The Black Experience at Kent State

Felicia Guadagni

Christopher Woods

Christopher Woods has immersed himself on Kent State’s campus.

He is involved in student success programs and is an Undergraduate Student Government intern, Phi Mu “Favorite,” UHURU Magazine writer, former Kent State cheerleader and the 2014 Kent State Homecoming King.

“I knew I wanted to stand out when I came here,” Woods said. “I knew coming in that I wanted to do all of these things.”

The senior magazine journalism major uses his considerable involvement as a way to influence others, and his race is just an added aspect of his influence.

“I believe that I serve as a positive role model for others regardless of my race,” Woods said. “My race is just a factor.”

Out of all of his triumphs at Kent State, Woods is quick to point to his homecoming king title as his most positive experience as a student. He feels that the win was important because of all the people it influenced.

“Being a black male, as well as a gay male, and winning helped me inspire minorities, but also the LGBT community,” Woods said. “I realized how powerful it was after I won.”

Shauna Davis

“I’m not really a big fan of Black History Month as a concept,” said Shauna Davis, a junio musical theatre major.

For some, Davis’ sentiment may seem out-of-the-ordinary, being that she is an African-American student at Kent State. However, she explains that she isn’t keen on the concept because she believes the celebration of Black History shouldn’t only last for a month. In Davis’ eyes, every month is black American history month, not just February.

“I have the idea that black history is all of our history, especially black American history,” Davis said. “I feel like (Black History Month) is used as an excuse to say ‘Hey, this happened!’ and then forget about it the rest of the year.”

Davis attempts to combat this belief through theatre. Exposing black theatre to the public is something Davis feels is very important in shaping the perception of the black community.

“There are all these black playwrights, all this theatre about black culture that people don’t know about,” Davis said. “I want to open up different types of theatre, like opera, to the black community.”

While Davis is heavily involved in mostly theater organizations at Kent State, including the Black Theatre Association, Round Table theatre group and the Production Selection Committee, she acknowledges the black student organizations on-campus.

“I haven’t been involved in a lot of them, but I’ve still met a lot of people in them,” Davis said. “They represent our community so well.”

Contact Felicia Guadagni at [email protected].