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Home | Tag Archives: black history month

Tag Archives: black history month

Andress High’s Black History Celebration Honors Contributions, Legacy of African-Americans

African-Americans have played a key role in the development of the United States and continue to have a tremendous impact on communities like El Paso, students at Andress High learned during the school’s annual Black History Celebration this week.

“We want to honor, uplift and recognize the important contributions that African Americans have made,” said Melissa Stokes, the parental involvement assistant at Andress. “Many of these contributions are not recognized in the history books. The books always start with slavery, but that’s not where our history began.”

The Northeast school has celebrated Black History Month for years with one of the largest gatherings of historians and influence-makers in El Paso. The celebration at Andress on Thursday was attended by students, teachers and community members.

Stokes and school registrar Allison Jones organized the event, inviting the community to learn more about Black History.

The Andress color guard kicked off the celebration with the presentation of colors and singing of the national anthem by Brown Middle School teacher of the year Anthony Stokes.

“I think that’s important that students learn that Black history is so rich,” Anthony Stokes said. “At Brown, I have the students do a project on Black artists – both current and some historical. I want them to learn about people who have made a difference in society and an impact in their respective field.”

The theme of this year’s celebration was African Americans in Times of War, and the celebrations included a Buffalo Soldiers reenactment by EPISD Trustee Chuck Taylor.

The event this year had a special guest, Andress alumna Shoshana Johnson, who was the first African-American female prisoner of war in U.S. history.

Johnson was a Specialist with the U.S. Army when she was captured and held as prisoner for 22 days during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

At Andress, she spoke about finding the strength to overcome the experience.

“When we were rescued, all I kept thinking was ‘I’m going home.’ Before I deployed, I used to watch those Lifetime movies where when something bad happened I thought ‘I would have a heart attack if that happened to me,’” she said. “When we were captured, I kept waiting for a heart attack, but it didn’t happen. Sometimes you don’t know how strong you are until you are tested. You are stronger than you think you are.”

Story by Alicia Chumley | Photos by Leonel Monroy / EPISD

Alamo Drafthouse to host Screening, Discussion of Baldwin’s ‘I am Not Your Negro’ Sunday

In honor of Black History Month, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Montecillo will host a special panel discussion following the screening of James Baldwin’s I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO at 4:45pm on Sunday, February 19, 2017.

The 2017 Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary, I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO is an adaptation of writing by the late writer and brilliant social critic James Baldwin and will play at Alamo Drafthouse Montecillo starting Friday, February 17 through Wednesday, February 22, 2017.

In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of his manuscript.

Filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin’s original words and flood of rich archival material.

Peck weaves modern and period footage together to show us how far we have not come since the deaths of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The screening at 4:45pm on Sunday, February will be followed by a panel discussion with James Baldwin experts who will provide context and additional insight to the documentary.

Panelists leading discussion will be:

Dr_Michael_Vinson_WilliamsMichael Vinson Williams, PhD, Director of African American Studies Program at the University of Texas at El Paso. Dr. Williams earned a PhD in history from the University of Mississippi.

He is a 20th Century U.S. historian whose research and teaching interests center upon the study of social and political resistance movements and organizations, Civil Rights struggle, conflict and grassroots activism, black intellectuals and radicalism and various aspects of African history.

Marion RohrleitnerMarion Christina Rohrleitner, PhD, Associate Professor, Literature Faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso. Dr. Rohrleitner is an expert in James Baldwin. She received a PhD in English from the University of Notre Dame.

Her teaching expertise includes courses on 20th and 21st  century American literature, African Diasporic literature, Chicana/o, Latina/o and Caribbean and World literature.

Purchase tickets to I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO at the Alamo Drafthouse-Montecillo here.

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EPCC Celebrates Black History Month via Films, Readings and Events

El Paso Community College (EPCC) will celebrate Black History with its annual month of activities this February. All activities are free and open to the public. Each campus will have displays and activities on Black History throughout the month.

“Recognizing the accomplishments of Black Americans is an important part of Diversity Programs at EPCC,” said Olga Chavez, Director of Diversity Programs. “The diversity of students, faculty and staff and their important roles leads to a better community as a whole.”

Monday nights highlight the activities with special performances and presentations at the EPCC Administrative Services Center (ASC) Building A, 9050 Viscount Blvd.

All ASC events begin at 6:00 p.m.

– February 13 th – All the Difference, a film about two Chicago teens and their dream to graduate from college, presented in partnership with KCOS Public Television.

Following the film there will be a panel discussion with renown El Paso Educators to include Dr. Michael Vinson Williams, UTEP Director of African-American Studies; Dana Harley Boyd, Principal of East Point Elementary School; Ms. Gloria Love, Chapin High School English Instructor; Mr. Leon Blevins, EPCC Professor Emeritus.

– February 20 th – Lift Every Voice and Sing: A Gospel Music Celebration will feature Gospel choirs to include praise teams, praise dancers, soloists, and mime with featured group, Divine Souls.

