Upperman African American Cultural Center

A People by the Sea

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

January 2018

12 | Black Friday: Get in the Black
12 p.m., Upperman Center

We kick off our first Black Friday of 2018 as we help provide information on, and debunk myths surrounding Financial Aid and scholarships so students make the right money moves. Also get your competitive juices flowing for some Monopoly while we’re at it. Co-sponsored by the UNCW Office of Financial Aid and Coast 97.3.

22 | MLK Celebration:
Freedom in All Keys
7 p.m., Kenan Auditorium

The entire day is filled with music that seeks to remind us of the need for social justice, activism, and love for our communities.  Join the Upperman center all day long as students, staff, faculty, and local community leaders engage in Freedom Music Monday, which seeks to explore message music along a variety of genres.   After which, join us in the evening for our annual Martin Luther King Observance, “Freedom! In All Keys,” as Mike Brown and F.O.C.U.S. provide a contemporary gospel sound that is borne out of that unique Charleston Gullah culture. 

24 | UPPgrade: Resume Building
6 p.m., Upperman Center 

Join the Upperman Center to UPPGrade your resume! The most important marketing tool for your internship and job search. Make the most of your work experience and discover how to use references to your advantage.

26 | Black Friday: #GrammysSoBlack
12 p.m., Upperman Center 

Blues, Jazz, Rock and Roll, Hip-Hop: American music has always been touched, shaped and brought to life by black hands. This Black Friday is dedicated to Highlighting the musical achievements of Grammy nominated and Grammy awarded black artists. Co-sponsored by Coast 97.3.

February 2018

1 | Mountaintop  
7:30 p.m., Kenan Auditorium

On April 4th, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated outside of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. What happened inside room 306 on the evening of April 3rd is the subject of Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop. Hours after King’s final speech, punctuated by his immortal line, “I’ve been to the mountaintop,” the celebrated Reverend forms an unlikely friendship with a motel maid as they talk into the early hours of what will be his final day. An L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance featuring: Aja Naomi King as Larry Powell. Directed by Roger Guenveur Smith.  Join us for this amazing performance.

5 | Mahogany Matinee:
Daughters of the Dust
5:45 p.m., Lumina Theater 

Julie Dash’s iconic work tells the story of sea island who must cross over to the mainland. It is a fictional work set in the Gullah coast, directed by one of the first African American women directors in Hollywood.  This indie film is so iconic that Beyonce’s Lemonade visual finds inspiration from this 1991 film.  Join us for a viewing of “Daughters of the Dust. 


7 | UPPgrade: Dress for Success 
6p.m., Upperman Center 

Present the best version of YOU for every professional setting by learning how to dress for interviews and professional events. Looking the park is one of the first steps to land that new job or to make valuable networking contacts.

8 | Poetry in Motion
7 p.m., Burney Center 

Think Fashion, Spoken Word Poetry, Live Music, and Hip Hop DJs too.  That’s what you have with Poetry in Motion as it seeks to showcase through several forms of artistic medium the beauty of UNCW’s own community.  Join us for this collaborative effort to kickoff Homecoming with a Multi-media influenced fashion show.

9 | Black Friday: Family Reunion 
12 p.m., Upperman Center 

Everybody will be there…because it’s homecoming.  And any time you go home, there must be good food, and line dancing.  Join the Upperman Center that welcomes alums home for a full out family affair. Co-sponsored by Coast 97.3.

9 | Etched in Gold:
Mardi Gras Edition 
7 p.m., 2nd Floor Fisher University Union

“Laissez les bon temps rouler” or let the Good times roll at this year’s Etched in Gold Mixer. Replete with Second Line, Live Band, and a DJ, Join us for this masked All Black Affair as The Upperman Center and the Black Graduate & Professional Student Association Seeks To Host an event that brings Alumni together over sumptuous cocktails and libations.  Also, a silent auction of Venita Jenkins’ artwork will be a part of the celebration. Tickets are $20.  All proceeds to benefit Upperman’s programming slate.

