Black History Month: African Americans and the Arts | Exhibit

Feb 1, 2024–Mar 17, 2024
All Day

Following this year’s national Black History Month theme, “African Americans and the Arts,” the Library features a display of materials from our circulating collection representative of the scholarship and activities from our extensive UC San Diego family.

Located at the Sally T. WongAvery Library Breezeway, the display celebrates the African diaspora and the cultural contributions of our campus artists and scholars over the years.

Heavily-circulated books and postings of brief campus biographies are the bulk of the exhibit, but special objects are also on view, such as Jimmy Cheatham’s trombone (Cheatham was the founder of the university’s jazz program).

Some of our featured scholars and leaders include:

  • Zeinabu Irene Davis, filmmaker and current faculty member, UC San Diego’s Critical Gender Studies and African American Studies Minor
  • Faith Ringgold, professor emerita, UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts
  • Floyd Gaffney, founding faculty member, UC San Diego Department of Theatre and Dance
  • Jimmy Cheatham, founder of UC San Diego’s Jazz Program
  • Anthony Davis, current faculty member, UC San Diego Department of Music
  • Cecil Lytle, professor emeritus, UC San Diego Department of Music, long-time provost at Thurgood Marshall College and founder of The Preuss School UC San Diego
  • Ken Anderson, founding and current gospel choir director and instructor, UC San Diego Department of Music
  • Manuelita Brown, retired campus administrator, alumna and active artist, UC San Diego
  • King Britt, current faculty member, UC San Diego Department of Music
  • Kamau Kenyatta, current faculty member, UC San Diego Department of Music
  • Lawana Richmond, business development manager, UC San Diego, and respected curator in the field of Afrofuturism
  • George Lewis, former faculty member, UC San Diego Department of Music

“African American art is infused with African, Caribbean, and the Black American lived experiences. In the fields of visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression, the African American influence has been paramount. African American artists have used art to preserve history and community memory as well as for empowerment. Artistic and cultural movements such as the New Negro, Black Arts, Black Renaissance, hip-hop, and Afrofuturism, have been led by people of African descent and set the standard for popular trends around the world. In 2024, we examine the varied history and life of African American arts and artisans.” – Association for the Study of African American Life and History

Scott Paulson