Louisiana State University Opens Its New African American Cultural Center

lsuLouisiana State University in Baton Rouge recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new African American Cultural Center. The new center is located at 3 Union Square in the same building that houses the new women’s center and a Barnes & Noble bookstore.

The LSU African American Cultural Center implements educational, cultural, and social activities that acknowledge and address the needs of African American students at LSU. The Center also provides a venue for all students to learn about African American culture, heritage, and traditions. The stated goal of the center is to educate students, faculty and staff about the history, culture and the contributions of African-Americans. In doing so, the center strives to help the LSU family develop a better knowledge and understanding of the African-American experience.

The new, state-of-the-art African American Cultural Center provides a meeting and conference space, access to a cultural library, a cultural and artifact tour, internet and wireless access and equipment rental. Throughout the year, the LSU African American Cultural Center hosts a variety of programs, including a welcome event for freshmen and transfer students; the Multicultural Student Leadership Conference; a Black History Month Celebration, which includes events and nationally recognized guest speakers and performers; the Robing Ceremony, which honors undergraduate and graduate students who complete their college careers at LSU; the Juneteenth Celebration, which observes the freedom of African slaves in the United States; and Pre-Kwanzaa, a ceremony to celebrate the traditional African values of family, community, responsibility, commerce and self-improvement.

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  1. Thank God! Thank God! Thank God! It has been more than thirty (30) years since I found the first Black Cultural Center at LSU. I was situated on Highland Road, just south of Burger King. Chancellor Murrill’s secretary (Barbara Jackson) called it “The House that Johnny Duncan Built.” That was long long time ago. You and LSU have come a long, long ways.

    Ten years after I left LSU, and after serving a military tour in the Federal Republic of Germany, I made another contribution of which you should be, but probably are not aware. The “i can” appears in my name because, “I Can” is the name of a poem I wrote in 1987. Line twenty-five (25) of that poem renamed Black people Afr-i-can Amer-i-can.

    I CAN

    I Can do what my mind tells me to.
    I Can, so Can you.
    I Can streak like a Rocket through the Sky.
    I Can plunge to the Earth and die.
    I Can run and win any Race,
    From Inner Self to Outer Space.
    All I want you to understand
    Is that my Country and my Heritage spell “I CAN!”

    I Can try, and I Can cry;
    I Can lead, and I Can succeed.
    I Can trail, and I Can fail.
    I Can fight, and I Can Unite;
    I Can adopt, and I Can Stop.
    I Cannot hide, nor Can Apartheid!
    I Can write and incite.
    I Can bleed for my Country’s Creed.
    I Can defend, and I Can pretend.
    I Can hate, yet, I Can adjudicate!
    I Can give, but I Can also live.
    I Can contrive, and oh yeah, “I Can survive!”

    I Can do this, and I Can do that.
    All I need is a Turn at Bat.
    I speak of my Abilities not by Chance.
    Nor is it your Opinion of me that I seek to Enhance!
    “The last four letters of my Heritage and my Creed spell “I CAN!”
    I Can do Anything as well as “Everyman!”
    “I CAN! I CAN! I CAN!”
    YOU DAMN RIGHT “I CAN!”

    Excerpted from THE BLACK HISTORY CALENDAR (1986©™)
    Copyright Registration Number TX 1 929 242
    “I Can, African American and Africa America” are intellectual properties of
    Johnny Duncan and The Black History Calendar. Any and all uses after January 1, 1987 are subject to licensing and indemnification requirements, actionable under Title 17 of the United States Code.

    By definition: “AFRICAN AMERICAN(S)ARE DESCENDANTS OF THE CHILDREN OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA WHO INHABIT THE WESTERN HEMISSPHERE, NOT JUST THE UNITED STATES”.

    I am an alumni of Louisiana State University. And, nearly everyone except me has been given credit forthe creation of my brainchild.

    Adelante! Siempre Adelante!

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