Yesterday I attended what will probably be my last official gathering at Penn State. The African and African American Studies Department held their annual Kente Cloth Celebration (a special ceremony for graduating seniors who have majored or minored in AAAS) at the Paul Robeson Cultural Center.
The opening remarks were given by Dr. Ikubolajeh Logan, interim head of the department.
A few of the graduating seniors spoke, one about the significance of the rites of passage ceremony.
Dr. Clemente Abrokwaa, who is Ghanaian and was mentioned in several of the students’ statements as a most influential member of the faculty, provided the history of the kente cloth and the significance of the colors used in it.
After assuring everyone present that the cloth was indeed from Ghana and not China, Dr. Logan donned each of the students with the kente strips.
Finally Dr. Cary Frazer provided the closing remarks. It was my favorite speech because it impressed upon the students their responsibility as privileged citizens.
A nice little spread was provided, lots of photos were snapped and then I ducked out.
It was a lovely ceremony that, I think, will leave an impression on the students, friends and family members who participated for years to come. It will be interesting to see what paths the young graduates choose.
Since one of my favorite people, Ann Shields, is in the same building I stopped by to see her and tell her about my time in Haiti. I also alerted her to a Haitian artist, Frantz Zephirin, who is currently exhibiting in Philadelphia at Indigo Arts and whom she may want to bring here for a show. I hope it works out. I won’t be here, but it would be super cool if he came here.
I’m going to try to make it to Philly for Zephirin’s show before it ends in June.