Feb. 16, 2007
Morningside College will culminate a month-long celebration of National Black History Month by hosting a special event on Monday, Feb. 26, commencing at 7 p.m. in Klinger-Neal Theatre, 3700 Peters Avenue. A reception will follow the program.
The free event and reception, which is sponsored by Morningside’s office of Diversity Affairs and the Siouxland Coalition for Cultural Awareness, are open to the public.
Sandi O’Brien, director of Diversity Affairs at Morningside College, will welcome guests and provide closing remarks. Craig Berenstein, mayor for the city of Sioux City, will give a proclamation.
Abraham Funchess Jr., director of the Iowa Division on the Status of African-Americans, will provide the keynote address for the event. Funchess Jr. serves as administrator of Ongoing Covenant with Black Iowa (OCBI), a strategic initiative designed to organize black Iowans in various communities around critical issues such as the widening education gap, economic deprivation and dis-empowerment, and the hopelessnes of its youth. He is senior pastor at Jubilee United Methodist Church in Waterloo, Iowa.
Entertainment will be provided by members of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church Choir, Sherri Nelson, a poet from Des Moines, Iowa, and Effie Burt, vocalist and composer from Des Moines.
Other events celebrating Black History Month included:
Tuesday, Feb. 5 to Wednesday, Feb. 14: “Voices of Iowa,” a display of well-known and lesser-known stories that have impacted the history of Iowa, in the Hickman-Johnson-Furrow Library Center, 1601 Morningside Avenue.
Tuesday, Feb. 5: Joseph Nolte, director of statewide operations for the African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa in Cedar Rapids, will discuss the “Voices of Iowa” exhibit at noon on the first floor of the Hickman-Johnson-Furrow Library Center.
Monday, Feb. 12: Showing of “The Murder of Emmitt Till,” a film from The American Experience series that details the 1955 murder of Till, a black teen from Chicago who whistled at a white woman in a grocery store in Mississippi, not understanding that he had broken the unwritten laws of the Jim Crow South, and was later brutally murdered by two white men. The film will be shown at 6:30 p.m. in the UPS Auditorium of the Lincoln Center, 3627 Peters Avenue.
Monday, Feb. 19: Showing of “Four Little Girls,” a Spike Lee documentary that depicts the 1963 racial terrorist bombing of an African American church in Birmingham, Ala., that killed four little African American girls. The bombing took place during the height of the civil rights movement and angered the American public. The film will be shown at 7 p.m. in the UPS Auditorium of the Lincoln Center.
Friday Feb. 23: Comedian Preacher Moss will present his “End of Racism” comedy and lecture tour at 8 p.m. in Buckingham’s in the lower level of the Olsen Student Center, 3609 Peters Avenue. Moss, a former writer for “The Damon Wayans Show” and “Saturday Night Live,” is regarded as one of the funniest social commentators on the college scene today. His appearance is sponsored by the Morningside Activities Council (MAC).
Black History Month was initially observed as Black History Week in 1926 by Carter G. Woodsen, noted scholar, historian, and founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, later known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The celebration expanded in 1976 and is now celebrated all over North America.
Every year since 1926, ASALH sets the national theme for celebration. The theme for Black History Month 2007 is “From Slavery to Freedom: Africans in the Americas,” which is dedicated to the struggles of peoples of African descent to achieve freedom and equality in the Americas during the age of emancipation. The struggle for slavery and freedom was identified as the central theme of African American history by celebrated historian John Hope Franklin over a half-century ago. This year’s theme is to honor Franklin and to place before the nation and the world the historical importance of slavery and freedom in the making of modern societies in the Americas.