College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Centers & Institutes > Center for Black Diaspora > About > Director's Message

Message from the Director

Welcome to the Center for Black Diaspora!

Rivers

On behalf of the Center, its staff, and its advisory board, I’m honored and delighted to welcome you to the Center and its 2018-19 events. I also welcome you to the Center’s Reading Room, which contains a rich collection of books and films related to the African diaspora. In particular, the Center has recently acquired several wonderful films from around the diaspora. We welcome you to come in enjoy these materials, and we encourage faculty to borrow our films for classroom use. We are also thrilled to to finally feature an on-line catalog for your browsing convenience. See https://www.librarycat.org/lib/CBDDPU.

The CBD was established in 1993, initially as the Center for African-American Research. A key mission of the Center is to promote scholarship and dialogue at DePaul on issues related to the African Diaspora. The Center’s programs and events provide interdisciplinary and dynamic opportunities for scholars to collaborate on and explore developments related to the African diaspora. The Center’s office and Reading Room offer a welcoming space in which to study, hold meetings, watch films, or simply relax. Along with inviting external scholars to share their work with us, the Center is committed to showcasing the work and talents of DePaul’s own faculty. The Center’s programs and activities typically consist of lectures, film and book discussions, workshops, artistic performances, and artistic exhibits. The Center for Black Diaspora and its events are free and open to the DePaul and Chicago community, including local academic, cultural, and service organizations, and members of the broader diaspora.

The programming theme for autumn quarter 2018 is “Black 1960s”. Events will explore African-American life in the 60s, presented through the lenses of music, theater, fashion, and black media imagery. The quarter will begin with the Center’s annual welcoming event, which will be an ice cream social. It will co-curate an exhibit of iconic Ebony and Jet magazine cover images that illustrate the key concerns of African-Americans during the 60s, as well as the dynamic and often controversial nature of that era. This exhibit will be located in the Black Students Cultural Center. In late September the Center will host Belizean novelist and professor emeritus Zee Edgell to discuss her novel Time and the River, which explores the intricacies of slave life, gender, and resistance in the former British Honduras. Dr. Julie Moody-Freeman, of DePaul’s African and Black Diaspora Studies department and a fellow Belizean, will moderate this event. In early October, the Center is hosting Richard Rothstein, author of the acclaimed book The Color of Law. Rothstein will speak on governmental roles in creating and enforcing racially discriminatory housing and lending policies, and the legacies of such policies today. This talk also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the passage of the federal Fair Housing Act.

Autumn programming will also feature several artistic and interactive events. This includes a retrospective of work written by black playwrights during the 1960s, to be performed by DePaul’s theater students under the direction of Dexter Zollicoffer of the Theatre School, in early October. Later that month the Center and DePaul’s Music School will present performances and discuss the evolution of black musical traditions during the 1960s. The Center will close out the quarter with a 1960s fashion show, which is intended to illuminate the mutual influences of clothing and adornment on the politics, social movements, and decolonization that defined that decade. Camille Morgan, curator of a recent exhibit on Eunice Johnson’s Fashion Fairs, along with the School for New Learning’s Dr. Derise Tolliver-Atta will provide commentaries. Fashions will be modeled by DePaul students (and perhaps by a few brave staff and faculty members….)

The Center is proud to co-sponsor a symposium on the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Puerto Rican political organization the Young Lords. This event will feature speeches by Oscar López de Rivera, José “Cha-Cha” Jimenez, panel sessions, and a celebration of the Puerto Rican “Grito de Lares” holiday, and will take place from Sept 21-23. We are also thrilled to co-host, with DePaul’s School of Music, performances by legendary jazz trumpeter Nicholas Payton on Nov. 2 and 9.

The theme for winter and spring quarter programming will be “Afro-Futurism”. We are planning a diasporic afro-futuristic film series for winter quarter, and a symposium on afro-futurism in literature, art, and music in the spring quarter. Please check back for updates on these events.

Again, all of the Center’s events are free and open to the DePaul and Chicago community. We also encourage faculty to bring their classes to these events. See the “News and Events” tab for more information on dates, times, and locations, and the “Gallery” tab for images from last year’s events.

We look forward to seeing you!​