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NECC Celebrates Black History Month

Submitted by on February 6, 2013 – 11:58 am
Poet January O'Neil will lead NECC's Read-in.

Poet January O'Neil will lead NECC's Read-in.

Northern Essex Community College is planning several events in celebration of Black History Month including workshops on anti-racism, a read-in featuring poet January Gill O’Neil, and presentations on African American Music at local libraries by NECC Professor Kevin Comtois. All Black History Month activities are free and open to the public.

Workshops will focus on Anti-Racism

Featuring activities and discussion, the anti-racism workshops will help participants increase their understanding of white privilege and learn practical skills to foster anti-racism. The one-hour workshops will include White Privilege, (Tuesday, Feb. 12) and Anti-Racism (Tuesday, Feb. 19). All workshops will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in the Spurk Building, 100 Elliott St., Haverhill, Room 208.

African American Poet will Lead Read-in

NECC’s 5th Annual Black History Month Read-in will be held on Monday, Feb. 25 from noon to 1 p.m. in Lecture Hall A in the Spurk Building, 100 Elliott St., Haverhill. Poet January Gill O’Neil of Beverly, who teaches at Salem State and is the executive director of Massachusetts’ Poetry Festival, will lead the read-in. O’Neil published “Underlife”, a book of poetry acclaimed for its powerful autobiographic verse, in 2009. O’Neil will read some of her own work and attendees are invited to share their own favorite prose and poetry written by African American writers.

NECC Professor to Present on African American Music at Two Local Libraries

Kevin Comtois, who teaches in the Global Studies Department at Northern Essex, will share his passion for American Music in a presentation titled “From Slave Spirituals to Hip Hop: The Social and Political History of American Music”.

Comtois will present at the Langley Adams Library in Groveland on Monday, Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. and at the Memorial Library, 2 Main St., Andover on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. Both presentations are free and open to the public.

Using recorded music, film clips, and still images, Comtois will trace the evolution and social and political context of American popular music through four centuries ranging from slave spirituals, minstrelsy, blues, jazz, and Rock and Roll.

Kevin Comtois has been teaching History at NECC since 1999. In 2005 he was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to study Jazz with Dr. Gerald Early (an expert on the evolution of Jazz in America) at Washington University, St Louis.

The library presentations are part of the college’s speakers bureau which provides speakers free of charge to area nonprofits. For more information visit the website

For more information on the workshops or read-in, contact Chelsea Fullerton at

For more information on the presentations on African American Music, contact Ernie Greenslade, marketing communications, 978 556-3862 or