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Readings, Discussions Mark Black History Month

By Carina Fung

Campus organizations spent weeks preparing to celebrate Black History Month this February, and they should soon see the fruits of their labor. The Black Graduate Student Association, Chocolate City, and the Black Students' Union are sponsoring events throughout February and into March.

This month, the BGSA is hosting a four-part series entitled "Links and Lineage" in Lobby 7 at noon on Mondays. "Links" signifies the ties and relationships that African Americans must establish and re-establish, both internally and externally, said Otis Rolley III G, a member of the BGSA's African American heritage month celebration committee. "Lineage" refers to the need for African Americans to connect with their past, he said.

The past is composed of "men and women, kings and queens, workers and warriors, along with stories of defeat and duplicity, victory and vindication, song and suffering and spirituality," Rolley said.

The BGSA has already had two such events this month. The first presentation on Feb. 3 was dedicated to the black woman while yesterday's presentation was dedicated to the black man, Rolley said. The next forum, scheduled for Feb. 18, will focus on the "Instruments of Liberation: The Church, Politics, and Education." The final presentation on Feb. 24 is entitled "Revolutionary Art: Words and Songs of Independence," he said.

Each presentation features poetry, music, speeches, and book excerpts, Rolley said. Flyers describing the lives and efforts of celebrated African Americans will be distributed.

In addition to "Links," BGSA is hosting its annual "Ebony Affair," a formal dinner and dance on Feb. 22 at Walker Memorial, Rolley said. This event will include a live jazz band, a disc jockey, and a fashion show.

"I hope that the entire MIT community will join with the African American community in celebrating the many contributions that African Americans have made in every sector of society," Rolley said.

Ill Vibes' resumes

March 1 will mark the return of Chocolate City's "Ill Vibes," an open-microphone event. "Ill Vibes," which will be held on the third floor of New House 1, will be open to everyone, not only to the MIT community, said Eto S. Otitigbe '99, the founder and coordinator of the event.

Otitigbe named the event "Ill Vibes" because the phrase defined an "unexplainable phenomenon which just lets you release," he said. The goal was to "maximize that feeling," he said.

This is the second session of "Ill Vibes" of this academic year, Otitigbe said. "The first time we hosted [this event] was on Saturday, Oct. 5. I remember the show lasted until one or two in the morning, and the lounge was wall-to-wall with people," he said.

People from all over campus, including pika and East Campus residents, were drawn to the first "Ill Vibes" session, Otitigbe said.

"I remembered that by the end of that night, there was a strong feeling of togetherness in that lounge," he said.

One of the most powerful forms of communication is getting together and talking with one another, Otitigbe said. "We are always using e-mail or the telephone, and therefore there is not enough use of verbal expression. I want to capture the positive energy which results from such expression."

Presenters may read original or non-original essays, short stories, or poetry, Otitigbe said. Students could also present dramatic interpretations, play an instrument, or sing, he said. However, presentations should be about five minutes or less so that everyone may have a chance to participate. Those interested must tell Otitigbe in advance about the subject of presentation.

"Ill Vibes" begins at 8 p.m. The admission fee is one canned good which will donated to the Salvation Army, Otitigbe said. Participants are encouraged to "bring open minds" and to engage in "verbal expression," he said.

BSU plans for March event

The Black Students' Union is in the process of holding elections for club officers and is not planning to host any events during February, said Jonathan S. White '99, the current co-chair of the BSU.

However, the BSU may later work together with Professor Emeritus of Political Science Willard R. Johnson to co-sponsor a tribute to Ghana in March, White said. This event will celebrate Ghana's 40th year of independence and will include a speech by Richard Joseph, the Martin Luther King visiting speaker, he said.