Tuesday, January 16, 2007
African American Celebration Month now underway
|OU alumna LaWanda Smith-Nance performs a song during the African American Celebration Month opening ceremony.|
By Rebecca Wyatt Thomas, OU Web Writer
The 2007 African American Celebration kicked off on Monday, Jan. 15. Following this year’s theme, “Through the Strength of My Ancestors: Still I Rise,” the opening ceremony featured musical selections performed by OU alumna LaWanda Smith-Nance and a keynote address by Terrance McClain, also an OU alumnus.
Through a powerful keynote address, McClain said Africans were brought to America and held here against their choice. Then, they weren’t given the same rights as Americans.
“In spite of it all, this afternoon, we can proclaim, through the strength of my ancestors, still I rise,” said McClain.
McClain hypothesized what life would be liked without blacks, since African-Americans invented a number of the items that have gotten America where it is today. Those contributions include elevators, traffic lights, super charger for the internal combustion engine, street sweepers, typewriters, printing press, postmarking and canceling machines, sprinklers, lawn mowers, air conditioners, furnaces, combs, ironing boards, clothes driers and refrigerators.
“What would this world be like without the contributions of black people?” asked McClain. “Our young people must be taught about our history and our heroes and that that there is greatness in all of them.”
McClain said the African-American heritage runs deep, it’s not just about athletes and entertainment icons. He said African-Americans are artists, teachers and leaders, and that all African-Americans can become whatever they want because, “Through the strength of our ancestors, still we rise,” said McClain.
|OU alumnus Terrance McClain gives the keynote address at the opening ceremony.|
A number of events are planned throughout the celebration including games, a career fair, lectures and exhibits to help students recognize and appreciate African-American history. For a complete list of activities, view the schedule of events.
For more information on African-American Celebration events, contact the Center for Student Activities at (248) 370-2400 or firstname.lastname@example.org or the Center for Multicultural Initiatives at (248) 370-4404.