By George Mauzy
A pair of Black History Month events on the Athens campus later this week will provide food for thought and food (and music) for the soul.
The Malcolm X Commemorative will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday in Baker University Center Theatre. And at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bob Marley Day in the Baker Center Ballroom will feature Caribbean cuisine and the music of Columbus-based reggae group Flex Crew.
Both events are free and open to the public.
Thursday's keynote speaker is Cincinnati educator Kimya Moyo, who will explain how Malcolm X's teachings on integrity, education and self-determination have influenced her life.
Moyo founded the Sankofa Education Enrichment Program in Cincinnati in 1993. The five-year program held on Saturday mornings teaches teen-agers critical-thinking skills as they pertain to African and African-American history. The school doesn't use textbooks, instead opting for practical, hands-on learning experiences.
"We try to make our curriculum as different as it can be from Monday through Friday school," Moyo said. "When I came back to Cincinnati from Chicago, I realized that students needed to learn history from an African and African-American perspective."
Moyo began her career in 1969 as a K-12 mathematics teacher and has taught in Chicago, Cincinnati and Liberia. She became an administrator in 2001, but transitioned back to the classroom in 2006, and now teaches mathematics at Woodward High School.
Interim Department of African American Studies Chair Najee Muhammad, founder and coordinator of the Malcolm X event, launched the university's annual commemorative for the slain civil rights leader in 2001. "I started it because discussing black history and black leadership without discussing Malcolm X is denying a part of American history," he said.
Meanwhile, late reggae musician Bob Marley's song "One Love" provides the theme for Friday's celebration.
"Bob Marley's music promoted peace, love and justice, and those are universal messages that people all over the world can identify with," said Assistant Director of the Multicultural Center Winsome Chunnu, who organized the event. "His music transcended racial lines and speaks to all people. This is a family event that everyone will enjoy."
In addition to the music of Flex Crew, the evening will feature an assortment of authentic Caribbean food as well as clothing and jewelry for sale. A donation will be collected for the Appalachian Peace and Justice Network, a local nonprofit organization that empowers and challenges groups and individuals to work for peace and social justice.
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