UA sponsors event honoring black history

Katy Turnbull

The sound of hip-hop violins, saxophones and drum beats will fill the gymnasium of the Charles A. Brown Elementary School in Ensley today as the University Union takes one of its cultural programs on the road for the first time.

The program, titled “Making History Everyday,” will give students at Brown Elementary the opportunity to look at black history through the performing arts.

Lady Woo of the radio station 95.7 Jamz is the emcee of the show, which will begin at noon in the school’s gymnasium.

“Our goal is for them to see themselves and utilize performing arts as a tool or mechanism for their choice in higher education,” said LaToya Scott, director of special events and student involvement for the University Union.

Scott said that she hopes the event will also help UA students who are performing, as well as helping setting up and run the event, see community service in a different light.

“Community service can be seen as anything from building a home to going to a soup kitchen, but we are looking at programming as a way to serve the community,” Scott said. “The students are actually participating with the children here and we are hoping that they will look at cultural art as a way of expressing African-American heritage and see the value of the University of Alabama.”

Scott said the University Union and its student participants plan to transform the Brown Elementary gym into what will look like a time machine as a fun way for Brown students to feel as though they actually are being transported through time as the program explores cultural progression through the decades from beginnings of black history to the present.

Scott said some of the performers for the event were chosen from auditions and others were selected from their participation in previous UA events.

According to a UA news release, the program will feature student performers from the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and the Riptide Dance Team, whose performances will focus on black influence in modern dance, as well as performances from former UA student and hip-hop violinist, D-Sharp, Andrew Cotton, a graduate student and rapper, 11-year-old Toni Smith, African-American All-Star Drumline, a group of seven Pickens County children and members from a professional dance company in Birmingham, Vulcan Performers.

Elizabeth Yarbrough, a UA senior majoring in public relations and one of the students working with the union to help to put on the event, said the program should be both fun and informational for Brown Elementary students.

“I think the whole purpose for the show is to give these kids a greater understanding and appreciation of all the important figures in African-American history that went into making possible the things they have around them today, and make them see the possibilities that they do have around them today,” Yarbrough said.