The Pan-African Expo titled “Turning the Pages: History of Black Identity” was held at 6 p.m. in Strong Auditorium on Feb. 28.
The Expo, a celebration of black culture and history, was co-sponsored by the Black Students’ Union and Students for Social Justice and included dance performances by the Spanish and Latino Students’ Association.
According to junior and BSU President Lashara Evans, the event was a success. “I think the event was very successful,” she said. The show went a lot better than expected.”
However, Evans hoped to have drawn in a more diverse crowd. “I just wish more people not just from the [black] community but as well as the UR [community] could have attended,” Evans said.
The show commenced when a black girl, Nia, asked God why she was born a black if they were so hated. Upon hearing this, her shocked grandmother narrated the history of the black race. SALSA members performed a vibrant dance showcasing the beauty of African culture that was not always appreicated throughout history.
An emotional song on the horrors of slavery, accompanied by shadow imagery and slideshow, followed. Just before the intermission, exciting jazz dance performances that brought back the best of the jazz era were cheered on by the crowd.
Individual skits were performed during the second half of the program about how “Brown Bomber” Joe Louis knocked out Primo Carnera in the sixth round of their match, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in the bus and re-enacting the civil rights movement led by Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.
As a closure to the event to show the present situation of blacks and how they have progressed over the years, the last skit included different parts of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘dream.’
These included a black doctor attending
See EXPO, Page 4
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to a white patient, a black engineer working with a white engineer, and white, black and even Hispanic children in a classroom.
The event was meant to not only entertain but also educate. “The main strengths were that the show was not only entertaining but very educational. That was our goal to talk about aspects of black history that many people including some blacks are not aware of,” Evans said.
Students who attended the show agreed. “I thought the event was very insightful. I learnt a lot of things that helped me understand my own culture better,” junior Sylvester Fejokwu. Meanwhile, freshman Jennifer Hong said, “The event had a lot of diversity. I liked the different kinds of performances that reinforced the African-American culture.”
This highlight of Black History Month also emphasized the cooperation between distinct cultures. As Evans explained, “Many people do not realize that black history is not only black peoples’ history, it is everybody’s history. Just like we adopt American history as our own it is important to incorporate black history.
Evans added, “By the show going through the different stages of black identity…Africans, slaves, niggers, negroes, colored, black and African Americans we were able to show not only the pain and agony of blacks through history but also our hard work and accomplishments.”
The show ended with God appearing in Nia’s dreams answering her previous question by informing her that He made her with His own image in mind.