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ISSUE 119 VOL 11 PUBLISHED 2/24/2006

Organizers, speakers seek to educate on black history

By Tim Rehborg
Contributing Writer

Friday, February 24, 2006

February is Black History Month, a time of both recognition and promotion of African-Americans in history. The study of black history is one of the most controversial subjects in teaching curriculums throughout the United States.

Different groups at St. Olaf are hosting events to celebrate and educate the St. Olaf community about the roles of African-Americans throughout history.

Campus groups Cultural Union for Black Expression (CUBE), Karibu, and Muslim Student Association (MSA) have been working together with Diversity Celebrations Committee (DCC) to organize campus-wide events, speakers and discussions about the role of African-Americans in history.

However, extremely low attendance at many events has leaders wondering whether St. Olaf students are actually interested in expanding their knowledge of diversity and racial equality.

"People in this school are in their little bubble and do not want to get out of the bubble," said Mustafa Dualeh '06, president of the MSA, in reaction to low attendance at many campus diversity events.

Indeed, discussions and lectures related to diversity repeatedly receive low attendance, outside of the students Dualeh calls the "MACO [Multicultural Affairs and Community Outreach] kids."

So far this month, many different opportunities for learning about black history have taken place. Obiora Anekw, an instructor in educational leadership at Tuskegee University, lectured on arts and politics in Africa, and an African American scholar spoke on Islam and the American experience.

Associate Professor of English Joseph Mbele and Assistant Dean for Community Life and Director of MACO Bill Green led a discussion on African and African American issues, and students spoke in chapel about being black Christians.

On Thursday, the Diversity Awareness house sponsored a showing of the Dave Chappelle show, followed by a discussion of the show and reactions to African American issues in the history being created today.

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