Celebrating African heritage, Programs open for all races

By Jen Bland

Every day in February will be a reminder of the rich cultural heritage of Black America.

There are events scheduled each day of the month to celebrate Black History month.

“I would like everyone to come out to celebrate the activities planned,” said Van Amos, program coordinator for the Black Student Union. “We’d like to encourage university and DeKalb community residents to attend as many activities as possible.”

The month will begin with a bang at the opening of the Black

Heritage Expo. This is the first year coordinators have sponsored such an event.

The Expo will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday in the Regency Room of the Holmes Student Center.

Amos said 38 vendors are scheduled to participate in the event with each vendor bringing a variety of items to NIU.

Margaret Burroughs, the founder and former curator of the DuSable African-American Museum in Chicago, will give two separate speeches Monday. The first speech is scheduled at 3:30 p.m. in the Heritage Room of the HSC, and the second will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the same room.

A new event this year is the Afrocentric Fashion Show. Although there have been fashion shows in previous years, this year’s show “speaks more to people of African-American descent,” Amos said.

The fashion show will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the HSC. It is sponsored by SISTERS and Present Perfect.

The show will feature fashions and accessories with more traditional designs representing various countries of the African continent, Amos said.

Darryl Van Leer will bring his award-winning interpretation of the life and times of Malcolm X to NIU at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Sandburg Auditorium of the HSC.

Danny Glover and Felix Justice will be performing “An Evening with Langston and Martin” at 8 p.m. Friday at the Egyptian Theatre.

Three Black Issue Forums also will be held throughout the month. The first forum will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8 in Room 405 of the HSC.

This forum will address the issue of AIDS with panel members Michael Haines, the coordinator of Health Enhancement Services, Lorraine Small and James Brunson.

The second forum will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 15 at the NIU Art Museum in Altgeld Hall and from 7 to 10 p.m. in HSC room 405. This forum is entitled “A Malcolm X, Frantz Fannon Symposium.”

The third forum is Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Sandburg Auditorium of the HSC. This forum answers the question “Black Greeks, White Greeks: Is There a Difference?”

A panel discussion on “The Black Thing: Would You Like to Understand?” will be at 9 p.m. on Feb. 9 in Grant Towers South.

Kelly Hinton, an officer of the Grant Towers South Black Student Caucus, said the discussion is aimed at educating students who might have come from towns where they weren’t exposed to black people.

“A lot of students have a negative impression of black students,” she said. “Their first impression of us seems to be they’re either afraid or they tend to lump us together before they get to know us.”

She also said a lot of students have cultural questions.

“The discussion will give students an insight that we are different and if students have questions they can ask them here,” she said. “It’s also to encourage blacks to be more open when they are asked questions.”

Feb. 27 will mark the 8th annual Miss Black NIU African Cultural Pageant. The pageant will begin at 7 p.m. in the Boutell Auditorium.

“I’m looking forward to the whole program,” said senior communications major Colleen Halliman. “I’m especially looking forward to the soul bowl.”

The Soul Bowl will take place at 5 p.m. on Feb. 18 in the Wesley Foundation. Halliman said the Soul Bowl is kind of like a pot luck where students and faculty can get together outside of the academic scene.

“It’s a time for students and faculty to rest,” Halliman said.