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Events planned for Black History Month

Anna Gelhaus | Friday, February 6, 2004

A variety of cultural events, including lectures, readings and a film series, will occur throughout the semester to celebrate Black History Month, said Keith Lee, the assistant director for program development for the Department of African and African-American Studies.Lee said that his department has decided to schedule the events differently this year, spreading them out throughout the semester rather than concentrating them only in February. In addition, Lee said that the planned activities are targeted toward a student audience.”We have a lot of activities spread out through February into March and even April,” said Lee. “We are trying to attract students and [thus our events are] very student focused.”As an example of the kinds of events that will take place, the next installment of the department’s co-sponsored lecture series Race in the Americas will occur Wednesday. José Saldivar, a professor of English and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkley will present a lecture entitled “Border Fillers.”Lee emphasized that the Department of African and African-American Studies aims for programs with an academic focus.”We try to tie things into the academic mission of the University,” he said.The department is also looking to work in collaboration with other groups on campus in order to spread out and attract students, such as their collaboration with the Institute for Latino Studies in the Race in the Americas series. In addition, Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS) will hold their annual Blak Koffee House Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. in the LaFortune Ballroom. The event is an annual celebration of black poetry and music.Also, Saint Mary’s will sponsor a poetry performance and reading with award-winning poet Sonia Sanchez Feb. 24. In the final weekend in March, the recipients of the Erskine Peters Fellowship will arrive on-campus to participate in a panel discussion regarding black experiences in academia. The fellowship program is administered by the provost’s office and the Department of African and African-American Studies and awards five black graduate students a $25,000 stipend and a $2,000 research budget to complete their dissertation. MacArthur Fellowship winner and black poet Jay Wright will be holding a reading towards the end of the month, sponsored by the Boehnen Fund for Arts, Creative Writing, Graduate School and Office of the Provost. The exact time and location has not yet been determined. A six-part series of films sponsored by the Department of African and African-American Studies, “This Far by Faith”, examined black spiritual life and recently concluded Wednesday.