February is Black History Month. To honor and celebrate Black history here on Southwestern’s campus, there will be events and lectures all throughout February. All of these activities are meant to celebrate not only the history and the people who have paved the way for change, but to also recognize the issues that are still prominent in America and around the world.
The many events for Black History month kicked off on Jan. 21 when Angela Davis, retired professor with the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, political activist and feminist spoke to the Southwestern and Georgetown community in the McCombs Ballrooms. Davis spoke of liberation movements past and present and of the challenges she faced for her political ideas and activism.
“We felt it was important for Davis to come to Southwestern as she is a well-known, influential speaker,” said Nneka Maduka, junior and introductory speaker for Davis. “Davis was a leader in the Black Panther Party and fought to spread awareness for quality of life for all people at a time when that was hard and so many people were against her.”
Davis shared the story of how she was falsely accused for murder, searched for, arrested, and put in jail. A movement was organized to fight for Davis’ release from prison and promote the positive effect she had on many. This movement reached a farmer in Florida. Inspired by the work of Davis’ political movements and the unjust legal treatment she faced, the farmer sold his land and donated the profit to post Davis’ bail from prison.
“The point I really liked and took away from the speech was that Black History Month should not just be appreciated by African-Americans, but that everyone should be aware of and learn more about the history and importance behind Black History Month,” Maduka said. “She also promoted the remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. for everything he did with the church and in the movements for the liberal rights and freedom rights of all people. We should also remember and be aware of how long it took for Martin Luther King Jr. Day to become a national holiday.”
“The lecture was really excellent in addressing a wide range of issues for the Southwestern community and was a great event to start the Black History Series,” Marie Castagna, a senior, said.
The Black History Month Lecture Series continues each Wednesday starting Feb. 3. Speakers include Assistant Professor of English, Dr. Carina Evans, motivational speaker Romeal-Dorasay Johnson, and Associate Professor of Education, Dr. Alicia Moore.
Evans will present a lecture entitled “The Legacy of Slavery in “Post-racial” America,” and Moore will present a lecture entitled “The Quest for Black Citizenship in America: From Picking Cotton to Picking Presidents.”
Johnson is commonly welcomed onto university campuses to prompt and mediate open forums about typically hard to discuss and taboo topics, such as social pressures, labeling, stereotypes, drugs and alcohol, and sex and relationships. On Feb. 3, the Southwestern and Georgetown community were welcomed to join Johnson’s discussion and engage in an interactive workshop about “Mistaken Identity.”
All of the lectures will be open to anyone who wants to come, and some will even provide lunch for those who attend.
Lectures are not the only activities planned this month. E.B.O.N.Y. is sponsoring a dance this weekend called “Cupid’s Shuffle.” The money will go to AIDS/HIV education and resources in Lesotho, Africa.
“This is a Valentine’s Day dance and at the same time functions as a way to raise funds for people in Lesotho,” Maduka said.
Tickets to the Cupid’s Shuffle are $3 and are being sold at concourse tables in the Bishop’s Lounge.
If you want to help Lesotho but don’t know how to dance, E.B.O.N.Y. will also be selling “Crushes for your crush” at the concourse tables to benefit the AIDS/HIV education resources as well.
“These events raise money and the Valentine’s Day spirit,” said Maduka. “Its a trade off, give money to help others and in return get a crush or a dance. Its a fun way to donate, help out and celebrate the spirit of Valentine’s Day.”
For these fundraising event, E.B.O.N.Y has teamed up with The Links, Inc. Foundation of Austin and Baylor Medical’s International Pediatric AIDS Initiative. According to their website, The Links, Inc. “is an international, not-for-profit corporation, established in 1946,” whose “membership consists of 12,000 professional women of color in 270 chapters located in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.”
E.B.O.N.Y. and UPC are co-hosting an event on Friday, Feb. 12. The well known and influential comedian Marina Franklin will be performing in the Cove. This event starts at 8 p.m. and is free.
On Feb. 24, the Commons will be serving “soul food” and exploring its importance in honor of Black History Month. “Soul food” is the Southern-style cooking of Black Americans, has roots in American slavery and is a reminder that African-American slaves greatly influenced the development of African American style cooking. This will be a meal that is covered by your meal plan.
The other important day of events will be Feb. 10. While the exact times and events haven’t been revealed, this day is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Be on the lookout for more information about events or lectures going on this day. Also, for more information on any of the aforementioned activities, find someone at the concourse tables in the Bishop’s Lounge, look for the red fliers up around campus, or just ask around.