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Organizations set for Black History Month

February 6, 2014

 

WHALEY

WHALEY

Paul Harris
Staff Reporter

 

The Tech history department and Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society have teamed up to sponsor two talks by Deborah Whaley, an associate professor of American and African American studies at the University of Iowa.

 

Both talks are Thursday. The first is at noon in University Hall Room 111 and the second one is at the Lincoln Parish Library at 6 p.m.

 

Whaley will explore the way African Americans have been portrayed in television, comic books, graphic novels and anime, said David Anderson, an associate professor of history who organized the talks.

 

“She’s showing that we can look at popular culture and be able to analyze change in attitudes toward race, and toward gender in the United States,” Anderson said. “The same history of comic books, graphic novels and animation parallels to the real world history that African Americans endured.”

 

Anderson said Whaley talks will center around the 1970s and 1980s African American women in comics and graphic novels, particularly Storm from the “X-Men.”

 

For the noon event, Anderson suggested that those attending come early because only 70 seats are available. Call 318.257.2872 or email history@latech.edu for additional information.

 

The Black Student Union also hosted three black history events this week, president Ryan Willis said.

 

On Monday evening, BSU conducted the “Professional Wear Forum” at Davidson Hall. This workshop informed students on the do’s and don’t’s of dress working for a Fortune 500 company.

 

The group also held a “Meet and Greet” in the Student Center to give students an opportunity to interact with the organization and eat traditional African American dishes.

 

Tonight at 7 p.m. in the Tonk, BSU will host a “Know Your History” event where members of black campus groups will give the history of their organization.

 

Black History Month got its start in 1926 when historian Carter G. Woodson organized what was then Black History Week. Woodson, known as the “Father of Black History,” argued that American History was incomplete, citing the scarcity of information on the accomplishments of blacks. As a result, in 1915, he founded the Association for the Negro Life and History, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).

 

According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s website, ASALH created research and publication outlets for black scholars with the establishment of the Journal of Negro History (1916) and the Negro History Bulletin (1937). In 1926, Woodson initiated the celebration of Negro History Week, which corresponds with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

 

“Those two men in particular are arguably the two most influential men in terms of creating freedom for African Americans,” said Elaine Thompson, an assistant professor of history said. “Those two men set in motion freedom for 4 million slaves so it’s an appropriate time to commemorate African American history.”

The week became Black History Month in 1976, Anderson said.

 

“Nowadays black history is a flourishing field of American history,” Anderson said. “Black History Month has played a large part in promoting all facets of African American history, the month now serves as a potent reminder as to what we have gained and what we would have lost if we wouldn’t have opened up this field of study.”

 

Email comments to phh007@latech.edu.

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