Visit by State Poet Laureate Dasha Kelly Hamilton Highlights Black History Month Celebrations at MATC

Mark Feldmann,

February 01, 2022

MILWAUKEE – A visit from Wisconsin Poet Laureate Dasha Kelly Hamilton will highlight Milwaukee Area Technical College’s celebration of Black History Month during February.

Kelly Hamilton will lead a poetry workshop from noon to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24. Attendees can meet Kelly Hamilton, write a poem, and exchange work.

Kelly Hamilton, Wisconsin’s first Black poet laureate, has written two novels, three poetry collections, four spoken word albums and one collection of personal vignettes. She has taught at colleges, conferences and classrooms, and has curated fellowships for emerging leaders. 

She was appointed the state’s poet laureate in January 2021. She also served as the keynote speaker at MATC’s Spring Commencement May 14, 2021.

The workshop is one of numerous discussions, guest speakers, displays and events MATC will host during the month to recognize and celebrate Black History Month. Information about Black History Month and the events MATC will host can be found at

The events include a TikTok singing challenge of the Black National Anthem "Lift Every Voice and Sing." MATC students and employees are invited to join the challenge by posting clips of their own rendition of the song. 

Black History Month stems from the efforts of Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson. He wanted to raise awareness of African American's contributions to civilization, so he founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) and conceived Negro History Week in 1925. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. 

The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation's bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” 

The theme for Black History Month 2022 focuses on the importance of Black Health and Wellness. This theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing, such as birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, throughout the African Diaspora. The 2022 theme considers activities, rituals and initiatives that Black communities have done to be well.

Wisconsin’s largest technical college and one of the most diverse two-year institutions in the Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education in the region since 1912. More than 30,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community. The college offers more than 170 academic programs; and transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees with more than 40 four-year colleges and universities. Overwhelmingly, MATC graduates build careers and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.