Wednesday night, students and faculty met to commemorate the life of a former lecturer in the Black Studies Dept. and to hear a guest lecturer speak on black history.
The second annual Dr. Shirley Kennedy Lecture was held in the MultiCultural Center to honor Dr. Shirley Kennedy, a former lecturer for the UCSB Black Studies Dept. and community outreach coordinator at the UCSB Center for Black Studies. The lecture was co-sponsored by the Black Studies Dept. and the MCC. Dr. Manning Marable, a professor of public affairs, political science and history at Columbia University, gave a lecture entitled “Living Black History,” which focused on the power of truth and history in creating change. He is also the founding director of the Columbia University Institute for Research in African-American Studies, established in 1993.
“To enrich the black intellectual tradition, we must push beyond black studies departments and see how our story interacts with the greater social world,” Marable said.
He talked about the importance of learning from history without being held back by that knowledge.
“Historical amnesia blocks the path for future social movements,” he said. “We must always remember history but never be imprisoned by it.”
Marable used Malcolm X as an example of creating change. He said that while both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X created change in the world, Malcolm X was able to break the mold. While King is a public icon, Malcolm X was a force that the black world is able to claim as its own, he said. Marable said Malcolm X never wanted to become an icon, but only wanted to spread truth.
During the question-and-answer part of the lecture, a student asked what could be done to invoke change. Marable said to tell the truth as much as possible.
“Lies and icons will not free people; only the truth will set you free,” he said. “Knowledge from truth will always stand.”
Marable also said another way to create change is through what he calls the three great principles of teaching: the descriptive, the corrective and the prescriptive.
“My own work attempts to do in theory what Dr. Kennedy did all her life,” Marable said.
Claudine Michel, acting chair of the Chicana and Chicano Studies Dept., also spoke about the life of Kennedy, who died a year ago at the age of 76. She said Kennedy was extremely active in the surrounding community in addition to her involvement at UCSB.
“Shirley was our very own shining star,” Michel said. “Her list of awards [is] too long to mention. Today we salute our visionary and our bridge builder.”