Echoes of Heritage: Celebrating African American Culture at SIUE’s Black Theatre Workshop

By: Katie Loethen  

To commemorate Black History Month and highlight the significance of African American culture, Lewis and Clark Community College (LC) hosted a SIUE Black Theatre Workshop on February 21 in the Trimpe atrium. The campus came alive with performances that displayed the rich tapestry of Black history through dance, theater, and music. 

“It’s a really great event. I’m glad that I’m able to bring students here every year just so they can experience theater because I think it’s important for them to get an opportunity to see somebody else convey what’s been going on in history,” said Rouzell Porter, 

The event featured a medley of different points and periods in U.S. history that highlighted the Black experience. Porter further praised the performance, describing it as an “awesome” representation that brings attention to the diverse aspects of Black history. He highlighted the significance, especially for younger individuals, to gain insights into the historical journey of the African American community. 

Alexandra Leach, a student in attendance, expressed her appreciation for the event’s cultural significance. She emphasized the importance of representing various cultures, especially those that have endured significant challenges.  

“I think this is a very beautiful event. It really is something that needs to be represented more in normal daily life, even if it’s not Black History Month. It’s very important to represent all cultures, especially those that have gone through so much, and especially now in 2024,” said Leach, 

Leach also commented on the uniqueness of the performances, noting the rarity of witnessing such vibrant dance routines.  

“The dancing is something you don’t see every day, that’s for sure, but it’s something that’s very special. You could understand and interpret a lot from the dancing, singing, and acting. It’s a very beautiful thing,” said Leach. 

D’marlo Reed, another student in attendance, shared his thoughts on the performance. 

“The performance is really good and interesting,” said Reed. 

The positive feedback from students highlights the success of the event in engaging and captivating its audience. 

Performer Joshalynn Gibsion provided insight into the dedication and effort that went into the event.  

“We’ve been in official rehearsal since January. We rehearse every day, Monday through Friday, 6 to 10, sometimes on weekends,” said Gibsion. 

Gibsion also shared her pre-performance mindset.  

“Whenever I’m performing, I kind of think of what might have happened in the previous circumstances before I come on stage, and that mindset helps me,” said Gibsion. 


For more information about future events at LC, visit the LC website at or Facebook page @lewisandclarkcc.  

About Katie Loethen

Katie is pursuing an Associate of Arts Degree and is planning on graduating in Spring 2025.
View all posts by Katie Loethen →

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