Leave a Comment
Photo Credit: Graphic By Kameron Glenn
Black History Month
February 14, 2022
February is the month of black history. It is a month of remembrance and celebration for our loved ones, our activists and our businesses. Black people have made incredible progress over the years in America. From Civil Rights movements to black owned businesses, black people have made their mark in this country.
Black History Month shows the progress that African Americans have made in education, sports and even to the point of presidency.
College Students Discuss Their Decision To Choose HBCUs
Before the abolishment of slavery, receiving an education was difficult not only for enslaved Black people but freed as well. Anti-literacy laws gave control to slave owners and anti-abolitionists. In some states freed slaves were able to attend white institutions, but even then they still faced discrimination.
Historically black universities and colleges, also known as HBCUs, were created to provide education for Black people who were not welcomed at white institutions. College student Sarah Chase finds this an important factor in choosing a college.
“HBCUs carry a multitude of history. They were created for Black people by Black people,” Chase said. “I think it is the fact that knowing our ancestors wanted us to succeed in academics, so they gave us a place that would let us do just that. That is what makes it so important.” ”
— Sarah Chase
Chase currently attends Calhoun Community College, but will enter Jackson State in the fall. Although she originally was not interested in Jackson State, they provided a scholarship that piqued her interest.
“My dad’s friend is actually a Jackson alum,” Chase said. “After visiting their campus, participating in their homecoming and seeing their Divine Nine row, I could imagine myself being there and having an amazing experience.”
Chase’s decision to attend an HBCU came after the 2020 Black Lives Matter. The riots moved something in Chase, especially when she witnessed her father crying while watching the live news broadcast.
“I knew that I needed to be around a group of people who also believed that my life mattered and vice versa. There is so much beauty in Black excellence and being a place where there is so much of it, I know is something magical,” Chase said. “I cannot wait to be surrounded by Black people who want to succeed in whatever their career choice is and who work hard to get there.”
Not only do HBCUs offer a sense of community, but they can also bring a sense of relief for Black people. There is no worry about race or racial challenges in the classroom or on campus. Going off to college can be an overwhelming experience and being in a welcoming environment is crucial for new students.
“In simple terms, it’s Black people just trying to get an education. It is a community. It is family. It is friendship. It is the soul. It is love. It brings about togetherness in the Black community,” Cole said. “There is security and comfort knowing that I attend a University that cares about me and my people.”
Robyn Cole, a legacy at A&M has found that going to an HBCU has given her that sense of community. This school is important to her family. Cole’s great grandmother and father have attended the A&M and both her parents thought it was the best decision for her.
“I decided to go to A&M simply because it is my home away from home. Even though I moved out of the house, it does not feel like I’ve moved away from home,” Cole said. “I’ve always known that I wanted to attend an HBCU.”
According to The Roots, HBCUs are having their moment. Applications have increased since the 2020 protests and the importance of HBCUs have been reiterated. HBCU alumni are excited about the resurgence of enrollment.
“I think it’s outstanding and it’s long overdue because I think that students, regardless of ethnicity, should explore the diversity that is in the HBCU” HBCU graduate Tracy Gholston-McCall said.
There has been a rise in student athletes choosing HBCUs instead of larger universities. The power five conferences are looking to partake in their experience at the HBCUs and have been recruiting and soliciting former professional athletes. Coaches such as Eddie George and Deion Sanders are now head coaches for these HBCUs.
Chase admires coaches like Sanders who could have signed multi-million contracts at colleges besides HBCUs.
“It would be an honor to go to a school where Black people are giving back to their schools,” Chase said. “A lot of Black coaches and players go to PWI’s, so attending a school that has been shown love by its people would make me happy.”
Chase cannot wait to be surrounded by Black people who want to succeed in their career choice and who worked hard to get there. She finds that there is beauty in being in a place with so much Black excellence.
“It’s not just the culture that I am excited about when attending an HBCU, but also the connection that each Black person has with another,” Chase said. “Even though we all have different backgrounds, we all know the amazing feeling of seeing people who look just like you accomplish so much.”
Photo Credit: Kyla Davidson
Junior Reflects On Family Heritage
My family history has always been something that I have admired. You can imagine that when I first heard out about my ancestors and who they were, how amazed I was. When my grandfather told me and my family about our family history I was shocked. Learning about my ancestors on how they lived and fought surprised me, but also made me proud.
