Black History: Does SHSU do enough?

2 years ago Comments Off on Black History: Does SHSU do enough?

A few days ago I was awestruck at the sight of a shared Facebook post from the Sam Houston State University Facebook page honoring the first black admission to Sam Houston State University. John Arthur Patrick was that honoree and one very deserving as such. I can only imagine the trials and test of resilience this man endured in embarking on that milestone achievement.

The surprise for me did not actually lie in this revelation though, but rather the fact that Sam Houston State University was aware of Black History Month as a pretty big deal at all.

A junior at Sam, who has submerged herself in organizations dedicated to strengthening the black community, dawning my freshman year, I’ve had my fair share of Black History events, all of course through blood, sweat and tears, contrived from said organizations. So, you can imagine my elation upon seeing this remarkable post, meaning so much more to me than what was represented on that post alone.

In fact, I even went so far as to look further into the publicity history of Sam’s social media accounts and saw a few more posts endowing recognition upon such figures as Rosa Parks and of course Martin Luther King Jr. The thing is, and call me unappreciative if you please, I could not help but think to myself … “Is this it?”

A nationally syndicated Celebration, honored now since 1976 , officially as a month, by presidents of the United States since the 38 president himself Gerald R. Ford expressed his sentiment by making a call to the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history,” … condensed to social media post?

Oh, and let’s not forget the sparsely advertised programs and speaker series attended by the few that view bulletin boards in the passing time warranted between classes. Disappointing, to say the least.

Preceding my higher education, my high school years were spent submerged in organizations committed to making a difference too. From the national honor society to student council, I tried to be a representative for the student body and found myself in the midst of being a representative for the black community as well, having to create displays for the occasions that no one seemed to acknowledge … similar to what I do now, though this time backed by a supportive force.

What I am trying to say is, African Americans shouldn’t be the only ones celebrating black history month, at an institution employed to expand your understanding, knowledge of the world and the concepts at work in developing it.

The celebration of those lives that were stifled in their excellence, wiped clean from the slate of history in some instances, and dismantled as righteous of their own built glory, should be as openly publicized as the events that hang from brightly colored banners and catch the wide eyes of students and faculty walking daily on this campus.

We should surpass the amount of knowledge we attained the year before and be able to cite facts like dates engrained in our memory such as 1492.

Black history is American history, as is Hispanic history and all other heritages that helped provide a framework for the infrastructure our nation has thrived upon.

I suppose I, along with many, am just waiting for the day that this is fact rather than unpopular opinion.

We’ve got to do better, not simply for our sake, but for those that come after us as well. In order for there to be change in the future, there needs to be change now.