CSU Black Studies department offers virtual programming
By: Trinity Stevens
In a normal year, the Cleveland State University student center atrium would be filled with a diverse student body. Where each February the Carter G. Woodson & Madam C. J. Walker Extravaganza would take place. Considering the continuing COVID-19 pandemic this was not to be the case this year. However, the Cleveland State University Black Studies Program has not let that stop them from delivering informative and inspirational programming to the community.
Their virtual adaptation of the Carter G. Woodson & Madam C. J. Walker Extravaganza, held on Feb. 1 via Zoom, proved a successful start to Black History Month. Hosted by Prester Pickett- Coordinator of the Howard A. Mims African American Cultural Center- the event highlighted important black figures and their work throughout history.
Black studies majors and minors, and students from other backgrounds, took turns speaking about their chosen historical figure. Students had selected who they were going to speak about and conducted research ahead of time. Some of these presentations even included reading works of poetry, such as that of Langston Hughes and Nikki Giavanni. CSU Black studies faculty and staff also introduced themselves and shared some of their insight.
The best part of the event was getting to hear why each student had spoken about that person. It was inspirational to hear why that student looked up to that person or why they felt they could connect with them. For example, CSU student Celena Higginbottom spoke about James Vanderzee, who was a photographer during the time of the Harlem Renaissance.
Celena felt she could connect with this because she is also a working photographer in the Cleveland area. Camilya Williams spoke about Nikki Giavanni. With a love of poetry, Giavanni was someone Williams had long admired. Each of the presentations was well prepared, and it was a fun and educational experience for all of those in attendance.
The Black Studies department will continue to offer Zoom events throughout the semester. With their next event, “Edutainment”, being held Feb. 25. This presentation will discuss using theatre as a role in social change. For more information about the CSU Black Studies Program and to keep up with upcoming events, please visit their website.