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Black History and Culture from the UMass Lowell Archives

From the University of Massachusetts Lowell Archives

Van Der Zee photogrpah

Program for the 9th Annual James Van Der Zee Student Photography Exhibit Invitation by University of Lowell, February 5-29, 1988 University of Massachusetts Lowell, Center for Lowell History.


In observance of Black History Month, library staff have delved into the University Archives at the Center for Lowell History which document Black educational initiatives and leadership, events highlighting the achievements of Afro-Americans, and celebrations of Black History Month that took place in times past.

Campus activities for Black History Month (originally Black History Week) included film screenings, musical performances, talent and fashion shows, theater, public speakers, as well as “soul food and other art forms.” The university sponsored a decade long Student Photography Exhibit Program to commemorate Harlem Renaissance photographer James Van Der Zee (1886-1983) who documented the lives of Harlem residents, particularly in the 1920's and 1930's. In the 1970s comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory (1932-2017) spoke at the university on two separate occasions. These and other stories will be posted as we continue to probe our Special Collections.


The Lowell Sun Newspaper February 26, 1975.