By the end of this week, Ensworth High School will have participated in 4 days of presentations from distinguished guest as part of our recognition of Black History Month. This year, David Whitfield, Seminar Department Chair and professor of History and English, went to great lengths in making sure a wide variety of topics were covered and students were educated on the importance of African American culture and history. “ It was so refreshing to hear a world class professor lecture. His 50 minute talked reminded me how great it was to be a college student. His major thesis was the importance of understanding that black history is American history. I appreciate David Whitfield making these lectures available to everyone.” John Faulkner, Dept. of Visual and Performing Arts Department Chair.
Monday night’s speaker, Dr. Daryl Scott of Howard University, spoke on the meaning of black history month and why it is important. Professor Scott specializes in modern United States History and his study, Contempt and Pity: Social Policy and the Image of the Damaged Black Psyche, 1880-1996, won the Organization of American Historian’s 1998 James Rawley Prize for the best work in race relations.
During Tuesday’s assembly, Ensworth Parent, Dr. James Hildreth was recognized with the W E.B Dubois Distinguished Professional Award. In 2001, while Dr. Hildreth was Chief of the Division of Research for National Institute of Health National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, he and his research team discovered that cholesterol is active in HIV’s ability to penetrate cells and that removing the fatty material from a cell’s membrane can block infection. This led to his focus on how HIV enters cells and causes infection. Dr. Hildreth accepted the Directorship of Meharry’s Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research in 2005. His primary work focuses on developing topical microbicides (chemical condoms) to block transmission of HIV. (Courtesy of: http://www.mmc.edu/faculty/som-jhildreth.html)
Following Tuesday’s assembly, Tuesday evenings guest speaker was Dr. Tracy Denean Sharpley-Whiting, Distinguished Professor of French and African American and African Diaspora Studies. Dr. Sharpley-Whiting spoke to the audience on the Images of African- American Women in Pop Culture. Dr. Sharpley-Whiting spoke about the negative perception of women that is prominent in rap music today, noting that the trend actually started in rock music, but has since crossed over into rap culture. Dr. Sharpley-Whiting is an accomplished author covering a variety of topics from feminism, young black women in hip-hop culture, and black women in Paris from the 17th-19th centuries.
The program continues tonight, with a special presentation from Dr. William Smith. Dr. Smith is Executive Director Race Amity Institute at Wheelock College, Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Smith with be speaking on “The Invisible Soldiers- Stories of African-American soldiers in World War II”. Smith’s initial college career began in integrating division one football in the old Confederate South at Wake Forest College. He was profiled in the Sports Illustrated cover story (November 7, 2005) as one of the pioneers who changed the face of college football. He left Wake Forest to work as a community organizer in the Civil Rights Movement and was drafted into the US Army. He graduated with honors from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst after serving as a medic in Vietnam, where he was awarded two Bronze Star stars and the Combat Medic Badge. He also earned his doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. For more information about his extensive bio, please visit here: http://www.wheelock.edu/ncra/about.html
The final piece of the program will be Thursday Evening and will include a performance by Gospel Group Nu Image, featuring Ensworth’s own Darwin Mason. Nu Image has performed at colleges, churches and even the Apollo Theater in New York City. Members of Nu Image have performed with music’s legends such as Al Green, Ce CE Winans, Le Ann Womack and the late Johnny Cash.
It isn’t too late to take part in Ensworth’s recognition of Black History Month. Please join us tonight and tomorrow night in the EHS theater at 6:30pm to take advantage of these special presentations.