BUIES CREEK – Last February, during Black History Month, Campbell University junior Jordan Armstead realized there was no African American presence at the university in terms of student clubs or organizations. So he started the African American Studies Club.
It became official on March 19, 2013; and this month, it’ll host its first series of events to mark and celebrate Black History Month. On each Wednesday evening, throughout February, the club will hold film viewings and a guest lecture designed to raise awareness about the history and ancestry of African Americans, said Armstead, a broadcast communications major.
The events begin Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 5:30 p.m., when the club will interview students and faculty/staff in Kivett Hall Room 204 for a short documentary they are making, “What Does Black History Mean to Me.” The club will premiere the documentary the following Wednesday, on Feb. 12, at 6 p.m. , and it’ll re-air on Campbell TV Now.
In addition, the club will view “Alex Haley’s Queen,” a TV miniseries, over the first three Wednesdays in February. Wendy Rountree, associate professor of English and mass communications at N.C. Central University, will close the series on the last Wednesday of the month (Feb. 26) by delivering a guest lecture. Her research focuses on African American literature, and her books include “Just Us Girls: The Contemporary African-American young Adult Novel” and “The Boys Club: Male Protagonists in Contemporary African-American Young Adult Literature.”
Rountree, as well as Campbell English instructor Kimberly Ward, provided early guidance to Armstead when he started the African American Studies Club. Today, the club meets monthly and has about two dozen members. Last November, it co-hosted its first Culture Dinner Fundraiser, where different groups from across the campus shared meals that reflected their culture. Each semester the club also holds Spoken Word nights when students can read aloud poems -- both originals and those written by others -- that raise awareness about African American culture and history.
Though “African American” is in the title of the club, Armstead said that the club learns about other cultures and ethnicities, as well, and that it’s open to people of all backgrounds.
“We want to help bring a sense of unity to campus,” Armstead said. That comes by knowing about other cultures and their pasts, he added. “We want to acknowledge our history and ancestry and learn about the struggles of the past so we don’t repeat the past, we can make correct choices in the present, and we can have a better future.” -- Cherry Crayton, digital content coordinator