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February 16, 1996 - Image 3

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-16

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 16, 1996 -3'


gain new
from South
Africa visit


By Kate Glickman Daily Staff Re:
lack History Month, celebrated in February, comes on the heels
T the nationwide holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. The month
usually conjures images of slavery, Jim Crow, W.E.B. DuBois,
Malcolm X and other U.S. leaders and events.
But to University students who traveled to South Africa this past
summer, African American history is only a part of a larger celebra-
tion, a global celebration for black people internationally.
"There are two histories. The first is African and the second is
African American," said political science Prof. Hanes
Walton. "The African part is the oldest part. It goes back ....
to the beginning of time."
*lack history is a culmination of two distinct political
identities, Walton said.
LSA senior Ruquiijah Yearby spent three months in
Durban, South Africa, with a group of students, and said
she returned to the University with a new outlook.
"When I came back, a lot of things were put in perspec-
tive," Yearby said.
Researching lead poisoning in children ages 3 to 5 and 8
to 10, the students learned about environmental problems King
and got a chance to interact with the South African people.
The students said the poverty they witnessed was shocking be-
d their expectations.
Little kids were running around without shoes, without clothes,"
Yearby said.
"I learned how blessed we are as African Americans not to live in
that kind of poverty," she said.
Emerging from apartheid, the South African people are just
beginning to change the old system.
"People are excited for change," said Michelle Everett, an LSA senior
who went to Johannesburg. "They are working together."
Yearby said young people in South Africa have not
learned African history because of a lack of resources.
*Because of their whole system living as inferior, they
on't know a lot about African history in general," she
said. "All they know is that they have been fighting so
hard for their rights."
Since the fall ofapartheid, school curricula have changed
to more accurately serve the diverse population, but rural
areas still suffer without textbooks, Yearby said.
"The experience reminded me that it is very important
to celebrate Black History Month as a global celebra- Malcolm X
Yearby, a biology concentrator, said she plans to become a lawyer
And travel to impoverished countries to set up health care sites.
Mack at the University, Yearby plans to educate blacks about
student activism on campus through her Black Undergraduate Law
-Association's Law Week.
"I'm trying to getpeople interested in their rights and the law," she said.
Through her sorority, Tau Kappa Omicron, Yearby also helped
'organize a symposium for Black History Month focusing on women's
health. The event is open to all women, but Yearby said "we thought
it would be a good time to do it."
In Johannesburg, other University students studied how rapid
urbanization has affected children in a study called "Birth to Ten."
"The kids were like regular kids," LSA senior Greg White said of
experiences in South Africa, "except everyone there speaks three
to nine languages."
White, who is black, said, "It was one of the best experiences of
my life, because people don't realize what its like to wake up in the

morning and have people look like you.
"It was a very warm feeling. People are nicer," he said.
White echoed Yearby and said the poverty in Johannesburg was
like nothing he had experienced in the United States.
"No person can imagine being in the condition that some ofthe people
had to live in," he said. "It was like nothing I'd ever seen in my life."
Leaving the country is important for African Americans, accord-
ing to White.
His experience has motivated him to become more active in the
"People at the University have had little if any direct
contact with struggle," he said.
"People are complacent," White said. "Everything is
here for us."
Civil rights leaders and movements began to disappear
in the '70s, and today's university students are out oftouch
with activism, he said.
White is a sociology concentrator and is busy teaching
through the School of Education. He plans to teach high
White volunteers for Project SERVE, giving time and
energy to the black community.
"When I came back my life was more focused," he said.
Everett, who was on the same program as White, said she also
changed after her visit to South Africa.
"I have a different view of black history - actually seeing and
meeting people - I understand more," she said.
Everett described Johannesburg as a city that retains the physical
characteristics of apartheid, like tall walls designed to keep blacks
separated from whites.
"If you can imagine North Campus surrounded by high walls and
barbed wire," she said. "Security is really tight."
The walls only had two entrances where about five to
eight guards made sure women obeyed 1:30 a.m. curfews.
While White and Everett traveled with the same pro-
gram, Everett said women were restricted much more than
men because of curfews and other rules of conduct.
Everett commented on the differences between the
United States and South Africa, saying some South Afri-
cans were shocked when she spoke with both whites and
blacks in the community.
"Groups really didn't intermix," she said. "I caused a bit
of a stir; people asked me questions."
Interactions between African Americans and South Af-
ricans were awkward at first, White said.
"You're American, not African," he said. "We might not laugh at
the same things."
By the end of the trip, both made friends.
"I can't wait to go back and visit," White said.
Everett said she will celebrate Black History Month with a global

