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Northwestern University Celebrates Black History Month

February 4, 2010 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- "Harambee" ("Let's Pull Together"), an annual cultural celebration co-sponsored by Northwestern's Office of African American Student Affairs and the student group For Members Only, launched Northwestern University's Black History Month festivities (Jan. 31 to March 7).

This year's theme focuses on "The History of Black Economic Empowerment."

Programs scheduled for the University's Evanston and Chicago campuses include talks by faculty members, panel discussions, lectures, an art exhibition and film screenings. All events are free, unless noted, and are open to the Northwestern community and the general public.

Evanston campus events will include the following:

  • "Who Cares about Tyler Perry: Essentializing Racial Politics and Representations of Blackness," 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, in Kresge Hall, Room 2-370, 1880 Campus Drive. Panelists will include four Northwestern Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences faculty members: Lisa Calvente, visiting assistant professor of African American Studies; Ji-Yeon Yuh, associate professor of history; Barnor Hesse, associate professor of African American Studies; and Reuel Rogers, associate professor of political science. Northwestern undergraduate student Zuri Hemphill will moderate.

  • "AfriCOBRA and the Chicago Black Arts Movement" exhibition, Feb. 12 through March 17; and opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, in the Dittmar Memorial Gallery, on the first floor of Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive. AfriCOBRA is the first exhibition in decades to bring together many of the most famous artworks created in the early years of AfriCOBRA, a black art collective. A 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12 keynote lecture in the Wildcat Room, Room 101A, Norris Center, will be presented by Michael Harris, AfriCOBRA member and associate professor of history and African American studies at Emory University. For information on other AfriCOBRA-related events at the Dittmar Gallery, e-mail dittmargallery@northwestern.edu or visit www.norris.northwestern.edu/dittmar.php.

  • A screening of the 2010 Oscar nominated Walt Disney animated film "The Princess and the Frog," 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, in McCormick Auditorium, Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive. Set in New Orleans and the bayous of Louisiana, it is the first Disney animated film to feature a black heroine. Admission is free for Northwestern students with IDS. Tickets are $5 for Northwestern faculty and staff and the general public and will be available at the Norris Center Box office or at the door prior to the screening.

  • Three performances of Out da Box, 8 and 11 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, Friday, Feb. 19, and Saturday, Feb. 20 at Shanley Pavilion, 2031 Sheridan Road. This year's student comedy show features mostly sketches and improvisation that challenge cultural stereotypes, societal norms and current events. Tickets for each show are $5 and may be purchased at the Norris Center box office or at the door prior to each show.

  • "I'll Get Black to You: The Rules of Engagement in Black Studies, 2010" lecture, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, Kresge Hall, Room 2-425, 1880 Campus Drive. Michelle M. Wright, associate professor of African American Studies, Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, will discuss the brewing debate on the meaning of "blackness" in African American studies today.

  • 10th annual African Student Association (ASA) Cultural Show, "ReArranging Marriage," 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21, Norris University Center, Louis Room, 1999 Campus Drive. The show highlights African culture through song, dance, fashion and drama. It will examine notions of marriage on the African continent and highlight issues, including polygamy and bride wealth. The Umu Igbo Alliance dance troupe and the Urban Bush Women dance company are scheduled to perform. Temi Ade, a fashion line that specializes in contemporary West African fashion and design, also will be highlighted. Traditional food from West and East Africa will be served during a free 6 p.m. reception in the Lake Room at Norris University Center.

  • Northwestern Community Ensemble (NCE) Winter Concert, 6:30 p.m., Sunday, March 7, Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., Evanston campus. This year's NCE concert theme is "The Greatness of God" in tribute to the revival of the campus group's alumni anthem, "Great God A'Mighty." Performers include a guest gospel recording artist and the NCE, a multicultural student ensemble that sings anthems, spirituals, hymn arrangements and traditional and contemporary gospel, praise and worship songs. Free tickets will be distributed at the door on the night of the performance.

For information on these and other Black History Month events on the Evanston campus visit the African American Student Affairs Web site at www.northwestern.edu/aasa and click the Black History Month 2010 Online Calendar icon.

Chicago campus events will include the following programs sponsored by the Black Law Students Association:

  • "Housing Disparities and the Financial Crisis: Chicago's History Repeats Itself," noon to 1:15 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8, Rubloff Building, Room 150. Panelists will discuss how predatory lending practices and the financial crisis have exacerbated urban housing disparities. Panelists will explore the extent to which recent mortgages resemble housing contracts offered to black families in Chicago during the 1960s and 1970s. Lunch will be provided.

  • "Gender and Racial Diversity in Law Firms, noon to 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, Rubloff Building, Room 150. Scholars will outline demographic changes in the legal profession and comment on related change and stasis in law firm social structure. Law firm partners will share their experiences as minorities in the workplace.

  • "The Legacy of Racism Within the American Death Penalty," 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10, Rubloff Building, Law Clinic, 8th floor. Attorney Cathleen Price will discuss the impact of race and racism in the use of the death penalty. The talk will cover the history of the problem, as well as its enduring force in modern capital punishment.

  • "Tracing Slavery & Slave Holding in the Family: From Consciousness to Action," noon to 1:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, Rubloff Building, Room 150. The unresolved consequences of slavery and Jim Crow still cause tremors in today's communities. Facing the truth of this history within one's own family may be painful, but it is an important step in changing hearts, perceptions and eventually public policy. Is slavery a secret in your family? Lunch will be provided.

  • "Is Race-Based Medicine Good For Us?" Coffee Talk with Dorothy Roberts, 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, Rubloff Building, Room 175. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval of the first race-specific drug has generated a heated debate about the scientific and political efficacy of race-based medicine. Dorothy Roberts, Kirkland & Ellis Professor, Northwestern University School of Law and professor of African American Studies and Sociology, will place this debate in the context of health disparities and genetic concepts of race. She will argue why marketing pharmaceuticals on the basis of race is more likely to worsen racial inequities than cure them.

For more information on these and other Black History Month events on the Chicago campus visit the Black Law Student Association Web site at http://www.law.northwestern.edu/blsa/index.html and click the "calendar" icon at the top, right-hand side of the page.

Topics: Campus Life