Juneteenth events embrace black empowerment

Dyson 7

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. Photo by Leon Laing.

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson 
On June 14, I returned to Harrisburg Area Community College, one of my college alma maters.

I wasn’t attending class, but it sure felt like it.

Aside from making his lecture feel like an African American Studies class, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, the keynote speaker, took the audience to church. And I hung on his every word.

“Black History is American history,” he affirmed. “You got to study your history for yourself. You got to know what the Emancipation Proclamation said. You got to know when it was issued.”

When Dyson, an ordained minister, lectured, he spoke with clarity and conviction, projecting his voice throughout Rose Lehrman Arts Center’s auditorium. 

Dyson is a Georgetown University sociology professor, a New York Times contributing opinion writer, and a contributing editor of The New Republic, and of ESPN’s The Undefeated website.

His 1994 book Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X became a New York Times notable book of the year.

During the event on June 14, Dyson recited lyrics from Biggie, Tupac, Nas and other hip-hop greats. And for 25 years, he has written books about rappers. Some of these books include Holler if You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur, and JAY-Z: Made in America. It’s safe to say that Dyson’s deconstruction of hip-hop has influenced educators to teach hip-hop in classes today.  

Meeting of the Minds
On June 11, I covered another event called Meeting of the Minds. During the 12:30 p.m. session, the speakers focused on community development. They included Orlando Andujar of UNITE Central Pa., Aisha Mobley and Lamonte Jones of 1 Vote Counts, and Christine Tith of Oaks of Central Pa. 

 Young Professionals of Color-Greater Harrisburg (YPOC) and its sponsors made the Dyson and Meeting of the Minds events possible. These events were free of charge.

 

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