Mount Union College Celebrates Black History Month with Various Events

April 15, 2010

 Mount Union College and the Black Student Union will celebrate Black History Month with a series of events during February.

From left to right:  Jane Feldman and Shannon Lanier

On Thursday, February 13, Shannon Lanier and Jane Feldman, co-authors of the book, "Jefferson's Children: The Story Of One American Family," will present a convocation at 10:30 a.m. in Presser Recital Hall, located in Cope Music Hall.

When Shannon Lanier was in first grade he announced to his class that Thomas Jefferson was his ancestor. No one believed him, because Lanier is African-American, but the story of his family -- that they were descendents of children of Thomas Jefferson and his African-American slave, Sally Hemings -- had been passed down for generations. In 1998, news broke that there was a DNA link between Jefferson and Hemings' youngest son. Shortly thereafter, descendents of Jefferson and Hemings met at Monticello. Lanier attended the reunion, where he met photographer Jane Feldman. They decided to travel the country, interviewing and photographing family members, and this became the basis for their book, "Jefferson's Children: The Story of One American Family." The event is free and open to the public.

Tickets are on sale now for the annual Black Student Union Soul Food Dinner and Fashion Show, which will be held on February 13 at 7 p.m., in the solarium of Kresge Dining Commons in the Hoover-Price Campus Center. The fashion show will present clothing from local vendors Fashion Bug; Lingenfelter Brill Inc., a fur clothier located on State Street in Alliance; and Foot Action, located in Belden Village Mall. The show will feature a performance by the gospel/hip-hop act, "Missionary."

Tickets for the Soul Food Dinner and Fashion Show can be purchased in the Hoover-Price Campus Center or by calling (330) 823-2138. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for students, $5 for children and free for children under five.

On Wednesday, February 19, Step Afrika!, an African Dance Troupe, will perform at 8 p.m. in the Mount Union Theatre. Step Afrika! USA is a percussive dance ensemble based in Washington, DC. Step Afrika! USA is the American arm of the Step Afrika! International Cultural Festival in Soweto, South Africa. The company demonstrates the African-American fraternity and sorority art form of stepping. The event is free and open to the public.

On Thursday, February 20, Rob Hyde, director of the Haines House in Alliance, will speak about the Underground Railroad. Hyde is involved with The Friends of Freedom Society Ohio Underground Railroad Association, a volunteer, non-profit organization that researches, identifies, documents and preserves Underground Railroad sites throughout Ohio. The Haines House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Research supports the fact that Jonathan Haines, who once owned the home, was a "conductor" for the Underground Railroad, and that he hid escaped slaves in the attic of the home. The event is free and open to the public.

The Black Student Union (BSU) will present its annual production on Wednesday, February 26 at 7 p.m. The theme is "The Harlem Renaissance." Immediately following the production, there will be a reception at the BSU House, located at 243 Simpson Street. Refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information on any of these events, please contact Ronald Powers, president of the Black Student Union, at (330) 823-5091 or 829-8179.

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