Local legends: DSU to kick off Citywide Black History Month tonight

The Sankofa dancers perform during The African Diaspora & The Drum presentation at the Sankofa Center in part of last year’s Citywide Black History Celebration in Dover. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — National figures in black history have regularly been celebrated during the Citywide Black History Month Kickoff Program at Delaware State University.

Carlos Holmes, spokesman for the university, said that with so many remarkable black individuals in the area that was bound to change — and will — for this year’s celebration.

Delaware State University will feature nationally renowned spoken word artists The Twin Poets — from Wilmington — along with the University Thespians, the DSU Gospel Choir and soloist Derrick Thompson, among others, inside the Education and Humanities Theatre when the Citywide Black History Month Kickoff Program takes place at 7 tonight. The program is free and open to the public.

“Delaware State University is proud to be a part of this citywide celebration of black history,” Mr. Holmes said. “We do the kickoff event with the city every year and we’re extremely proud to do that.

“A lot of times we celebrate national and world black history figures This year, we’re celebrating some Delaware black history figures and I believe that’s unique to the program this year.”

This year’s program will focus on some black history figures specifically connected to Delaware. Student thespians will portray them, telling their stories and highlighting significant contributions that might not be well known to many Delawareans.

Twin brothers Al Mills and Nnamdi Chukwuocha, who are The Twin Poets, will perform. Delaware State University photo

Twin brothers Al Mills and Nnamdi Chukwuocha, who are The Twin Poets, will also perform.

They describe themselves as “men who have found a mission: using poetry and social action to waken the spirit of awareness buried deep within the souls of the downtrodden.”

Both are social work professionals, and the challenges their clients go through every day serve as much of the inspiration for the poetry they create and perform. In addition to their community service work, Mr. Chukwuocha is serving his first elected term in the state’s House of Representatives.

The Twin Poets — who were named Delaware Poet Laureates in 2015 by then-Gov. Jack Markell — have published four books of poetry. A film documentary has been made about their artistic and social work careers, which will be premiered at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at Delaware State University’s MLK Jr. Student Center.

A section of the DSU Gospel Choir performs at last year’s event. Delaware State University photo

“They are twin brothers who are renowned for their spoken word artistry,” said Mr. Holmes. “They are social work professionals and one of them is actually a legislator. Their spoken word artistry reflects a lot of the things they see in their community and the challenges that society confronts them with in their struggles, which are very profound.”

For the past 15 years the twin wordsmiths have been warriors on the front lines of a ravaged Riverside community in Wilmington. They are following in the footsteps of their father, civil rights activist William “Hicks” Anderson. Their art has become a tool for action, their words a source of hope and inspiration.

Mr. Holmes said events such as tonight’s Citywide Black History Month Kickoff Program are often fun times for the university as it opens its gates to the community and lets them in to see all that it has to offer.

“We are an education institution that is part of the community,” he said. “When education and cultural enrichment extends beyond our student population at DSU it is with great pleasure that we are able to invite the community to our events, plays, concerts and other educational and cultural programs.”