Seventh Street House celebrates Black History Month and Unsung Heroes

By Oleysa Minina

Contributing Writer

In celebration of Black History Month, the residents of the Seventh Street House for the Study of the Black Diaspora presented their annual event for Black History Alive on Feb. 19.

African Diaspora was the movement of people of Black African origin and their descendants to places throughout the world. This year’s theme, “Unsung Heroes,” celebrated relatively unfamiliar African Americans from all over the world who contributed to black history.

This event is about “educating people about the different people or groups that have contributed to black history all over the world; it is a cultural experience with an academic component,” Nakea Tyson ’11 said.

While visitors snacked on fried chicken and banana bread, the residents who transformed themselves into the “unsung heroes” gave a tour through the house.

Each floor of the house represented a different geographical sector of black history. The first floor represented the African American movement, the second symbolized Africa and the third showcased the Caribbean.

On the first floor, residents transformed themselves into members the Black Panther Party, a radical African American progressive political movement that peaked in the 1960s.

The Party jump-started the civil rights movement with their radical ideals and notions of self defense against challengers.

The second floor featured the African musician and human rights activist Fela Kuti, who preached in the 1970s that the African people should not be silenced. Other prominent activists included Makeba Singsi, a South African who brought awareness to the hardships of South Africans through music and song, and Robert Mugabe, the current president of Zimbabwe who spoke out against white-minority rule. Residents of the house dressed up as these heroes and presented their contributions to black history.

The third floor celebrated the Caribbean sector by honoring François Capois, a war hero during the Haitian revolution; Walter Rodney, whose ideals of self-emancipation defined the Guyanan political movements; and Derek Walcott, a St. Lucian poet who brought attention to the issues in Trinidad.

The presentation “focused on people and groups we don’t usually hear about in black history,” Yulissa Hidalgo ’12 said.

Grant Hoover, assistant director of residential education for diverse communities, said he “loved seeing students playing the role of a historical figure, especially figures that use their God-given talents to bring about social change.”

The University is hosting speakers, screening movies and providing other events to honor Black History Month.

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