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ASU hosts Black History Month events

Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 17:02

garbo hearne

Takako Okumura, Staff Photographer

Garbo Hearne, director of the Hearne Fine Arts Gallery, presents Kevin Cole’s art gallery as part of Black History Month.

As a part of the Underground Railroad Experience, hosted by the ASU Museum, students ran from slave owners on Feb. 5 in a re-enactment of gaining their freedom.

Around 100 visitors came to the event, as history professor Cherisse Jones-Branch also spoke about the communication used with quilting in the days of slavery. She said, “Quilts have feelings just like people.”

According to Jones-Branch there is a myth that quilts were used to communicate with slaves. Certain quilt patterns were thought of as a form of guidance, and could help people choose what path to go when struggling. If a runaway slave came across a certain quilt pattern, then he may learn there is a lake ahead, or there is a bear in the woods.

 Some patterns would even grant a slave a place to stay because the owner was a safe house. If they had the right quilt hanging on their porch, then slaves would often stop by and visit them.

    Early Childhood Education major, Jamie Robinson, heard the quilt stories from her grandmother and believes it to be true. She has heard the story for years and said she loves to look at her grandma’s quilts.

    Josephine Hammersley, a history major, believes the myth too. She has heard a lot about the myth through The History Channel and through history books.

    In the museum, on the second floor, quilt pieces represent quilts used during slavery years and have facts posted on the bottom of the quilt to tell, visitors, more about what may have been their meaning.

This was the first year for the Underground Railroad, but the museum’s curator of education, Jill Kary, hopes to see more events like it in the future similar to it.

“Every year the museum does something different, but it’s always fun, and always educational,” she said. “Attending an event not only helps you gain knowledge of other cultures, but also helps you learn more about yourself.”

The eighth Annual Soul Food Dinner was also dedicated to Black History Month last Friday in the armory. The parking lot was completely full, as around 300 diverse guests attended the event. The food presented options from a traditional Sunday dinner like: catfish, rice, corn, chicken, baked beans, green beans, cornbread, potato salad and several others.

While the event was focused on food, it also included an educational aspect. It began with a welcome from Jajuan Johnson, Strong Turner Alumni Chapter (STAC) president, and chancellor Tim Hudson, chancellor. After the welcome, the United Voices singing group performed “The Black National Anthem.”

The featured speaker, Emma Agnew of the North Jonesboro Neighborhood Initiative spoke about the importance of the Black History Month.

“I’m so happy that our country has programs dedicated to all group diversities, because we didn’t always have them,” Agnew said.

Meelvis Torres, graduate assistant of the Multicultural Center said she thought the dinner went smoothly.

“The Soul Food Dinner was a complete success with not only the great numbers of people showing up, but how the event went overall,” she said. “People gain knowledge, experience, and entertainment by participating and going to the events on campus.”  
The jazzy Allan Harris Band will be performing Friday, in the Fowler Center. T. J. Holmes, host of BET’s “Don’t Sleep,” will be speaking to students about his freedom and equality on Monday.

    On Feb. 21, the Black History Month Game Show will be in the Student Union for students at 5 p.m. followed by the Black Affair Gala on Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. Ending the historical month, the night of Feb. 26 will host a Gospel Explosion at 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall. A full listing of all Black History Month events is available in the Multicultural Center in the Student Union.


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