– February 27 th – Bridging Education through Jazz with Hesteriam Musicism featuring Karlton Hester, Ph.D. Hester is a composer and musician who bridge the gap between music and education and is now the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

EPCC will also take part in the 28 th annual African-American Read-In to celebrate the written word. Students, faculty and community members will read their favorite selections.

The following campuses will offer readings:

– Rio Grande Little Temple, 906 N. El Paso, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., February 23rd

– Northwest Library, 6701 South Desert Blvd., 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., February 27th

– Transmountain Foyer, 9570 Gateway North, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., February 28th

– Valle Verde Cafeteria Annex, 919 Hunter, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., February 28th

For information on all Black History Month activities, contact the EPCC Diversity Programs office at (915) 831-3324 or click HERE.

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NMSU College of Education, Black Programs host Black History Month performances

The New Mexico State University College of Education and Black Programs will host several events this month recognizing Black History Month with cultural music performances.

The college’s Dance Program and Black Programs will sponsor a performance by Soriba Fofana, director of the MORIA West African Dance & Drum Ensemble in New Mexico. The performance will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Corbett Center Auditorium. Tickets are $10 and are available by calling 575-646-4067.

Fofana will host a dance workshop from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 27 at the James B. Delamater Activity Center, 1600 Stewart Street, in Studio 229. He will also host a drumming workshop at 6 p.m. Feb. 26 at First Christian Church, 1809 El Paseo Road. Cost of each workshop is $10 a person. The performance and both workshops are open to the public.

Fofana is originally from the Susu tribe, which resides on the coastal region of Guinea, Conakry in West Africa. Fofana began studying with Ali Sylla of Les Percussions de Guinea and later with Morcire Camara of Percussion Wassa. He went on to become director of music for Percussion Wassa in Matam, Conakry in 2005. Fofana came to the United States in 2009 and began teaching and performing traditional music of Guinea at schools, festivals and workshops nationwide.

Singer Danay Suarez will perform and host a workshop at NMSU's Corbett Center as part of the Black History Month celebrations on campus. (Courtesy photo) FEB16
Singer Danay Suarez will perform and host a workshop at NMSU’s Corbett Center as part of the Black History Month celebrations on campus. (Courtesy photo) FEB16

On Feb. 24, Cuban singer Danay Suarez will conduct a workshop and discussion on Cuban hip-hop at 1 p.m. in the Corbett Center Auditorium. At 7 p.m. the same day, Suarez will perform her blend of hip-hop, jazz, reggae and traditional Cuban music in the Corbett Center ballrooms.

Admission to both the workshop and concert is free and open to the public.

Suarez garnered headlines in 2013 with a lyrical response to rapper Jay-Z’s “Open Letter” song, which itself was a response to critics of his trip to Cuba that same year. She has performed at Summerstage in New York City and at the University of North Carolina.

Suarez’s workshop and performance is also sponsored by ASNMSU, Residence Hall Association, International and Border Programs, Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Hilton Garden Inn, American Indian Programs, Chicano Programs, the NMSU English Department, Counseling and Student Development, Pic Quik Stores, Interdisciplinary Studies, Department of Government, Center for Latin American and Border Studies, Keep Las Cruces Beautiful, the NMSU Honors College, CAMP Student Council, the NMSU Department of Anthropology, Las Cruces Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Spirit Winds Gift Source & Coffee Bar, Sunspot Solar Energy Systems and the M.O.D.

Author:  Adriana M. Chavez – NMSU

Andress High School celebrates Black History Month

The Andress High School community celebrated Black History Month Thursday night with a lesson on the Buffalo Soldiers, a taste of soul food and the words of poet Maya Angelou.

The event kicked off with a performance by Powell Elementary students and a poetry reading from the high school’s CDL program. Andress Military Family Liaison Shalon Caldwell organized the event for the past few years at Bassett Middle School. This is the first time the event takes place at Andress.

“Events like this are important for all cultures so the students can see there are positive role models out there,” Caldwell said.

Trustee Chuck Taylor shared a special history lesson with students and parents about the role African American soldiers played during the Civil War as part of the Buffalo Soldiers.

“It is important for our students to learn the history of the United States in its entirety, so they can better contribute as citizens of this nation,” Taylor said.

Students played an active role in the event, with performances from the Andress cheer squad, orchestra, jazz band and JROTC. Guests wereunnamed (4) unnamed (5) also welcome to take part in a special dinner at the school’s cafeteria.

Andress junior Eric Simmons helped prepare the food during his cooking class.

“It’s really great we can get everyone out to come together,” Simmons said.

Student council member Shamya McDowell, who was helping out at the event, echoed Simmons’ thoughts about togetherness.

“I think it’s really great to celebrate Black History month,” McDowell. “It’s a good opportunity for a lot of people to come together. A lot of schools came out to help.”

Other guest speakers included, Area 2 Superintendent Dr. Royce Avery, former POW and Andress alumna Shoshana Johnson and representatives from various community agencies.

