Ghanaian Choir Heralds the Start of Goodwin College’s Black History Month Celebration
The resonating voices of the members of the East Hartford Ghanaian choir helped Goodwin College to begin its celebration of Black History Month on Thursday.
Continuing a new tradition that began in 2012, the College is celebrating Black History Month with a series of events, panels, and programs that commemorate the African American experience and accomplishments.
The Ghanaian choir, comprised of members of church parishes throughout East Hartford, led the celebration. Adorned in brightly colored dashikis, the members sang songs of worship before a crowd of about 100 members of the Goodwin College Community.
In his opening remarks, Goodwin President Mark Scheinberg reflected upon the importance of celebrating Black History Month, particularly this year as two major milestones celebrate anniversaries. Goodwin is partnering with the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center and Connecticut Humanities to present panels on Inspiring Social Justice, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
The Emancipation Proclamation, read by an Abraham Lincoln portrayer, will be the topic on Tuesday, Feb. 12, on Lincoln’s birthday. King’s speech will be the subject of a panel discussion on Thursday, Feb. 21. The two works represent major “tipping points” in African American history. “Tipping Points” is the theme of Goodwin’s 2013 Black History Month.
On Thursday, Scheinberg welcomed the Ghanaian choir and paid tribute to the late Pastor, Rev. John Rohan, a member of the Goodwin Board of Trustees who passed away in January. Father Rohan, Scheinberg said, used faith to unite the different communities of East Hartford, just as the choir had come together from different East Hartford congregations.
Dr. John Walters, also a member of the Board of Trustees, acknowledged the importance of celebrating Black History Month and the legacy of people like Diane Nash, a Freedom Rider who spoke at the College last week.
“We pass this knowledge and understanding onto future generations,” Walters said.
During the ceremony, the College and the choir both emphasized the growing relationship between Goodwin and the Ghanaian community in East Hartford. The town is home to one of the state’s largest population of Ghanaian residents, and Goodwin is seeking to establish a distance learning center in the West African nation.
Both Scheinberg and Walters were members of a delegation that visited Accra, the capital city of Ghana, in November.
A full list of Goodwin’s Black History Month events is available at http://www.goodwin.edu/BHM/