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Africana Academy teaches February black history classes

The Parthenon

Published: Friday, February 15, 2013

Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013 00:02

The Africana Academy is offering Black History Month classes each Saturday in February at the Barnett Center.

Byron Holmes, a graduate from West Virginia State University, teaches the classes from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

There are two more installments of the classes, one Saturday and the second on Feb. 23.

“It came from an idea when I realized the lack of activities that there are for this particular holiday in the area,” Holmes said.

The Africana Academy is an open forum class.

“It is not a lecture,” Holmes said. “If someone has a question, they do not have to wait to ask, they can ask it right then.”

Holmes said the classes emphasize history.

“I was a history major and I love it,” Holmes said. “I want people to learn from what I have from my studies, to get people connected and understand that this is a real portion of life that directly contributed to who we are today.”

Educating and discussing Black History Month is one of Holmes’ passions. He said he wants to teach the children about the history and struggle in African American culture.

Dominique Barlow, a freshman art major, said the classes are a great opportunity for people who do not have knowledge of black history.

Barlow said that he does have knowledge in the area from personal research.

“Today’s society and youth are not getting the maximum potential of knowledge,” Barlow said.

Holmes said he hopes to continue classes year round.

For the first two installments of the class, Holmes said, he wanted to focus on the pre-colonial Africa pre-transatlantic slave trade. The last two installments will focus on contemporary black history and equality in America.

Holmes said Marshall University professor Phil Carter has influenced him.

“I took a class of his — ‘The Black Family Today,’” Holmes said. “The class helped in my perspective of systematic oppression.”

Holmes said he recognizes Carter’s impact for the African American rights movement and that he was a part of at Marshall. Holmes said Keelon Hinton also influenced him.

Travelling to a variety of locations, speaking on black history is also a goal for Holmes. His business is the Phresh Media Collective, and includes graphic design, websites and variety of media related work. Holmes said his work came to play when creating interesting activities for the class.

“I would like to see the people like Professor Carter come out into the Huntington community and teach a class for those who want to learn and discus this topic more,” Holmes said.

Ebony Robinson can be contacted at

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