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Nineteen Fifty-Six Vol. 1 No. 4 We are Black History

This is the February Issue of Nineteen Fifty-Six magazine. The theme, We are Black History, is showcased throughout the magazine in honor of Black History Month.

This is the February Issue of Nineteen Fifty-Six magazine. The theme, We are Black History, is showcased throughout the magazine in honor of Black History Month.

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FEBRUARY 2021


1 2


A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR<br />

FEBRUARY 2021<br />

EDITORIAL STAFF<br />

TIONNA TAITE<br />

BRADLEY COATS<br />

A’NESHIA TURNER<br />

ASHTON JAH<br />

ALEXIS BLUE<br />

ZAHREA SMALL<br />

FARRAH SANDERS<br />

REENA MILLER<br />

NICKELL GRANT<br />

MONIQUE FIELDS<br />

JULIE SALTER<br />

TERRY SIGGERS<br />

WRITERS<br />

PHOTOGRAPHERS<br />

ENGAGEMENT<br />

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF<br />

MANAGING EDITOR<br />

VISUALS EDITOR<br />

ASSISTANT VISUALS EDITOR<br />

PHOTO EDITOR<br />

VIDEO EDITOR<br />

CULTURE AND LIFESTYLE EDITOR<br />

ASSISTANT CULTURE AND LIFESTYLE EDITOR<br />

ENGAGEMENT EDITOR<br />

FACULTY ADVISOR<br />

ASSISTANT ADVERTISING DIRECTOR<br />

DIGITAL MEDIA MANAGER<br />

JAVON WILLIAMS, JASMINE HOLLIE, RACHEL PARKER<br />

MADISON CARMOUCHE, VU LE, ANDREW DODSON<br />

ZAHREA SMALL<br />

KENDE’LYN THOMPSON, MALLORY WESTRY, MA’KIA<br />

MOULTON, CASSIDY BURRELL, MADISON DAVIS,<br />

GABBY ADAMS, JOLENCIA JONES, ARMYLL J SMITH,<br />

ASIA ANDERSON , BRADLEY COATS<br />

<strong>Nineteen</strong> <strong>Fifty</strong>-<strong>Six</strong> is published by the Office of Student Media at The<br />

University of Alabama. All content and design <strong>are</strong> produced by students in<br />

consultation with professional staff advisers. All material contained herein,<br />

except advertising or where indicated otherwise, is copyrighted © 2020 by<br />

<strong>Nineteen</strong> <strong>Fifty</strong>-<strong>Six</strong> magazine. Material herein may not be reprinted without<br />

the expressed, written permission of <strong>Nineteen</strong> <strong>Fifty</strong>-<strong>Six</strong> magazine. Editorial<br />

and Advertising offices for <strong>Nineteen</strong> <strong>Fifty</strong>-<strong>Six</strong> Magazine <strong>are</strong> located at 414<br />

Campus Drive East, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487. The mailing address is P.O. Box<br />

870170, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487. Phone: (205) 348-7257.<br />

CONTRIBUTORS<br />

C O P Y R I G H T<br />

“Change will not come if we wait for some<br />

other person or some other time. <strong>We</strong> <strong>are</strong><br />

the ones we’ve been waiting for. <strong>We</strong> <strong>are</strong> the<br />

change that we seek.” - Barack Obama<br />

Who better exemplifies being “the change that<br />

we seek” than the very first <strong>Black</strong> president of<br />

the United States? Barack Obama made history<br />

when he was elected the 44th president of the<br />

United States on <strong>No</strong>vember 4, 2008. I was only seven<br />

years old when this historical moment took place.<br />

To this day, I still remember the excitement of my <strong>Black</strong> classmates in<br />

second grade the morning after the election. Some said they would run<br />

for president in the future just like Obama. Others sh<strong>are</strong>d stories about<br />

celebrating with their family upon hearing the election results. Among the<br />

commotion, a few students, including my younger self, spoke about how<br />

they would become the first <strong>Black</strong> woman to be president. Whether or not<br />

these students would run for president in the future was not the point.<br />

The point was my <strong>Black</strong> classmates finally felt like they could hold one of<br />

the most powerful positions in America because someone in that position<br />

finally looked like them.<br />

Sometimes, we can get caught up in planning. <strong>We</strong> might speak of change and<br />

