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‘Black History is American History’

February 27, 2017

Black History open forum“Black history is American history, and you can’t separate them,” said Dr. Mark Edwards, diversity and inclusion coordinator, at an open forum in the Trojan Center Underground held Feb. 27.

As an example, he noted that the first person to die in the Revolutionary War was former slave Crispus Attucks. Other notable historical figures he mentioned included biologist George Washington Carver, the first black U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, activists Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Muhammad Ali.

Besides these well-known African-Americans he also talked about his own grandfather and great-uncle, both of whom served in World War II. His grandfather survived the Battle of the Bulge, his great-uncle was one of 317 who survived the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis.

Arts and Sciences Dean Dr. Ben Jones also spoke about his ancestor’s involvement with American history. His white family member was involved with the Underground Railroad, and later became a recruiter for the First Kansas Colored Infantry, the unit in which he also served as an officer.

“This just proves the point that black history is American history,” Jones said.

While “I love black history for their contributions,” Edwards said, he also appreciates the contributions of other races. He plans to make future forums “bigger and better,” and next year plans to “celebrate the history of all people,” all races and genders, because they have “all contributed to the history of America.”