When it opened its doors in 1909, North Carolina Central University was the first public, African-American, liberal arts institution in the United States. It’s remained prominent for its strong tradition of research, teaching, and service. Most notably, NCCU was the first school in the state to offer a four-year degree in Jazz Studies, and it remains one of the most competitive programs in the country. The university also is home to one of the state’s largest collections of African-American art. As a nod to public service, NCCU was the first in North Carolina to require all students to volunteer in the community. And when it comes to North Carolina Central University events, this campus is second to none. Take a look at the annual and recurring events on campus, which are geared toward both students as well as the community as a whole.
Rock the Mic Lecture Series
Since 2015, North Carolina Central University has welcomed notable public figures to campus for the Rock the Mic Lecture Series. The lectures generally center around political, educational, entertainment, and social justice topics. Held in the Duke Auditorium, designed to provoke thought, conversation, and sometimes even debate. Some examples of lecturers who’ve taken part in the Rock the Mic Lecture Series include Dr. Cornel West, a philosopher, author, and social activist; Ilyasah Shabazz, social activist and daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz; poet and activist Nikki Giovanni; rapper and music producer David Banner; and Iyanla Vanzant, author and life coach. These lectures are free and open to the public.
NCCU Jazz Festival
The North Carolina Central University Jazz Festival has been a campus tradition since 1988. Hosted by the Jazz Studies Program, this lively event features a weeklong schedule of concerts, jazz art exhibits, lectures, and competitions. Some additional activities take place every year as well; for example, NCCU and the U.S. Postal Service dedicated a Sarah Vaughan postage stamp in 2016 as part of the festival. Musical performers include students, faculty, alumni, and members of the global jazz community. All of these NCCU Jazz Festival events are free and open to the public.
Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
Every year, NCCU students, faculty, and staff celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a variety of events both on and off-campus. Keeping in line with the university’s dedication to volunteerism and community service, it should come as no surprise that these events have traditionally been ones that seek to uplift the Durham community. For example, in past years the multi-day celebration has included a children’s literacy event, an event to fight hunger, a blood drive, and a peace circle. The children’s literacy event has included book drives and gatherings where participants made word flashcards for kids. And the event to fight hunger has brought together students, staff, and members of the community to assemble bags of food thanks to a local food pantry. When it comes to North Carolina Central University Events, these seek to make the most impact on not just the campus, but in the entire Durham community.