BUS kicks off Black History Month

Kyle Roerink

Black United Students encouraged more than 70 students to celebrate Black History Month by liberating their minds at its mass meeting last night.

During her speech to the crowd of students, BUS President Ashley Tolliver said when one looks at media depiction of blacks, he or she sees people claiming to live a “hood” lifestyle.

“(Media) claim that when we get money we don’t give it to anyone else,” she said. “(They claim) that we are the flashiest dressers, but we are not educators.”

The media has a tendency of portraying blacks as being rappers, singers or dancers, without a connection to educational roots, Tolliver said. The fact of the matter is, she said, we are college students.

“We are in a collegiate environment,” Tolliver said. “At some point you will have to cut out the street mentality and enter the real world and leave Kent State.”

In his speech to students, Timothy Moore, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, encouraged students to explore the realms of history that have not been printed in mainstream text books.

Moore named figures like Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois, who helped to lift a veil of ignorance off of slaves’ heads during the antebellum period in American history. Both of the men, Moore said, developed their minds through education.

He also mentioned famous black women like Mary Church Terrell, who fought for women’s rights, and Pauli Murray, who was the first ordained black Episcopal priest.

During the 1936 Olympic games, Moore said, Hitler was promoting the superiority of the Aryan race. But when Jessie Owens, an Ohio native, beat out the competition, it put Hitler to shame.

Moore said there are different skin colors among the world’s population, but all are part of the human race. And thanks to education, any person has the capabilities to understand that the only difference from one person to the next is not in our brains, it is the tiny pigments that give skin color.

Moore said that students who leave Kent State with a C-average are letting their ancestors down.

“People would get killed if they learned how to read and write,” Moore said. “Because when you read and write, you begin to think, and thinking for slaves was dangerous.”

Moore said Black History Month is a time where people can start to unravel the lies from the truth in history.

“Once we start to show what really occurred to black folks, we can start to show what happened to Arabs, gays, Asians, women – everybody,” he said. “There have been so many lies, and we have to move past all of that.

“An educational environment behooves us to do it. (College) is the place where we un-learn what we have been taught and come away with a better way to deal with this world.”

Moore encouraged all students to participate during the events of Black History Month and see if the experiences will help them to grow as a person.

“During Black History Month,” he said, “take a chance, and see where it takes you.”

Contact minority affairs reporter Kyle Roerink at [email protected].