Black History Month classes offered
HUNTINGTON -- West Virginia State University history graduate Byron Holmes, a 28-year-old Huntington resident, is stepping up to provide free Black History Month classes at the Barnett Center, 1524 10th Ave., Huntington.
Called the Africana Academy, the set of classes kicked off on Saturday and will be conducted from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturdays (Feb. 9, 16 and 23). In the class, a vast array of subject matter will be covered from sociology and philosophy to ethics, anthropology and ideology, Holmes said.
The classes and group discussions are free and open to the public. No registration is required.
Holmes, who also attended Marshall University for several years, said he wanted to bring a multi-layered class to the heart of the community.
"I kind of stepped out on my own with this," Holmes said Sunday. "A lot of times we do things in academia that are on campus, but I wanted to bring it to the community and bring that same level of inquiry that you would find at Marshall or WVSU or WVU or even Howard. I wanted to make sure we brought it to the people and give them in-depth discussions."
The Academy got off to a great start on a snowy Saturday as more than a dozen people attended, including middle school and high school youth that heard Holmes teaching on early history including the contributions of the Nubians whose rich North African culture was at the heart of the dawn of civilization.
"I didn't anticipate anyone coming out due to the weather, so I was excited that people came out and were willing to learn and to hear what I had to say," Holmes said.
Although geared to middle school ages and up, Holmes said he will have worksheets and coloring sheets for younger kids who come out to the classes with their parents.
Holmes said he has been drawing on what he has learned in the classrooms of such influential teachers as Phil Carter and Cicero Fain at Marshall and Bruce Senior at Huntington High School to continue to dive headfirst into history and to make sure a next generation of kids understands the connections to Huntington's Carter G. Woodson, who birthed Black History Month, as well as such African-American scholars such as W.E.B Du Bois and Martin Luther King Jr., who advocated and emphasized a need for learning history and education and culture.
"People like Dr. Carter were in the middle of those struggles, and he is one of the mainstays of our historical connection," Holmes said. "My deal is to connection the dots between the past generations and the new generations and to bring it to the future to make it a better future and a better Huntington and a better world."
Holmes, who has his own business, The Phresh Media Collective (he does websites, video work, writes and does graphic design), said he hopes to build on the first week and to pack the classroom for the interactive history lesson.
"I think the point that Carter G. Woodson was making was that Black History wasn't any greater than any other group but that you have to understand our history is part of everything and that it is ingrained with everyone else's history and with world history and world knowledge. And there is a lot to it."
Black History Month events
Here's a look at some other upcoming Black History Month events:
LIVING THE LEGACY AWARDS LUNCHEON: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, on the lower level of the Memorial Student Center on the Huntington campus. The luncheon will include a recognition of the Living the Legacy Award recipients and will feature keynote speaker Sheyann Webb-Christburg, who became known as King's smallest freedom fighter and later co-authored the book "Selma, Lord, Selma: Girlhood Memories of the Civil Rights Days." For more info, email Clarkes@marshall.edu.
BLACK HISTORY TEAM TRIVIA: A game-show-style event at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, in the Memorial Student Center, room BE-5.
SOUL FOOD FEAST: 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, in the John Marshall Room, on the second floor of the Memorial Student Center. The soulful buffet will include chitterlings, crispy fried chicken, barbecue ribs, mac and cheese, collard greens, candied yams, potato salad, beverages and an assortment of desserts. Tickets are $6 for students and $12 for adults.
LIVING HISTORY: At 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, at the Main Branch, 1740 Central Ave., Ashland. Robert Bell portrays the Rev. Newton Bush, an enslaved man living in Kentucky in 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation took effect. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, visit www.thebookplace.org.
DIVERSITY BREAKFAST: 7:30 to 8:50 a.m. Friday, Feb. 15, in the Don Morris Room of the Memorial Student Center. This year's theme for the breakfast is "We Are the World." The keynote will be delivered by Marshall College of Business graduate Joseph A. Slash, former deputy mayor of Indianapolis and currently president and chief executive officer of the Indianapolis Urban League. Tables of eight for the breakfast are available at the community rate of $150, with single reservations available for $20 each. A discount applies to Marshall University departments, faculty/staff and students. For more information, call the MU Center for African American Students' Programs at 304-696-6705.