By Joie’ Thornton
Senior Staff Writer
In honor of Black History Month, a handful of staff participated in the “Earth, Wind and Fire: Poetry of the 1970s Black Arts Movement” presentation. Hazel Carlos, Brookhaven College English professor, organized the reading. The writers of the ‘60s and ‘70s black arts movement were the focus of the event.
“This is during the time of the height of the civil rights movement and also the time that leaders and artists are beginning to look at the two great black leaders, mainly Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X,” Carlos said.
The reading included speeches and poems ranging from Malcolm X to Martin Luther King Jr. and Langston Hughes. The speeches and poems included “I Have a Dream,” “The Ballot or the Bullet,” “Theme for English B” and others. The reading started with these artists: Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
Before the reading started, Carlos, the narrator, gave a brief introduction. Carlos said she called the reading “Earth, Wind and Fire” as a celebration of the poetry of the black arts movement.
“The poems you will hear today express a variety of tones. This is an interesting period,” Carlos said. “You will hear some poems that sound like anger, you will hear some poems that will sound almost romantic, but you will eventually hear poems that express the desire for freedom, equality and independent voice.”
As Carlos walked off the stage, the staff came on from both sides while “What’s Goin’ On” by Marvin Gaye played in the background. As the music played, the staff danced and gave each other high fives as they walked past one another. Some of the staff were dressed in African wardrobe, and some had afros.
Sharon Jackson, math professor, took part in the reading of “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks. “It was very interesting going back into the ‘60s and ‘70s because I was a kid at that time,” Jackson said. “It made me kind of nostalgic because things I looked at from a kid’s viewpoint, now it made me look at it as an adult.”
Hurshel Burton, English professor, read the speech called “The Ballot or the Bullet” by Malcolm X. “It’s always really a pleasure to be part of the celebration of Black History Month and also be a part of having our staff, faculty and students come together to put on this presentation to honor Black History Month,” Burton said.
The reading ended with a recital of “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou. The faculty and staff came out at the end, and they all finished the poem together by standing together and reciting the words, “I Rise.”