Black History Month features full sleight of free events

The Northern Kentucky University Office of African-American Student Affairs has organized a full sleight of free events to entertain and educate the campus about African-Americans for Black History Month in February.

According to the schedule put out by coordinator Deborah Strahorn, lead organizer for this year’s events, there will be 12 unique events throughout the month, beginning on Feb. 2 and running through Feb. 23. With the exception of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, all of the events are being created and produced by NKU’s students and faculty.

“We have a ton of talented students, and so our office definitely supports their talent. We love them to take initiative and to lead programs,” Strahorn said. “We have some wonderful leaders here. We’re here to support them in any way that they need our assistance.”

There are several highlights in this year’s lineup of Black History events on NKU’s campus. One such event that Strathorn mentioned is “Passing The Flame,” performed by the Freedom Center.

“They re-enact key figures who were present in the Underground Railroad,“ Strahorn said. “They do some event re-enactments, so we’re real excited to have them on campus.”

Also, Part I of “The Great Debate,” titled “The Mis-education of a Generation: Are we producing 21st century leadership or life-long needership?” is being hosted and moderated by an NKU student. The debate is set to take place at Gallagher Center Theater, 3800 Victory Parkway, on Xavier University’s campus at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 4th. Competing teams from Xavier, the University of Cincinnati and Central State University will compete, with the winner gaining the privilege to face NKU’s debate team for Part II on NKU’s campus in March.

The debates, held annually every year since 1985, allow teams to debate the headline issue from the viewpoints of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and a combination of their ideological perspectives. Each team’s arguments will be critiqued by nine judges from several leading academic and religious organizations in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Additionally, the collaborative event features authentic dancing, music and dramatic interpretations from some of Cincinnati’s and Northern Kentucky’s brightest students.

Dr. Leesha Thrower, professor of communications at NKU, will be hosting “Venus vs. Mars, Part 2” as a follow-up to the 2010 program. Co-sponsored by the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and The Black Women’s Organization. Dr. Thrower will be analyzing the male-female communication differences that lead to sayings like “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.”

Another event, “Moments in Black History,” begins its weekly effort when students sponsored by the Black United Students kick off their series. “We have some students who will be downstairs on the second floor in the Student Union during lunch time,” Strahorn said. “They’re going to be re-enacting moments in Black History. They’ll be performing on the 2nd, the 9th, the 16th and the 23rd. They’ll be down in the Union at 12 and at 1, and hopefully we’ll get a pretty good crowd.”

Strahorn feels that these events are very important and encourages students and the public to attend.

“We’re definitely trying to get the word out to our campus community. We want everyone to get involved,” Strahorn said. “This isn’t just for our African-American students, it’s for everyone. And we want them to take advantage of the programs we offer and just learn a little bit about our history. Black history is American history.”

Story by Chuck Heffner