African American History Month includes lectures, docudrama, marketplace and more


Artists and twin brothers Kelly and Kyle Phelps are on campus Feb. 4 as part of YSU’s African American History Month celebration.

Youngstown State University celebrates African American History Month with a variety of events, presented by YSU’s Africana Studies Program. The schedule:

Wednesday, Feb. 4, 6:30 p.m., McDonough Museum of Art. Twin brothers Kelly Eugene Phelps, associate professor and chair of Art at Xavier University, and Kyle Edward Phelps, associate professor of Art at the University of Dayton, present a joint lecture on their work. A reception will follow at 5:30 p.m. in the Judith Rae Solomon Gallery in Bliss Hall. Earlier in the day, from 1 to 3:50 p.m., the Phelps brothers will present a workshop in the ceramic lab in Bliss Hall, Room 1059. Their work encompasses the creation of traditional ceramic and sculpture, along with media art. Their research interest includes socio-political representation through the use of visual narratives and the human figure as image and ideal; other topics include race, class, and material meaning and process. Both earned their bachelor of Fine Arts degrees from Ball State University in 1996 and master of Fine Arts degrees in Ceramics from the University of Kentucky. Co-sponsored by the College of Creative Arts and Communication

Friday, Feb. 6, 6:30 p.m., The Gallery, Kilcawley Center. “Black Women and their Hair.” The lecture on black women, hair care and baldness is by Monica Beasley-Martin, author of “Bald is Beautiful.” Black women value and love their hair and spend considerable time and resources to maintain a variety of styles that accentuate the natural beauty of African hair, fine and bold weaves, as well as dreadlocks. Then there’s another style – the bald style, which can come about as a result of too much chemical treatment, cancer, or a rare condition known as alopecia, which results in the loss of hair because the body is allergic to it. Beasley-Martin was diagnosed with alopecia in her 20s. The resulting baldness led her to write, “Bald is Beautiful.” Her lecture, along with Carmelia Williams, will cover care of hair for black women and her book. Beasley-Martin is an ordained minister and a drama teacher who lives in Youngstown. A book signing will follow the lecture.

An exhibit by acclaimed photographer Dawoud Bey opens this week at the McDonough Museum of Art at YSU.

Dawoud Bey

Thursday, Feb. 12, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., McDonough Museum of Art. Dawoud Bey, a renowned American photographer whose work has earned him recognition worldwide, lectures. Bey’s exhibit titled “Picturing People” is on display at the McDonough through March 7. Bey first gained notoriety as a photographer for his acclaimed series “Harlem U.S.A.”, exhibited at The Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979. Since 2010, Bey has been producing a series of photographs featuring two individuals that, although members of the same socio-geographic community, are strangers to one another. Casually positioned side-by-side, between them are differences in age, race, comportment, gender etc. calling into question the terms on which community is imagined in relation to self and vice versa. His art has been exhibited in the Addison Gallery of American Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University. Bey studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York from 1977 to 1978, graduated with a bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Empire State College in 1990, and received a master’s of Fine Arts from Yale University in 1993. He is a professor of Art and Distinguished College Artist at Columbia College, Chicago. Co-sponsored by the McDonough Museum of Art.

Saturday, Feb. 14, noon, Chestnut Room, Kilcawley Center. The African Marketplace brings together vendors and members of the community to celebrate African life. Come to enjoy sampling and purchasing diverse creations and products of African American artists and entrepreneurs. The African Marketplace attracts vendors from Ohio. The Harambee dancers and the Youth Choir of New Bethel Baptist Church in Youngstown will provide musical entertainment.

Tuesday, Feb. 17, 7 p.m., Ohio Room, Kilcawley Center. Lecture by OkakaOpio Dokotum, associate professor of Literature and Film at Kyambogo University, Kampala, Uganda, titled “Debunking the Myth of Africa, the Dark Continent.” Dokotum is a poet, playwright and filmmaker. His scholarly research is on literature, film adaptation theory and the re-imaging of African literary scholarship through film adaptation studies. His publications include Butterfly Dance, A Poetry Collection, and Atim Goes to the Village. He is currently a Fulbright African Research Scholar at Northern Illinois University.

Monday, Feb. 23, 7 p.m., Ohio Room, Kilcawley Center. Bondage Busters, a youth group in Youngstown dedicated to the education and empowerment of African American youth, presents a docudrama, “The Missing Link.” Bondage Busters is led by Pastor Charles Hudson, a native of Youngstown who founded the group in 1989 in Crenshaw, Cal. Hudson teaches and supervises more than 100 youths at Luther’s Lutheran Church in Youngstown. He targets gangs and other groups within city limits that draw children into a life of criminal behavior. Hudson and his assistants conduct counseling sessions, GED classes, athletic activities and spiritual education.

Wednesday, Feb. 25, 6:30 p.m., Jones Room, Kilcawley center. A panel discussion on “What is Wrong with our Criminal Justice System?” What do the following people have in common and what do they continue to say about our criminal justice system: Emmit Till, Trayvon Martin, Marcus Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice and John Crawford III? Has over-criminalization and the jury system failed to deliver justice to victims of law enforcement? Panelists include members of YSU’s Department of Criminal Justice and law enforcement and community leaders who will address the issues of law enforcement and race, and suggest ways of improvement.