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Celebrating Black History Month at Texas State

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Deanna Spearman, psychology junior and vice president of Texas State’s NAACP, and Bryson Williams, studio art sophomore and communications coordinator for Black Students Alliance, proudly wear their “I Stand, We Stand” and “Black Men United” shirts to show solidary throughout campus, especially during Black History Month.
Photo by: Nathalie Cohetero | Staff Photographer

Black History Month is a time to reflect and learn about the many achievements and progress within the African-American community, and some students celebrated by taking advantage of the university’s various events and initiatives.

“When you learn about other cultures, you can empathize with them. You’ll understand why they feel the way they do,” said Bryson Williams, studio art senior. “If you’re not open for discussion, you narrow yourself for the opportunity to learn.”

Caleb Maxwell, exercise and sports science freshman, said celebrating Black History Month at Texas State is important so students can learn more about a culture that often goes unnoticed.

“It’s important to learn the history of it all because we know so much history about other races, and I feel like it’s important because it gets overlooked all the time,” Maxwell said. “You get to learn the culture and the meaning of where we came from.”

At Texas State, Black History Month was celebrated early with the reenactment of the different marches held during the civil rights movement.

The 32nd Annual MLK Commemoration Celebration, put on by the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion, began at Old Main and ended at the LBJ Student Center Ballroom Jan. 17.

Kianna Udenze, international relations sophomore, was on the committee that organized the MLK Commemoration and Celebration program. Aside from honoring Dr. King, she enjoyed the diversity of the ceremony.

“Even though it was cold and rainy, a good amount of people came out to the march and supported Martin Luther King,” Udenze said. “It was just nice that people wanted to come out and honor his legacy. It was inclusive, which is what we need on campus.”

Williams designed the shirt for this year’s event. He said he wanted to make sure the design was inclusive of all groups and fused them together as one.

“We’re all just people. That’s one thing that we can’t forget,” Williams said. “Yeah you’re Asian, they’re Hispanic (and) I’m black—but we’re all human beings at the end of the day.”

The Black Student Alliance had a spin-off game of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” Feb. 7 that included questions to inform students about lesser-known civil rights leaders and their accomplishments.

Williams, who is a member of Black Men United and the Black Student Alliance, said he learned more about local black history when he visited the Calaboose African-American Museum in San Marcos.

“I got to learn about the black history here in San Marcos that I would have never known had I gone anywhere else,” Williams said. “I learned about some of the great historic figures that came through, like Lucious Jackson.”

As a student in San Marcos, Lucious “Luke” Jackson was not allowed to play basketball at his school because of his skin color. However, he became a professional basketball player for the Philadelphia 76ers and an Olympic champion.

Udenze said she became more appreciative of this time of year as she got older and began to learn more about what African-Americans endured in order to advance.

“When I was younger, I never really had appreciation for it until I learned all the struggles that African-Americans go through in life,” Udenze said. “I feel like it’s such a great month because in history books, African-American studies aren’t really known.”

The university officially kicked off Black History Month with Mama’s Kitchen Feb. 8 in the LBJ Student Center Ballroom.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People at Texas State is using this month to spread awareness on issues. The NAACP has a petition linked on its Twitter page to start an African-American Studies program on campus.

The Black Student Alliance held its annual Desegregation Picnic Feb. 24 at Sewell Park. The event included music, food and prizes and aimed to bring the Texas State and San Marcos communities together.

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