Upperman African American Cultural Center














Africana Lecture and
Film Series
Art Exhibits Sankofa Programming
Collaborations Signature Programs Excellence Project
Black Fridays Special Events
Click here for a .pdf version of the calendar.

January 2020

16 | Heroes on The Wall
4:30 p.m-6:00 p.m., Boseman Flack Gallery

In alumnus ’19 Jalen Whitner’s show Heroes on the Wall, he speaks about his heroes and how he can represent them in everyday life. “As an artist, I seek inspiration and hope- As a kid I loved Michael Jordan, I thought MLK was coolest guy I learned about. They gave me so much inspiration as a child. When I was in my teens I played Drake and Kanye everyday on my way to school. Now In my mid 20s, J.Cole, Mac Miller, Nipsey Hussle and Basquiat help bring me inspiration not only as a man, but as a young artist . The inspiration never stopped, the list just grew. These pieces of artwork are not only my heroes, but the heroes of others as well. As an African American a lot of the pieces I create, I also create to show positive light towards the African American community. We have celebrities that not only inspire us as a culture but inspire many other cultures as well.”


22 | 35th MLK Day Celebration
7p.m., Kenan Auditorium

Join the Upperman Center and UNCW with former Essence Editor-In-Chief Susan Taylor as keynote for our 35th Annual Martin Luther King Celebration entitled 'In Our Sunday's Best: A Creative Protest Remembered'

Admission is free with ticket. Tickets can be picked up at Kenan Auditorium.


23 | Black Greek 101
Details forthcoming

Have you been thinking about becoming a member of the Divine Nine, the historically Black Greek Letter Organizations whose memberships include Martin Luther King Jr., Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, James Weldon Johnson, Aretha Franklin, MC Lyte, Byron Cage and Sarah Vaughn?  If so, join the Unstoppable UNCW NPHC for an overview of, question & answers, and reception about what it takes to be an NPHC member at UNCW.  Co-sponsored with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.


24 | Black Friday: The Ultimate Black Makeover
12-3 p.m., Upperman

New year, new you, new Black Fridays! Join Upp as we help you jumpstart your 2020 transformation with the ultimate black makeover!

February 2020

3 | Seabreeze Release Party
12:00 p.m., Upperman

We're kicking off Black History Month with the release of 'Seabreeze: A Literary Diaspora'. Upperman's newest student initiative.

5 | UPPGrade: Achieving 2020 Vision
12:00 p.m.., Upperman
It's a new semester and a new decade so join us as we invite mentor, coach, author, and CEO of Wilmington's Suprena Hickman Enterprises, Suprena Hickman herself, to teach us how to create a vision board with intentionality and how to come up with strategies for attaining personal and professional goals. It's a Vision Board Party!



5 | Ailey II
7:00 p.m., Kenan Auditorium

Ailey II is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country’s best diverse young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding emerging choreographers. Founded in 1974, the company embodies founder Alvin Ailey’s pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training, and community programs for all people. Under the direction of Sylvia Waters, Ailey II flourished into one of the most popular dance companies in the county. With new Artistic Director Troy Powell at the helm, Ailey II will continue to thrive as he brings a fresh dimension to this beloved company. Their dazzling repertoire will include Alvin Ailey’s timeless classics and new works by today’s emerging choreographers

7 | Upptown Atelier: Homecoming Fashion Show
8:00 p.m., Kenan Auditorium
You're invited to the most exclusive and fashionable event of the year: The Upptown Atelier! Join Upperman for our annual Multi-media influenced homecoming fashion show.

8 | Stompin' With The Greeks: Homecoming Step Show 
7:00 p.m., Kenan Auditorium

Come experience the art form that is rooted in NPHC organizations and invented to tell the story of their history through rhythm, precision, and dance? Come watch all your favorite greeks from UNCW's Yard as well as teams from around the southeast compete for the title of UNCW Homecoming Step Show Champion! Co-Sponsored by NPHC and Alumni Affairs

9 | AAGA Luncheon
:30 a.m., Warwick Ballroom
Join the African American Graduation Association for their annual homecoming luncheon! Re-connect with friends over a great meal!
11 | African American Read-In
3:00p.m., D.C. Virgo
Follow Upperman and the Black Affinity Organizations as they present the African American Read-In at our Labratory School, D.C. Virgo!
20 | Dressed in Dreams with Tanisha Ford
7:00 p.m., Details forthcoming

