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Penn College Concludes Black History Month Observance

Cade Cassel assists storyteller Joanna Maddox, who portrayed astronaut Mae Jemison during Penn College's Feb. 2 Soul Food Dinner.
Cade Cassel assists storyteller Joanna Maddox, who portrayed astronaut Mae Jemison during Penn College’s Feb. 2 Soul Food Dinner.

Penn College joined in the national observance of Black History Month through a series of events during February. The annual Soul Food Dinner, held in Penn’s Inn, kicked off the month on Feb. 2. Guests weren’t deterred by the snowy evening and heard the story of Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, as told by performer Joanna Maddox. The Race Experience kiosk, on display in Madigan Library, challenged the community to consider that race is a created social construct with no genetic definition. The month continued with a candid discussion at the “What’s Race Got to Do With It?” roundtable featuring student panelists – Wilmer I. Clase, of Lancaster, architectural technology; Norma T. Fuentes-Montesino, of Port Royal, early childhood education; and Kacie L. Weaver, of Harrisburg, applied human services – as well as the Rev. Sam Hwang, pastor of The First Presbyterian Church of Williamsport. On Feb. 20-21, Penn College partnered with the Williamsport Black Repertory Theater to host “A Raisin in the Sun” on the Klump Academic Center Auditorium stage. Proceeds from ticket sales benefited the Community Alliance for Progressive Positive Action. The month concluded with a film screening of Justin Simien’s award-winning satire “Dear White People,” which focuses on the experiences of black students at a prestigious and predominately white university.
Photo by Kimberly R. Cassel, director of student activities