The one-man play James Baldwin: Down from the Mountaintop, written and performed by Tony Award-nominated actor Calvin Levels, will open several special events at Ursinus College in observance of Black History Month. The biographical play sketches the complex life of novelist, playwright, essayist and civil rights activist James Baldwin. It deals not only with Baldwin’s personal difficulties as a black and homosexual male in pre-civil rights era America, but also with his historic relationships with other activists such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medger Evers, and Malcolm X. The play will be performed on Tuesday Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Kaleidoscope Blackbox Theater.
Ursinus’s first African American graduate, W. Robert Crigler, will deliver an address in Bomberger’s Meditation Chapel on Feb. 6 at 11 a.m. His scheduled talk “Here Am I, Send Me” is a reflection on Isaiah 6:8. Renaming the former Summer Bridge Program, now The W.R. Crigler Institute, will be formally announced. (See more on Dr. Crigler below).
The later half of the month will feature discussions based on two films of historical significance presented by Ursinus faculty members: Dr. Carlita Favero, faculty in Biology, and Dr. Jane Jones, faculty in Anthropology and Sociology. The first, African American Women in Medicine, will be discussed in Unity House at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 16. The following Wednesday, Feb. 23, there will be a discussion of the PBS documentary, Race – The Power of an Illusion in Unity House at noon. That same evening, Galen Razzaq, a jazz flutist will be performing in Wismer Lower Lounge at 6 p.m.
Finally, the month will wrap up with a guest lecture by John Jennings, Associate Professor of Visual Culture at SUNY Buffalo. The talk, titled “Middle Panels: Black Visual Expression as Resistance in Comics and Sequential Art,” will take place at 7 p.m. in Pfahler Auditorium on Feb. 23. – David Hysek, 2011