Building community together

On. Jan. 31, I attended the 45th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration featuring Angela Davis. I recalled the firebrand I saw in the 1960s. My church congregation sent funds to support her legal defense. Today, she is an internationally recognized activist, academic scholar and author who advocates for the oppressed.

I was moved by her message about Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” address and her description of the more “mature King.” After the March on Washington, he spoke out against the Vietnam War and racism, militarism and materialism.

During her keynote, Davis acknowledged the injustices that all corners of our country and globe face. To say that it was food for thought is to put it mildly. Davis called on all of us to act because “now, we have a chance to stand on the right side of history.” It echoes King’s call:

“We have come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.”

I hope you will join me and members of the Ohio State community in attending one of the many United Black World Month events that will allow us to build community and explore the diasporic experience.

Click here to see the full listing of United Black World Month events, including “Fighting Islamophobia on Campus and Beyond: A Conversation.” Also, be sure to read on for exciting news about our very own Rudine Sims Bishop and her newest honor.

Celebrating an EHE champion

Rudine Sims Bishop

This month, Professor Emerita Rudine Sims Bishop, Teaching and Learning, was named the recipient of the 2017 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement by the American Library Association.

Bishop has significantly influenced the growth and appreciation of multicultural children’s literature on an international level. Her globally cited publications have inspired movements for increased diversity in books for young people. Moreover, her work provides the basis for the best multicultural practice and inquiry for students, teachers, writers and publishing houses.

At Ohio State, Bishop taught children’s literature courses from 1986 until her retirement in 2002. She directed doctoral research, chaired the Language, Literacy and Culture program and co-chaired the university’s annual Children’s Literature Conference. She won numerous awards, including the university’s Distinguished Service Award.

This June, Bishop will receive the Coretta Scott King Award at the library association’s annual convention in Chicago. I couldn’t be more proud to call her my colleague.

I hope this month we, as a college and community, continue to “fuel the fire and sustain the vision” of the many influential African American leaders throughout our history.