« On This Day in CWRU History: February | Main | On This Day in CWRU History: March »

February 23, 2018

African-American History Month Spotlight: First CWRU Black History Week

In February 1969 the Afro-American Society sponsored the first Black History Week at CWRU. It was entitled, “Black Renaissance Week” and was held 2/9-2/15/1969. Students Stephane Tubbs and Mike Sutton were co-chairs who planned the activities. As reported in the Reserve Tribune, Michael Fisher was the advisor for the project and defined it as “one week of black cultural and educational programs open to anyone who’s willing to take the time and opportunity to learn.” Stephanie Tubbs said, “It’s one of the ways we plan to bring the black community and the University closer together.” Black History Week at CWRU originated as one of the demands presented to President Morse in December of 1968 by the Afro-American Society.

The week opened on Sunday afternoon, 2/9, with a showing of original African-inspired fashions designed by Black Sisters United in the Thwing ballroom. Roy Innis, national director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) spoke that night in Strosacker Auditorium.

Events from the week included:
Monday, 2/10: The Lee Park Players presented excerpts from An Evening with Norman Jorden, “exploring the black revolution and the black man in the past” in the Thwing ballroom.
Monday, 2/10: United Black Artists followed the Lee Park Players with a live jazz offering.

Tuesday, 2/11: A seminar on education was held in the Tomlinson Hall ballroom. Speakers and their topics were: Don Freeman, director of the Lee Park Settlement and a graduate of CWRU, “Educational Revolution: Theory and Practice;” Robert Hampton, assistant manager of Cedar apartments and formerly a professor at Central State University, “Education: What is it?”; and William Pickard, executive director of the Cleveland NAACP, “The Role of the Black Student.”
Tuesday, 2/11: United Black Artists presented cosmic music and black poetry. The Black Unity Trio (also known as Bismilla Hir Rahman Nir Raheem) performed the music. They also provided background music as Amjeba Nbomba read his poetry. In addition, "Eight black dramatists read poetry selections from the writings of Margaret Walker, Norman Johnson, and Charles Langford, a student at John Hay High School.”

Wednesday 2/12: a program of gospel music was presented by Marion Williams of Philadelphia in Strosacker Auditorium at 7 p.m. the audience gave her 5 standing ovations during the performance. The singer performed 3 encores and led the audience in a sing-along.

Thursday, 2/13: a poetry presentation was made by the Watts Writers Poetry Group in Hatch Auditorium at 8 p.m. The Watts Writers Workshop was founded after the Watts riots of 1965 and was on a Midwestern tour. Members included Bill Jackson, James Jackson, Sonorra McKeller, Lillian Tarry, Quincy Troupe, and tour coordinator Charles Thomas.

Friday, 2/14: a Soul Dinner was held in Leutner Commons at 5 p.m. After the dinner, Alton X (formerly known as Alton Patterson), head of Black Student Union of Central State University, spoke about the Black renaissance.

Saturday, 2/15: a seminar entitled, Economics in the Black Community, was held in Hatch Auditorium at 3 p.m. The speakers were Deane Buchanan of the Black Economic Union, Frank Anderson of the Hough Development Corporation, and Cyril Winters of the CORE Target City Cleveland project.
Saturday, 2/15: to close out the week, a concert, called the Soul Symposium, was held in Adelbert Gym. It featured the O’Jays with opening act New Directions. This was the only event of the week which had an admission charge - $2.50.

Coverage of the events appeared in the Reserve Tribune (2/7/1969, 2/11/1969, 2/14/1969, 2/18/1969, 2/21/1969) and Case Tech (2/14/1969) student newspapers.

You can read past blog entries about African-American history at Case Western Reserve University from 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2011.

Posted by hxy2 at February 23, 2018 08:30 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://blog.case.edu/archives/mt-tb.cgi/28003

Comments

Post a comment




Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)