even make excessive plans on how we will enact it. Yet, the most important<br />

step is to just begin. Change can not happen without action. Action can not<br />

happen without initiative. Your first step does not have to be big. However,<br />

you must take the first step in order to begin the journey towards change.<br />

I encourage you to stop waiting for the ‘perfect’ time because there is no<br />

perfect time but the present. Do something today that puts you on the<br />

right path towards being the change you desire to see.<br />

I am pleased to present the fourth issue of <strong>Nineteen</strong> <strong>Fifty</strong>-<strong>Six</strong> to you all. I<br />

hope this magazine issue encourages you to be the change you desire and<br />

remember you <strong>are</strong> a part of <strong>Black</strong> history.<br />

TIONNA TAITE<br />

3 4


CONTENTS<br />

CULTURE<br />

BLOODY TUESDAY<br />

CULTURE QUEENS<br />

DIASPORA DINING<br />

BLACK LIKE I NEVER LEFT<br />

EXPLORING BLACK HISTORY IN ALABAMA<br />

SPOKEN LEGACY<br />

RESIDENTIAL SEGREGATION STILL<br />

IMPACTS MONTGOMERY PUBLIC SCHOOLS<br />

BLACK HISTORY ABSENT FROM THE<br />

ALABAMA K-12 CURRICULUM<br />

0 7<br />

09<br />

12<br />

15<br />

18<br />

20<br />

24<br />

27<br />

5 6


JASMINE HOLLIE<br />

BLOODY<br />

TUESDAY<br />

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES<br />

He served as a member of the Tuscaloosa<br />

city council for 24 years and as president<br />

for 12 years. So far, there has yet to be<br />

another <strong>Black</strong> city council president.<br />

“I’ve been a few firsts in things, but I don’t<br />

c<strong>are</strong> about being the first, as long as I’m<br />

not the last,” said Taylor.<br />

Since “Bloody Tuesday,” Tuscaloosa has<br />

slowly become a more diverse and inclusive<br />

city. People of color started to hold<br />

positions of power within the city council.<br />

They also broke barriers and became state<br />

attorneys, lawyers, judges and officers.<br />

However, racism and injustice remains an<br />

issue in the state of Alabama and across<br />

the country. Taylor said he is proud of<br />

the activism and leadership shown by the<br />

younger generation. National movements<br />

like <strong>Black</strong> Lives Matter have changed the<br />

impact of protests by utilizing smart<br />

phones and social media.<br />

CULTURE<br />

I<br />

t’s been 57 years since a group of peaceful<br />

protestors planned to march from the First African<br />

Baptist Church to the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse<br />

