Three student artists exhibit a collaborative mural created throughout the Black History Show. Photo by Laura VonKampen.
By Morgan Consier
Students and faculty came together Friday, Feb. 1 to present a multimedia show on black history in America in memory of the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and to kick off Black History Month in February.
The show featured readings and videos connected with various periods in history to illustrate the experiences of African Americans in the United States.
Members of the Student Committee for Diversity and Inclusion joined with their faculty adviser Von Thomas, multicultural program specialist and assistant director of student life; Assistant Professor of Theology Russ Sommerfeld; and Assistant Professor of Global Studies Tobin Beck to plan and put on the show.
Senior Jallah Bolay said that the show is important because it reminds the audience about what people in the past have done to make America how it is today.
“I think it’s very important that we who are the current generation try to maintain all of the work and sacrifices that people before us have committed to have us unified, rather than breaking apart. I think we should seek that as a reason, as a force, to keep us united in diversity,” Bolay said.
This is the third year the committee has put on a Black History show, but this year’s show was the first to involve faculty members as well as the first to include art students, who painted a mural throughout the show based on the featured readings.
“My favorite part was the art that the students have done because when MLK said that ‘we have to climb that mountain top’ and they drew the mountain and they drew the sun, we all had to make that climb together with everyone, like we couldn’t do it ourselves,” senior Tationa Trice said.
Sommerfeld said he liked how the show highlighted many of the contributions that African Americans have made to society in music, which was featured in this year’s show, as well as in other fields.
“I think we’ll discover a lot more as time goes of the many contributions that have been made that white people have kind of covered up,” Sommerfeld said.
Students, faculty and audience members joined together at the end of the show to sing “We are the World” by U.S.A. for Africa, which senior Kaylee Brown said was one of her favorite parts of the show.
“It’s cool to get everybody singing at the end because that’s how we want our club to be, we want everyone to feel like they can come and be involved,” Brown said. “We’re a committee. Not a club.”