My family legacy and how our name came to be all started in Africa. And my very great grandfather, who was captured and brought to America, is a hero to our family because of his journey. I say he is my very great grandfather because of his bravery and strength, even after being captured and becoming a slave.
We do not know his African heritage name, but when he came to America he was given the name Wright Seer Bonner, Sr., which was the same last name of the slave master who had purchased him. During that time slaves were given the same last name as their masters, this was because people like my very great grandfather were seen as property.
When my very great grandfather was brought to America he was brought from Senegal, Africa and was brought to the Carolina states. When he was purchased he was sent to Aliceville, Alabama where he became a slave for the rest of his life. And my grandfather was the very first person in our family to live in America.
Several years later, my grandfather had a son who was named after him, Wright Seer Bonner, Jr., who was the first in our family to be born a slave. As I began to learn more and more about our family history the more I became overwhelmed by how much I had to take in. I wanted to know every single detail of each person and who they were. I wanted to know everything they did and how they were treated because I knew I had some part of them inside of me.
When I see me and my family I am reminded of where we came from and how our lives started here. And I remember my grandfather every time our family comes together to celebrate our family legacy. I am reminded of his hardships and his life as I continue to see my family and how their lives affect me.
As my family history continued, soon my other grandfather, James Bonner, was born in the year 1860. His children were Reese Bonner, Zeb Bonner, Ross Bonner and Febie Bonner, who was the mother of my great great grandfather. My great great grandmother, Febie Bonner, gave birth to my next grandfather, Bennie Bonner Sr. He was the father of five children: Zebbie Bonner, Linwood Bonner, Bennie James Bonner, Jr., Johnnie Mae Bonner and Albert Bonner.
My great grandfather was Bennie Bonner, Jr., born May 13, 1928, and was someone who I was blessed to know and love so well. My great grandfather was a middle child just like me and from the time I was little we grew really close and he always said I was sweet as can be. My family and I would always go to visit him where he lived in Gadsden, Alabama and he would always be waiting for us on his porch.
Being able to know my great grandfather and grow a rich relationship with him. When my great grandfather passed away back in 2017 I was heartbroken. At his funeral I remembered all the good times we had and it seemed so unreal that he was gone. Now when I think of him I see him as another life legacy in our family that is gone to rest. And I am glad to have known someone so special for such a short time but will forever be remembered. When I see me and my family I am reminded of where we came from and how our lives started here. And I remember my grandfather every time our family comes together to celebrate our family legacy. I am reminded of his hardships and his life as I continue to see my family and how their lives affect me. ” — Kyla Davidson“
When I see me and my family I am reminded of where we came from and how our lives started here. And I remember my grandfather every time our family comes together to celebrate our family legacy. I am reminded of his hardships and his life as I continue to see my family and how their lives affect me. ”
— Kyla Davidson
My great grandfather had six children: Joe Ira Bonner, Levester Bonner, Bennie James Bonner, Lucy Blair Bonner, Randy Bonner and Gary Wayne Bonner. My grandad is Bennie James Bonner, who was also a middle child like me, and was born December 17,1951. My grandad has taught and shown me great things and I am glad to say that he is my grandad.
My grandad is special to me because he is always full of gladness and wisdom. Even after having to help fight through the Civil Rights Movement and not having equal rights he did not let it make him bitter but chose to make it a part of his life and a part of our story as a family.
One day my grandad decided to take me and my mom to see the plantation where my great ancestor was brought. The plantation was hidden in the deep woods and had a dirt road that led to it. Being in that place I felt the spirit of what took place there being so heavy and being so real to me. It felt as if I had stepped back into that time and was re-living the life my ancestors once had.
I remember my mom saying a few days later after the trip that God had said to her on the trip to look at where He had brought us from. As I began to think back to those moments I began to see it too. That God did bring our family an extremely long way. And I was grateful for knowing where we came from and how we became free.
Soon, my grandfather had two children, which was my aunt, Leslie Leshay Bonner and Sophia Lynn Bonner, who is my mom. When my mom gave birth to me I was born the third child just like my great grandfather and my grandad.
