Tag: Black History Month

Black Excellence Ball, Cultural Expressions add to February celebrations, discussions

Singing, dancing, and much more will again be part of the annual Cultural Expressions celebration, set for Feb. 29 in Warch Campus Center.

Story by Awa Badiane ’21

Lawrence University’s Black Student Union (BSU) will host events each of the next two weekends that honor Black History Month and celebrate people of color on campus and beyond.

The second annual Black Excellence Ball will be held Saturday, Feb. 22. It is a formal dance used as a way to showcase the beauty and elegance that is racially diverse people. It is open to all racially diverse people and allies.

This year’s Excellence Ball is themed All That Jazz and will be held from 8 to 11 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center.

The following weekend, Cultural Expressions, an annual talent showcase, will be held Feb. 29, beginning at 7 p.m., also in Warch. It’ll be preceded by a dinner in the Diversity and Intercultural Center in Memorial Hall at 6 p.m. and an art gallery display in Warch at 6 p.m.

Cultural Expressions has become a February tradition at Lawrence, one of the highlights of winter term.

More: Prom Night in Mississippi to get screening, discussion in Warch Cinema

The Excellence Ball was added last year, joining with Cultural Expressions to provide bookends to a People of Color Empowerment Week on campus. Empowerment Week is organized by AIO in collaboration with Alianza, Beta Psi Nu, BSU, Diversity and Intercultural Center, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and SOUP.

Among the events happening during Empowerment Week: Kickoff dinner at 6 p.m. Feb. 23 in the Diversity and Intercultural Center; Mariposas Del Alma, a Los Angeles-based band representing the Latinx communities, performing at 8 p.m. Feb. 24 in Warch; a screening (and discussion) of the 2008 documentary, Prom Night in Mississippi, at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 in Warch Cinema; a Brown Girl Recovery Workshop at 7 p.m. Feb. 26 in the Diversity and Intercultural Center; Cooking for COTS from 4 to 8 p.m. Feb. 27 in Sabin House; and comedian Jasmine Ellis performing at 8 p.m. Feb. 28 in Warch. Also, the Cultural Expressions Art Gallery will be on display from noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 28 in Warch.

Cultural Expressions will serve as the finale for the big week. It annually features a bevy of Lawrence students performing everything from music and dance to spoken word and comedy. 

Admission for all of the student-organized events is free.

Awa Badiane is a student writer in the Communications office.

Life, Legacy of Lynching Survivor Focus of Lawrence University Black History Presentation

APPLETON, WIS. — James Cameron, the sole survivor of a 1930 lynching and the founder of the Black Holocaust Museum, will be the subject of a Black History Month presentation at Lawrence University.

Sandra Adell, professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, presents “The Life and Legacy of Dr. James Cameron,” Monday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. in Lawrence’s Science Hall 102.

As a 16 year old, Cameron narrowly escaped one of the most infamous lynchings in the nation’s history after he and two acquaintances were arrested, accused of robbing and killing a white man and raping his girl friend in Marion, Ind. Shortly after their arrest, the three men were dragged from jail by a lynch mob. While the other two young men were hanged from a tree in front of the courthouse, Cameron, with noose around his neck, was spared when a voice in the crowd cried out he had nothing to do with killing or raping anyone.

Cameron, who kept a piece of the rope that had scarred his neck, was later sentenced to five years in prison for robbery. In 1993, Marion city officials pardoned Cameron, issued a formal apology and presented him a key to the city.

His near-death experience and a trip to Israel’s Jewish Holocaust Museum inspired Cameron to create the Black Holocaust Museum, which chronicles the history of lynchings in America. After nine years of work and $5,000 of his own money, Cameron opened the museum on June 19, 1988 in Milwaukee.

Cameron recounted the events of his hallowing experience in his 1982 memoir “A Time of Terror: A Survivor’s Story.” The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee recognized Cameron with an honorary degree in 1999. He passed away at the age of 92 in 2006.

Adell, a scholar of black literature, has taught in the UW Afro-American Studies department since 1989. She recently edited a revised edition of “A Time of Terror” that is under review at the University of Wisconsin Press and was the volume editor of the “Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Culture: African American Culture.” She also is the author of the 2002 book “Literary Masters: Toni Morrision.”

Lawrence University Hosts Town Hall Forum with Four Black Authors

Four distinguished writers will participate in a town hall style forum at Lawrence University Monday, Feb. 21 as part of the 2005 Black Author’s College Tour. The forum, focusing on issues that shape and impact the African-American community, will be held at 7 p.m. in Science Hall, Room 102 on the Lawrence campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Participating in the forum will be authors Brandon Massey, Jamise Dames, Lois Benjamin and Yasmin Shiraz. Each will give a brief talk addressing a specific issue related to the African-American community and then take part in an open discussion with audience members.

A resident of Atlanta, Ga., Massey will address issues of the black man’s challenge in America. He self-published his first novel, “Thunderland,” in 1999 and a revised edition was republished in 2002 by Kensington Publishing. His second book, “Dark Corner,” a vampire novel set in rural Mississippi, was released in January, 2004, while “Dark Dreams: A Collection of Horror and Suspense by Black Writers,” was published last August. His latest work, the supernatural thriller “Within the Shadows,” is scheduled for release in June.

Dames, a published songwriter and former recording artist, will share her insights on the importance of sustaining self esteem in the black community. She is the author of the national best-seller “Momma’s Baby Daddy’s Maybe” (2003) and “Pushing Up Daisies” (2004). A graduate of the University of Connecticut with a degree in English and an emphasis in creative writing, Dames is currently pursuing graduate studies.

Benjamin, a professor of sociology at Virginia’s Hampton University, will speak on the secrets of the black elite. She is the author of “The Black Elite: Facing the Color Line in the Twilight of the Twentieth Century,” for which she interviewed 100 prominent African-Americans. She also served as editor of the 1997 book “Black Women in the Academy,” a collection of essays written by 33 black female academics and administrators from around the country who discuss their experiences of working in higher education in America. Benjamin earned a Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley.

Shiraz, a journalist and empowerment speaker, will examine the impact of hip-hop culture on the African-American community. She is the author of the 2004 book “The Blueprint for My Girls” and is working on a sequel, “The Blueprint For My Girls In Love.”

As an entertainment reporter, Shiraz has written for a variety of publications, including Black Enterprise, Upscale, Impact and the Electronic Urban Report and has interviewed numerous celebrities, including Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, singers Jay-Z, Queen Latifah and Brandy, actors Jada Pinkett-Smith and Martin Lawrence and attorney Johnnie Cochran, among others.

The Black Authors Tour program is sponsored by Lawrence’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and is part of the college’s celebration of Black History Month.