Arts and Culture

Spirituals Project to host events for Black History Month and is honored by Denver

For members of The Spirituals Project, February is a busy month.

Not only is the highly regarded program, which is dedicated to preserving the music and history of African-American spirituals, hosting several events to commemorate Black History Month, the group also is being honored by the Denver Mayor’s office.

The Spirituals Project received the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts last month. A presentation with Mayor Bill Vidal and awards reception will take place at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Denver Civic Theatre. Performers will include Kim Olson/Sweet Edge, Su Teatro and Crystal Mouse Collection. Free public seats will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. RSVP at

The group will host several events for Black History Month.

Michelle Alexander, a prominent civil rights litigator, social justice advocate and author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, will speak at 4 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Sturm College of Law. The Spirituals Project has partnered with the Veterans of Hope Project and the Iliff School of Theology to sponsor Alexander’s presentation, which will focus on the American criminal justice system’s use of incarceration and the consequences of the prison-industrial complex. A question-and-answer session and book signing will follow the presentation.

Also, author, poet and teacher Rachel Harding will moderate a public forum, panel discussion and question-and-answer session with local social justice workers — including Alexander — at 7 p.m. Feb. 23. The location will be announced later.

“An Intergenerational Conversation” to discuss the prison-industrial complex and its effect on youth, families and communities will take place with Alexander, Vincent Harding, a professor emeritus at the Iliff School of Theology, and the Manual High School Student Leadership Council at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 24 at the Manual High School Auditorium. The partners of Northeast Denver Youth Engagement Zone will sponsor the event.

To attend any of the three public forums, contact the Veterans of Hope Project at 303-765-3194 by Feb. 16.

Sankofa, a small a cappella ensemble consisting of 25 members of the Spirituals Project, also will hold three performances in celebration of Black History Month.

The first will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 17 at Iliff. Sankofa and quilter Kathi Wilson will present “Ozella’s Story — The Underground Railroad Quilts.” The event is a narration and concert that brings the stories of the quilts to life. Iliff, the Veterans of Hope Project and the Denver Foundation will sponsor the presentation. A selection of Underground Railroad quilts also will be on display in the Iliff lobby through the end of February.

Sankofa’s second event will be a concert at 7 p.m. Feb. 18 in Craig Hall. The concert will be followed by a dessert reception. The event is free, but advance registration is required.

The third event, “An Evening of Spirituals,” will take place at 7 p.m. March 1 at Regis University’s St. John Francis Regis Chapel. Contact Regis at 800-388-2366 for more information.

For more information about the Spirituals Project, visit

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