Today when I look back on where I came from I always remember my very great grandfather and what he did for our family. I will always be proud of my African Heritage and what it means to me. I will always love my grandfather, Wright Seer Booner, Sr. and he will always be great to me.
Photo Credit: Graphic by Saylor Cuzzort
Top 10 Figures In Black History
Henry “Box” Brown. Henry “Box” Brown was born enslaved on a plantation in 1815. After losing his family to a slave auction, Brown made it his mission to escape and become a free man. He had the idea to ship himself to Philadelphia in a wooden box. Even though Samuel Smith was a white man, he helped Brown successfully escape to freedom.
Percy Julian. Percy Julian was a pioneering chemist during his time. Julian was not allowed to attend high school but still managed to get his Ph.D. Although he faced many challenges for being African American, his research led to the treatments of glaucoma and arthritis. In 1973, Julian officially became the first Black chemist to be brought into the National Academy of the Sciences. In 1990, he was elected into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Jimmie Lee Jackson. Jimmie Lee Jackson got involved with the civil rights movement at a very young age. In February of 1965, Jackson was gunned down and shot by a state trooper while participating in a peaceful protest. Jackson’s death sparked the protest known as the “Bloody Sunday”. This memorializing protest motivated people to take action and get involved in the civil rights movement. From this, the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965.
Medgar Evers. Medgar Evers was a civil rights activist and was the first state field secretary of the NAACP. As the state field secretary Evers traveled around Mississippi to recruit new members for the NAACP. Evers was known for fighting the racial injustices in the system. He became a target for death threats and violent acts. In 1963, Evers’s home was bombed and shorty after, Evers was assassinated.
Hank Aaron. Hank Aaron was apart of the Negro Leagues. He spent most of his 23 seasons as an outfielder. Aaron set new records and had over 775 home runs. In 1982, he was elected into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. The more famous and the more records Aaron broke, the more hate he faced for being African American. It was said that a black man should not be breaking such sacred records.
Ruby Bridges. In November of 1960, Ruby Bridges was the first African-American student to attend William Frantz Elementary School. At the time, there was intense adversity revolving around the desegregation of schools, so Bridges was escorted by the U.S marshall and her mother to and from school everyday. Because of her actions and bravery, she helped push the Civil Rights Act in the South.
Ella Baker. Ella Baker played an important role in the NAACP and other organizations fighting for civil rights. In 1940, Baker started her involvement with the NAACP as a field secretary and eventually served as the director of branches for three years. Baker helped activists like Martin Luther King put together organizations to fight against Jim Crow Laws. Even though Baker was not interested in the spotlight and preferred to be a behind the scenes activist, she made accomplishments vital to the fight against injustice.
Sojourner Truth. Sojourner Truth was an African American women born into slavery who eventually escaped in 1826 with one of her three children. In her early years, Truth discovered a plan for her to be illegally sold to a white man in Alabama. Taking this to court, she was recorded to be the first Black woman to challenge a White man in court and successfully win. Truth continued to devote her life to fighting injustice against African Americans and fighting for women’s rights. Truth became known for her speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?” delivered in 1851 at the Women’s Rights Convention.
W.E.B Du Bois. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born on Feb. 23, 1868 in Massachusetts. He freely attended school with white people and was fully supported with his academic studies. Bois became the first Black American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1895. He was a writer and spokesperson for African American rights. And later became a co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Ida B. Wells. Ida B. Wells was born enslaved in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Eventually, her family was freed by the Union because of the Emancipation Proclamation a few months after she was born. In 1882, Wells moved to Memphis, Tennessee where she continued her education at Fisk University. She wrote countless books and articles about social injustice and led anti-lynching organization in 1890.
Photo Credit: Free Domain Image
Sophomore Reflects On The Importance Of Bessie Coleman
Bessie Coleman has always been a big part of my life. Whenever there was a chance for me to pick a woman to do a project on, it was her. All the times that I wrote about her, I always learned something new.
Bessie Coleman was the first African American and Native American woman pilot, making great history for the African American race. She was just that girl, hence the nickname she donned “Queen Bess”.
She is an inspiration to me because she never settled. She went to school three times, finishing one semester at Langston University, Burnham School of Beauty Culture and finally Caudron Brothers’ School of Aviation in Le Crotoy, France, where she earned her pilot license.
