The Oberlin Review

Reflecting On 50 Years of Africana Studies

Reflecting On 50 Years of Africana Studies

November 15, 2019

Africana Studies Program Created Against Backdrop of National Activism Nathan Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief In the fall of 1969, Oberlin College launched an Afro-American Studies program, following significant student activism inspired in part by students at San Francisco State University; the University of California, Berkeley; and elsewhere. In creating the program, Oberlin joined a wave of more than 500 colleges and universities across the country that instituted similar academic departments or...

Climate Activism Must Be Universal, Inclusive

Theo Canter, Contributing Writer

September 27, 2019

 Last Friday’s Climate Strike left me and many others who participated in it with a sense of rising optimism and hope. With participants numbering in the millions worldwide, it was one of the largest social protests in recent years.  Soon after students walked out of class Friday morning and gathered around the Tappan Square bandstand, a wide variety of powerful speakers — ranging from high school students, to college students, to adult community members — made their voices heard.  Having been to many political gatherings and protests, especially in the past few years, I felt that this one in particular was different. This was not like Matthew McConaughey’s 2003 Saturday Night Live sketch, “Protest...

Oberlin College’s History Still Deeply Relevant

Del Spurlock, OC ’63

September 27, 2019

 Congratulations, Oberlin, on your remarkable history as a town and institution. I believe that Editor-in-Chief Nathan Carpenter’s “hope to fully understand our present-day challenges” should remain a driving force of his series (“Oberlin’s Early History Rooted in Religious Convictions,” The Oberlin Review, Sept. 20, 2019). Oberlin’s last 100 years provide a testament to the sources of your generation’s acute challenges now and in the years ahead. And Henry Churchill King, Oberlin’s longest serving president — and a former Review editor — will prove to be the prophet of the age.  On Sept. 27, 1919, King, the internationally-honored mathematician, ethicist, theologian, orator, and founding mem...

Oberlin Climate Strike Engages International Emergency

Editorial Board

September 13, 2019

 In support of work undertaken by Sunrise Oberlin, Obies will once again engage with important national and international issues as we stand with the rest of the world and strike against climate change on Sept. 20. Coverage of the plan for the protest is on page 1 of this issue (“Sunrise Strikes for Brighter Future”). The Global Climate Strike is a week-long protest starting next Friday during which citizens from over 120 countries, several thousand cities, and over a million students will take part in a climate rally to raise awareness that not only is climate change real, but it isalso a quickly-approaching emergency.  Oberlin’s contribution via Sunrise Oberlin is already significant. On May 10, the organization ...

In Face of Adversity, Obies Keep On Keepin’ On

Editorial Board

September 6, 2019

 Over the course of the summer, many people around the country seemed to suddenly be worried about Oberlin students. An explosion of media attention following an initial verdict in the lawsuit filed by Gibson’s Food Mart & Bakery against the College and Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo inspired people who have never set foot in Ohio to weigh in on whether we have our heads screwed on straight. The Review’s inboxes were flooded with messages written in varying degrees of hysteria. Some wanted to know if Oberlin students knew how stupid and short-sighted we are. Some accused us — both the Review staff specifically and the student body at large — of being sheep at the beck and call of...

Examining Oberlin’s History Rewarding, Provides Insight

Nathan Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief

September 6, 2019

Editor’s note: This column is the first in a series that will focus on Oberlin’s history as a town and an institution. The series will be published regularly throughout the fall semester. Through the decades, Oberlin has demonstrated a strong commitment to documenting and preserving its own history. Mudd Center boasts extensive archival collections; for a town and college of modest size, a surprising number of books and essays have been written about Oberlin. While many Oberlin historians have had some connection with the college or town, many journalists and scholars from outside of this community have also taken an interest in Oberlin’s historical impact on the broader trajectory of American history. This past W...

Gibson’s Case Trivializes Actual Racism

Nicholas Isherwood, OC ’81

September 6, 2019

Like many alumni, I have followed the legal battle concerning Gibson’s Food Mart & Bakery with interest and horror. Decades of Oberlin students have enjoyed Gibson’s tasty doughnuts and other treats, and have come to know the family. I am not at all surprised that the jury ruled in favor of Gibson’s. Both the experience of Oberlin students and the facts of the case indicate that Gibson’s is not a racist business. Simply put, the shoplifters were caught and when the police arrived, they were assaulting Mr. Gibson.  Polarized race relations at Oberlin are not a new phenomenon. When I was a student in the late 1970s, my political organization, The Moderate Caucus, circulated a petition opposing the creatio...

Terrell’s Accomplishments Should Be Highlighted, Not Overlooked

Shannon Silberhorn, Contributing Writer

February 22, 2019

Like any institution, Oberlin’s history and commitment to progressivism has both dramatic highs and sharp lows. Part of why I chose Oberlin as a high school student was that it was the first college to support women and Black students in pursuing higher education. As a College senior, I’ve chosen to focus my Religion capstone on Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954), because I was interested in the way our institutional history often excludes the contributions of Terrell and other Black women who graduated from Oberlin. In addition to renaming the main library after Terrell, I agree with Azariah Smith Root Director of Libraries Alexia Hudson-Ward that we should do more to educate students about her history in order for...

‘Enough’: NBA Players Take a Stand Against Gun Violence

Nathan Carpenter and Alexis Dill

November 16, 2018

As former Miami Heat teammates LeBron James and Dwyane Wade laced up their sneakers and jogged onto the Amway Center basketball court for warm-ups, a 17-year-old boy just 30 minutes northeast of Orlando, in Sanford, FL, put up his hood and stuck a bag of Skittles in his pocket upon leaving a 7-Eleven. At the same time as over seven million people tuned in for the tip-off of the 61st NBA All-Star Game — 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 26, 2012 — Trayvon Martin was pronounced dead. Martin, a Black teenager from Miami Gardens, FL, was visiting his future stepmother with his father the night he was fatally shot in the back by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman. Martin was unarmed and committing no crimes when he...

Students Rally Against Kavanaugh

Students Rally Against Kavanaugh

October 12, 2018

Editor’s Note: This article contains mention of sexual assault. Oberlin students rallied in Cleveland in a series of protests against the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court last week. The demonstrations began Thursday, Oct. 4 with a sit-in at Senator Rob Portman’s Cleveland office, and ended with a march through downtown Cleveland Saturday, hours before Kavanaugh’s confirmation. “It would be a complete atrocity and a perversion of the ...

Johnnetta Cole, OC ’57

Johnnetta Cole, OC ’57

October 5, 2018

Oberlin alumna Johnnetta Cole, ’57, delivered the opening remarks at the Inauguration Ceremony of President Carmen Twillie Ambar earlier today. Cole was the first female African-American president at Spelman College and also served as the President of Bennett College. She has been the director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art and was awarded the Legend in Leadership Award for Higher Education from the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute earlier this...

Oberlin Dining Forum Highlights Issues With Sensationalist Activism

Patrick Powers, Contributing Writer

September 14, 2018

Oberlin students identify as activists. That activism must reach beyond a Google Doc. In the wake of the implementation of the 300 meal-per-semester plan for first-years and sophomores, Dascomb Dining Hall’s closure, and this year’s changes to DeCafé, Campus Dining Services has become one of the first major flashpoints for the anxieties and fears of the student body as our school changes. In the past few weeks, outraged Facebook posts and Google Doc activists have brought dining changes to the forefront of campus chatter. With that in mind, I find myself coming away from the recent forum on the state of campus dining with a lot of mixed feelings about student activism as I’ve seen it on this campus. The anger a...

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