Emory Report
February 7, 2005
Volume 61, Number 18


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February 7, 2005
Heritage month blends art and history

BY Katherine Baust

Lectures, discussions, film screenings and a variety of special events throughout February will engage the community on important social and political issues pertaining to race, as Emory observes 2005’s African American Heritage Month.

“It is a month to focus on academics and accomplishments of African Americans,” said Vera Dixon Rorie, assistant dean of campus life and director of the Office of Multicultural Programs and Service. “Black History Month is an important tool to keep in our educational system; it’s a legacy of teaching in a different way, and an opportunity to learn outside the classroom.”

This year’s theme, “Civil Rights: The Struggle Redefined in 2005,” will address the future of civil rights, exploring topics such as race in higher education and affirmative action. Keynote speaker for the month-long event will be Mary Frances Berry, former chairperson of the Civil Rights Commission. A lawyer, administrator, activist and author, Berry will examine “Civil Rights in the 21st Century,” in her lecture, Monday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. in WHSCAB auditorium.

Berry has received 31 honorary doctoral degrees and numerous awards for her public service and scholarly activities, including the NAACP’s Roy Wilkins Award, the Rosa Parks Award from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Ebony Magazine Black Achievement Award. She is one of 75 women featured in I Dream A World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America and the Women’s Hall of Fame designated her one of “America’s Women of the Century.”

The celebration began Feb.1 with the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Connection featuring Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, the first woman elected bishop in the AME Church and current president of the Council of Bishops.

Another early highlight was the annual fundraiser “Step for Sickle Cell,” a step competition held at Emory between predominantly black colleges in the Southeast, that raised $20,000 in 2004, according to Rorie.
Also, on Feb. 10 the competition “Black History Taboo,”
will be held in Dobbs Parlor at 7 p.m.

Other programming includes free film screenings every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Black Student Association House. It began Feb. 3 with Malcolm X, and continuing with Ali (Feb. 10), Antwone Fisher (Feb. 17), and conclude on Feb. 24 with Brown Sugar.

The Feb. 17 career forum, “Reality Is,” will connect African American students and alumni with area professionals in law, education, medicine, communications and government. The Miller-Ward Alumni House will host an art gala, “The Black Muslim Experience,” Feb. 24, and scheduled lectures will cover topics such as health, religion and history.

For information on other scheduled events, contact the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services at
404-727-6754 or e-mail Andrena Collins at amcolli@learnlink.emory.edu.