The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

Association of Black Students hosts heritage festival

“Lord, Lord, Why did You make me Black? Why did You make me someone
the world wants to hold back?” When Kyndra Mack, a freshman theatre major recited these opening lines from the poem, “Lord, Why Did You Make Me Black,” by RuNett Nia Ebo, the audition room became still and three judges sat at the table in silence.     

Mack’s chilling performance will be one of many at the “Enlightenment of the Soul,” an African-American heritage festival on  Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Theatre. The Association of Black Students will host a festival to present African American literature, music and dance.

Courtney Kelly, vice president of ABS and the festival coordinator, would ideally like to have the theatre packed with SMU students from all different races.

“There is a small [black] population on campus and it’s important that people understand our culture. We want to cross cultural boundaries,” Kelly said.

Kelly is correct when she describes the black population at SMU as “small.” According to the SMU Web site, the total enrollment in 2007 was 10,829 students—615 of these were African-American, which is slightly under 5.7 percent. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the national average of black students per college is 13.1 percent.

However, small numbers will certainly not prevent ABS from celebrating black art with the SMU community.

“We want to educate them as well as entertain them,” Kelly said.

Education is the main theme and inspiration for all of the black history month events that ABS will be hosting this February.

Ne’Andre Broussard, president of ABS, wants to educate SMU students about the history and significance of black literature, music and dance.

Broussard would not only like to have a successful turnout for the event, but he would ultimately like to change the perception of the organization on campus.

“I feel that ABS is negatively perceived on campus because students assume it is limited to black students. But it’s opened to any race that is interested in the issues of the black community,” Broussard said.

The heritage festival will be a free event and seating will be on a first-come first-serve basis.

Some of the other ABS events on the line-up this month are Black History Jeopardy, a lecture and book signing by author Darwin Payne and a free celebration dinner.

For a complete list and description of the events, visit the SMU Web site.

Sylvia Bearden, a senior member of ABS, said, “Out of all of the events, the heritage festival will have a large variety of performances and I think it would be the most entertaining.”


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