on June 9, 1964. Their purpose: stand against<br />

segregated drinking fountains and restrooms at the<br />

county courthouse. Protestors b<strong>are</strong>ly made it out of<br />

the church before they were attacked by awaiting<br />

officers and angry white citizens. This historic day in<br />

Tuscaloosa is known as “Bloody Tuesday.” Most of us<br />

<strong>are</strong> familiar with a similar civil rights march named<br />

“Bloody Sunday,” which occurred the following year in<br />

Selma, Alabama. The 1964 march in Tuscaloosa received<br />

little recognition comp<strong>are</strong>d to other documented civil<br />

rights movements. However, this brave act from young<br />

students, activists and leaders made a great impact on<br />

the city.<br />

Segregation was the norm in the state of Alabama<br />

during the 1960s. It was also encouraged by former<br />

state Gov. George C. Wallace as he once famously stated:<br />

“segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation<br />

forever.” In June of 1963, just one year prior to the<br />

courthouse protest, Wallace temporarily blocked the<br />

entrance of <strong>Black</strong> students at The University of<br />

Alabama. Since this day, community members and<br />

leaders have continued to fight and advocate for<br />

change while taking small steps towards equality.<br />

Harrsion Taylor, former Tuscaloosa city council<br />

president, was a foot soldier in the civil rights<br />

movement of 1963-1964. He was only 17 years old when<br />

“Bloody Tuesday” took place. Taylor stood amongst<br />

other community leaders and students to march<br />

from First African Baptist church to the Tuscaloosa<br />

County Courthouse. The Tuscaloosa native is now 73<br />

years old and stands proud of all that Tuscaloosa has<br />

accomplished since that historic Tuesday. Taylor said<br />

he believes Dinah Washington’s rendition of “What a<br />

Diff’rence a Day Makes” should be dedicated to the<br />

city of Tuscaloosa.<br />

“I’m proud of my hometown, we’ve come a long way,”<br />

said Taylor. “The march changed Tuscaloosa not just<br />

for <strong>Black</strong>s, but for fair minded Whites too.”<br />

Taylor reflected on his historic journey from marching<br />

alongside great leaders like Rev. T.Y. Rogers Jr. to<br />

becoming the first <strong>Black</strong> city council president. During<br />

his time on the city council, Harrison continued to<br />

enforce changes within City Hall to improve diversity.<br />

“I think the <strong>Black</strong> Lives Matter Movement<br />

is needed. That’s one movement where<br />

I’ve seen young Whites come out and join<br />

right away,” Taylor said. “TV made a big<br />

difference across this country because<br />

people were able to see injustice for<br />

themselves.”<br />

7 8


CULTURE<br />

RACHEL PARKER<br />

T<br />

his quote by the acclaimed novelist<br />

and essayist, encompasses all that<br />

is inherent to <strong>Black</strong> women, from<br />

their work to their personal lives.<br />

Throughout history, <strong>Black</strong> women<br />

have had to take on more roles to<br />

maintain and move through life<br />

as protectors and guides for their<br />

community that includes family,<br />

friendships, and c<strong>are</strong>ers. This is<br />

further explained by Dr. Jameka<br />

Hartley, a faculty member apart of the<br />

Gender and Race Studies department<br />

stating, “<strong>Black</strong> women <strong>are</strong> often<br />

the backbone of their families and<br />

Culture<br />

Queens<br />

The Unsung frontline workers<br />

<strong>Black</strong> women <strong>are</strong> the<br />

touchstone by which all that is<br />

human can be measured.<br />

- Toni Morrison.<br />

communities. Historically, people of<br />

the African Diaspora <strong>are</strong> a matrilineal<br />

people and honor the women and<br />

maternal figures. There is no aspect<br />

of <strong>Black</strong> culture that hasn’t been<br />

touched by a <strong>Black</strong> woman. Literally,<br />

<strong>Black</strong> culture was birthed by <strong>Black</strong><br />

women as each <strong>Black</strong> person is built<br />

and birthed by a <strong>Black</strong> mother.”<br />

“Throughout history we’ve seen so<br />

many different examples of black<br />

women just healing, of protesting,<br />

of resisting, of teaching, of<br />

organizing, of reimagining, curating,<br />

collaborating writing, directing and<br />

producing,” states Dr. Alexis McGee,<br />

an Assist. Professor of English at<br />

The University of Alabama. McGee’s<br />

comment showcases the myriad<br />

of roles that <strong>Black</strong> women inhabit<br />

as creators and defenders to carry<br />

the proverbial weight of their<br />

communities’ issues and ultimately<br />

be the individuals who solve them.<br />

An example of solving an issue would<br />

