With the upcoming presidential inauguration of Barack Obama, the 2009 celebrations of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and in February of Black History Month, promise to be especially meaningful. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Black Student Union at BGSU and the 10th anniversary of the University’s Black Issues Conference.
Students, faculty and staff will gather today (Jan. 20) in the Lenhart Grand Ballroom of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union to watch the inauguration and related events from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with viewing beginning at 10 a.m. A panel discussion will be held immediately after the inauguration ceremony.
On Wednesday (Jan. 21), the Office of Equity and Diversity will sponsor Readings in Diversity, from 9:30-11 a.m. in 207 Union. That evening, the Humanities Troupe will present “Times of Great Change: A Civil Rights Speech Montage,” from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Union Theater.
“So What Now? A Panel Discussion of the Historic Events of 2008” will be held from 6-8 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 22) in 207 Union. The discussion is sponsored by the Women’s Center, the Black Student Union and WBGU-PBS.
January events wrap up on the 30th with “An Evening of Excellence,” beginning at 7:30 p.m. in 101 Olscamp Hall. The evening will include dinner and light entertainment.
Benefitting Project Excellence, which mentors and tutors Toledo inner-city youth, the money raised will go toward scholarships for two Libbey High School seniors.
Tickets are $10 for singles and $15 for couples and are available at the Union information desk. For more information, contact Bobby Steele at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tara Stamps at email@example.com.
Black History Month events
February will see several major Black History Month events at the University, including the Black Issues Conference and the ever-popular dinner theatre organized by the Center for Multicultural and Academic Initiatives (CMAI).
The theme for this year’s conference, on Feb. 7, is “The Talented Tenth,” based on a quote from African-American leader W.E.B. Dubois, who said “a tenth of the African- American population will rise above adversity to lead the remaining 90 percent to a better way of living.”
The keynote speaker is James Jackson Jr., a founder of the conference and former CMAI staff member. The day’s events will run from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Lenhart Grand Ballroom. The conference is sponsored by the CMAI.
Reservations are preferred; a limited number of tickets will be available at the door. Call Shevonne Nelson at 2-2642.
A conference kickoff will be held from 6-11 p.m. the previous evening, Feb. 6, in the union, sponsored by the Black Student Union, National Pan-Hellenic Council, Black Intellects Group and the CMAI.
A “Talented Tenth” display will be on view in the first-floor lobby of Jerome Library through Feb. 27.
The 21st annual dinner theatre, “Grease!” will be held Feb. 27 and 28, also in the ballroom. Featuring singing, dancing and skits performed by students, faculty and staff, the Friday evening performance, at 8 p.m., is $10 and includes a cash bar. Tickets for the Saturday performance, at 7 p.m., are $20 and include a buffet as well as cash bar. Table reservations are also available. For reservations, call Yolanda Flores in the CMAI at 2-2642.
The theatre and film department will present South African playwright Athol Fugard’s “My Children! My Africa!” Shows are at 8 p.m. Feb. 12-14 and at 2 p.m. Feb. 14 and 15, in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre in University Hall. Tickets are $5 for those 65 and older, $12 for other adults and $6 for children under 12. To reserve, call the theatre box office at 2-2719.
Throughout the month, voice students of Myra Merritt, music performance studies, will share the history of African-American musical traditions with visits to elementary schools in Fremont, North Baltimore and Toledo. This marks the third year Merritt and her students have offered the program, named “Lift Every Voice and Sing” after the African-American anthem. The seven singers will present music and choreography encompassing the movement from Africa, slavery, black churches, the civil rights movement, jazz and Motown.
Other February events include:
• On Feb. 1, a video presentation and discussion of “Social Activism and the Millennial Student,” from 9:30-11 a.m. in 201 Union, sponsored by the Office of Equity and Diversity and the ethnic studies department.
• On Feb. 4, a brown-bag luncheon discussion on “To Be Young, Female and Black at BGSU,” by a panel of African-American student leaders. Sponsored by the Women’s Center, the event will be held from noon-1 p.m. in 107 Hanna Hall.
• On Feb. 11, “Love IS Blind: HIV/AIDS and STDs in the Black Community,” from 6-9 p.m. in 228 Union. The discussion is hosted by the Caribbean Association and sponsored by the Wellness Connection, Decreasing Discriminational Stereotypes, the National Council for Negro Women and the Black Student Union.
• On Feb. 18, a brown-bag lunch on “The Shortage of African-American Men: What Do Women Think?” from noon-1 p.m. in 107 Hanna Hall, sponsored by the Women’s Center.
• On Feb. 19, a Diversity Dialogue on “Whites in Black History,” presented by Marshall Rose, director of the Office of Equity and Diversity, and Dr. Jack Taylor, retired ethnic studies faculty, and focusing on important figures such as those who helped in the Underground Railroad. The talk, from 2:30-4 p.m. in 201 Union, is sponsored by the equity and diversity office, the CMAI and the ethnic studies department.
University Dining Services will provide several campus dining experiences related to Black History Month and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. These include a Martin Luther King Jr. dinner from 4:30-8 p.m. Jan. 28 in Kreischer Dining Hall, a Jazz Lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 29 in the Falcon’s Nest of the Union, and a Black History Month Lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 5 in McDonald Dining Hall.