College runs activities for Black History Month

Chance Iheoma, Photography Editor

AACC celebrated Black History Month in February with a number of events focusing on race relations, skin color and black art.

The month-long events kicked off on Feb. 1 on the Arnold campus with a visit by black guest artist Coleman Audwin Porter, who showed and discussed his paintings with students and community members in the Pascal Center for the Performing Arts.

To follow this, Professor Nicole Williams, chair of AACC’s Human Services Department, on Feb. 6 ran a discussion with students on “colorism,” which describes increased discrimination toward minorities with darker skin tones.

Remote campuses didn’t miss out on the affairs. On Feb. 6, students gathered for a screening of the documentary “Business in the Black” at AACC’s Arundel Mills campus. The film showcased the impact of education on slaves and black business districts throughout history.

The Arnold campus showed the same film in CALT on Feb. 7.

Also on Feb. 7, the Hawk’s Nest hosted a performance by the KanKouran West African Dance Company, which performed a series of drumming routines for and with students as they ate lunch.

This wasn’t the only event that included student participation.

Sociology professor Gina Finelli set up the “Race Card Walls” on Feb. 11 in the Careers Center, Humanities Building and CALT.

Students, staff and faculty used this wall to post notecards that expressed their feelings about race in six words.

But students learned how to express their feelings about race in unwritten ways as well.

On Feb. 13, A “Psychohairapy” lecture by clinical psychologist Dr. Afiya Mbilishaka drew connections between styling black hair and the psychology of black women. She taught students and community members how to be empowered by their race through hair styling techniques.

Also on Feb. 13, students watched the film “Loving,” which tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a couple whom Virginia police arrested in 1960 for interracial marriage.

Another film that highlighted racism, “Dancing Through the Flames,” shares the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and showcases D.C.-area teenagers who danced on WOOK’s Teenarama Dance Party in 1968. The film showed in the theater in the Humanities Building.

Students also got involved through literature during a reading of Adrian Matejka’s “The Big Smoke,” a poetry book written from the perspective of Jack Johnson, the first black world heavyweight boxing champion.

As the month came to an end, the Black Male Initiative Summit met for the ninth year in a row. Students discussed the best ways to find success at AACC as minorities.

To wind up the month’s activities, the Legal Studies Institute invited students to the Cade Building to discuss the gender gap and celebrate the first black female judges in Maryland.

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