Come hear our Black History Month Keynote Speaker, Dr. Tanisha Ford. Tanisha C. Ford is a foremost voice, speaking at the intersection of politics and culture. She is an award-winning writer, cultural critic, and Associate Professor of Africana Studies & History at the University of Delaware. Tanisha is also a co-founder of TEXTURES, a pop-up material culture lab creating and curating content on bodies and the built environment. Her commitment to social justice and communities of color is evident in everything she produces. And while she presents, come purchase one of her books; 'Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful', 'Liberated Threads' or 'Dressed in Dreams'

23 | Juneteenth Black History Month Quiz Bowl and Olympiad
2 p.m., UNCW
It's our Annual Black History Month Quiz Bowl in its new format: The Black Olympiad! Come watch local middle school students battle it out around their knowledge on all things Black.  Additionally, we have added a visual arts competition for middle school students and oratory competition for high school students to round out this year’s program. Co-sponsored by the Wilmington Juneteenth Committee. 
24 | #IssaBirthday: Celebrating 25 Years of the African American Cultural Center
11 a.m., Upperman Center
Happy birthday to us! Celebrate alongside Upperman as we recognize the 25th Anniversary of the establishment of the African American Cultural Center on UNCW's campus (renamed Upperman in honor of Dr. Leroy Upperman the year after.)


28 | Trap N' Paint
12 p.m., Upperman Center

We're getting artsy with a twist for this Black Friday. Get ready for tunes, snacks and paint as we close out Black History Month with a Trap 'N' Paint social!

March 2020

4 | UPPGrade: Adulting 101
12 p.m., Upperman
You need a crash course on adulting, so join us if you're not sure about how you go about getting your first apartment or how to juggle all the bills you just realized are barreling down your way. Stop by and we'll help you manage not only your responsibilities but the stress that comes with them!


9-13 | A Fashionable Trip Upp North
New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland

It's time to travel north! Join us for a swing "UPP" through the Northeast as we absorb the depth and wonder of black creativty through arts, fashion, and design. Please sign up in the center and a deposit of $200 covers your student costs. LIMITED AVAILABILITY



23 | Toni Morrison Day

Join Upperman as we celebrate the life and legacy of Toni Morrison! The day includes a 'Get Lit' for her novel 'Sula', and readings and passages from various Morrison pieces, as well as a screening of the documentary 'The Pieces I Am'. 

27 | Black Friday: Fashioning Your Life
12-3pm, Instagram

Want to create "on trend" pieces for your wardrobe, but don't know where to start? Well make sure you drop by this Black Friday as we are going all in on creating your signature DIY wardrobe!



31 | Professional Etiquette Dinner
5-8:30 p.m., Burney Center

Sponsored by the UNCW Career Center, this event is a fun, non-threatening way to learn professional etiquette skills while enjoying a 4-course meal! You will have the opportunity to network with employer sponsors and enjoy an evening of fun and fellowship with fellow students. Space is limited and is on a first come, first serve basis.

As a student, are you prepared to put your best foot forward when you sit down with an employer at the dinner table? Would you like to know more on how to best navigate the table without embarrassment? If so, this event is for you! This dining event is designed for you to learn and practice strong table manners, helping you to be successful in your job and internship search and as a new professional. LIMITED SEATING. SIGN UP IN THE UPPERMAN CENTER


April 2020

1 | UPPGrade: The Art of Answering Difficult Questions in Interviews
12 p.m., Zoom

It may be April Fools, but interviewing is no joke! If you're not sure how to tackle the tough questions thrown your way during an interview (or if you don't even know what questions you should expect to get), join us in the Upperman Center as we get you prepped to present your best you for your dream job.


15 | African Prints in Conversation 
7:00 p.m., Instagram

Join Upperman for the reception of our Spring 2020 Art Exhibit: African Prints in Conversation with the curator, Kadari Taylor-Watson.  The exhibit examines African prints and indigenous textiles in order to better understand Ghanaian history and the social expectations of womanhood in Ghana. The exhibit will ignite conversations about the role of material culture in preserving history, challengeing negative assumptions about Africa and promoting cross-cultural dialogues.

18 | Tailored for Success: Level UPP Leadership Bootcamp
9 a.m., Zoom

It’s time to Level UPP your organization! Learn best practices for programming, membership development and more! RSVP at www.uncw.edu/upperman by April 4th. 


21 | Nina Simone Day
Upperman celebrates a North Carolina native in Nina Simone on her birthday! Join us as we provide a tribute to this musical and civil rights legend, including a screening of the documentary 'What Happened, Miss Simone?'
24 | A Vintage Affair
12 p.m., Upperman Center 

We're going back to the age of jazz, dapper dudes, flappers and cool cats for our final Black Friday of the year!


May 2020

8 | Spring Senior Sankofa
Senior Sankofa was established in 1999 by the African American Graduate Association (AAGA) and the Upperman African American Cultural Center. 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.

Archived Events