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African American History Month launched with Unity Feast

February 4, 2003

With so many events occurring on campus throughout February, Austin Peay State University officials rolled out only the first two weeks of activities celebrating African American History Month.

As its theme for the month, APSU adopted “The Souls of Black Folk: Centennial Reflections,” which also is the international theme for this year's African American History Month. As space permits, all events will be free and open to the public.

The celebration began Monday, Feb. 3 with a Unity Feast in the University Center Ballroom. Sponsored by the Office of Student Life and Leadership, the feast was a time of coming together in a unified celebration of the historic and contemporary contributions and achievements of African Americans.

Franketta Guinn, award-winning entrepreneur, gave the keynote presentation, relating the international theme for the month to college-student life.

Immediately following the Unity Feast, a “grand opening” for the University-wide celebration of African American History Month began at 7:30 p.m. in Clement Auditorium. The internationally renowned actor and playwright, Darryl Van Leer, performed his one-man, award-winning show, titled “Power on Earth,” which depicts various “moments in time” of the African American experience. Afterwards, there will be a gala reception in the Harambee Room of the W. N. Daniel African Cultural Center.

At 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 4 in the Harambee Room, the first in a month-long series of University-Community Forums on Black History and Culture” will be presented. Titled “Africans Speak on Africa, Our Ancestral and Cultural Home,” the forum will address issues affecting the quality of life for African Americans. Sponsored by APSU's African American staff, administrators and faculty, the first forum features presentations by several faculty.

At noon, Wednesday, Feb. 5 in the UC Ballroom, a dynamic traveling dance troupe from New Orleans, the Zulu Connection Dancers, will engage participants in an exuberant process of learning to perform traditional African dances. Everyone is invited to attend this event, which promises to be both educational and entertaining.

At 7 p.m. on the evening of Feb. 5, the Zulu Connection Dancers will perform in the concert theatre of the music/mass communication building. This troupe of acclaimed, acrobatic stilt artists will present masterful dances from African and Caribbean societies. Sponsored by the Office of Student Life and Leadership, the performance is designed to foster an appreciation of African-world culture.

At 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 6 there will be a Black Student Leadership Forum in the Harambee Room of the African American Cultural Center, sponsored by the African American Students Association and the MAAPS Scholars. The forum will engage African American student leaders and other students in an in-depth discussion on the myriad issues and concerns African American students face with an emphasis on ways to improve relationships among all students.

At noon, Monday, Feb 10, the department of communication and theatre will sponsor a showing of “The Woman Behind the Gold: Wilma Glodean Rudolph” in the Harambee Room. Dr. Yvonne Prather, APSU assistant professor and director of television studies, will discuss her video documentary of the life and accomplishments of this Olympic gold medalist.

At 5 p.m., Monday, Feb. 10 in the UC Ballroom, the Office of Student Life and Leadership will sponsor a viewing of “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” Tyler Perry's famed video production. A limited supply of Tyler Perry t-shirts will be given away as door prizes.

The second in the series of University-Community Forums on Black History and Culture is slated for 7 p.m., Monday, Feb 10 in the Harambee Room. Sponsored by APSU's African American staff, administrators and faculty and led by Betty Joe Wallace and Dr. Alvin Hughes, both history professors, the second forum is titled “African Americans and Their History.”

At 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 11, Dr. Darryl Taylor, Distinguished Visiting Professor in Music and internationally acclaimed tenor, and members of APSU's voice faculty will present “A Concert of Spirituals in Celebration of African American History Month” in the concert theatre, music/mass communication building.

This concert highlights Taylor's third week-long residency at APSU this academic year. Taylor is an associate professor of music at the University of Northern Iowa, whose recently released “Dreamer” is the featured recording at all Barnes and Nobles stores nationwide during the month of February.

For more information on any of APSU's African American History Month events, telephone Dr. Jacqueline Wade, director of the W.N. Daniel African American Cultural Center, at 6274.