The Oberlin Review

What is a Black American Music Department?

Daniel Spearman, OC ’16

September 4, 2020

Editor’s Note: This piece is referenced in the letter-to-the-editor “Action Steps for the Conservatory to Create a Better Community.” Below are some thoughts I’ve had about Black music and its place within the spaces of higher learning. Black musicians (and people) have historically been excluded from being a full part of society in the United States. This has resulted in a situation where there are two (if not more) divergent forms of classical and folk music within the North American continent. As such, it is necessary, in my humble opinion, to create space and devote resources to the study and upliftment of marginalized — specifically Black — voices within the space of conservatories. For too lon...

Afrikan Heritage House faculty and residents hold an Umoja meeting over Zoom, as shown in the documentary

“Boxes Will Be Provided” Challenges Oberlin to Do More For Black Students

July 9, 2020

When the College moved to remote learning this past spring, students enrolled in the Historic and Contemporary Debates in African American Education course knew they had to document the experience. Their documentary Boxes Will Be Provided felt like a necessary step in recording the impact of COVID-19 on Black Obies. Director and editor DaQuan Williams, OC ’20, had very little experience in film-making prior to embarking on this project, which clocks in at roughly two and a half hours and invol...

65 Foundational Works in the Field of Africana Studies

Department of Africana Studies

June 14, 2020

Editor’s Note: This list of resources was originally attached to ABUSUA’s Letter to the Administration and Board of Trustees.  This following selection of works (written, visual and aural texts) have been combined by the faculty and affiliate faculty of Oberlin College’s Department of Africana Studies, to provide for its major, minor and interested students a list of what members of the department see as foundational works in the field of Africana Studies. The interdisciplinary nature of the field and the multi-disciplinary range of the contributors to this collection provides a broad, deep, and complex interpretation of works fundamental to the description, study, and creative expression of Africana peoples (continental...

ABUSUA Demands Institutional Reform from Administrators, Board of Trustees

ABUSUA

June 14, 2020

To Oberlin College and Conservatory administration and Board of Trustees ABUSUA, Oberlin’s Black Student Union, would like to express our anger and dissatisfaction with Oberlin's administration. The recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others have made the world take a hard look at all of the continually ignored racist practices and institutions embedded in our society. Their painful deaths serve as a reminder of the systematic oppression and racism that continue to affect Black people in America. Oberlin has a legacy of activism and supporting the advancement of Black people. We would like to see these values reflected in Oberlin's response to the current Bla...

Fashion Show “Look Black At It” Celebrates 50 Years of Africana Studies

Nathan Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief

February 28, 2020

The 50-year anniversary of Oberlin’s Africana Studies department was celebrated in style at the Black History Month Fashion Show last Saturday. This year’s event was themed “Look Black At It: 50 Years of Fashion.” College third-year Jasmine Mitchell was one of the event’s key organizers. She said that the planning committee started putting the show together about six months ago. “[We began] with ideas for the theme, creating a budget to support the ideas we had, then reaching out to models and makeup artists, contacting photographers, getting a DJ, and, finally, numerous rehearsals,” Mitchell wrote in an email to the Review. “This year … really focused on the importance of knowing Black histo...

Protesters raise their fists during “Bloody Tuesday” protests at San Francisco State College. The San Francisco Express Times ran this image on the front page of its December 4, 1968 issue.

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...

Established 1874.