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Jan. 26, 2007

Black History Month: Celebrate, reflect

by Samantha Beres

February is Black History month in the United States. Around campus, there will be lectures, movies, food and other events to celebrate. But it's not just about the events.

"Black History Month is a time for reflection," said Melanie Smith, who works with diversity initiatives out of the provost's office. "We really need some time set aside to focus on the black people who have helped to shape this country. Otherwise, those contributions are likely to be overlooked."

It's also a time, Smith said, to focus on the culture of African-Americans, and this is what many events on campus aim to do. There is a gospel choir extravaganza and a soul food dinner which, Smith said, are opportunities to both share in the culture and bring people in the Iowa State community together socially.

Aside from the history and the culture, Smith pointed to an event that targets a disease that has greatly affected the black community on a national and global level. A silent auction, held by the Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA) Living with HIV Program, will raise money to assist people living in Story County affected by the disease. Her sorority, the Ames Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, has helped to put on this event for the last four years. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is the largest primarily black women's organization in the United States.

Following is a listing of Black History Month events:

Thursday, February 1

  • 8 p.m., Lecture, "Forty Years in the Wilderness: Martin Luther King and the Misdirection of the Negro," Jonathan Farley, University of the West Indies, Jamaica, Sun Room, MU, 4-9934.

Friday, February 2

  • 6 p.m., Banquet, NAACP Freedom Fund, Scheman Building, 4-5003.

Thursday, February 8

  • 7 p.m., Silent Auction for HIV, supports Story County residents, $10 includes dinner, entertainment and entrance to the auction, Comfort Suites, 2609 Elwood Dr., 4-6519.

Friday, February 9

  • 6-9 p.m., Multicultural Leadership Summit (continues Feb. 10 9 a.m.-5 p.m.), to increase ISU student awareness of issues of inclusion and help them become agents of change on campus, free, MU, 4-6519.
  • 7 p.m., Concert, Black History Month Gospel Choir Extravaganza, will feature the Restoration & Prayze Gospel Choir and the New Birth Baptist Church Children's Choir, Great Hall, MU, 4-9934.

Wednesday, February 14

  • 3:30 p.m., Rededication, Black Cultural Center, Knapp-Storms dining complex, shuttle buses will take groups to see the newly reopened house at 517 Welch Ave., 4-6338.

Thursday and Friday, February 15-16

  • 8 p.m., Film, Malcolm X, directed by Spike Lee, stars Denzel Washington, free admission and popcorn, Pioneer Room, MU, 4-8081.

Tuesday, February 20

  • 8 p.m., Lecture, "Looking for A Few Good Men," Leonard Pitts Jr., syndicated columnist, Miami Herald, and 2004 Pulitzer Prize winner for commentary, free, Sun Room, MU, 4-9934.

Thursday, February 22

  • 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Soul Food Taste, free, door prizes, LeBaron lounge, 4-0532.
  • Noon, "Botany Lunch" and educational program, three-course meal, menu honors George Washington Carver, $20.95, Reiman Gardens, 4-2710.


Lectures, films, "soul food," music and a silent auction to benefit Story County residents affected by HIV are part of Iowa State's observance of Black History Month in February.