be past elections, specifically the 2020<br />

presidential race which was heavily<br />

dependent on <strong>Black</strong> women. Because<br />

of <strong>Black</strong> women, they were able to<br />

elect a Democratic President and Vice<br />

President in Kamala Harris. In the<br />

months following, two Democratic<br />

senators were elected in Georgia,<br />

turning the state blue for the first<br />

time in 25 years. This was thanks, in<br />

large part, to Stacey Abrams and the<br />

work of her organization, Fair Fight,<br />

in helping to combat Georgia’s voter<br />

suppression tactics. These types of<br />

changes should come as no surprise<br />

when the numbers state the facts,<br />

where according to polling from<br />

American Election Eve, <strong>Black</strong> women<br />

made up more than 90 percent of the<br />

votes for Democrats. The work of<br />

Stacey Abrams was a tremendous help<br />

in speaking to a demographic that<br />

was largely overlooked and at times<br />

forgotten. But with Abrams focusing<br />

on the issues most important to the<br />

<strong>Black</strong> community, she was able to<br />

gain their trust and showcase their<br />

worth and importance to a society<br />

that viewed them as an afterthought.<br />

Continuing in the same vein of<br />

advocating for the rights of the <strong>Black</strong><br />

community, dates to before Abrams<br />

with the work of investigative<br />

journalist and activist, Ida B. <strong>We</strong>lls.<br />

<strong>We</strong>lls was outspoken with her<br />

reporting in the Memphis newspaper,<br />

Free Speech, where she reported<br />

on the lynching of <strong>Black</strong> men and<br />

women. One editorial highlighted<br />

the lynching of her friend, Thomas<br />

Moss, because he was a business<br />

owner. Because of <strong>We</strong>ll’s reporting<br />

that urged Memphis citizens to<br />

leave and boycott trolley cars, 20<br />

percent of the <strong>Black</strong> population left<br />

along with trolley cars remaining<br />

empty for a year. <strong>We</strong>lls continued her<br />

investigations with publications of<br />

her research in Southern Horrors:<br />

Lynch Law in All Its Phases in 1892<br />

and The Red Record in 1895. Her<br />

work shined a light on a dark secret<br />

this nation did not want to be seen.<br />

This type of transformative and<br />

life-changing work is a monumental<br />

feature to be accomplished as<br />

well as the effect this has on the<br />

communities that benefit. When a<br />

<strong>Black</strong> woman does the work, it results<br />

in a domino effect that can be felt for<br />

lasting generations as more step to<br />

pick up the mantle.<br />

Furthering this is the reasoning for<br />

why this work will consistently fall<br />

upon the shoulders of <strong>Black</strong> women<br />

with the fact that our existence is<br />

dependent on the strides being made<br />

to make the road ahead easier. “<strong>Black</strong><br />

women’s lives <strong>are</strong> impacted by being<br />

both raced and gendered and it is<br />

this embodied oppression that moves<br />

us towards pathways of liberation,”<br />

says Dr. Hartley. Working within the<br />

frame of racism and sexism acts as a<br />

driving force for <strong>Black</strong> women in the<br />

varying labors they perform from<br />

being the shield against attacks, the<br />

bullhorn for justice or the trailblazer<br />

on unventured paths.<br />

Even with all the encouraging labor,<br />

many forget that this type of labor<br />

is tiring and taxing on the body as<br />

well as the mind and <strong>Black</strong> women<br />

<strong>are</strong> then loaded with balancing the<br />

expectations of others who <strong>are</strong> a part<br />

of the <strong>Black</strong> community. As evidenced<br />

by Amanda Gorman, the first National<br />

Youth Laureate Poet, when speaking<br />

about her own struggle with Imposter<br />

Syndrome in the Time 100 issue with<br />

former First Lady Michelle Obama,<br />

“Speaking in public as a <strong>Black</strong> girl<br />

is already daunting enough, just<br />

coming onstage with my dark skin<br />

and my hair and my race—that in<br />

itself is inviting a type of people that<br />

have not often been welcomed or<br />

celebrated in the public sphere.”<br />

Having to contend with the<br />

additional scrutiny of image and<br />

inhabiting a space that was not built<br />

with you in mind and in no way is<br />

trying to bend to be more inclusive<br />

is a daunting task that <strong>Black</strong> women<br />

have taken on and continue to break<br />

through barriers designed for their<br />

exclusion. As detailed by Dr. McGee<br />

about the ongoing work of <strong>Black</strong><br />

women, “<strong>We</strong> see all these different<br />

ways that <strong>Black</strong> women engage with<br />

