February: 10 free things to do at Emory

By Leigh DeLozier | Emory Report | Feb. 4, 2020

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Jazz Fest 2020 runs Feb. 6 through Feb. 8. Legendary musician Bob Mintzer will lead masterclass jazz workshops and will end the festival performing a free concert with Emory’s Big Band. Photo by Beau Foster.

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Fill your February learning about love, chilling to cool jazz and hearing authors read their own works. Plus, don’t miss the opportunities on campus to celebrate Black History Month. All of the events listed here are free and open for everyone to enjoy.


1. Honor Black History Month.

The Emory community will observe Black History Month through numerous educational and social activities during February. Learn about some events that will be open to the public, ranging from discussions that tackle social justice issues to readings by award-winning poets.

In addition to the Cinematheque series and poetry readings featured below, highlights include:

  • Graduate student lunch and learn with Marisol Lebrón on “Social media, academia and activism” on Wednesday, Feb. 5. Space is limited so RSVP is required.
  • Weekly programs through The James Weldon Johnson Institute’sRace and Difference Colloquium Series, featuring local and national speakers presenting academic research on contemporary questions of race and intersecting dimensions of difference.
  • A screening of “College Behind Bars” on Feb. 18 and 19, followed by a panel discussion of “Race and the Criminal Injustice System” on Thursday, Feb. 20.

A discussion of “Reparations: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?” on Thursday, Feb. 28, at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum. Panelists include professors from Emory, University of Chicago, Ohio State University, Clemson University and MIT.

2. Watch a free film.

Movie buffs have several good film options this month. The spring 2020 Cinematheque series is underway, centering on “African Americans in American Film” over the last 100 years. All Cinematheque films are shown at 7:30 p.m. February screenings will be “A Raisin in the Sun” on Feb. 5, “Claudine” on Feb. 12, “The Spook Who Sat by the Door” on Feb. 19 and “An Officer and a Gentleman” on Feb 26. 

On Thursday, Feb. 6, Pitts Theology Library hosts an advance film screening of “J.E.S.U.S.,” an in-depth exploration of the relationship between Christianity and American nationalism and the violence that can emerge from it. The screening begins at 7 p.m. and includes a videoconference introduction by Kevin Miller, the film’s writer and director 

The Southern Circuit Film Series continues at Oxford College with a screening of “The Infiltrators” on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 7:30 p.m. in Williams Hall. An initiative of the Atlanta-based arts organization South Arts, Southern Circuit brings the best of independent film to communities across the South.

3. Learn about love.

Spend an evening becoming enlightened about the latest scientific advances regarding our most powerful emotion: love. The “Science of Love Symposium” will be Thursday, Feb. 6, at 6:30 p.m. in the Claudia Nance Rollins Auditorium of the Rollins School of Public Health.

4. Hear stories of refugee life firsthand.

On Friday, Feb. 7, Sharon Shalom shares about “The migrant journey of an Ethiopian rabbi,” the story of how his family moved from Ethiopia to Israel and he became one of the first Ethiopians ordained as a rabbi by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. His lecture will be at 11:30 a.m. in Room N204 of Callaway Hall on Emory’s Atlanta campus. 

On Tuesday, Feb. 18, Kitti Murray, founder of Refuge Coffee, will share “Stories of refugees in Clarkston, Ga.,” based on the life she and her husband lead living in what CNN has called the most diverse square mile in the world. Her lecture will be at 7:30 p.m. in Williams Hall of the Oxford College campus.

5. Spend a Saturday singing.

Emory’s 15th annual Sacred Harp Sing will be Saturday, Feb. 8, in the Cannon Chapel sanctuary. The day begins with singing at 10 a.m., followed by a potluck dinner at 12 p.m. in the adjacent Brooks Commons and more singing from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. No prior experience is needed and participants are welcome to come for part or all of the day.

6. Groove to some cool jazz.

Concerts abound in February, with Jazz Fest 2020 a definite highlight. Gary Motley will lead Emory’s Big Band, joined by legendary jazz musician Bob Mintzer, bassist Kenny Davis and percussionist Emrah Kotan. The concert on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m. will showcase the best in jazz band repertoire, with selections ranging from Ellington and Basie to the works of today’s stellar arrangers. Admission is free, but tickets are required.

7. Delve into the relationship with deities.

In a conversation titled “Guising as God,” Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger of Emory’s Department of Religion and Harshita Mruthinti Kamath of the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies discuss the practice of “vesham,” or using clothing and ornamentation to guise and disguise, across a range of Indian contexts. The discussion on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 7:30 p.m. is in conjunction with the new Carlos Museum exhibit “Transcendent Deities of India: The Everyday Occurrence of the Divine.

8. Participate in a teach-out.

What does it mean to be educated? What are ways we become educated through different stages of our lives? Join others in exploring these and other questions from different perspectives, as learning happens in more places than a classroom. The online Journeys to Education Teach-out begins Monday, Feb. 17, with participants setting their own schedules to follow along. Topics are related to “Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover, the book for Emory’s 2019-2020 Common Read program. Registration is required.

9. Experience writers reading their own works.

Book signings and readings this month feature poets, a playwright and a Pulitzer Prize-winning nonfiction author. 

A reading and book signing on Tuesday, Feb. 18, features poet Katie Condon and playwright Josh Wilder. Katie Condon is the author of “Praying Naked,” winner of the 2018 THE JOURNAL Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize. Wilder’s award-winning work has been developed, commissioned and produced at regional theaters and festivals across the country. The event will be at 6:30 p.m. in the Jones Room of the Robert W. Woodruff Library. 

American geographer, historian, anthropologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jared Diamond will discuss his latest book “Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis” on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m. The program, held in the Woodruff Health Sciences Administration Building, will include a time for questions. 

Acclaimed poet Nikki Giovanni uses her poetry to raise awareness of social issues, especially gender and race. She will read from her works on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 4 p.m. in the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts.

10. Cheer on the Emory Eagles.

February is full of athletics, as winter sports begin to wrap up their seasons and spring sports get underway. On the Atlanta campus, you can catch the Eagles at home playing baseball, softball, basketball and tennis. The men’s basketball and tennis teams at Oxford will also have home competitions. Plus, the swimming and diving teams will host the Emory Invitational on Feb. 21 and 22. All sports events are free, so check out the Oxford Athletics and Emory Athletics websites for full schedules and details.