Black History Symposium Feb. 11-12

Luther College will host the 12th annual Black History Symposium Feb. 11-12 on the Luther campus.

The symposium, titled "Africans and African-Americans: It's Complicated," will feature a number of events focused on exploring the fascinating and often contentious relationship among various groups of African-descended people in the United States.

The symposium begins with a special screening of the documentary "Bound" at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11, in the Valders Hall of Science Room 206. "Bound," directed by Kenyan-born Peres Owino, explores the cultural tension between Africans and African-Americans through testimonials on how the cultures view each other and an examination of their shared histories.

The plenary session, featuring Michel Martin of National Public Radio, is titled "Taking the Studio to the Story" and will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11, in the Main Hall of the Center for Faith and Life. With more than 25 years experience as a journalist, Martin has reported on some of the most major political and social issues of the past few decades including September 11, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and her Emmy-winning coverage of the international campaign to ban the use of landmines.

The Black History Symposium Chapel will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, in the Recital Hall of the Center for Faith Life. Pamela Cook, chaplain intern at Redeemer Lutheran Church, will act as the preacher while honoring Walter Rodney, a Pan-Africanist historian dedicated to engaging Africans across the globe in the struggle for freedom, justice and respect.

A respondent panel composed of Luther faculty Novian Whitsitt and Martin Klammer, and Luther alumni Narren Brown and Ronney and Emerald Jane Hunter will discuss "The Luther Story" at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, in the Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall. Through recounting personal experiences and addressing issues with perceptions of African-Americans and Africans-in-America alike, the panel explores how the complicated relationship between these groups has affected Luther's campus.

Award-winning African artist and photographer Dayo Laoye will present a gallery talk at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, on the second floor of the Center for Faith and Life to discuss his art. Laoye's exhibition focuses on the continuity of African traditions in the northern hemisphere and will be open to the public for viewing Feb. 4-28. A reception will follow the gallery talk.

Those interested in attending the symposium can register at:

The Black History Symposium is sponsored by the Africana Studies department, the Center for Ethics and Public Life, the Lectures and Fine Arts Committee, Luther Galleries and the Luther Diversity Center. 

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,400, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the bachelor of arts degree in 60 majors and preprofessional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website:

Michel Martin