Black History Month started on Feb. 1, and to kick off the month Unapologetically Black hosted an event in Rogers-Stout Hall.
“The significance of Black History is really important to us,” Brook’ale Anderson, Chairwoman for the Unapologetically Black Committee, said. “We really wanted to educate not only the African American students, but each ethnic background. This is kind of the way we always start it off, to educate while also celebrating.”
The kickoff to Black History Month featured a dedication to the memorial at Borchuck Plaza. The memorial honors Eugene Caruthers, Elizabeth Watkins Crawford, George L. Nichols, Mary Luellen Owens Wagner and Clarence McKinney, the first African American students to desegregate ETSU.
“This specific event is where we touch on the statistics of African Americans on this campus,” Anderson said. “And none of that would have been possible had that campus not been desegregated when they were here. So they’re the ones who made all of this possible in the beginning by desegregating the school, so that’s why it was important for us to give that dedication.”
The event also included a Black State of the Union address made by ETSU senior Keyana Miller. The power point included statistics on the African American population on campus.
“Student enrollment here at ETSU … I get all of this information from our fact book,” Miller said. “In 2018 there were 11,000 undergraduate students, and only about 6.5 percent of them were black students. In 2018 there were about 2,000 graduate students, and about 6.5 percent of them were black, and in total that was about 6.4 percent of the students in general.”
Along with statistics, the presentation touched on issues relevant to the African American population on campus. One of those issues was how to get more people involved in events hosted by Unapologetically Black and Black Affairs.
“I wish there were more minority students that would come out to events,” an audience member said. “I’m a senior now. Since I’ve been here, it’s been the same black staff members at every event.”
At the end of the night, Miller said that her goal to encourage students to be more interested in creating their own narrative were met.
“After the State of The Union, I had students come up to me asking me questions about how they could get involved,” Miller said. “That was a goal. I want students to ask me questions because it is really hard to find information in the void if you don’t know where to find it first.”