Marketing the Dream
Companies promote black history by selling
products from Malcolm X hats to checks

By Katie Wang



What do baseball caps, T-shirts, buttons and
checks have in common?
The answer: These are products carrying the
images of influential leaders or historical mo-
ments in black history.
Last October, the Deluxe Corporation, the
world's largest supplier of checks in conjunc-
tion with Intellectual Properties Management
Inc., an Atlanta based licensing company, intro-
duced a new line of checks that feature photo-

aaily Staff Reporter
understanding about how America works,"
Coleman said.
"In order to get the message (of King) out you
have to cooperate with corporations, it's the
American way," he said. "It's exploitive if you
allow it to be."
IPM has exclusive worldwide rights to li-
cense King's image. This summer, King's im-
age will appear in the opening ceremonies ofthe
Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga.

graphs of Martin Luther
King Jr. during the civil
rights movement.
The checks are the lat-
est marketing product
featuring the image of.
an influential African
American leader.
Several years ago,
with the release of Spike
Lee's movie about the


'fi:. .
i. _. ii

-- o-

iPM and Deluxe de-
cided torelease checks
with King's image be-
cause "checks are a
communication ve-
hicle to reflect and re-
member," Coleman
said. "As people use
checks everyday, they
get a chance to reflect
on the history and the

life of Malcolm X, hats and T-shirts bearing an
"X" quickly became a fashion fad.
Engineering senior Shawn Ward said he wore
a Malcolm X T-shirt then because the leader's
image "stands for strong black men to stand up
for themselves."
Britches, a Virginia-based clothing store, sold
X hats to add variety to the store's product line.
Cathy Manuel, a merchandise manager for the
store, said Britches decided to sell the hats because
they "add alittle spice and controversy to ourmix."
Do these products exploit the images of King
and Malcolm X?
Herschel Coleman, a spokesperson for IPM,
says no.
"When someone says that we are being
exploitive of King's image, they have a poor

times that affected America."
The photographs on the check were taken by
Flip Schulke, awhite photographer who worked
on assignments for Ebony and Life magazines
during the 1960s.
"King'sfaceon acheckwouldpromoteKing's
vision," Schulke said. "The more people see the
pictures it would encourage them to use non-
violent strategies."
T-shirts and sweatshirts bearing the messages
of October's Million Man March in Washing-
ton, D.C., were another new marketing product.
"The shirts represent all about what went on
in the march," said Levancie Lofton, who sells
Million Man March T-shirts at the Judiciary
Square Metro stop in Washington. "They carry
the message of the march."

"I see black history tied into
history period," she said, "The
main thing I realized is different
perspectives. When I think of
African history there's Zulu his-
tory and U.S. history and Euro-
pean history. It's not one di-
Black history with a global

"Black History Month takes on a paramount significance as we approach the 21st century.
Civil rights laws and celebrations such as Black History Month have exposed the legal
consequences of overt discriminatory practices and racial harassment. The struggles for, and
achievement of independence by African countries in the 20th century have shown the
strength, the humanity, the ingenuity and the c9ntributions of the African to the human
- Yaw Boateng, professor of education at Eastern Washington University.
- From "Ghana Review," Jan. 27, 1996.

Students help high schools

By Kate Glickman


Daily Staff Reporter

In honor of Black History Month, LSA senior
Patrice Petway and her sorority sisters will teach
black high school women how to piece together
a resume and apply for college.
All over campus, student organizations and
faculty members are reaching out to give their
service and expertise to the community.
"We're having a three-day workshop at Ann
Arbor high schools," said Petway, president of
the Black Greek Association.
"A lot of people say they don't have role
models," Petway said.
Over three weekends, her sorority will talk to
African American women about self-esteem and
preparing for the future.
"Taking the World by Storm," the title of the
second workshop. will help black women with

African queens like Sheba and Nefertiti, a history
that is often neglected, Jones said.
"How can we be like these queens?" Jones said.
Giving a hand to high school students in Detroit
Public Schools is something Rhea Norwood, a
Business junior, plans for upcoming months.
"During the regular year, African American his-
tory is left out or less than a chapter in our books,"
Norwood said.
Black History Month is a time when black stu-
dents learn about events and people who are not
covered in most curriculum, Norwood said.
"I've learned a lot more history since high school
directed toward African Americans,"Norwood said.
"Like my black religion course which teaches the
religion of our ancestors."
Norwood wants to help Detroit public high school

f Ila

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