By Lawanda Mckelvy
Back in February, I attended one of the Black History Month events the college hosted. There were several African-American students congregating right outside the library, but they had no interest in taking five steps to come in and attending the event.
Many African-American youth today consider the death of Tupac black history. While his death is a tragic event in recent history that 18- to 30-year-olds can identify with, it is not black history.
Due to what seems like a lack of knowledge or interest in black history, it is apparent this subject is in need of a re-vamp in order to be relevant in the lives of young Americans.
Online reports show there are many students attending schools named after blacks, but the students don’t even realize it. Young African-Americans and other cultures that are now a part of communities in the U.S. should know this part of history.
It is then they will gain a true understanding of how equal rights came to be and the reason everyone has equal opportunities today.
Knowledge of events and tragedies that occurred in the 1950s and ’60s may help change some of the passive attitudes about privileges that African-Americans and other groups have today.
Young Americans must be reminded what African-Africans who lived during the civil rights movement endured, and of the many lives lost at very young ages, in order for this generation to participate in “the American dream” today.
Jim Crow laws at the local and state levels barred blacks from classrooms and bathrooms, from theaters and train cars and from juries and legislatures. President Kennedy sent federal troops to the University of Mississippi in 1962 so that James Meredith, the school’s first black student, could attend.
Do the young students on campus, especially African-Americans, know or care about these important events that occurred within the past 60 years? This part of history is the foundation of the education we are afforded today.
Men, women and children were burned alive, hung and beaten to death because they believed in equal rights for black people. They went through a tremendous amount of suffering, and they deserve to be remembered.
They probably didn’t realize their sacrifices would not only open doors for African-Americans, but for all people who call this country home today.
The civil rights struggle may have come in a time before the birth of these young students, but it has formed a solid foundation for the present and the future. It should never be forgotten.