Looking back to forge ahead
Students delivered heartfelt messages of hope as they portrayed famous African American women during a Civil Rights reenactment held Feb. 7 at the Portsmouth Campus. The featured historical giants were women of faith, strength and courage who helped shape our nation.
Standing in front of a full house in the Forum, students performed dramatic soliloquies to reflect on what these famous women would say today. The well-scripted verses were delivered with emotion and demonstrated each student's deep connection with an historical figure. Student actors included Shantay Brock (Shirley Chisholm), Jasmine Bryant (Rosa Parks), Tina Harris (Harriet Tubman), Schnitra Johnson (Angela Davis), Octavia Mills (Sojourner Truth), Karen Mundon (Maya Angelou) and Brittany Wilson (Myrlie Evers).
The remarks varied, with quotes from famous works like Sojourner Truth's Ain't I a Woman speech and original prose based on research on the renowned women. Spoken with exuberance, honesty and passion, the presentations had a common theme of freedom and equal rights for all.
"It has been so inspiring to me to see women empowered to move forward and be all that they can be," said Mills. "I work in a place where most people have a poverty mentality and this is a refreshing change." She went on to say that this experience has broadened her views on African American women and given her a passion to make a difference in people's lives.
Special music and video clips reflecting important moments in history rounded out the event, which was planned as part of the Black History Month celebration by Student Government Association President Louie Gibbs and James Boyd, associate coordinator of student activities at the Portsmouth Campus. A second-year student, Gibbs plans to teach history and pursue a career in politics.