Peers teach community about black history

Pat Gareau


Black History Month was celebrated at an event on Feb. 26, where students were able to learn from their peers about outstanding African Americans throughout history.

The event was hosted by the Black and Latino Student Union (BLSU) and included a free lunch for those in attendance. Members of the club did research on notable African Americans and presented their findings to students at tables around the perimeter of the Exhibition Room in the Campus Center.

”A lot of people don’t know, so it’s good that they eat, they get to have a good environment and they learn something new,” said Elijah Pore, president of the BLSU.

Tyler Mosley, an individual studies student, was one of the presenters. He researched Alex Haley, who wrote “Roots” and “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.”

“I’ve always been a huge fan and supporter of Malcolm X, so I wanted to learn more about the man who wrote about him,” said Mosley.

Haley was a World War II veteran and made his way as a freelance writer upon reentering civilian life. His big break came with Playboy Magazine, and his book about Malcolm X made him a national figure. In 1998, Time Magazine ranked “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” as one of the ten most influential books of the 20th century.

Haley then traveled to Gambia, where his ancestors were from, and conducted research that led to his second major hit book, “Roots.”

Mosley told Haley’s story to the students in attendance as they went from table to table.

Next to Mosley was Kylea Tellis, a psychology and creative writing student who researched Maya Angelou and told students about her life and literary work. She read “Phenomenal Woman” by Angelou to students who came to her table, which she said is her favorite poem.

“I feel like as a female it kind of gives you strength,” said Tellis.

While Maya Angelou and Alex Haley have both passed away, Jasmine McPherson informed students about Kai Davis, an activist who is currently a college student at Temple University.

Davis is known for her slam poetry and spreading awareness about new forms of racism, according to McPherson. “She’s known for calling it out in new and different ways,” said McPherson.

McPherson is a Computer Science major and said that Davis’s work resonates with  her. “A lot of stereotypes are forced on me in that major, and that’s something she speaks about,” she said.

Director of student life Louis Coplin spoke at the beginning of the event about the importance of learning history. He said that he didn’t find out that his hometown, Buffalo, was the last stop on the underground railroad until decades after he moved away.

“That’s just one fantastic story of many stories in our history,” said Coplin.

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