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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University February 4, 2008 | Vol. 37 No. 20
Black History Month Events Reflect Many Aspects of Black Culture

By Robert White

Every year at Johns Hopkins, the month of February is packed with performances, speakers and parties celebrating black history, thanks to the Black Student Union and the university's Office of Multicultural Affairs, which sponsor the events.

The theme for Black History Month 2008, whose opening ceremony was held on Friday, is VISAGE: Visualizing Independence While Studying African Greatness Everywhere. Sophomore Rasheedat Yussuf, who co-chairs the event with sophomore Justin Jones, explains the acronym: "The theme was specifically chosen because we are trying to diversify Black History Month," Yussuf said. "Each event we chose reflects a different aspect of the black culture. We hope that people understand that black people are a diverse race, as diverse as any other race."

The schedule is likewise diverse. For the arts aficionado there will be a step show, choir concert, talent show and a poetry slam. For the lecture lover there will be discussions on black identity, presentations on homophobia in hip-hop and a speech by Baltimore City State's Attorney Patricia Jessamy. There also will be film viewings and seminars.

All events are free and on the Homewood campus unless otherwise noted. For more information, go to


Black History Month Events

Mon., Feb. 4, 4 to 6 p.m., Charles Commons Multipurpose Room. National Great Blacks in Wax Museum presentation by museum co-founder Joanne Martin, who will discuss slave trade and its impact on different countries.

Tues., Feb. 5, 6 to 8 p.m., Charles Commons Multipurpose Room. Viewing of the first of four parts of When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, Spike Lee's documentary on Katrina and the government's response to the disaster.

Wed., Feb. 6, noon to 1 p.m., Shriver Hall Auditorium. The Baltimore City College Choir performs.

Wed., Feb. 6, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., Sherwood Room, Levering. Black Professional Day event involves a discussion on what it means to be an African-American in the business world.

Fri., Feb. 8, 8 to 10 p.m., Glass Pavilion, Levering. "Block Party: Stepping Showcase" involves rhythm dance performances by teams from 11 Greek organizations.

Sat., Feb. 9, 6 to 9 p.m., Interfaith Center (tentative location). The JHU Gospel Choir presents "Gospel Jubilee," a concert in which eight other choirs from the region participate.

Tues., Feb. 12, 6 to 8 p.m., Charles Commons Multipurpose Room. Viewing of the second part of When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (see Feb. 5).

Thurs. and Fri., Feb. 14 to 15, all day. Glass Pavilion, Levering. A Red Cross blood drive for those wishing to donate blood and register to be bone marrow donors.

Fri., Feb. 15, 4 to 6 p.m., Room 302, Charles Commons. "Faith in the Black Community," a panel discussion.

Sat., Feb. 16, 6 to 8 p.m., Glass Pavilion, Levering. "The Afro-Aesthetic Talent Showcase," a competition with cash prizes.

Mon., Feb. 18, 4:30 p.m., 110 Hodson Hall. "Black Identity," an exploration of black cultural identity by William E. Cross Jr. of CUNY, author of Shades of Black: Diversity in African-American Identity and one of America's leading theorists and researchers on black identity development.

Tues., Feb. 19, 6 to 8 p.m., Charles Commons Multipurpose Room. Viewing of the third part of When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (see Feb. 5).

Thurs., Feb. 21, 4 p.m., Shriver Hall Auditorium. MLK Jr. Convocation with keynote speaker Patricia Jessamy, Baltimore City state's attorney.

Fri., Feb. 22, 6 to 8 p.m., the Den, 3327 St. Paul St. Poetry slam featuring aspiring poets. Sun., Feb. 24, 10 a.m., Mount Zion Hill Baptist Church, 4800 Harford Rd. Special church service.

Mon., Feb. 25, 7 to 9 p.m., Great Hall, Levering. "Homophobia in Hip-Hop," a multimedia presentation by Tomas Bell exploring the images, lyrics and culture of hip-hop.

Tues., Feb. 26, 6 to 8 p.m., Charles Commons Multipurpose Room. Viewing of the fourth and final part of When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (see Feb. 5).

Thurs., Feb. 28, 4 p.m. 110 Hodson Hall. "White Identity," an exploration of white cultural identity by Rita Hardiman, whose dissertation on the topic was the earliest model to examine how racism affects the psychological development of white people in the United States.

Fri., Feb. 29, noon, Glass Pavilion, Levering. Closing ceremony. Attendees are invited to bring lunch; dessert will be provided.

Fri., Feb. 29, 7 p.m., 110 Hodson Hall. Ben Carson, director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, gives the keynote address at the 10th annual Minority Pre-Health Conference, titled Empowering Change: The Challenges of Urban Health.

Fri., Feb. 29, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., Glass Pavilion, Levering. Black Student Union winter formal, open to all. Tickets (price TBD) will be sold at the door, and a strict dress code will be enforced.


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