Dr. James E. Walton, professor of English at Fresno State, will speak at Africana Culture Night from 7-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, in the Satellite Student Union in celebration of African People’s History Month.
The free, public event, sponsored by the Black Students United student club, recognizes African-Americans and black citizenship in the United States, said student event coordinator Breayre Tender, a senior double major in Business and Theater Arts from Philadelphia.
The evening will feature various performances around the theme, “The Upbringing,” highlighting and celebrating different eras of African-American history such as slavery, the Civil Rights movement, the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Panther movement and President Barack Obama.
Also on the program are dance performances, slavery monologues by Theatre Arts students, a Rosa Parks skit, poetry, drumming, singing, a fashion show of various African clothing styles, a gallery display of African-American artifacts and an Ethiopian food sampling.
Tender said Africana Culture Night will take the audience on a journey through African-American history.
“The theme focuses on our upbringing and what it means to be African-American, what defines the history of African-Americans and how we came to be a part of this culture,” she said.
Victoria Quarshie, president of Black Students United, said the performances will demonstrate significant moments throughout African-American’s history.
“In order to make a change in our communities and enhance our surroundings, it is important to understand the beginnings of our culture,” said Quarshie, a senior Psychology major from Fresno.
Walton joined the Fresno State faculty in 1990 and has numerous publications and professional presentations on topics like the Harlem Renaissance as well as Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, Miles Davis, Ralph Ellison, August Wilson and Arthur Miller.
He was awarded the Great Teacher Award at Mount Union College in Ohio and has been a longtime table leader and consultant for Educational Testing Service of Princeton (ETS).
Walton also taught Fresno States’ first international course through the Internet in 1998 – American Literature to students in Tokyo.
Walton serves as adviser to the Black Students United student club.
(Copy prepared by University Communications news student assistant Alejandra Garcia.)