College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Centers & Institutes > Center for Black Diaspora > Diaspora Happenings

Diaspora Happenings Around Town


By Ike Holter
Directed by Lisa Portes
November 9–December 23, 2018

By Dominique Morisseau
Directed by Cheryl Lynn Bruce
February 1–March 3, 2019


November 15, 2018 – January 13, 2019
in the Downstairs Theatre

The daughter in a tight-knit Zimbabwean-American family prepares for marriage and the future ... until pre-wedding stress explodes into a fiercely funny, full-on family feud.

By ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney. Directed by ensemble member Tina Landau. Featuring ensemble members Glenn Davis and Tarell Alvin McCraney.
As a troupe of legendary drag queens prepare to work the runway at a midnight ball, WIG OUT! looks behind the sequined curtain at the dazzling world of the African American drag ball culture.

May 23 – July 14, 2019 
in the Upstairs Theatre 

By Sam Shepard
Featuring ensemble members Jon Michael Hill and Namir Smallwood
July 5 – August 25, 2019
in the Downstairs Theatre

In its first Steppenwolf revival, Shepard’s masterpiece about two estranged brothers is reimagined through the eyes of a new generation of our artists, with a little help from old friends.


By Lanie Robertson
September 7th - October 7th
Previews: Friday September 7, 2018 7:30pm
Saturday September 8, 2018 7:30pm
eta Creative Arts

Ensemble member Alexis J. Roston reprises her award-winning role as Billie Holiday. This iconic figure is haunted by her fall from grace in society and yet no one can deny her artistry.


Written and Directed by Jackie Taylor
If you love the blues then you’re going to love Rick Stone the Blues Man! Step on in to Ricky’s Place, where the drinks are flowing, the dance floor is full and the band never stops. This is Ricky’s Place and there is no other Blues Club like it on the planet! Join Ricky and his regulars Dwight Neal, Theo Huff, Rhonda Preston, Cynthia Carter, Kelvin Davis and Lamont Harris as they tear the house down singing the blues made famous by the greatest blues artists of all time like B.B. King, Bobby Blue Bland, KoKo Taylor, Johnnie Taylor, Etta James, Taj Mahal, Fleetwood Mac and Buddy Guy just to name a few. Of course Ricky and Dwight will perform their famous Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf song battle and there’s always a surprise guest who will take the stage. This is a true blues lover’s smorgasbord. Don’t waste any time just get on down to 4450 N. Clark Street at the Black Ensemble Theater and step into Ricky’s Place a blues lover’s paradise!

Events in conjunction with CHICAGO-EXPO

Opening Reception, Dawoud Bey: Polaroid Works
Stephen Daiter Gallery
Stephen Daiter Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of works by American photographer and 2017 MacArthur Fellow Dawoud Bey, featuring large format polaroid works from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. Bey will be in attendance.

Friday, September 28, 2018, 5:00–8:00pm | 

Opening Reception, Krista Franklin:
“…to take root among the stars”
Poetry Foundation
Celebrate the opening of the Poetry Foundation’s new exhibition, Krista Franklin: “…to take root among the stars” with a speculative “mapping” project wherein evidence of Afrofuturist and AfroSurrealist thought is traced, imagined, and archived in and on handmade paper. Followed by a reception.

Friday, September 28, 2018, 6:00–9:00pm 
Poetry Foundation 


Clearing A Path For Democracy: Citizen Soldiers of the Illinois Fighting 8th
Location: DuSable Museum

Citizen soldiers have served their nation, their states, and their communities throughout American history. National guardsmen are the quintessential citizen soldiers, and the men of the 8th Infantry Illinois National Guard demonstrated the best qualities of this segment of American society. This Illinois regiment was unique in American history. It was deployed in two foreign wars with a complete complement of African American officers. It was designated the 370th United States Infantry during World War I, and the regiment was awarded more citations than any other American regiment that fought along Europe’s Western Front.

This exhibition tells the story of this unique Illinois regiment in two parts. The first part focuses on the Chicago citizens who organized and led the Eighth Regiment and the accomplishments of the regiment before deploying to Europe during World Ward I. The second part focuses on the distinguished battle record of the regiment on the Western Front and the legacy of its soldiers and officers.

