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Public Affairs

Celebrating Black History

Feb. 9, 2012
By Elizabeth Chapin

February marks National Black History month, an annual celebration of the role of African Americans in U.S. history and several CSU campuses are paying tribute to these achievements.

NAACP President Benjamon Todd Jealous speaking at CSULBNAACP president and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous gave CSU Long Beach’s inaugural Black History Month lecture and offered a critical assessment of what is needed to sustain a multicultural society.

CSU Channel Islands is celebrating Black History Month through theater by hosting “Portraits of Courage,” a play that recognizes notable African Americans who are often absent from the history books.

The month’s theme at CSU Bakersfield is “The 1940’s: A Dedication to the Rise of Progress.” The campus is hosting events that pay tribute to civil rights legacies from that decade through educational enrichment, entertainment and a voter registration drive. In addition, the CSUB Walter Stiern Library is kicking off a new speaker series, "Walter Presents," with an exhibit and author visit focused on the history of civil rights in California.

CSU Northridge is “Breaking the Chains to Create Change.” Event highlights include an address by author and political commentator Anthony Asadullah Samad, as well as a memorial for Pan African Studies professor Eleazu Obinna, who passed away in December. During Obinna’s 40-year tenure at CSUN, he served in various capacities, including as chair of the personnel, curriculum and student-faculty relations committees.

Student speaking at Fresno State.Fresno State’s celebration began with speeches, song and dance at the statue of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the campus’ Peace Garden. The opening ceremony set the stage for a discussion at the Henry Madden Library, followed by a poetry jam.

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, one of the leading hip-hop intellectuals in the country, visited Sonoma State where he gave a lecture about how much financial focus is given to the prison system while the educational system is continually on the chopping block.

The celebration at Sacramento State includes book discussions by Bay Area journalist Belva Davis and 95-year-old award-winning author Eva Rutland.

At CSU Monterey Bay, the celebration of Black History Month included a multimedia jazz performance by the Ron McCurdy Quartet, and a lecture on rap, race, reality and digital music by Chuck D, one of the founders of the legendary rap group Public Enemy.