by Brandi E. Baumeister
February is Black History Month and the Afrikan-American Student Union (AASA), along with director, Nichole Mhoon, sophomore, organized a poetry reading on Monday, Feb. 12.
This is the first time AASA has produced a formal poetry reading. Among the 15 students that read was senior William English. He choose the piece, “I Have a Dream,” by Martin Luther King, Jr. to recite because he admires King for his non-violent qualities. “As much violence that was put towards him, he was still non-violent,” said English.
Freshmen Kenita Lewis and LaShanda Maze recited “We Wear the Mask,” written by Paul Laurence Dunbar, son of a slave.
“For Black History Month, I thought it (the poem) was important because Americans have had amnesia about history…in a way it’s like wearing a mask that Americans wear,” said Maze. “I believe this poem breaks down many myths in society.”
Lewis said, “I think the masks we used during the reading, helped to cover up our true selves, like we often do in our daily lives.”
Katina Anderson, Nichole Davis, Cairen Ireland and Veronica McClendon, all freshmen, read the poem, “Heritage,” written by Harold Jackman. “The most important line in the poem to me is ‘What is Africa to Me,’”said McClendon. “I felt a sense a pride. I felt proud to be black.”
Ireland echoed the feelings of McClendon, saying, ”The poem makes you want to seek knowledge about you and your history and how to relate to it.”
Harvel Lewis, coordinator and administrator of minority students, also attended the poetry reading. “I enjoyed the beautiful readings,” she said.
Freshman Vie’zora Tribble dressed in traditional clothing and recited the Black National Anthem, ”Lift Every Voice and Sing,” written by James Weldon Johnson. “It was an honor to sing this because it has tradition, a lot of power and motivation,” said Tribble.
“I read and write poetry and enjoy getting involved in many things,” said junior Robert Northrop. “I like being diversified.” He read “The Souls of Black and White,” by Aquah Laluah.
Mhoon hopes that the poetry reading will spark interest for future readings.