Miko Branch

A Master Class with Miko Branch

Join the BND Institute of Media and Culture for a Master Class with Miko Branch, the CEO of the Miss Jessie’s LLC, the company behind the premium hair care product line, Miss Jessie’s, that exclusively caters to the diverse spectrum of all curly hair types. During this exciting program, Miko Branch will discuss her best-selling memoir soon to be logoreleased in paperback, “Miss Jessie’s: Creating A Successful Business from Scratch -Naturally .” We are thrilled that NBC12’s Karla Redditte will present questions to Ms. Branch during this program that truly will inspire and motivate men and women of all ages. The class will take place February 11, 2017 from 10 a.m. until 12 noon in Wall Auditorium at Virginia Union University. RSVP @ Eventbrite



Jamelle Bouie


Chief political correspondent for Slate and CBS News political analyst

[Un]Finished: Twentieth Century Racial Discrimination and Its Long-Term Implications

Feb. 15 • 7 p.m., The University of Richmond



Colton Whitehead @ VCU on Feb. 9

Award-winning author Colson Whitehead will visit Virginia Commonwealth University in February to deliver the 15th annual VCU Libraries Black History Month Lecture.
Whitehead is the author of two works of nonfiction and six novels, including the New York Times bestselling “The Underground Railroad,” which won the 2016 National Book Award for fiction on Wednesday.

He will speak from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9, at the James Branch Cabell Library Lecture Hall (room 303). His talk will be followed by a book sale and signing, as well as a public reception. VCU Libraries has hosted a marquee Black History Month Lecture every year for the past 14.

“The Underground Railroad,” tells the story of Cora and Caesar, two slaves who seek freedom from their Georgia plantations by following the Underground Railroad, which Colson re-imagines as an actual railroad built underground. The novel won praise from Oprah Winfrey, who called it “one of the most grim, gripping, powerful novels about slavery I have ever experienced,” as well as from President Barack Obama.

In the New York Times’ review of the novel, Michiko Kakutani called it “a potent, almost hallucinatory novel that leaves the reader with a devastating understanding of the terrible human costs of slavery. It possesses the chilling, matter-of-fact power of the slave narratives collected by the Federal Writers’ Project in the 1930s, with echoes of Toni Morrison’s ‘Beloved,’ Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Misérables’ and Ralph Ellison’s ‘Invisible Man,’ and with brush strokes borrowed from Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka and Jonathan Swift.”

Whitehead’s reviews, essays and fiction have appeared in a number of publications, including the New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Harper’s and Granta.

He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, the Dos Passos Prize and a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.

He has taught at the University of Houston, Columbia University, Brooklyn College, Hunter College, New York University, Princeton University, Wesleyan University, and been a writer-in-residence at Vassar College, the University of Richmond and the University of Wyoming.

Whitehead’s lecture at VCU will be free and open to the public. It will be part of a month filled with educational and thought-provoking events celebrating black excellence. The full list of events will be announced in January. The registration form for VCU Libraries’ Black History Month lecture will go live in early 2017.

A version of this article by Brian McNeill was published by University News@ VCU.



mlk_wallace_bwMaurice Wallace

UVA Lifetime Learning presents Maurice Wallace, Professor, English Department and Associate Director, African-American & African Studies, Carter G. Woodson Institute, University of Virginia. During this year’s annual Community MLK Celebration, Mr. Wallace will explore the sonic force and densities of Martin Luther King, Jr’s speech-making. He will discuss the power of amplified speech and ambient sound in the making of King’s memory. In a sense, this talk is part of a historical recovery project aimed at resituating King’s voice (as distinct from his words) in time and space. Knowing the rhetorical content of King’s speeches is not at all the same as knowing a great deal about King’s unique sound or the dynamics of technology and state terror inspiring it.

For while sound amplification technology may have augmented the tonality in King’s voice as he spoke in Washington and preached in Memphis, for example, it is also certain that this same technology helped mute the state threat to King and his auditors, fearfully heard in the constant clicking of cameras, recorders, timers, and triggers.

JANUARY 17, 2017 RECEPTION AND LECTURE, The University of Virginia

Reception at 6:00 pm

Lecture at 6:30 pm

Jefferson School

African American Heritage Center



Isabel Wilkerson


Journalist and bestselling author of

“The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration”

January 24 • 7 p.m. • Jepson Alumni Center – The University of Richmond