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IU Northwest to host series of Black History Month events on campus

Documentary on Tulsa Race Riot, visit by Public Enemy star Chuck D. highlight university’s observance

The campus community at Indiana University Northwest will recognize Black History Month with a variety of insightful and entertaining programs in February, including a Feb. 18 visit by Public Enemy rapper Chuck D. and a Feb. 23 screening of “Before They Die,” a heartbreaking documentary that chronicles the devastation wreaked on a successful African-American community by a white mob in the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot. Also, on Feb. 25, “The Spellbinder,” magician Walter King, will bring his delightful and historically fascinating presentation on the history of African-American magicians to the IU Northwest Savannah Auditorium.

Sponsored by campus groups Kuumba, the Black Student Union, the Student African-American Brotherhood (SAAB), and the Office of Student Life, the Wednesday, Feb. 18 visit by legendary hip-hop artist Chuck D., (a.k.a. Carlton Douglas Ridenhour) of the seminal group Public Enemy promises to be an engaging event for music fans, political activists, and anyone who is interested in the history and development of socially conscious hip-hop. The musical artist’s presentation will also serve as a coat drive for the Gary community; while admission is free, audience members are asked to donate either a coat or a blanket to bring warmth to someone in the community who needs it during this particularly cold and snowy winter.

Ever since the debut of Public Enemy in the 1980s, Chuck D. has been an outspoken political activist and social critic whose interest in supporting and uplifting the African-American community has been apparent both in his music and in his off-stage activities. He is a prominent lecturer and commentator on hip-hop music and culture, and has been featured in a number of film and television documentaries. Chuck D.’s presentation at IU Northwest begins at 6 p.m. in the Savannah Auditorium, located at the south end of the Savannah Center, which sits at the southeast corner of the main campus parking lot at 33rd Avenue and Broadway in Gary, Ind. Seating is first-come, first-served.

On Monday, Feb. 23, the Black Student Union and the Department of Minority Studies will co-sponsor a screening of the documentary “Before They Die,” a film about the survivors of the Tulsa Race Riot and their ongoing quest to receive compensation for all that they lost in that horrific event. The filmmakers and several of the survivors featured in the film will be on hand for a 5 p.m. reception and for a question-and-answer session following the 6 p.m. screening in the Savannah Auditorium.

The Tulsa Race Riot devastated the city’s segregated Greenwood community, which had developed a remarkably successful financial district despite the limitations imposed on the African-American community by racism and segregation. This district later came to be referred to as the “Black Wall Street.” More than 1,200 homes were destroyed in the event, which reportedly caused a total of nearly $2 million in damage in 1921 dollars. The Red Cross estimated that approximately 300 African-American citizens were killed in the rioting, along with 10 white citizens.

IU Northwest is pleased to present this special free screening of “Before They Die” during Black History Month. Seating is first-come, first-served for this event.

On Wednesday, Feb. 25, the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) will sponsor a truly magical presentation by “The Spellbinder,” master illusionist Walter King, as he brings his show “The Legacy of Black Magicians” to the IU Northwest Savannah Auditorium. King will introduce the audience to such legendary past African-American magicians as Fetaque Sanders, “The First Lady of Magic” Ellen Armstrong, and escape artist Wilmont Barklay, among others. The Spellbinder uses illusions and state-of-the-art special effects to bring the history of African-American magical performers, from the 19th century to the present day, to life as has never been done before.

IU Northwest and the ODE are pleased to bring this fantastical performance to the Northwest Indiana community as part of the university’s Black History Month lineup of events. Doors at the Savannah Auditorium open at 5 p.m. for the 6 p.m. performance. Seating is first-come, first-served.

IU Northwest invites the Northwest Indiana community to campus in February to take part in these fascinating programs and events that explore the history, culture and impact of the African-American experience. All events are free and open to the public.



Media Contact:

Christopher Sheid

Michelle Searer
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