liberating or engage with ways of<br />

making freedoms, whether that be to<br />

change the law or whether that be to<br />

create space for oneself or to validate<br />

the experiences of black women.”<br />

All that has been achieved and<br />

continuing to be achieved speaks to<br />

the resiliency of <strong>Black</strong> women and the<br />

importance of every <strong>Black</strong> woman’s<br />

story, no matter their background,<br />

appearance, or education. There<br />

is space for every one of them with<br />

their courage and their vulnerability,<br />

for all of this we sing their praises.<br />

9 10


IFESTYLE<br />

Diaspora Dining<br />

FARRAH SANDERS<br />

M<br />

any communities rest inside<br />

the African diaspora. While<br />

we have many unique experiences<br />

and qualities from our own microcultures,<br />

we still sh<strong>are</strong> many common<br />

beliefs. Food is seen as a way to bring<br />

family, feuding parties and other<br />

groups together. Even though it<br />

may be difficult to physically come<br />

together in fellowship, these recipes<br />

will always bring us to the worldwide<br />

table. <strong>No</strong> reservation needed.<br />

Sweet Plantains from the<br />

Caribbean Islands<br />

This delicious dessert hails from<br />

countries closer to the Equator.<br />

Plantains, often confused with<br />

bananas, <strong>are</strong> the popular fruits’<br />

savory cousin. This easy recipe will<br />

take you to the islands of Jamaica<br />

where this food is a popular side<br />

dish. It’s also referred to as dodo in<br />

Nigeria!<br />

INGREDIENTS:<br />

4 yellow ripe plantains<br />

2 tablespoons butter<br />

2 tablespoons oil (vegetable or canola)<br />

1 - 2 tablespoons sugar<br />

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon<br />

DIRECTIONS:<br />

1. Cut off the ends of the plantains. Then, use a knife<br />

to slice into the skin along the length of the plantain.<br />

Don't slice too deep in, just deep enough to slice the<br />

skin. Remove the peel in strips with your finger. Cut<br />

the plantains into 1-inch-thick slices.<br />

2. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over mediumhigh<br />

heat.<br />

3. When the butter is melted, place the plantains slices<br />

into the skillet. Fry until the plantains begin to turn<br />

golden brown, then turn over, and continue frying,<br />

about 2 minutes per side.<br />

4. Reduce heat to low. Sprinkle plantain with sugar and<br />

cinnamon. Cover the skillet and cook, turning them<br />

over once, until the plantains <strong>are</strong> tender, and they have<br />

caramelized, about 8 - 10 minutes.<br />

5. Serve immediately as a side dish to any entrée.<br />

11 12


Jollof Rice from <strong>We</strong>st Africa<br />

Jollof rice is a staple dish widely known in <strong>We</strong>st African<br />

countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Liberia and<br />

Sierra Leone. Nigerians refer to this as their party rice,<br />

served at ceremonies and celebrations. Others regard it as<br />

a necessary part of a great home-cooked meal.<br />

INGREDIENTS:<br />

1/3 cup oil (vegetable/canola/coconut, not olive oil)<br />

6 medium-sized fresh plum/Roma tomatoes, chopped, OR<br />

a 400-gram tin of tomatoes<br />

6 fresh, red poblano peppers (or 4 large red bell peppers),<br />

seeds discarded<br />

3 medium-sized red onions (1 sliced thinly, 2 roughly<br />

chopped), divided<br />

1/2 to 1 hot pepper, or to taste (yellow Scotch bonnets <strong>are</strong><br />

my favourite)<br />

3 tablespoons tomato paste<br />

2 teaspoons (Caribbean/Jamaican-style) curry powder<br />

1 teaspoon dried thyme<br />

2 dried bay leaves<br />

5 to 6 cups stock (vegetable, chicken, or beef) or water,<br />

divided<br />

2 teaspoons unsalted butter (optional), divided<br />

4 cups uncooked converted long-grain rice or golden sella<br />

basmati, rinsed<br />

Salt, to taste<br />

<strong>Black</strong> and white pepper, to taste<br />

DIRECTIONS:<br />

1. In a blender, combine tomatoes, red poblano (or bell)<br />

peppers, chopped onions, and Scotch bonnets with 2 cups<br />

of stock, blend till smooth, about a minute or two. You<br />

should have roughly 6 cups of blended mix. Pour into a<br />

large pot/ pan and bring to the boil then turn down and<br />

let simmer, covered for 10 - 12 minutes<br />

2. In a large pan, heat oil and add the sliced onions. Season<br />

with a pinch of salt, stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes, then add<br />

the bay leaves, curry powder and dried thyme and a pinch<br />

of black pepper for 3 - 4 minutes on medium heat. Then<br />

add the tomato paste - stir for another 2 minutes. Add the<br />

reduced tomato-pepper-Scotch bonnet mixture, stir, and<br />

set on medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes till reduced by<br />

