AMHERST — Amherst is celebrating Black History Month by recognizing accomplishments of black Americans and the continuing struggle for equality and freedom.

The Select Board this week issued a proclamation to kick off the month and to “urge all residents to mark this occasion, and to participate fittingly in its observance,”

One way they can do so is by attending the raising of the Black Liberation Movement flag that will take place at 11 a.m. Feb. 13 at Town Hall. Participants will sing the black national anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” during the event,

“We invite everyone to come out,” said organizer Judy Brooks.

The proclamation notes accomplishments of African-Americans, from Phillis Wheatley, the first African-American to publish a book of poetry in the United States, and Edmonia Lewis, the first professional African-American sculptor, to pioneering scholar W.E.B Du Bois and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Another event in town includes the annual African-American Read-In at Wildwood School, in which prominent local guests read books to children.

Events at Amherst College will include presentations by political consultant Donna Brazile and author Chris Abani.

Brazile will present “Race and Politics in America: The Past and 2016” at Stirn Auditorium Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m. A question-and-answer session will follow.

Abani, author of the 2004 novel “Graceland,” will give a talk titled “My Face and Ours: Views of Today’s America” at Stirn Auditorium Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. Following this, he will be interviewed by Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture, before taking questions from the audience.

Election ballot

Candidates for townwide office have until Tuesday at 5 p.m. to pick up nomination papers and return them with signatures of 50 registered voters to the town clerk’s office.

So far, the only contest developing is for Charter Commission, a nine-member panel that would be charged with reviewing town government. The formation of a charter commission is on the ballot following a successful signature campaign by Amherst for All.

The town clerk has provided nomination forms to 24 residents, though only a handful have assured their place on the ballot.

If voters approve creating the commission, the top nine vote-getters will make up the commission, which will meet for about 18 months.

Agenda timing

The Select Board tried a new agenda this week, one in which specific times were not placed next to the items.

Chairwoman Alisa Brewer said the idea of the revised agenda, which now gives approximate lengths of discussion topics, came after the board repeatedly fell behind on its agenda.

About two hours into what turned into a nearly four-hour meeting Monday night, board member Constance Kruger joked that at least the board had stayed on schedule.

“Hey, we’re on time tonight,” Kruger said.

Hampshire alum’s post

A graduate of Hampshire College was recently named the new director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Stephan Jost, who previously served as director of the Honolulu Museum of Art and the Shelburne Museum in Vermont, is expected to begin his tenure at the Toronto-based gallery this spring.

Jost, 47, said in a statement that he is thrilled to join one of North America’s preeminent art museums and be in an energetic and diverse city. “I feel strongly that artists should help guide not only a national, but international cultural conversation that will help us better know ourselves and our world,” Jost said.


MONDAY: Transportation Plan Task Force, 2 p.m., First Floor Meeting Room, Town Hall; Select Board, 6:30 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.

TUESDAY: Buildings and Facilities Committee for Jones Library, 1 p.m., Goodwin Room, Jones Library; Public Shade Tree Committee, 4 p.m., First Floor Meeting Room, Town Hall; Amherst School Committee, 6 p.m., high school library.

WEDNESDAY: Personnel Board, 8:30 a.m., First Floor Meeting Room, Town Hall; School Equity Task Force, 6 p.m., high school library.

THURSDAY: Zoning Board of Appeals, 6:30 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.