11 | Homecoming Fellowship Service 
10:30 a.m., Warwick Center

Join the Upperman African American Cultural Center and AAGA as the engage in an hour of reflection and celebration through faith and community.  The center welcome’s back Elder Daryl Jones ’93, of the Union Baptist Church to offer a sermonic rendering as both Alumni and Students sing together in a combined effort.

12 | Mahogany Matinee: Bin Yah
5:45 p.m., Lumina Theater

Bin Yah: There’s No Place Like Home is a documentary presented by The ChasDOC Film Society that explores the potential loss of important historic African American communities in Mt. Pleasant, S.C due to growth and development. Through the testimonies of the residents themselves, the film explores the culture, the history, the importance of land and the concept of home, giving a voice to those who seldom have had a chance to be heard.

15 | Black Panther Premiere
8 p.m., Pointe 14 Theater

Join the Upperman Center as we journey to see Black Panther on Opening Night.  Please sign up by visiting the center.

19 | Mahogany Matinee:
Black Beach/White Beach
5:45 p.m., Lumina Theater

In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, two national motorcycle festivals are held over the weeks around the Memorial Day holiday. One festival is primarily white, the other is predominantly black. While bikers of both colors enjoy both festivals, the city, community, and state have a vastly different way of looking at these two festivals, creating a divide among the participants, business owners, and residents. Against the backdrop of the historical relevance of the area’s segregated past, this documentary explores opposing viewpoints on segregation and integration, mutual love of motorcycle culture, and racial tensions that reach a boiling point every spring in this southern beach mecca.

21 | UPPgradee: Code Switching 
6 p.m., Upperman Center

Many Minorities subtly and instinctively change the way they express themselves all the time. We hop-scotch between different cultural and linguistic spaces and different parts of our own identities — sometimes within a single interaction. Join the Upperman Center as we discuss the pro’s and con’s of code switching.

23 | Black Friday: Rooted 
12 p.m., Upperman 
Eaton. Fullwood. Thompson. Parker. Upperman. From creating a space to exist, to making sure they’re experience was enriching and fulfilling, these names and many more have shaped the Black Experience at UNCW. Join The Upperman Center as our final Black Friday of Black History month look close to home as explore everything from Gospel Choirs to Wantu Wazuri, and everything that has encompassed what it means to be Black at UNCW. Co-sponsored by Coast 97.3.

25 | The Black History Month Quiz Bowl, Oratory, and Visual Arts Competition 
2 p.m., CIS Building 
Join us for our Annual Black History Month Quiz Bowl, which is co-sponsored by our Wilmington Juneteenth Committee.  Come watch local middle school students battle it out around their knowledge on all things Black.  Additionally, we have added an oratory competition for high school students, and visual arts for both middle school students and high school students to round out this year’s competition.

26 | Mahogany Matinee: Wilmington on Fire
5:45 p.m., Lumina Theater
Join us for our annual showing of Christopher Everett’s documentary, “Wilmington on Fire.”  This documentary seeks to bring light to Wilmington’s 1898 Massacre which displaced Black families and disrupted African American wealth into perpetuity.  Everett’s film seeks to provide an understanding of how Wilmington was effected by a legacy of racism and jealousy.

March 2018

4 - 11 | Travelin’ Round De Ben:
A Gullah Spring Break Trip

Join us for a trip through the Sea Islands as we embark to learn about the ways in which Gullah-Geechee culture impacts religion, food, land, culture, politics, language, travel, and music.  Students will taste, see, and learn about the many ways we are impacted by the unique Gullah-Geechee Culture that runs from North Carolina through Florida. Please sign up in the center and a deposit of $75 covers your student costs.

14 | UPPgrade:
Interview Negotiation 
6 p.m. Upperman Center

Join the Upperman Center as we share what employers are looking for in their new hires. We will teach you how to successfully master interviews by providing information such as tips, salary negotiating, and guidance.