Curator Hari Jones stated, “The story of the 8th Infantry Illinois National Guard reveals the political sophistication of Chicago’s African American community in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The community stood as a sterling example of what could be done despite racial discrimination.” He continued, “In a two-part exhibition, this story will be told, and this story is certain to challenge false images of Americans of African descent too often projected in the nation’s popular culture.”

Never a Lovely So Real: Photography and Film in Chicago, 1950–1980
Through October 28, 2018

James Webb Prayer
This installation by South African artist James Webb features recorded prayers from every faith and spiritual affinity in Chicago.

September 7, 2018–December 31, 2018
Gallery 188

“Say It with Pictures” Then and Now: Chicago’s African American Photographers 1890-1930
Invited Speakers: Art Historian Amy Mooney and Photographer, Deborah Willis. The Museum of Contemporary Photography will host art historian Amy Mooney in conversation with the esteemed photography scholar Deborah Willis in an unprecedented reveal of the forgotten work of African American photographers working in Chicago from the 1890s through the 1930s.

Friday, October 12 at 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Location: Ferguson Hall at Columbia College
600 S. Michigan Ave

Politics of the Studio: Race and Design in Mid-Century America
Using the uniquely cosmopolitan space of the Goldsholl studio as a point of departure—including the long-term position of African-American designer Thomas Miller at the firm—this conversation will address issues of authorship, representation, and racial inclusion (or lack thereof) in mid-century design and advertising workplaces in the 1950s and 1960s. Chris Dingwall, historian and curator of "Race and the Design of American Life: African Americans in Twentieth-Century Commercial Art," will address Tom Miller’s legacy as a designer and his role in the Goldsholl studio. Korey Garibaldi, Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame, will offer literary and historical context for black cultural professionals and best-selling authors who were at the forefront of racial integration following World War II.

November 1, 2018. 6:00 – 7:30 pm 
Location: The Block Museum 
40 Arts Circle Dr, Evanston, Illinois 60208 

The Johnson Publishing Story
As part of Art Design Chicago, a year-long celebration of Chicago’s art and design history spearheaded by the Terra Foundation for American Art, Rebuild Foundation presents A Johnson Publishing Story, organized by artist Theaster Gates and on view at the Stony Island Arts Bank (6760 South Stony Island Avenue) June 28 – September 30, 2018. Founded in Chicago in 1942, the Johnson Publishing Company (JPC) held dominance over the African American publishing and media landscape for many decades with publications Ebony and Jet and the nationally syndicated TV show Ebony/Jet Showcase. A Johnson Publishing Story will examine the role of the JPC in defining and disseminating a black aesthetic and culture to national and international audiences in the mid-20th century.

Now until September 30, 2018 
Location: Stony Island Arts Bank 
6760 Stony Island Ave Chicago, IL 

Radio Golf by playwright, August Wilson
Real estate developer Harmond Wilks is determined to become the first black mayor of Pittsburgh, on a mission to revive his blighted childhood neighborhood. As Wilks confronts characters from the past, he is forced to question how pursuing change could put his neighborhood’s history at risk. Radio Golf is the tenth and final play in August Wilson’s American Century Cycle.

August 30, 2018 – September 30, 2018 
Location: Court Theatre 

“Allison Davis Lecture, Noliwe Rooks: "The Segrenomics of American Public Education: Why Segregated Education is Too Lucrative to End"
This talk will explore the history and present of our current system of apartheid education in the United States and discuss what progressive change might look like.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM 
Northwestern University 
African American Studies Program 

Sanctified is an exhibit to increase public knowledge of the contemporarily famous gay black author and black and gay rights activist Assotto Saint (b. Yves Francis Lubin) and introduce visitors to news way of thinking about Afro - Diasporic religion. Sanctified searches for guidance and healing through the imagery and evocation of vodou. The use of color, alters, and the synchronization of Assotto Saint with vodou Ioa (Iwa) connect the visitor to Saint in physical and spiritual transformation that can be found in the reinvention of self and the practice of ancestral religion. The exhibition blends the spectacular and transformative nature of vodou with the spiritual release found in the performative self.

UIC - African-American Cultural Center
830 S. Halsted Street, Addams Hall, 2nd floor, Chicago, IL 60607​