NMSU celebrates Black History Month in February

New Mexico State University will celebrate Black History Month with 11 events on campus throughout the month of February.

Festus Addo-Yobo, director of Black Programs at NMSU, said that history, culture and identity are important reasons to host Black History Month events.

“African Americans have contributed greatly, not only to this nation, but to the world,” Addo-Yobo said. “Having the faith to do good and bring people together and having a sense of belonging is very important.

“Unfortunately, our contributions are sometimes rare in the annals of American history, so I think it’s important for people of all cultures to know about our contributions, and above all, what our ancestors believed what we could become.”

Addo-Yobo also expressed the importance of civil rights.

“Civil rights make us more aware of where we’ve been, where we are today and what can become of tomorrow,” he said. “Seeking understanding for what has passed makes you aware of what you can contribute in the future.”

The celebration begins Wednesday, Feb. 3, with a town-hall style discussion among NMSU faculty, students and staff about race, culture and identity in contemporary America. The event will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Corbett Center Student Union auditorium.

Chris Love, president of the NMSU Black Students Association, took part in planning most of the activities scheduled for February. One addition this year is an interactive wax museum held in conjunction with a fashion show.

“The fashion show will feature children from the community of different backgrounds and cultures,” Love said. “And during that event, faculty and students are going to dress up as historical African, Afro-Caribbean or African-American figures and leaders. Audience members will have the chance to engage each historical leader, who will tell a little bit about who they are and provide a little bit of a background of that figure.”

The fashion show, interactive wax museum and social justice discussion will be part of the Afro Heritage and Culture Celebration Thursday, Feb. 4, from 7-9 p.m., which will also be held in the Corbett Center auditorium.

Two events will be held Friday, Feb. 12. The Embracing Social Differences in Educational Practice workshop led by Prudence Carter begins at9:30 a.m. in Room 50 of Milton Hall. A Valentine’s Day dance – Ebony Soul Valentine’s Night – will take place from 7-10 p.m. in the Corbett Center Aggie Lounge.

The celebration continues Wednesday, Feb. 17, with a continuation of Embracing Social Differences in Educational Practice. This is a follow-up workshop and discussion with Mary Prentice and Monica Torres. The event is 2:30-4:30 p.m. and will also take place in Room 50 of Milton Hall.

Attendees can unwind at Step for a Cause: Step Show and Comedy Night Friday, Feb. 19, in the Atkinson Recital Hall from 7-10 p.m. In its fifth year, this event features step teams from various fraternities and sororities, as well as a performance by All Def Digital Comedy.

Three events will be held Wednesday, Feb. 24. An in-depth discussion, titled Partial Visions, Multiple Perspectives: Views on Diversity from Around the Nation, will take place from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Held in Room 50 of Milton Hall, the discussion will focus on the implications of diversity at the institutional level.

The day will also feature an Afro-Cuban dance workshop and concert with world-renowned Cuban musical artist Danay Suarez. Suarez will perform and discuss the history of Afro-Cuban culture in terms of identity within the black and Latino communities at the workshop, which is 1-3 p.m. in the Corbett Center auditorium. A concert will follow from 7-10 p.m. in the Corbett Center ballrooms.

For more dancing, community members may attend Moriba West African Drumming and Dance Thursday, Feb. 25. Led by Soriba Fofana, master drummer from Guinea, West Africa, the event will be from 7-10 p.m. in the Corbett Center ballrooms.

The month-long celebration will conclude with the Black History Month Appreciation Dinner Friday, Feb. 26, in the Corbett Center ballrooms. The dinner begins at 7 p.m. and features keynote speaker Timothy Nelson, a graduate of NMSU who recently earned his doctorate from the University of Texas at El Paso.

“As a member of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity at NMSU, Tim was really a liaison between Black Programs and the community,” Addo-Yobo said.

In his 10 years at the helm of Black Programs, Addo-Yobo has brought in several significant guests and speakers as part of Black History Month.

“I’ve brought in people who have been icons in terms of literature and understanding of blackness within America,” Addo-Yobo said. “I think there are a lot of people who really don’t understand the aspect, not only of affirmative action and protocol, but understanding the contributions and how we can move forward. If we don’t really understand the history of people and what they have contributed, that means we are taking our society for granted.”

He added that people of all cultures and races must work together.

“We have to work together in terms of utilizing resources, as there are unique contributions that we all bring to the table; not only black people, but Hispanics, whites, Native Americans and others,” he said.

Love, who is a senior studying special education, said it is important to have the month-long celebration on campus.

“It’s extremely important, especially at a university like this where there’s not a large African-American or African population in the community,” Love said. “Black history is American history, so by having these celebrations, it provides an opportunity for people who are of African descent, and people who aren’t of this descent, to learn about our history and to make it universal.”

While all of the events are free, attendees must pre-register for the Embracing Social Differences in Educational Practice workshops on Feb. 12 and Feb. 17.

For more information, please call Black Programs at NMSU at 575-646-4208.

Author:  Kristie Garcia – NMSU

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