When Coleman finally obtained her license, the first thing she wanted to do was share. She gave speeches and performed all across the South and if the venues that she was scheduled to perform at were segregated, she refused.
Her refusal to perform actually changed something in Texas. The venue owners wanted blacks and whites to go through different gates but Coleman’s stubbornness made them allow everyone in through one gate.
Coleman was a strong-headed person and she worked hard to get what she wanted. She left an impact on hundreds of people and she deserves to be more well-known.
If I could say anything to her I would say: “Thank you Bessie for never giving up on your dreams, you have inspired me all my life and you will continue to inspire me to reach for the skies.”
Photo Credit: Free Domain Image
Black Museums Serve As A Cornerstone Of African American History
Black history is an important part of American history and states all over the country have multiple institutions to share knowledge about the history of the people who built america. Whether they are funded by the professional government or community based, they are worth a visit or two.
The National Museum of African American Music: This museum opened in early 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee, and is dedicated to all the history regarding African-American music culture and genres. It is important to learn about because African American music is the backbone of most of the mainstream music we hear on the radio.
The Legacy Museum and The National Memorial for Peace and Justice: Opened in 2018 by the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. The museum is dedicated to all things black history, including information about the slave trade and lynching. The memorial is a beautiful place dedicated to bringing light to all the people taken away by lynchings.
National Civil Rights Museum: Opened in 1991 in Memphis, Tennessee, it is located in the Lorraine Motel, the site where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. This museum includes various statues of important figures and moments in history. It is definitely worth a visit as it shows great representation of the civil rights movement.
The National Voting Rights Museum And institute: Opened in 1993 in Selma, Alabama. It is located right off of the Edmund Pettus bridge where the famous ‘Bloody Sunday’ march took place. The museum features the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and shares vigorous information about all three of the marches that elevated the political standpoint of the Civil Rights Movement.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center: Opened in 2004 in Cincinnati, Ohio, this museum is dedicated to all information about the Underground Railroad. It includes numerous exhibits including videos that share the information. They also offer the chance to roleplay as a slave going through the Underground Railroad to exprience the hardships and dangers of escaping during that time.
Hopefully reading this list will give you ideas for your next trip out of town.
Women Of The Movement Teaches Younger Generations The Importance Of Black History
Though such an innocent life was lost, it sparked change in the whole community for the better, and to this day, Emmett Louis Till’s story will never be forgotten.
He will always live on through history.
Those who are familiar with Till’s story of a young black American boy who was accused of offending a white woman in Mississippi of 1955, know that he suffered a terrible and horrifying death.
This story shocked people around the nation, especially the African-American community. Even though people may not know Till personally, his death was still a tragedy and something that will never be forgivable or forgotten. Till was only 14 years old at the time of his death in August of 1955.
When Till was born, Doctors went from telling his mother he would be crippled, to telling her to place him into an institution. Till always had a few health complications. Nevertheless, his mother never gave up on him, from his first breath all the way up to his last; even through death, she always fought for her son no matter the circumstances.
Women of The Movement is a series based around Till and his mother. The series tells what sparked the allegations, how cruel things were back in 1955 and how something so simple can be turned into life or death simply based on one’s skin color.
It is scary to think someone could be lynched and beaten because of their skin color. Being black alone made Till a target. Even if he was raised in a good household with morals and respect, he would always be seen as dangerous.
Growing up, Every Black kid has had “The Talk”. There is a brief moment where Mamie Till tells her son that things are different in Mississippi than in Chicago. No matter what, to avoid bringing about any conflict or allegations, you look down, say yes ma’am or no ma’am and yes sir or no sir whenever addressing a white person.
This series reveals who Till was and his impact in the Civil Rights Movement.
The series displays how severely Till was beaten by the two men involved with his kidnapping. Till’s story is violent and producers do not hold back. They go into great detail of what Till’s body looked like at the time.
Till’s mother made sure that everyone saw the damage done to her son by having Tills wake in public and invited everyone around the nation to view the body of her son in the same state he arrived back in Chicago.
The more the series continues to show, the more in depth the story gets, the more everyone will get to understand how it felt for a mother and a community to suffer a loss no one could ever imagine.
Emmett “BoBo” Louis Till. A good soul lost, but never forgotten.
Businesses Act As An Important Platform For African Americans
Leave a Comment