Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Sherman United Methodist Church reflects on Black education, commerce in ‘My Black is Beautiful’ series

Anavi Prakash/The Daily Northwestern
Evanston Township High School District 202 Superintendent Marcus Campbell gave a talk about Black education as part of Sherman United Methodist Church’s “My Black is Beautiful” series.

About 30 people attended Evanston Township High School District 202 Superintendent Marcus Campbell’s talk on Black education at Sherman United Methodist Church Sunday.

Campbell’s speech came as part of the church’s “My Black is Beautiful” series, which celebrates Black culture in honor of Black History Month. Earlier this month, the series hosted a talk from gospel singer Tremaine Parker and a panel discussion about Black commerce in Evanston. 

Campbell traced the history of Black education, which he said is closely linked to patterns of Black miseducation. He cited Carter Godwin Woodson, a Black historian, who wrote about Black education during the Civil War. 

“The US education system controlled and oppressed Black students rather than help them realize their true potential,” Campbell said. 

Campbell also said white history is still the norm. He said education about Black, Latinx, Indigenous and Asian histories should be commonplace, even without laws mandating them. Currently, Illinois mandates that students learn about Asian American history. Starting in the 2024-2025 school year, the state will also mandate Indigenous history to be taught in public schools. 

White history and perspectives drive education, even when there are diverse perspectives in the room, Campbell said. 

“We still have an education system where white supremacy is the normal, and even if there are Black administrators, they are still bound by the invisible chains of whiteness to keep the status quo,” he said. 

His speech was the last in the church’s Black History Month series. 

Sherman United Methodist’s pastor Rev. Aaron McLeod said the “My Black is Beautiful” series is a crucial opportunity to open the church’s events to the larger Evanston community. 

“What we want to do is to make sure that our worship offerings to the community are relevant,” he said. 

One of the church’s broader goals is to draw in young people, not only to worship, but also to just “be and hang out,” said Ned Schaub, the church’s director of communications. 

He said this series and future ones are part of the pastor’s work to incorporate “exciting music” and engaging speakers into the church’s event schedule. 

Schaub said these efforts have paid off. McLeod’s sermon this month, titled “Sound of Blackness: The Gospel according to Stevie Wonder,” brought an energetic crowd, he said. 

“I wish I could bottle up what was in the church that day,” he said. “People were just floored.” 

Next month, the church will host a series of events focusing on Women’s History Month.

McLeod also said he aims to incorporate major community-wide issues, such as education and wealth inequality, into his weekly sermons. 

“Within the church, I feel that we should be the ground place of the swell force to celebrate culture,” McLeod said. “But within that and celebrating our culture, we need to ensure that we have the necessary resources that are coming within our community to undergird things that are important to us.” 

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @anavi_52

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