Kent State gets a taste of African heritage

Olivia Mihalic

Students look at photographs, maps and articles on the origins and people of the Holy Land at Oscar Ritchie Hall. The exhibit was part of the African/Edenic Heritage Museum in Atlanta and shows students the African presence in the Biblical Holy Land.

Credit: Steve Schirra

African music floods the room. Micael Shaleak, wearing a traditional black and gold “royal garment,” sings along as he talks to students about the pictures and stories posted on the boards.

The African/Edenic Heritage Museum visited Oscar Ritchie Hall as part of their Cleveland tour Monday through Saturday. Students could “explore the African presence in the biblical Holy Land” by looking at the stories about the African Hebrew Israelites and pictures of the land. Yesterday was the last day the exhibit was at Kent State.

“(Our mission is) to correct African-American identity,” said Micael Shaleak, the master curator at the museum in Atlanta, “Not as a Negro, but as the children of Israel, the biblical Hebrews, the sons and daughters of God.”

There are five museums worldwide, including West Africa, London and the main branch in Israel.

Freshman psychology major Shantice Morgan said the exhibit impressed her and got her ready for Black Experience, a class she is taking next semester.

“I learned a lot about my heritage,” Morgan said. “It’s good to know that black people are Jews and Israelites also.”

Freshman nursing major Isharon Reynolds said she took a black experience class and recognized a lot of the messages.

“It’s cool looking at the pictures like, ‘I remember learning that!'” Reynolds said. “I was teaching my friend (Morgan) my knowledge.”

The museum also brought CDs, DVDs, framed pictures, books and incense for students to buy.

The mission of The African/Edenic Heritage Museum is “to serve the needs and desires of those seeking truth and life,” according to the museum’s Web site.

One of Shaleak’s students said college teaches us the myths, while the museum teaches the truths.

“How can this (America) be the richest country when there are all these people suffering?” he said. “Somebody’s lying.”

One way to teach this is through accurate historical presentations, Shaleak said.

“(We want to) correct history and heritage, to restore the continent of Eden,” Shaleak said.

Shaleak also said the heritage they are talking about is everybody’s heritage.

“If you can claim Adam, it’s your museum,” he said. “(This museum) represents the ancient culture of Israel restored.”

Contact on-campus entertainment reporter Olivia Mihalic at [email protected].