"Black History Every day" Presented By The Black Heritage Committee
The Black Heritage Committee discussed the lack of awareness of Black History with students at Northeastern Illinois University in a panel entitled "Black History Everyday" on Nov. 8, 2011. The panelists were Dr. Conrad W. Worrill, Director of NEIU's satellite campus Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies (CCICS), and Professor Ben Levi of CCICS.
They began by talking about February as the official month for the celebration of Black history and heritage. Black history month is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the many great contributions of Africans throughout history and their influence in our society. During this month schools and communities typically try to raise awareness about the accomplishments of strong Black leaders and the rich history surrounding the African-American community.
However, the panel disagreed with the limited annual recognition and thought that Black history and its leaders should be common knowledge, moved up from virtual anonymity 11 months of the year to become household names. Throughout American history, African Americans have excelled in this country despite of their disadvantages and second-class citizenship. Professor Ben Levi gave an introduction on why it was so important for everyone to know Black History as it relates to this country and the world. Levi spoke briefly on Kemet, an ancient Egyptian civilization built and ruled by Black Africans, and about the CCICS campus focal point relating to African Studies. He gave examples from his own experiences as to what can and must be done to educate the masses on African and African American history, regardless of ethnic background.
Next on the panel to speak was Dr. Worrill, whose intellectual commentary was humorous and informative. Dr Worrill gave the audience a short Black History quiz and unfortunately few in the audience were able to answer the questions. Dr. Worrill touched on events such as the Civil Rights Movement, the murder of Emmett Till, the boycott of Alabama buses by Rosa Parks, the Jim Crow laws, and the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court ruling being vital points for people to know about and remember, lest history repeat itself.
At the end of the discussion the following question was posed - "What would be the best
approach in developing paradigm for a Black History curriculum that could possibly dissolve the Western Civilization's mis-education of African American history in the new millennium?" Dr. Worrill replied "If you want to make changes in the world, then you have to change it."
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