half, with the lid on. This is the stew that will define the<br />

pot.<br />

3. Add 4 cups of the stock to the cooked tomato sauce and<br />

bring it to boil for 1 - 2 minutes.<br />

4. Add the rinsed rice and butter, stir, cover with a double<br />

piece of foil/baking or parchment paper and put a lid on<br />

the pan—this will seal in the steam and lock in the flavour.<br />

Turn down the heat and cook on low for 30 minutes.<br />

5. Stir rice—taste and adjust as required.<br />

6. If you like, add sliced onions, fresh tomatoes and the<br />

2nd teaspoon of butter and stir through.<br />

Southern Shrimp & Grits<br />

from the United States<br />

This recipe hails from the Gulf Coast. The southeastern<br />

region of the United States holds so much history for<br />

African Americans. Stories, family lineage and history<br />

<strong>are</strong> often passed down by word of mouth. Popular recipes<br />

like shrimp & grits have traveled through generations the<br />

same way. This dish can be found in restaurants all over<br />

the world but it will always be birthed by the bayou.<br />

INGREDIENTS:<br />

GRITS:<br />

4 cups chicken broth<br />

1/2 cup whipping cream<br />

1 cup quick cooking grits<br />

Salt and freshly ground black pepper<br />

1 tablespoon butter<br />

1/4 cup Parmesan<br />

SHRIMP:<br />

2 tablespoons butter<br />

1/2 medium onion, chopped<br />

2 cloves garlic, minced<br />

1 green bell pepper, chopped<br />

1/2 pound smoked kielbasa sausage, sliced<br />

2 pounds uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined<br />

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes<br />

Chopped chives, for garnish<br />

DIRECTIONS:<br />

1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the chicken stock,<br />

and whipping cream up to a low simmer. While simmering<br />

whisk in the grits and a pinch of salt. Stir constantly and<br />

return to a low simmer. Cook until thickened, stirring<br />

often, about 5 minutes.<br />

2. Stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese. Season, to<br />

taste, with salt and pepper. Heat a large saute pan over<br />

medium-heat.<br />

3. Melt butter and saute onion, garlic, and green bell<br />

pepper. Saute until tender and translucent, and add the<br />

sausage. When the sausage has cooked, add the shrimp<br />

and saute for about 2 minutes.<br />

4. Add white wine and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil,<br />

about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.<br />

Serve over the Parmesan cheese grits. Garnish with<br />

chopped chives.<br />

Quindims from Brazil<br />

Brazil is home to the largest group of people with African<br />

heritage outside of the continent of Africa. Their culture<br />

is rich and so is their food. Quindim is a custard dish with<br />

coconut. This sweet dish is made with simple ingredients<br />

and is a country wide favorite.<br />

INGREDIENTS:<br />

1 muffin tin<br />

1 pan or dish for holding hot water<br />

8 egg yolks sieved<br />

½ cup sugar<br />

3 tablespoons butter melted<br />

½ cup coconut milk<br />

1 cup grated or shredded coconut fresh or dry<br />

FOR THE BOTTOM OF THE TIN:<br />

2 tablespoons butter soft<br />

1/3 cup sugar<br />

DIRECTIONS:<br />

1. Place the coconut in a large bowl and pour the coconut<br />

milk on top. Mix well and let stand for 5 minutes.<br />

2. In a blender, add the sugar, butter, coconut mixture and<br />

egg yolks. Mix for 2 minutes.<br />

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C.<br />

4. Generously apply butter in each mold of the tin and<br />

cover the bottom and edges with sugar edges. Add a little<br />

more sugar at the bottom.<br />

5. Pour the mixture into the molds and let stand 10<br />

minutes at room temperature. Pour hot water in a pan<br />

and sit the muffin tin in the water. Place in the oven for<br />

50 minutes.<br />

6. Allow to cool before unmolding.<br />

Diaspora Dining<br />

LIFESTYLE<br />

13 14


LIFESTYLE<br />

<strong>Black</strong> Like I Never Left<br />

JAVON WILLIAMS<br />

E<br />

veryone has heard of<br />

hand-me-downs from<br />

older siblings or family<br />

members but what about<br />

hand-me-downs from<br />

a whole generation of<br />

fashion? Many fashion<br />

statements from the<br />

late 20th century <strong>are</strong><br />

returning to our closets<br />

and shining down the<br />

streets of modern<br />

fashion. <strong>Black</strong> young<br />

adults <strong>are</strong> embracing and<br />

enhancing their features<br />

with these fashionable<br />

blasts from the past that<br />

<strong>are</strong> ‘<strong>Black</strong> like they never<br />

left’.<br />

AFROS<br />

Although our natural crowns have<br />

always been with us, this extravagant<br />

hairstyle gained its popularity in the<br />

1960s. Both men and women rocked this<br />

hairdo on the dance floors and in the<br />

streets all over the world. <strong>No</strong>w there <strong>are</strong><br />

