linda Upperman.

13 | Black Friday:
Poetry with Arna Bontemps
12 p.m. Upperman Center

This Black Friday celebrates the poetic legacy of Arna Bontemps, who was born on October 13th, and is known for his literary works during the Harlem Renaissance.

19 | Ranky Tanky Concert
7:30 p.m., Kenan Auditorium

“Gullah” comes from West African language and means “a people blessed by God.” “Ranky Tanky” translates loosely as “Work It,” or “Get Funky!” In this spirit this Charleston, SC based quintet performs timeless music of Gullah culture born in the southeastern Sea Island region of the United States. From playful game songs to ecstatic shouts, from heartbreaking spirituals to delicate lullabies, the musical roots of Charleston, SC are “rank” and fertile ground from which these contemporary artists are grateful to have grown. For tickets, click here. 

20 | Black Friday: Let's Get Dizzy
12 p.m., Upperman Center 
Black Friday's continues as we explore the musical contributions of Dizzy Gillespie. 
27 | Black Friday:
A Black History Halloween 
12 p.m., Upperman Center
Black Friday's invites all students to participate in a Black history costume competition as we listen music inspired by Halloween. 

November 2017

1 | Ron K. Brown: EVIDENCE
BFSA Dessert and Coffee
5 p.m., Upperman Center 

The Upperman African American Cultural Center, cordially invites all UNCW Black Faculty and Staff (and their families) to join us in the center for a dessert and coffee mixer prior to experiencing Ron K. Brown's artistic dance production, EVIDENCE.

3 | Black Friday: Dominica 
12 p.m., Upperman Center

Black Friday’s invites all to explore the heritage, food, and music of Dominica on this Caribbean themed Black Friday.

14 | Tea Cakes and Grits
5 p.m., Clocktower Lounge 

As the third installment of Get Lit., join Upperman and the English Department as we explore Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God over shrimp, grits and tea cakes.  Then join us downstairs for a viewing of the film.

Through a cinematic viewing of "Their Eyes Were Watching God,” you are invited to watch and learn through our Africana Lecture & Film Series as we embark upon connecting literary fiction to visual production.  Sponsored by the Africana Studies, English Department and the Upperman African American Cultural Center.

14 | Their Eyes Were Watching God
Movie Viewing and Discussion 
6 p.m., Lumina Theater
17 | Black Friday:
A Taste of Senegal 
12 p.m., Upperman Center 

Join us as we explore the sights and sounds of coastal Senegal, specifically as it ties to our Gullah Coast during this Black Friday.

27 | Pre-Kwanzaa Celebration 
6 p.m., Burney Center

Everyone is invited to experience the traditions, rituals, and symbolism of Kwanzaa. Participants will learn the Nguzo Saba, the seven principles of Kwanzaa, and how each of these aspects plays a role in the development and sustainability of this cultural celebration.

December 2017

8 | Fall Senior Sankofa
10:30 a.m., Education Building 
Sankofa is a West African word in the Akan language meaning “wisdom in learning from the past to build for the future” and symbolizes an African rite of passage. The Sankofa Graduation Ceremony is a reception celebrating the success of students within the African diaspora at UNCW.
11 | Peach Cobbler and Pralines:
Silent Art Auction
6 p.m. Upperman Center 

As we celebrate the spirit of the winter holiday season, join us for a silent art auction of Venita Jenkins' art exhibit “My Lord What A Morning,” over deep south desserts and coffee.  All proceeds to benefit the Upperman Trust to take students on an alternative spring break through the Gullah coastal region.

Archived Events