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Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. delivered an enlightening presentation on black sacred music and the linguistics of African peoples during Trinity's Black History convocation Monday, February 23 in the Ozinga Chapel. The College's office of ethnic diversity, ethnic diversity committee, and chaplain's office invited the pastor of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ to speak on campus, and Wright elaborated on how the differences in language styles are amplified in American education.

"The (Afrocentric) model of education is right-brained and based on subjects, while the (Eurocentric) model is left-brained and based on objects," he said. "The American structure of education stems from the European model, which is more of a literate culture. Blacks learn best within an oral culture; we learn from people and interaction. We are different but not deficient."

Wright described how the speech patterns of African peoples differ from those based in European cultures and explained the background for Ebonics, which was coined in 1972 by black psychologist Richard Williams to characterize the pattern of phonics used by African-Americans. He also noted that the unique nuances of black music, some of which are rooted in cultural experiences, do not make it inferior.

"There are some elements of black music that can't be put into a book," he said while referring to the composition of black spirituals and hymns, "but that doesn't mean it is of less quality.

"When most people think of classical music, they think of Bach, Mozart, Handel, and Beethoven. It's thought to be European, with no thought of Africans. Most music students in American colleges are unaware of African classical music because African music isn't taught as being classical. In order to bridge that gap, there must be a change in the curriculum."

Wright, who became pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in 1972, completed his master's in divinity at the University of Chicago and his doctorate in ministry at United Theological Seminary. Ebony magazine named him one of the 15 greatest black preachers, and The HistoryMakers, a Chicago-based black history archives institution, lauded him for his impact on religion in the United States.

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