even more men and women enhancing<br />

and rocking their ‘fros.<br />

HOOP EARRINGS<br />

In the 1960s, hoop earrings were brought<br />

to the forefront of fashion by celebrities<br />

such as Diana Ross, Angela Davis<br />

and Donna Summer. These earrings<br />

embraced the Afro-Centric look and<br />

made a shifting statement for <strong>Black</strong><br />

women. The trend has since resurfaced<br />

and is rocked by <strong>Black</strong> women both<br />

young and old.<br />

BUCKET HATS<br />

These cool hats <strong>are</strong> known to be the<br />

fashion piece that can go with anything!<br />

Bucket hats were made popular by<br />

hip-hop artists such as LL Cool J and<br />

Run-D.M.C. in the 1980s as one of their<br />

signature looks. Bucket hats <strong>are</strong> an<br />

essential accessory for throwback and<br />

retro outfits in the modern fashion<br />

world.<br />

FANNY PACKS<br />

Popularized in the 1990s, fanny packs<br />

became the most convenient and<br />

fashionable accessory. Although the<br />

trend died down in the early 2000s, the<br />

packs <strong>are</strong> back and as stylish as ever.<br />

Today, many of our favorite brands<br />

release their own styles of fanny packs.<br />

BAGGY/CARGO PANTS<br />

The trend of baggy pants began in the<br />

1930s. Yet, the trend really took off in the<br />

1990s and was listed as number seven<br />

in the 90 best trends. Throughout the<br />

90s and early 2000s, artists like Aaliyah<br />

and Ciara rocked this trend. <strong>No</strong>w, our<br />

generation has decided to bring this<br />

fashion trend back.<br />

BIKER SHORTS<br />

Biker shorts were made popular in the<br />

1980s. During that time, celebrities such<br />

as Madonna and Princess Diana rocked<br />

these shorts. Today, biker shorts <strong>are</strong><br />

an essential fashion piece that is still<br />

trending. The sleek shorts can be paired<br />

with anklets, slides, and so much more.<br />

TURTLENECKS<br />

In the 1920s, turtlenecks trended as a<br />

professional and sleek piece that pulled<br />

together any outfit. In today’s fashion,<br />

turtlenecks can be easily dressed up<br />

or dressed down with a skirt or some<br />

slacks. Adding a nice chain with some<br />

hoop earrings to a turtleneck is like a<br />

match made in heaven!<br />

AIR FORCE 1’S<br />

These popular shoes hit the streets in<br />

1982 and still have all the buzz. White<br />

forces can be matched with anything<br />

and fit all styles. Even when creased or<br />

dirty by wear, these OG shoes <strong>are</strong> here<br />

to stay.<br />

ADIDAS<br />

Adidas has always been a popular<br />

athletic brand, but the company was<br />

best known for its street fashion in the<br />

1980s. Run-D.M.C. was the first music<br />

group endorsed by an athletic brand<br />

and created the hit song “My Adidas”’<br />

in 1986. Adidas still hasn’t gotten old<br />

and continues to dominate the fashion<br />

world with their shoes and clothing.<br />

FILA<br />

FILA, an Italian fashion brand created<br />

in 1911, became a popular brand in the<br />

late 1980s. During that time, many<br />

athletes wore FILA jogging suits<br />

as pre-game outfits and even street<br />

fashion. In today’s fashion world, FILA<br />

has remained relevant by releasing<br />

Disruptors, one of their most popular<br />

shoes.<br />

15 16


LIFESTYLE<br />

A<br />

labama has been the forefront of many historical<br />

acts including the civil rights movement. <strong>Black</strong><br />

history exudes throughout the state in cities such<br />

as: Montgomery, Selma, Birmingham, Tuskegee<br />

and Tuscaloosa. There <strong>are</strong> hundreds of museums,<br />

churches and other structures visitors can explore<br />

and learn about <strong>Black</strong> history. Although we <strong>are</strong><br />

currently in a global pandemic, many of these<br />

attractions have been altered to abide by social<br />

distancing and safety guidelines. Below is a list<br />

of some of the top <strong>Black</strong> <strong>History</strong> attractions in<br />

