First-Year Seminar Class Has “Eyes on Africa”

Dr. Mario Chandler and Dr. Jay Lutz led a group of freshmen students to New York City for a seminar called Eyes on Africa. The group is pictured in front of the African Burial Ground National Monument.

In October of 2010, as part of their “Eyes on Africa” seminar, 14 first-year students flew to New York for a one-day excursion. Their learning trip included a visit to the African Burial Ground National Monument and tickets to Fela!, a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical based on the life of legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti.

“[Seeing Fela!] was my absolute favorite part of the trip,” recalls Briana Mongerson ’14.  “I absolutely loved it…I’ve been to New York in the past with my family, but we went more as tourists—this time, as a student, I learned about how diverse and rich the cultures are in Africa.”
The class also visited one of New York’s best kept secrets—the African Burial Ground National Monument.  Hailed by historians as one of the greatest archaeological finds of our time, the site serves as the final resting place for an estimated 15,000 freed and enslaved Africans dating back to the 17th century. Professor Chandler described the burial grounds as his most memorable part of the experience, and wanted to make sure his students saw the monument before heading back to Atlanta.
“[The monument] evidences the little-known but significant impact of African influence on Manhattan and New York City’s evolution…[Dr. Lutz and I] wanted our students to see Africa outside the boundaries of a map on a piece of paper.  We want them to see that Africa is all around us in the music that we love, the food that we eat, and the history we claim as our own.”
On their way to the Broadway show, the group ran into fellow Atlantan and comedian Chris Tucker. “He seemed to know our school, or at least the name!” recalls Allison.
After dinner at Brooklyn’s JOLOFF, a Senegalese restaurant, the class returned to Atlanta with a fresh perspective of the cultures and history of the continent. “This class has really opened my mind toward the people and cultures of this awesome continent,” said Allison Kearley ’11, who works with the class as a mentor. “Being mentor reminds me of my freshman year and how much I’ve grown as a student.  It really makes me value my time here at Oglethorpe.”

One thought on “First-Year Seminar Class Has “Eyes on Africa”

  1. From the 15th Centry through the 19th Century, it is estimated that 15 million Africans were Enslaved by: Portugal, France, Spain, England, Holland, the Arabs and their Africans Collaborators.

    The Nations used Enslaved Africans’ Labor to Developed their Countries.

    They now PAY REPARATTIONS of $15 Trillion. The Money must be Used to Develop Areas, where Africans were Enslaved.


    Gadema Quoquoi
    President & CEO

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