AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Former Springfield resident and Academy Award winner Ruth Carter will be the keynote speaker at the Commonwealth Honors College Annual Black Heritage Month Celebration.

Her talk, titled “From Honoring Culture to Creating Marvel’s Worlds: Ruth E. Carter’s Costume Designs,” will focus on visual storytelling within the African diaspora, and the Afrofuturist movement. The event is being held Thursday, February 17 at 5 p.m. in Bowker Auditorium on the UMass-Amherst campus.

In 2019 Carter became the first African American to win an Academy Award for Costume Design for Marvel’s “Black Panther.” She is also only the second Costume Designer, 60 years after the first, to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

In her over three decade career, Carter has garnered over sixty film and television credits including Academy Award nominations for “Malcolm X” and “Amistad,” and an Emmy nomination for the reboot of the television mini-series “Roots.”

“I am deeply honored to return home to the Five College area surrounding UMass Amherst and celebrate Black Heritage Month! Growing up, I attended programs hosted by the students and faculty of this educationally enriched community,” said Carter. “I experienced some of the most memorable and impactful times learning about my culture and the world — so much so that the lessons are rooted in my foundation. It’s my pleasure to return the kindness.”

Carter is a member of the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Foundation, and co-founder of the Mildred Blount Scholarship Fund, which was created to assist Black, Indigenous & People of Color (BIPOC) costume designers. She earned a bachelor of arts in theater arts from Hampton University and an honorary doctorate from Suffolk University.

The in-person event is open to the UMass Amherst community and a livestream will be open to the public, which will be available on the Commonwealth Honors College’s YouTube channel.