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...

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...

Residential Education To Reorganize Dorm Arrangements

Residential Education To Reorganize Dorm Arrangements

April 26, 2019

The Office of Residential Education is planning to introduce a series of changes to the nature of living spaces over the next five years in hopes of increasing programming, faculty integration, and feelings of community. As of next year, Zechiel House will become a First-Year Residential Experience dorm, Barnard House will hold the Sci-Fi themed halls currently located in North Hall, and Noah Hall will be a designated substance-free and quiet space which was previously located in Barnard. During this time of ...

Students Protest in Wake of A-House Petition

Melissa Harris, Staff Writer

December 12, 2015

Rather than Sunday dinner, student diners at Afrikan Heritage House were met with protestors blocking the entrances. According to members of Oberlin’s Black student union, ABUSUA, as well as other students, the protest was their response to Campus Dining Services’ failure to address their concerns outlined in a petition submitted to the College in late November. A petition protesting both the quality and selection of food options served at Lord-Saunders Dining Hall began circulating on Wednesday, Nov. 18. Students called for CDS to adhere to more traditional meals, including making fried chicken a permanent feature on the Sunday night menu and providing more vegan and vegetarian options. “The food quality at A...

McCrae Depicts Survival, Self-Doubt Through Verse

Louise Edwards, Arts Editor

November 13, 2015

Director of the Creative Writing Program Kazim Ali and Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Shane McCrae gave a reading together at Afrikan Heritage House on Thursday, Nov. 5 that featured works from their new books, both published this year. McCrae, who went first, read the poem “How You Are Owned” from his book The Animal Too Big to Kill. “Growing up black white trash you grow up / knowing there are / Two kinds of white in the world one black / the / White like the crayon / You grow up calling flesh / that colors everything the color of imaginary peaches / and the white like every other white thing / Lord and the black like what your skin is like the / Black like what bad guys wear,” he read. Much of McCra...

Oberlin Welcomes Visiting South African Singers

Lydia Rice

October 4, 2013

A delegation of South African musicians visited Oberlin last month, returning the visit that was paid to their Conservatory by a contingency of Oberlin students in the past year. Nombuso Ndlandla, along with fellow singing students Tammy Aslett, Palesa Malieloa, senior voice lecturer Dr. Conroy Alan Cupido and senior piano lecturer Dr. Tinus Botha, were part of the group from Potchefstroom, South Africa’s North-West School of Music & Conservatory. Their visit to Oberlin lasted for roughly a week, from Friday, Sept. 20 through Saturday, Sept. 28.  In this short period of time, they managed to get a lot done: performing, sitting in on classes in the Conservatory and taking part in workshops. Their two performances...

Jones Accepts Position at Spelman College

Madeline Stocker

April 17, 2013

Ralph Jones, faculty-in-residence at Afrikan Heritage House, recently accepted a teaching position at Spelman College in Atlanta beginning next year. Jones, who is also currently co-chair of the music program for the California State Summer School for the Arts, leaves behind a five-year legacy of spiritual and musical guidance at Oberlin. Growing up in what he described as the “musical womb” of Detroit, Jones was surrounded by Motown and improvisation-oriented mentors. He began playing clarinet at 7, before later learning saxophone. At 14, Jones met jazz saxophonist Yusef Lateef, who became his lifetime friend and mentor and with whom he would travel the world playing concerts and studying musical cultures. During...

Oberlin-Wide Skillshare System Would Facilitate Connection

Daniel Lobb, Peter Saudek, and Essie Weiss-Tisman

March 15, 2013

In light of recent events in this community, we would like to encourage courageously creative brainstorming in the continuous effort to foster a more cohesive Oberlin. The ongoing forums at Afrikan Heritage House and the community conversations facilitated by One Town, especially, have showcased a willingness to explore new avenues of social change. Following this example, we must, as members of the Oberlin community, acknowledge that divisions within this community have existed for over a century, and if we’re serious about addressing them, we’ll need new ideas. Here’s an idea: Why don’t we create an Oberlin-wide skillshare system whereby anyone in the College and greater community could teach specific skills...

Hateful Speech Not ‘Isolated Incident’

Tiesha Cassel, Hannah Elhard, Lyle Kash, Tania Mukherjee, Sylvie Rosenkalt, and Kaela Sanborn-Hum

February 15, 2013

We are the Edmonia Lewis Center for Women and Transgender People, and we are writing to condemn the recent trend of hateful speech attacking marginalized communities on campus. We are acting in solidarity with the Multicultural Resource Center and other student and faculty organizers to address harm caused by racism, queerphobia, anti-Semitism and other forms of structural oppression. The ELC is a collective that is committed to dismantling interconnected systems of oppression based on sex, gender, race, class, sexuality, age, ability, size, religion, nationality, ethnicity and language. We serve as a safe space for programming and conversation. We also respect and advocate for the creation of other safe and supportive...

Student Community Invites Discussion on Racial Issues

Student Community Invites Discussion on Racial Issues

April 20, 2012

Discomfort and discontent with hate crimes occurring at Ohio State University and the perceived racism and prejudice existing within the Oberlin community have elicited discussion and action from students this week in the form of petitions, letters, and community meetings. Vandalism at Afrikan Heritage House Afrikan Heritage House, a safe space for people of African descent and for the preservation of African and African-American culture, has been the victim of a number of different instance...

Essence Dances to Music of John and Alice Coltrane

Elizabeth Dobbins

March 9, 2012

“Escape from New Babylon to the Sweet Music of John and Alice Coltrane,” presented by Essence dance troupe, is the second in a trilogy of artist showcases that began with 2010’s celebration of musician Eric Dolphy. Showing in Warner Main on March 9 and 10 at 8 p.m., the event will be a mix of music, dance and spoken-word performances. The show’s artistic director, the African American Studies Department’s artist-in-residence Adenike Sharpley, explained that the dance portion of the show will feature black expressionism, a form of dance improvisation heavily influenced by West African styles ,originally introduced to Sharpley by her mentor, Margaret Christian, OC ’74. Sharpley said this improvisational...

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