By Megan Greve
The Ohio University Department of African American Studies will host "Looking Back, Moving Forward," on Wednesday, April 29, in Baker University Center 240 and 242.
The symposium, one of several events that are part of the Department of African American Studies 40th anniversary celebration, will review the history of Ohio University's African American Studies department, discuss the many benefits of obtaining an African American Studies degree and explore the future direction of African American Studies departments around the nation.
During the morning session, "Voices from Former Chairs: Reflections on the History of African American Studies at OU," former chairs Vibert Cambridge, Francine Childs, Najeé Muhammad, Robert Rhodes and Vattel Rose will reflect on the 40-year history of the department. It will take place from 10:10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
In the early afternoon session, "One Step Closer," current African American Studies students will share the reasons why they chose that discipline and how it has prepared them for life after college. The discussion runs 2:10 p.m. to 3:10 p.m.
"Students are aware of how their major will apply in the real world," said Robin Dearmon Muhammad, chair of the 40th Anniversary Committee for the Department of African American Studies. "This discussion gives them the opportunity to talk and gives other students the chance to ask questions."
The final session of the day, "Service with Distinction: Community Outreach, Activism and the Uses of Technology in African American Studies," takes place from 3:15 p.m. to 5:10 p.m. Guest speakers include: Ashara Ekundayo, founder and chief executive of the Pan African Arts Society; Judson Jeffries, professor of African American and African Studies at The Ohio State University; Terry Kershaw, chair of the Department of African American Studies at the University of Cincinnati; and James Stewart, professor of labor studies and employment relations at Penn State University.
"We (African American Studies educators) want to discuss our research and the community outreach and activism the (African American Studies) discipline has always supported," Dearmon Muhammad said.
The symposium, which is free and open to the public, will conclude with hors d'oeuvres served from 5:10 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The department's 40th anniversary celebration began in fall quarter 2008 and concludes during fall quarter 2009.