Celebration of Balck Heritage-koe -jcr -dlh

JingLin Huang

On the evening of Saturday, Feb. 6, the Black Organization of Students presented Celebration of Black Heritage: A Cultural Fusion. This year’s celebration focused on the fusion of three major areas of black heritage: the Caribbean, Africa, and the Americas.
The evening’s program began with a buffet-style dinner comprised of various dishes from the three regions. The menu, which was conceived by BOS and then prepared by chefs Bob Wall and Julia Sati, included certain all-American dishes such as ranch chicken, caramel apple pie, and also dishes from the South, like candied yams, and collard greens. There were also dishes from New Orleans and the Caribbean, including red beans and rice, delta dogs, and fried plantains. Most fascinating were the dishes from Africa, such as Jollof rice, which is not usually seen on campus. Said Lynn Hagee, director of food services, “The students and board [of BOS] came up with the names of the dishes they wanted, and Chef Bob and I found recipes and discussed how we would adapt them to suit the occasion.”
After dinner, the members of BOS presented a play entitled “A Cultural Fusion.” This play showcased influential historical figures from the three major centers of black heritage. “We did not want it to have the same familiar figures every year, so we chose to represent these other important people from different parts of the globe as well,” said Rod Bradley, dean of multicultural affairs, who wrote the main outline of the script. Several of the historical figures mentioned in the play included Nanny of the Maroons from Jamaica, W.E.B. Dubois from the United States and Nelson Mandela from South Africa. It was inspired by another play, “We hold these truths…” written by Sheldon Hampton, a teacher at a local private school.
The audience loved the play, an eye-opening experience for some. According to Julian Hector, a freshman from Jamaica, “I actually didn’t know about the story of Nanny until I saw the play today.” Nanny was one of the few prominent female political leaders of the eighteenth century. She led and inspired her people, the Maroons, in their struggle for freedom. Komeh Maligi, president of BOS, said, “We actually started working on the play since Christmas break, and we met every week, even twice a week, as the day of the performance approached.”
A total of 260 people attended this event. There were Lawrence students and various members of the larger community, including high school students from A Better Chance, a program that helps youths from the inner cities all. Said Robert Patla, community relations officer of BOS, “This is definitely a great way for members of the Lawrence community and the larger Appleton community to meet and interact.”
This event is timely because February has always been designated as Black History Month. Other events coming up this month include a Black Writers Tour on Feb. 21, which will feature various young contemporary fiction and non-fiction authors.