January 20, 2017

SIU to celebrate Black History Month

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale will celebrate Black History Month with a variety of special presentations, exhibits and activities during the month of February.

It all begins with the Black History Month Kickoff at 5 p.m. on Feb. 1 at Morris Library’s John C. Guyon Auditorium and first floor rotunda. The kickoff will feature a presentation by Elizabeth Lewin, interim associate chancellor for institutional diversity, along with information about upcoming events.

Darryl Scriven, associate professor of philosophy at Florida A & M University and co-founder of the African American Enrichment Institute, will lead the keynote presentation at 5 p.m. on Feb. 2 in the University Museum Auditorium at Faner Hall. The evening begins with the documentary “State of the Black College Student,” which explores from various angles the college experience of African American students - including college graduation rates, loan debt and acquisition of skills.

Scriven, who grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., with a single mom in a neighborhood filled with drugs and violence, holds degrees in mathematics, philosophy and religion from Florida A & M University. A Fulbright Scholar to Morocco and Tunisia, “Doc” Scriven also earned master’s and doctoral degrees in philosophy from Purdue University. He has taught at several universities and is an author and entrepreneur. Following the movie, Scriven and audience members will exchange ideas and seek solutions to improve the African American education process and outcomes.

The theme for the 2017 Black History Month is “The Crisis in Black Education”. Organizers say this references the longstanding problems in black education that date back to the days of slavery when it was unlawful for slaves to learn to read and write and to the era when free blacks had to walk great distances in northern cities past white schools to attend classes in schools solely for black children. They note that racially separated schools and other disparities remained the norm in America for many years, whether by law, policy or practice.

Like Scriven’s presentation, many of the February 2017 activities focus on enhancing the education process for African Americans. Daniel Booth, principal of Carbondale Community High School, will speak about “Empowering African Americans through Public Education” at 5 p.m. on Feb. 7 in Room 150 of the Student Services Building. He will share how African Americans can take advantage of public education to maximize their potential and realize their dreams and aspirations.

Other highlights of the month including the showing of the documentary “Finding the Gold Within” at 1 pm. Feb. 11 at the Carbondale Community Arts Building, located at 304 W. Walnut St. The film highlights in an open and honest way the struggles and triumphs of six young black men from Ohio as they complete their college educations.

The Tunnel of Oppression, running nightly from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 27-March 2 in the lower level of Grinnell Hall, will give visitors the opportunity to experience firsthand what oppression and discrimination feel like as they travel through rooms depicting real-life scenarios.

Films, panel discussions and roundtables, special exhibits at Morris Library and the University Mall African American Museum and many other activities are planned during Black History Month 2017. Everything is open to the public and most events are free unless specified on the complete schedule, which can be found online at www.smrc.siu.edu.

Sponsors of Black History Month 2017 at SIU include the Student Multicultural Resource Center and Black Resource Center along with the Black History Month Planning Committee, Counselors in Residence program, University Housing, Student Programming Council, Student Center, Big Muddy Film Festival, SIU Collegiate Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Black Affairs Council, Medical/Dental Preparatory Program, African American Museum, University Museum, Carbondale Elementary School District, Carbondale Community High School, Department of Computer Science, Department of Africana Studies, Black Male Roundtable, Department of Theater, Association of Black Psychologists Student Circle, School of Art and Design, Student Center Craft Shop, Black Togetherness Organization, Black Women’s Task Force, the colleges of Liberal Arts and of Mass Communication and Media Arts, and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

For more information, contact Lanel Love at llove2@siu.edu or by calling 618/453-3470.