16 | Black Friday: A Taste of Savannah 
12 p.m., Upperman Center

Fresh off our spring break trip down the Gullah corridor, re-connect with the Upperman Center as we explore the sights and sounds of The Hostess City of the South: Savanah, Georgia, specifically it’s ties to our Gullah Coast during this Black Friday. Get ready for some fried green tomatoes, bottle trees, red rice and everything that Savanah has to offer. Co-sponsored by Coast 97.3.

22 | Snatchin’ Gullah Land From Unda’ We Feet: A Lesson On Heirs Property In the 21st Century Legal System
6 p.m., Morton Auditorium 
Meet Jennifer Stephens, a law advocate for African American facing the loss of their homes due to development in the Summer Home and Tourism industry.  Come talk to her about her work at the Center for Heirs Property and Preservation and find out what the legal ramifications are for those in the Gullah coast who find themselves in the battle for their land.

28 | UPPgrade: Natural Hair Makeup 
6 p.m., Upperman Center
Female students of color are encouraged to come and meet professional black specialist, as we discus secrets of how to navigate makeup and culture in the workplace. This workshop will include the fundamentals of make-up application, skin care, followed by a Q & A Session.  Students are encouraged to bring any makeup products that they own. Co-sponsored by the Black Pre-Law Association.

April 2018

4 | Who Yo’ Peoples Is:
The Gullah Pop Up Museum
TBD, Fisher University Union 

Join us for an interactive Gullah-Geechee Pop Up Museum that helps students, faculty, and staff understand life on the Sea Islands.  Students bring alive the Pop-Up Museum by serving as narrators.

6 | Black Friday: Be a N.E.R.D. 
12 p.m., Upperman Center

Join us in a day that celebrates your inner and outer nerd as we veer into Afro-Futurism, comics/graphic novels, vintage and neo-gaming…and literally all things cool about being a dope Black introvert. Co-sponsored by Coast 97.3.

11 | UPPgrade: Network Ettiquette 
6 p.m., Upperman Center 

Knowing basic dining etiquette can assist you in an interview or business meeting conducted over a meal. Join the Upperman Center for an interactive workshop and dinner while we provide you with the tools necessary for proper dining etiquette and give insights and practical tips about what networking is and how to tap into the power of networking.

13 | Black Friday:
Sounding Afro-Cuban -
The Music of Mario Bouza
12 p.m., Upperman Center 

This Black Friday, Upperman invites to you journey down with us to Cuba to explore all things Afro-Latino and have a special musical performance celebrating the legacy and impact of Mario Bauzá, famed Afro-Cuban Musician. Co-Sponsored by Centro Hispano.

18 | Gullah Een We Own Backyard:
Mayor Eulis Willis
6 p.m., Morton Auditorium 

Navassa is only 5 miles west of the historic City of Wilmington, and is located in one of the fastest growing regions in the United States. In fact, Navassa is becoming one of the fastest growing communities in Brunswick County and is in the center of the county's rapid expansion.  Navassa was incorporated in 1977. Since 1999, the town has been under the leadership of Eulis A. Willis…and the town is known as one of the most significant NC Gullah communities.  Come listen to Mayor Eulis A Willis talk about our proximity to Gullah communities and current day needs and trends.

20 | Black Friday: Trap Yoga
12 p.m., Upperman Center 
A perfect and relaxing way to end our Black Friday series for the School year and decompress before finals. Stretch it out with Upperman for some yoga with a trap musical twist. Co-sponsored by Coast 97.3.
28 | Stomping at the Savoy
7 p.m., Burney Center 
Join us for our annual fundraiser and party to raise money for African American student scholarships.  Food, Libations, Live Music make this annual event a must for those who love a good cause and supporting students.

May 2018

4 | Spring Senior Sankofa
10:30 a.m., Education Building 
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.

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