D.C. beckons SRU students for Black History Month trip


Malcolm X Park

SRU students will visit Malcolm X Park as part a cultural immersion trip to Washington, D.C. Feb. 26-28. The trip is the final event of SRU’s Black History Month celebration.

Feb. 22, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - A delegation of 45 Slippery Rock University students will visit the nation's capital Feb. 26-28 for a "Cultural Immersion Trip." It is the final event in SRU's Black History Month celebration.

"This trip is a wonderful opportunity for these students to see historic and cultural sites that are so important to the black experience," said Lia Paradis, associate professor of history and department chair. "The story of America's rise is, in large part, the story of African slaves and their slave descendants. The various events and exhibits that students are going to see will honor that truth and illustrate how the legacy of that story continues to shape black Americans' lives to this day. For students of color, a trip like this reaffirms the enormity and importance of their history. And for all students, it is a chance to learn more."

As part of the excursion, students will visit the Mary McLeod Bethune House honoring the late civil rights advocate for African American education the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture as well as the United States Holocaust Museum.

Other destinations could include Malcolm X Park, the mansion where Frederick Douglass lived in the 1880s and the Anacostia Community Museum.

"We have also scheduled a visit to Howard University, a very prominent historically black university," said Corinne Gibson, SRU director of the Office of Multicultural Development. "We will have a tour and meet some students."

To add to the experience, students will have a group meal at a soul food restaurant and will be given a metro pass to tour the city.

The culture of Washington, D.C., is infused with African American history. According to Washington.org, "With its Southern connections, Washington has always had a significant African American population. Before the Civil War, the city was home to a growing number of free blacks that worked as skilled craftsmen, hack drivers, businessmen and laborers. It also included enslaved African Americans and was the site of slave auctions before they were outlawed in the city in 1850.

"Slaves owned in Washington were emancipated on April 16, 1862, nine months before Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of Jan. 1, 1863. Washington remained home to a large African American population, which created vibrant communities and championed civil rights despite racial segregation and prejudice. DC's unique history is shaped by this strong African American heritage."

Aaron Carr, a communication major from Erie, said he has never been to the District of Columbia. Aside from seeing "a lot of history," Carr said he plans to take a "selfie" in front of the White House.

Carr said the road trip illustrates the contributions of the student-led Black Action Society, one of the groups that have been involved with SRU's Black History Month.

"They always have a week full of different programs leading up to the cultural trip," he said. "The excursion that we will be going on will teach us a lot about African-American history in this area. It's a three-day trip where we leave Friday morning till Sunday afternoon for $60 bucks and enjoy a wonderful weekend full of activities."

MEDIA CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine | 724.738.4854 | gordon.ovenshine@sru.edu