Numerous Black History Month events are continuing on campus and in the surrounding communities.
On campus, Elena Dahl, associate professor of art, will host a screening of the film “Redlining: Mapping Inequality in Dayton and Springfield” from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at Kissell Auditorium in Koch Hall. The screening is in collaboration with Wittenberg’s Diversity Advisory Committee (DAC). This film explores the legacy of redlining, which still has detrimental effects on Black residents of Dayton and Springfield today, as well as Black communities across the United States.
“I am hopeful that screening the film during Black History Month will help educate the campus community about what’s at stake in not only a name, but a geographical legacy of racism that we must acknowledge as we work for a more just society,” Dahl said.
Later this week, Wittenberg’s Concerned Black Students (CBS) will host the annual CBS Walkout to commemorate the original 1969 walkout at 1 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 16.
To compel Wittenberg toward a greater degree of responsiveness to concerns expressed by African American students on campus, the first walkout featured 44 students in the then newly founded Concerned Black Students organization. Members walked out on Jan. 13, 1969, after presenting a list of the demands to the University. During this time, Antioch College hosted CBS before the walkout resolved January 18, 1969. For the Wittenberg campus, the regular rhythm of the semester gave way to “learning beyond the classroom” moments for the entire community, and each year Wittenberg re-enacts the historic event.
More than 60 Wittenberg students, faculty, and staff members participated in the 2022 Walkout Re-enactment, which began at the Seal and ended at Founders in the Benham-Pence Student Center. Participants for this year’s event should meet at the William A. McClain Center for Diversity.
Prior to this year’s event, Rev. Tracy Paschke-Johannes, Matevia Endowed University Pastor, will present a “Prayer for Justice,” during weekday chapel in solidarity with the CBS Walkout. Weekday chapel begins at 11 a.m. at Weaver Chapel.
Next up, and billed as the hottest dance show in the Midwest, Dance, Stomp, Shake at Clark State’s Performing Arts Center takes place on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 3:30 p.m.
This dance competition event is geared specifically, but not exclusively, toward Black youth and families to celebrate the diversity of creative excellence and expression. It purposely coincides with Black History Month since it focuses primarily on hip-hop, a style of dance that traces its origins back to New York City's black community in the 1960s and 1970s.
Dance, Stomp, Shake first began in 2019 when members of Wittenberg's CBS approached Julius Bailey, Wittenberg professor of philosophy, about putting on a dance show. Students from CBS enthusiastically worked with Bailey, who is also director of African & Diaspora Studies and Justice, Law & Public Policy at Wittenberg, to resurrect a new version of a dance program he had established during his time in Illinois nearly two decades ago. This first show, produced in 2020, was met with success and enthusiasm from the Springfield community and youth dancers in the Midwest.
The program took a break in 2021 due to COVID-19, during which time it began to grow beyond its origins as a CBS project into a more community-driven event. Wittenberg students, however, remain vital to its planning, marketing, and execution. Students helping out this year include Amya Brown, class of 2023 from Elyria, Ohio; Isabel Cherry, class of 2023 from Dublin, Ohio; Tiffany Moss, class of 2023 from Springfield, Ohio; and Guille Del Rio Gonzalez, class of 2024 from Lleida, Spain.
This year’s dance competition features 14 hip hop and majorette teams from three states and eight cities to Springfield, Ohio, vying for $4,500 in cash. Tickets are available at https://bit.ly/4080KGJ. Presenting sponsors of the competition in alphabetical order include Clark State College, the Greater Springfield Partnership, Park National Bank, White-Allen Chevrolet, the Wright and Schulte Law Firm and various programs and departments at Wittenberg University.
“Dance, Stomp, Shake is now a 501c3 organization engaged in much more than just the annual dance competition,” Bailey said. “The event is a community-focused event and seeks to do an intentional job of merging Witt with Springfield in its structure.”
The organization is also partnering with the Springfield Museum of Art to present “The Art That Binds,” a youth showcase of arts. Middle school artwork, coupled with young musicians, complements this free event, which will take place on Thursday, Feb. 16, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the museum. Joshua Strange, the Wittenberg Percussion Ensemble, and Together with Noah Alaz (SHS) and friends will also be performing.
Included in the show events will be a hip-hop dance workshop on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 2 to 6 p.m. Hosted by Elevated, the 2021 and 2022 World of Dance Hip Hop Champions, the workshop will be held at Hayward Middle School, 1700 S. Clifton Ave in Springfield, for approximately 100 area youth and young adults. Elevated, from Cleveland, Ohio, was founded in 2015 by Howard Washington and has grown into an internationally acclaimed group. For more information on any of the Dance, Stomp, Shake events, check out @dancestompshake on Instagram and Facebook or call 217-454-0622.
Rounding out the month of February, Bailey will host a talk on “The Black Church and The Civil Rights Movement” with Chad White on Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 2:30-3:30 p.m., in room 316 of Hollenbeck Hall. Then on Feb. 23, he will present “(LWB) Loving While Black: The Radical Politic of Soul,” at 2:30 p.m., in room 316 of Hollenbeck Hall.
A Black Excellence Reception celebrating academic achievement of Wittenberg’s Black students will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 21, beginning at 5 p.m. in Founders Pub of the Benham-Pence Student Center.
During Black History Month, the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society. To learn more about Black History Month, check out the following links:
- Celebrating Black History in Springfield Ohio: https://community-health-foundation.org/celebrating-springfield-ohios-a…
- Black Businesses in Springfield to support year-round: https://www.ybpbs.com/ybpbs-businesses
About Black History Month
Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history. Source- History.com