Black history month

By Emily Keahey

Every February, the achievements of African Americans are recognized, as well as the impact the ethnic group has had on America. A recent study indicates a greater satisfaction with the nation’s direction.

The milestones they have made in America range from a woman who refused to give up her seat on a bus, to Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier by being the first African American to play professional baseball.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless
your back is bent.”

Many see Luther’s dream further brought to reality with the inauguration of President Barack Obama − the first African American in the United States to

Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT

Barack Obama made U.S. history by being the first African American president. Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT

hold the office.

Throughout history, their influence on American culture is apparent; music,
literature, clothing styles and technological innovations are just a few of the areas.

A few of the most notable people include writers Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou, musicians Ray Charles and Tina Turner and athletes Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan.

Their influence has not only helped shape America, but the entire world. An African American doctor by the name of Daniel Hale Williams completed the first successful open heart surgery and Otis Bodkin invented an electrical device which is now used in all guided missiles.

On a smaller scale, but equally important, stories can be found on campus.

Director of Community Service and Cultural Affairs, Dr. George Harrison is an alumnus of UMHB along with a number of his relatives.

Growing up, he had a gift for music and when he reached college he auditioned for the elite choral group now known as One Voice. Upon his acceptance, he became the first African American to join the group.

Harrison said, “It is important that we celebrate black history month on campus because it reflects the culture of our university, and we are very multicultural.”

To recognize black history month, the university has several activities to celebrate and raise awareness.

One way is through Wednesday and Friday chapel. This year music was
performed by senior Leslie Cross with Jake Mayfield accompanying her.

Then the children’s group Perfect Praise performed under the direction of Yolondia (Baby Kay) Keys.

Senior cellular biology major Bridget Blanchard said, “Seeing the kids perform was really inspirational. Not only is the program keeping them out of trouble, it is also a positive learning experience.”

Chapel finished off with a clip of Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech, “I have a
dream.”

Another annual event that is usually held during black history month is Gospel Fest; however, it was not held this year.

Sophomore nursing major Anna Maniscalco said, “I think that it is great
that UMHB not only recognizes black history month, but also has events to raise awareness about it. It is an important part of American history and everyone should take time to remember the struggles, sacrifices and achievements of their ancestors.”

Author: The Bells Staff

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