By Isaiah Reese

Elm Staff Writer

Before college I worked at a Black-owned bookstore in Baltimore called Everyone’s Place. This is where I found like-minded spirits who learned the gospels of Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey. While there, I built some of the best relationships one could have.

But then, the universe brought me to Washington College: the complete opposite of Everyone’s Place. The culture shock was too deep of a well to climb.

Sumner Hall recently held one of their board meetings on Sept. 27, to give updates on the progress the African-American museum has made throughout the year. Paris Young and Paris Mercier, along with myself, attended the meeting to share updates on the Chesapeake Heartland Project, opening the floor to new ideas and possibilities on how we — as students and the project’s ambassadors — can better appreciate, preserve, and celebrate the African-American history of Kent County.

During closing of the meeting, we three spoke to Yvette, who with the help of her fellow black classmates and peers, founded the Black Student Union at Washington College back in the early 1990s.

As diversity increased, Black students needed to find a way to get their voices heard. With wit, courage, and ambition, the revolutionaries in this union set out to establish both a Black sorority and fraternity. However, they were met with intense pushback from white peers, faculty, and staff.

Now, as the new Black Student Union resurrects, with the spirits of the strong-hearted individuals who have withstood much discrimination and hate, it strives to ensure Black voices are heard on campus.

This story was nostalgic for me, to hear how only a handful of Black students residing at WC didn’t allow the pressures of being minority students in a predominantly white environment to hinder them from speaking their truth. Ms. Yvette’s words reminded me of the pure-hearted ferocity of Malcolm X.

This is why WC needs a Black Student Union: to remind every minority student who walks its campus that their voices will be heard.

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