Achievers & Accolades

UNCW's African American Cultural Center Earns Center Of The Year Award

By Staff Reports, posted Nov 15, 2022
Sean Palmer

UNCW’s Upperman African American Cultural Center was recognized "for the depth of services it provides students and the community" during an event this month.

The center received the Center of the Year award from the Association for Black Culture Centers at its annual conference Nov. 3-5 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, according to a news release.

“Upperman has gained national attention over the years for being a center that consistently marries innovation with intention,” said Sean Palmer, Upperman Center director, in the release. “Our ABCC directors have continuously said ‘we follow you to learn how to do it well.’ I think that coming out of the pandemic, Black culture center directors have been inspired by our digital footprint, our depth of programming, our art gallery and the overall aesthetic and design.”

In addition to the Center of the Year award, Upperman also received the Kummba Innovative Program of the Year award for its Juneteenth Teach-In, a conference where community members, leaders and university personnel discuss issues affecting the Black community and work to find solutions. Upperman program coordinator Ashlee Fleming received the New Professional of the Year award.

“We are proud that we have had a program that is an expected part of our Juneteenth celebration that centers a number of voices who are doing work to build out spaces for Black communities in southeastern North Carolina,” Palmer stated in the release. “We believe our program is seen as innovative because of its commitment to connecting with our larger community. We believe that the ability to make teaching about Black folks, race, power and resilience makes this event particularly powerful.”

The Association for Black Culture Centers offers institutions professional development opportunities to learn best practices on strengthening African American, Latino, Asian American, Native American and multicultural centers. The Upperman Center at the University of North Carolina Wilmington has been the location for two ABCC conferences.

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