College Hosts African Diaspora Celebration

By Laurel Bennett, Staff Writer

On Tuesday, the first annual African Diaspora Celebration was held from 5 to 7 p.m. in the College Union Building (CUB) Ballroom to celebrate the end of Black History Month. The event was sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Engagement, Religious and Spiritual Life, the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, and International Student Services in collaboration with student organizations. 

Each table at the event featured a paper that explained what the African diaspora is: “The African diaspora is the worldwide collection of communities descended from native Africans or people from Africa. The term encompasses the descendants of the West and Central Africans who were enslaved and shipped to America, Europe, and Asia beginning in the 15th century in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the millions of immigrants who have close familial, social, and economic connections to the continent of Africa.”

The event organizers explained that it is important to honor and celebrate the African diaspora due to the history of racism and oppression that is often erased. The African Diaspora Celebration allowed people to come together in community, support, and solidarity. 

Attendees at the celebration expressed their appreciation for an event like this, which also helped to represent international students. 

Regarding the impact of the event, Director of International Student Services Brad Lancaster said, “It’s great to see international and domestic Black students come together to celebrate along with their peers.”

Students entering the CUB ballroom received a pamphlet sharing information about Black History Month, why it is celebrated, and Black History at Gettysburg College. Two of the figures highlighted in this pamphlet were Myra T. Herron ’67 and Leon “Buddy” Glover ’71.

Herron became the first African American woman to attend Gettysburg College in 1963, and she has a college fund in her name. This fund supports underrepresented students in their academic endeavors. 

Glover was the 12th African American to graduate from Gettysburg College. He launched a newsletter on campus called “Black Awareness” due to his belief that Gettysburg College had no intention of increasing the number of African American students on campus.

Chaplin Bright speaks at the African Diaspora Celebration (Photo Sofia Gutierrez/The Gettysburgian)

Chaplin Bright speaks at the African Diaspora Celebration (Photo Sofia Gutierrez/The Gettysburgian)

Director of Religious and Spiritual Life and College Chaplain Bright gave opening remarks prior to the meal. In addition to thanking students for attending, he credited Shantanique Johnson, AJ Del Gaudio, Brad Lancaster, Dean Garcia, and Mauricio Novoa amongst other faculty members for facilitating the event. 

The food was blessed by Bright before students ate. Students enjoyed puff puff, jerk chicken, three greens, fried plantains and rice. 

After students finished their meal, the multi-genre dance team VIBE Dance Crew performed a medley of songs which were met with excitement from the audience. Two guest musicians from the group High Energy also took to the stage to sing and play instruments. This was the group’s second visit to the college, and attendees took to the stage to dance amid the performance. Other student performances included spoken word poetry. 

At the culmination of the student performances, High Energy returned to the stage to thank everyone for attending. They sang again as a send-off for the celebration. 

Students dance during African Diaspora Celebration (Photo Sofia Gutierrez/The Gettysburgian)

Students dance during African Diaspora Celebration (Photo Sofia Gutierrez/The Gettysburgian)

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Author: Gettysburgian Staff

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