MCCC celebrates Black History Month

President Quartey uses a powerpoint presentation to illustrate the history of slavery in Africa.

Black History Month at MCCC started with a short speech by President Kojo Quartey. 
He opened with some words on why we celebrate Black History Month. 
“As an institution, we like to celebrate our diversity, and as a nation, I believe that our diversity is our greatest strength,” Quartey said. 
The speech focused on what was happening in Africa during the slave trade. 
He addressed historical facts such as the enslavement of Africans by Africans. 
“Let’s put it in perspective, let’s say you have Tribe A, a very powerful tribe, and you have Tribe B, a weaker tribe. What Tribe A did was they went to war with Tribe B, they conquered those people, and then they sold them into slavery,” he said. 
Quartey also pointed out that the tribes didn’t know what kind of slavery they were selling the conquered people into. 
“The type of slavery you had in Africa before the Europeans came was the sort of slavery where you could eventually gain back your freedom, you could even marry the king’s daughter if you were a slave,” he said. 
The second event was a speech presented by Professor Edmund La Clair about the impact of African culture on the rest of the world. 
La Clair told the story of an African god called Anansi, who was lazy and a trickster. 
The story was originally a way for African people to learn how to make a special glue. 
He described how the stories of Anansi influenced popular characters like Bugs Bunny. 
“In the 1920s, a couple of these stories, Uncle Remus stories as they were called, get written down, and then eventually, very eventually here, they get picked up by cartoonists who take the briar rabbit stories and turn them into the Bugs Bunny stories,” he said. 
In another event, Xavier Allen spoke about African people in European armies, and Quartey gave a speech about the historical perspective of Liberal Arts for African Americans.         
 To close Black History Month, Ted Toles Jr. will talk at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, in the La-Z-Boy atrium about his time in the Negro Leagues. 
Toles played as a pitcher in the 1940s and 50s. His life is the subject of a new book called, “Living on Borrowed Time.” 
Also on Feb. 28, the Monroe County Library System’s Blues Concert Series will close with “The Big Gig,” featuring Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues, John Hammond and Rev. Robert B. Jones.
The event begins at 7 p.m. in the Meyer Theater. Admission is free.