University News

AAS Week November 2-6

October 30, 2009

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MACOMB, IL - - Western Illinois University's African American Studies Department Club (AASDC) will present a week of scholarly and cultural activities Monday-Friday, Nov. 2-6.

The aim is to engage the campus community on African American history and culture, while educating others about the African American experience in the United States, according to AASCD President Antwan Taylor (Markham, IL), a senior broadcasting-news/performance major.

A bake sale will be held in Morgan Hall throughout the week, with proceeds supporting ongoing AASDC activities. Club members will participate in a poster social and will decorate a GoWest bus to honor Rosa Parks, who, in 1955, refused to give up her bus seat for a white woman. The U.S. Congress has called Parks the "Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement."

The movie "Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North," which chronicles a northern family's slave trading, will be shown at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3 in Morgan Hall 109. Darwin Fishman, African American studies assistant professor and AASDC adviser, will lead a discussion after the showing.

The documentary by Katrina Browne, which won a Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film and Digital Media, has received a large amount of news coverage. Frazier Moore of the Associated Press wrote: "What if you found out that your Rhode Island ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history? Spurred by this troubling discovery, Katrina Browne set off on an odyssey to make sense of this outrage and, maybe, to make some small amends."

A student panel discussion and a debate are scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 4 in the University Union Lamoine Room. The 4:30 p.m. panel is, "When I Think of Marching, I Think of…," which will be led by AASDC past president Jeffrey Arnold. Panelists will discuss the contributions of Rosa Parks to the Civil Rights Movement and explain the purpose of Thursday's (Nov. 5) march. Scheduled for 7 p.m. is "The Great Debate: Obama One Year Later," with Macherie Placide, political science assistant professor, serving as debate judge.

AAS Week culminates on Thursday, Nov. 5 with the annual Rosa Parks March, celebrating her role in the Civil Rights Movement. The march will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the North Quad and proceed on the streets near the center of campus. Speakers will include Taylor; Romesa Mickens, Black Student Association president; Darren Heard, Student Government Association president; and Audrey Watkins, associate professor of African American Studies. A social and skating party will be held from 9-11 p.m. ($5 to skate) at Skateland. A bus will be provided to and from Skateland, leaving from the North Quad.

AASDC members are also encouraged to showcase their artistic talents at the 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6 Cultural Expressions in the University Union Murray Street Cafe. The event is sponsored by the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center.

The purpose of the AASDC is to promote Africa American studies as a major at Western Illinois University. The academic departmental club, open to all interested students, meets every Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in the University Union Sandburg Lounge.

Sponsors for AAS Week include the Department of African American Studies, GoWest Transit, Omega Psi Phi fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega fraternity, Beta Phi Pi fraternity and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

Questions, or requests for accommodation to fully participate in any of the events, may be directed to Taylor at, or to Fishman at, or (309) 298-1289.

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