January 4, 2007

Black Cultural Center tours help students, faculty experience diversity

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. —The Purdue University Black Cultural Center will begin offering educational tours to help students fulfill class requirements to experience diversity this semester on the West Lafayette campus.

"The enhanced tours enable faculty to use the Black Cultural Center as a part of their classroom instruction materials," said Jolivette Anderson-Douoning, facility and program supervisor. "The hour-long educational tours are designed to supplement what is taught in the classroom and to help students gain an understanding of the humanity of all people through the history, culture and experiences of people throughout the African diaspora."

The African diaspora signifies the movement of Africans to North, Central and South America, as well as Europe and Asia. Many of the descendents of the African diaspora were sold into slavery during the transatlantic slave trade.

The educational tours include descriptions of artifacts, architecture and explain the purpose of the performing arts in an environment that promotes dialogue and discussion, Anderson-Douoning said. Participants will receive information on pre-colonial Africa, the Atlantic slave trade, the Harlem renaissance and the civil rights movement.

"An overview of the Black Cultural Center library is an integral part of the tour experience," said Dorothy Washington, librarian at the center. "Researchers have access to more than 7,000 volumes relating primarily to African-American life and thought. In addition, resources pertaining to continental and other diasporic Africans also are available in the collection."

The library supplements its print collection by maintaining a Web site that provides links to hundreds of scholarly and general interest resources, Washington said. Digitized documents and online catalogs at institutions such as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York, the Herskovits Library of African Studies at Northwestern University, the Martin Luther King Jr. Directory at Stanford University and the Library of Congress are accessible via the library's Web site.

The educational tours will be offered daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Advanced registration is requested. Subject-specific library research sessions must be scheduled through the Black Cultural Center library at least three weeks in advance.

"We at the Black Cultural Center are excited to be a part of meeting the growing need for Purdue University students to understand their place in a global market and to fulfill the mission of the center as well as campuswide diversity initiatives," said Renee Thomas, director of the Black Cultural Center. "We invite all to learn the history of the Black Cultural Center as an institution within a larger institution, the student activism that gave birth to the center, the planning of the architecture of the building and its relationship to West African history and culture, the function of visual, material, folk and performing arts and much more."

To schedule a tour, contact Anderson-Douoning at (765) 494-3094 or jjanderson@purdue.edu. To schedule a subject-specific library session, contact Washington at (765) 494-3093 or dwashin2@purdue.edu.

Go online for a virtual tour or for more information about the staff, library resources and programming activities of the Black Cultural Center.

Writer: Maggie Morris, (765) 494-2432, maggiemorris@purdue.edu

Sources: Renee Thomas, (765) 494-3091, rathomas@purdue.edu

Jolivette Anderson-Douoning, (765) 494-3094, jjanderson@purdue.edu

Dorothy Washington, (765) 494-3093, dwashin2@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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