Black History Month welcomes popular speakers, events

By Tressa Versteeg

From acclaimed speakers to gospel choirs, Macalester is celebrating Black History Month with style.Since November, Macalester’s Black History Month committee has been meeting to plan events and speakers for the month of February. The committee, co-chaired by Brittany Lewis ’09 and Tinbete Ermyas ’08, is composed of 20 to 30 students.

Working together, the committee has planned a month of events, lectures, and activities that allow Macalester students, faculty and staff to explore the history of African Americans and think about the future.

Thus far, the hard work and planning has paid off with large attendances at numerous events, including lectures given by Dr. Na’im Akbar, a noted psychologist, and Angela Davis, a social activist and the author of eight books. Tickets for Davis’ event sold out within a week.

Looking to commemorate the diverse contributions of African Americans, the Black History Month Committee is utilizing a variety of mediums to engage the community. Events in the upcoming weeks include Kuumba: Gospel Explosion with James Grear and Company, a concert featuring local vocalists and choirs and the Second Annual Black Greek Step which will feature performances by black fraternities from the University of Minnesota.

According to Lewis, President Rosenberg, the college’s administration, and the faulty have been very supportive of the events. However, Lewis stated that it is important that the efforts to include and support black Americans at Macalester does not end at the end of the month.

“I don’t feel like multiculturalism or blackness on campus have been [pursued] aggressively,” Lewis said. According to Lewis, she is one of only 20 domestic black females at Macalester. She stated there are three times as many international black female students than domestic black female students at Macalester.

However, Lewis acknowledged that Macalester has provided her with opportunities she may not have had at other schools. “I don’t think students realize their voices are important. This [Macalester] is a unique space,” Lewis said. “I could not do what I do at the University of Minnesota.”

Local schools, including the University of St. Thomas, the University of Minnesota and Carleton College, are hosting a variety of events to commemorate Black History Month. To learn more about upcoming events, visit: www.macalester.edu/whatshappening/blackhistory.