YSU celebrates African-American culture

Youngstown State University will celebrate African-American History Month, beginning Saturday.

The African Marketplace kicks off on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. in Kilcawley Center.

The African Marketplace will host vendors from African cultures. It will involve creative art, artifacts from Africa and the African Diaspora, books, clothing and jewelry.

Victor Wan-Tatah, director of Africana studies, said the marketplace is the main event of the celebration. 

“It is a major showcase for what we can offer YSU and the community,” he said. “These are products of diversity and creativity for people who have an interest in the eccentric nature.”

He added that the items showcased at the African Marketplace are not items one would find in a typical store. 

“It is a place for social networking and an opportunity to exchange goods,” Wan-Tatah said. 

Bliss Hall hosts a reception of “The Art of Louis Borroughs,” an African-American art display, on Feb. 9 at 5 p.m. 

Following the reception will be a panel discussion at 6 p.m. in the McDonough Museum of Art. There, the artist’s exhibit will be discussed, along with his experience through a story of enslavement, struggle and oppression. 

An African fitness and dance class takes place on Feb. 11 at 11 a.m. The class will be in St. Andrews A.M.E. Church at 521 Earle Ave. Eboni Bogan will lead the class with hopes of raising breast cancer awareness. 

A keynote lecture titled “The Biracial Mixed Experience” features New York Times best-selling author Heidi Durrow. Durrow’s lecture begins on Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Jones Room of Kilcawley Center. 

She will speak about her book “The Girl Who Fell From the Sky,” which is based on parts of her life growing up in Portland, Ore.

Durrow said she wrote the book because she wanted to show the mixed experience.

“We have so many identities — northern, western and even international — but the most well known is the authentic southern experience,” she said.

Durrow has been touring and speaking to students across the country and is excited to meet YSU students, faculty and staff. She said she hopes she and members of the YSU community can start up thought-provoking conversations.

“It’s my way to talk about all the ways we inhabit African-American identity,” Durrow said. “It’s been able to give me a national stage to talk about it.”

On Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Chestnut Room of Kilcawley, New Jersey-based dance troupe Prospect Theatrics will present “The Faces of Black History.”

The group, which features American history contributions made by African-Americans, will perform a tribute to Michael Jackson and the Tuskegee Airmen. 

The month’s events also include a “Blogging While Black” lecture by Shawn Williams on Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Gallery Room of Kilcawley Center. 

The events close with an evening of gospel jazz. Students perform on Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. in the Chestnut Room. 

The event is open to the public and free of charge. A special guest will be revealed that evening. 

Senior Candiss Owens and her fellow Delta Sigma Theta sorority sisters will celebrate African-American History month with a movie night and informational tables on Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. 

The sorority focuses on empowerment of community, women’s rights and black history. 

Delta Sigma Theta is also hosting a Valentine’s Day event, “Celebrating Black Love: The Delta Dating Experience,” on Feb. 13 in the Presidential Suites.