Sunday, February 12, 2012

Michigan Tech News: Michigan Tech celebrates Black History Month

During African Night 2011, Michigan Tech students, left, take an imaginary trip to Zimbabwe and, along with the audience in the Rozsa Center, enjoy a traditional dance by Tech students from Zimbabwe. This year, on Saturday, Feb. 25, African Night will again conclude Michigan Tech's Black History Month celebration. (Photo © and courtesy Pierre Bekwon of Burkina Faso.)

By Danny Messinger
Posted Feb. 8 and modified Feb 10, 2012
Reprinted with permission

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Tech University's Black Student Association (BSA) has kicked off its celebration of Black History Month -- a four-week-long recognition of the challenges and accomplishments of black Americans.

The theme of this year’s Black History Month events at Michigan Tech is "Black People in Focus: Educating Blacks in America." Tayloria Adams, president of BSA, says she aims to bring light to the challenges that black students face in higher education, including at Tech.

The first event, held Feb. 1, looked at the history of enrollment statistics for black students at Tech.

"The event went really well," said Adams. "We had Tech alums give accounts about what Tech was like in the 80s and 90s, and a current student talked about what Tech is like today for black students."

The following events are planned for the remainder of the month:
  • Access and Opportunities for Blacks in Silicon Valley, Thursday, Feb. 16, Fisher 138, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
  • Tech alum Hajj Flemings will talk about access to education and entrepreneurial resources for black students. Flemings was featured in the CNN documentary "Black in America."
  • Waiting for Superman, Wednesday, Feb. 22, M and M Building U115, 6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
    A documentary following public school students as they go through the lottery selection process for charter schools. Shezwae Fleming, director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, will lead a discussion following the film.
  • Addressing "Sense of Belonging" for Minorities in STEM, Thursday, Feb. 23, Fisher 230, noon-1 p.m.
    This lunch-and-learn presentation by Tech alum Kari L. Jordan looks at the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics community, and the struggles some minorities have to find their fit. The event is free, but please RSVP to Lori Weir ( by Feb. 21.
  • African Night, Saturday, Feb. 25, Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, 7:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
    As the capstone event of the Black History Month celebration, African Night will reflect on significant periods throughout African history through dance and song. Please contact the Rozsa Center at 906-487-3200 or click here to buy tickets on line. General admission: $10; students: $6.

Michigan Tech students perform a modern West African dance during African Night 2011 in the Rozsa Center. (File photo by Keweenaw Now)

Adams says she hopes the variety of events will help educate people about the many challenges for black students.

"Michigan Tech can be such an extreme place sometimes," she said. "The weather is extreme; the culture is extreme. I hope we can bring attention to potential challenges black students everywhere face, and that we can make a positive difference."

All events include refreshments and are free, unless otherwise noted.

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