Events and Activities

In addition to the colloquium’s keynote speakers and panels, “Black Love: A Symposium” features events that actively engage film, performance, and Their Eyes Were Watching God. The following film screening, discussions, and reading allow us to celebrate Hurston and the symposium’s theme with the participation of the wider Lawrence community. All of these events are free and open to the public.

A Night at the Movies 

Monday, September 11th
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Lawrence Public Library
707 Vermont St, Lawrence, KS 66044

The first event in our anniversary celebration is a movie night. Join us for a lively conversation about representations of “Black Love” in popular film. We welcome three distinguished panelists: director and producer Doug McHenry; director, screenwriter, and KU professor of Film and Media Studies Kevin Willmott; and director, actor, and KU professor of Theater, Nicole Hodges Persley. We will screen and discuss memorable scenes from cinema history, including McHenry’s Jason’s Lyric

Professor Kevin Willmott Dr. Nicole Hodges Persley Director Doug McHenry
KU Faculty profile page KU Faculty profile page  Trailer for "Jason's Lyric"

Film Screening: Pariah

Tuesday, September 12th

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Kansas Union, University of Kansas

The Pine Room


Director and writer Dee Rees' 2011 Pariah extends the cinematic conversation on black love by showcasing a young lesbian's struggle with romance, family ties, and identity. Shown at both the Sundance Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival, Pariah is known for its riveting performances and excellent cinematography. Join us for a film viewing and conversation on representations of love onscreen with the following KU faculty:


Dr. Randal Jelks Dr. Katie Batza Dr. Robert Minor
KU Faculty profile page KU Faculty profile page KU Faculty profile page

Pariah Trailer
View the trailer on YouTube (due to content, you must login to YouTube)

Film Screening: Whose Streets?


Wednesday, September 13th 

5:30-7:30 PM

Spencer Museum of Art

University of Kansas

1301 Mississippi St, Lawrence, KS 66045


"Whose Streets?" poster

Directors Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis collaborate to create a character-based documentary on the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Whose Streets? (2017) follows seven people involved with the protest movement, combining close snapshots of human lives with larger visions of activism in response to injustice. The film has been recognized by notable film and service organizations, including Sundance Documentary Film Program, the Firelight Fund, and Good Pitch. 

Join us for this event co-sponsored by the Office of First-Year Experience, Spencer Museum of Art, and Department of Film and Media Studies.

Closing Reception and Quilt Exhibit


Saturday, September 16th

5:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Marla Quilts Inc. African American Museum and Textile Academy

2001 Haskell AvenueLawrence, KS 66046

Dr. Carmaletta Williams Lex Norwood

Join us as for an exhibition of quilts inspired by Their Eyes Were Watching God and Black Love curated by Marla Jackson of Marla Quilts Inc. African American Museum and Textile Academy. Enjoy music by jazz keyboardist Lex Norwood and a performance by regional Emmy winner Dr. Carmaletta Williams. Light refreshments will be served. 

 Marathon Reading of Their Eyes Were Watching God

Monday, September 18th
12:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Downtown Lawrence

 The culmination of our week-long commemoration of Zora Neale Hurston’s classic novel is a marathon reading of the complete text on its exact date of publication. Volunteers will read aloud excerpts of this culturally rich work at various local businesses in downtown Lawrence. Come and listen or sign up (Webform) to be a reader.

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