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News & Stories: 2008-09

Celebrating Black History Month February 2, 2009

In celebration of Black History Month, the Calvin office for multicultural affairs and the program for African and African diaspora studies are collaborating to host four events. All events will take place from 3:30 through 5 p.m. in the Commons Lecture Hall.

First on the event roster is a February 4 screening of the documentary Meeting David Wilson. The film follows African-American journalist David Wilson who, while researching his genealogy, meets another David Wilson—the descendant of his forbearers’ slave master.

Shared name and legacy

Photo of Michelle Loyd-Paige"It’s showing the legacy of the United States’s racial past in regard to slavery,” said Michelle Loyd-Paige, the Calvin dean of multicultural affairs. "It affects people in so many different ways.”

Another documentary on the schedule of events tells the history of the African-American resort community in Michigan once known as “Black Eden.” Whatever Happened to Idlewild? will bepresented from 3:30 through 5 p.m., February 11, in the Commons Lecture Hall by its creator, local filmmaker Coy Davis.

Celebrated resort

"I liked the documentary because it reveals that there is a middle class and has been an upper class of blacks,” said Loyd-Paige. “In the middle of segregation, there was a place that celebrated black arts and black life,” she said of the Idlewild, which, from the early 1900s through the 1960s hosted many of jazz and soul music’s premier entertainers.

The celebration will continue with a black alumni panel discussion, held from 3:30 through 5 p.m. February 18 in the Commons Lecture Hall. “The focus of the panel is talking about life at Calvin and beyond—the experiences ... and the challenges they’ve seen,” Loyd-Paige said.

The month’s events will conclude February 25 with an African-American cultural celebration, held from 3:30 through 5 p.m. in the Commons Lecture Hall. The event will  include a sampling of soul food, a slide show of African-American art, music, a poetry reading and more.

The celebration of Black History Month is not a segregated thing, Loyd-Paige emphasized: “What has happened to African Americans has affected all of our lives,” she said. “Black History Month is not just about celebrating the achievements of blacks. It’s about showing how the history of blacks is interwoven with all of our history. This country would be a very, very different place if it weren’t for black history.”

~by Myrna Anderson, communication and marketing.

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