Edison State’s Black History Month event to focus on American dream


PIQUA — The Diversity Committee at Edison State Community College is hosting a celebration of Black History Month with a special event focusing on the American Dream. The event will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 23, from 5:30–7:30 p.m. in the Robinson Theater at the Piqua Campus and is free and open to the community.

The evening will include the theatrical performance “Lynching Alabama,” a jazz performance by the Innovation Quartet, readings of student essays, an art display, and light refreshments.

“Justice and equality remain very hot topics in American culture,” said Marva Archibald, Diversity Committee chairperson. “We wanted to find a way for people to come together and explore these topics through various forms of expression.”

“Lynching Alabama” is adapted from true stories written by former Edison State English Professor Jane Kretschmann, which presented the stories of lynched African Americans in her home state of Alabama.

Kretschmann said, “After I learned that Jesse Thornton, a young Black man, was lynched in the county in which I was born, I determined to learn his story and the stories of others lynched in Alabama. Through research, I learned that maybe 360 people were lynched between 1870 and 1950 in my home state.”

The Innovation Quartet, which also plays as a quintet, is a diverse group of active musicians and educators from the Miami Valley whose mission is to promote and educate southwest Ohio residents on the historical and cultural impact of the American art form of jazz. From special presentations, clinics, and master classes to concerts and more, the Innovation Quartet provides many avenues to share their passion for jazz with people of all ages and backgrounds.

Leading up to the event, Edison State students submitted written work for a juried essay competition on the provided topic: “The American Dream.” During the event, winners of the contest will read excerpts from their essays.

“We have a fun evening planned that’s filled with performances, original essays, art, and good food,” added Archibald. “There will be something for everybody.”

The Diversity Committee at Edison State Community College is committed to advancing the college’s academic mission and goals in the areas of diversity, equality, inclusion, and human rights by leading efforts to define, assess, and cultivate diversity as both an institutional value and an academic priority.

The Black History Month event is sponsored, in part, by Edison State Community College, Park National Bank, and U.S. Bank. For more information, contact Marva Archibald, Diversity Committee chairperson, by calling 937-778-7908 or emailing her at [email protected].

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