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Santa Monica College Kicks off Black History Series Next Week

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By Lookout Staff

February 9, 2016 -- A fighter pilot who was a member of the prestigious all-black Tuskegee Airmen during World War II will launch Santa Monica College's 2016 Black History Series on Thursday, February 18.

Fighter pilot Robert Friend will present "fascinating accounts of his training and what it was like to be abroad fighting for his country while battling racism at home," organizers said.

Fighter pilot Robert Friend. Photo Credit:Thelma Hoffman

"The series offers talks and discussions on the history and the current state of Black America at this pivotal time in our nation," organizers said.

The talks, which are free, will be held at 11:15 a.m. in Room 165 of the SMC Humanities & Social Science (HSS) building, 1900 Pico Boulevard. All talks are sponsored or co-sponsored by SMC’s Black Collegians Program and the SMC Associates, a private organization that funds speakers and special events on campus. Seating is on a first-arrival basis.

The series continues February 23 when SMC media professor Tim Conley presents “From Africa to America: A Story of the Development of Hip Hop.”

Conley will explore "how hip hop started and evolved from the oral traditions of African ancestors into the multibillion-dollar global industry that it is today," organizers said.

On February 25, Loyola Marymount University English faculty member Michael Datcher will present “Americus: The Historical Novel in the Present Historical Moment: A Reading."

Datcher, who wrote the New York Times Bestseller "Raising Fences," will read excerpts from his work. He is co-hosts the weekly KPFK (90.7 FM) public affairs news ‘magazine’ Beautiful Struggle. The event os co-sponsored by the SMC English Department.

The series concludes May 3 when Dr. Gabe Crenshaw -- a psychologist, clinician and neuroscience lecturer at USC – presents “The Historical and Contemporary Implications of Racism and the Impact on Modern Day Society.”

Crenshaw, a television and radio personality known as "Dr. Gabe," who hosts a digital media program, "will talk about his personal story of growing up with hardships and becoming a successful psychologist/clinician," organizers said. The event is co-sponsored by SMC’s GRIT Program.

Thelma Hoffman, who worked as an Admissions student services specialist at Santa Monica Collegee writes about a reunion of the 332nd Fighter Group Red Tail Pilot and her father, Fighter Pilot Robert Friend

Link to interview by City of Irvine TV aired on Nov 20, 2012

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