Alabama.<br />

Tuscaloosa Civil Rights <strong>History</strong> Trail<br />

Tuscaloosa, AL<br />

This trail was created to demonstrate Tuscaloosa’s<br />

place in civil rights history. The official trail starting<br />

point takes place at Capitol Park located on 6th<br />

Street. Tuscaloosa was the state capitol from 1826-<br />

1846. Capitol Park holds the remains of the former<br />

Alabama State Capitol building, which burned<br />

down in 1832. It was at this building where the<br />

state legislature met and enacted the slave codes in<br />

1833. The historic trail ends at the Howard-Linton<br />

Barbershop. This barbershop played an important<br />

role in the civil rights movement. <strong>Black</strong> ministers<br />

would meet here and plan their campaign on civil<br />

rights. It was also the place where protesters sought<br />

comfort after the attacks of “Bloody Tuesday.”<br />

Along the Civil Rights <strong>History</strong> trail visitors <strong>are</strong><br />

presented with markers that tell the stories of the<br />

civil rights movement and segregated businesses<br />

in the city.<br />

Birmingham Civil Rights District<br />

Birmingham, AL<br />

Birmingham served as another pivotal point of<br />

the civil rights movement in the 1960’s. This<br />

<strong>are</strong>a includes historic attractions such as: the<br />

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Kelly Ingram<br />

Park, and 16th St. Baptist Church. Kelly Ingram<br />

Park is surrounded by statues which depict fire<br />

hoses and police dogs being used against peaceful<br />

protestors. All of these attractions in this district<br />

show the difficult reality of the fight for equal<br />

rights.<br />

The National Memorial for Peace and<br />

Justice/Legacy Museum<br />

Montgomery, AL<br />

This is the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the<br />

legacy of enslaved <strong>Black</strong> people, people terrorized<br />

by lynching and other acts of violence and injustice.<br />

The memorial was inspired by the work of the Equal<br />

Justice Initiative (EJI) which is a private non-profit<br />

organization. At this memorial people can gather<br />

and reflect on America’s history of racial inequality.<br />

The Legacy museum is built on the site of a former<br />

w<strong>are</strong>house where enslaved <strong>Black</strong> people were<br />

imprisoned. It is also located between a historic<br />

slave market and the main river dock and train<br />

station where thousands of enslaved people were<br />

auctioned and sold. The museum highlights the<br />

difficult reality of slavery, lynching and the Jim<br />

Crow South.<br />

National Voting Rights Museum<br />

Selma, AL<br />

This museum addresses the struggle and hardship<br />

that accompanied gaining voting rights and human<br />

equality. The museum is ironically located at the<br />

foot of the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge, which<br />

is where the brutal attacks of “Bloody Sunday” took<br />

place. Exhibits inside the museum detail events<br />

leading up to the Selma to Montgomery march.<br />

Some of them also provide brief history on the civil<br />

rights movement throughout the south.<br />

Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site<br />

Tuskegee, AL<br />

The Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site was<br />

the training center for the first African American<br />

fighter and bomber pilots in the U.S. military.<br />

These pilots were famously known as the Red<br />

Tails. The historic site is located adjacent to Moton<br />

Field Municipal Airport. Moton Field was the only<br />

primary flight facility for African American pilots<br />

in the U.S. Army Air Corps during the second World<br />

War. At the site, visitors can enjoy exhibits that<br />

detail the story of training, life at camp and much<br />

more.<br />

JASMINE HOLLIE<br />

EXPLORING BLACK<br />

HISTORY IN<br />

ALABMA<br />

17 18


W<br />

ith an impressive resume<br />

reflective of her hard work<br />

and ambitions, Alexus Cumbie’s<br />

achievements showcase the drive she<br />

possesses and her tunnel vision of<br />

work ethic. Cumbie is trailblazing<br />

within her own right as a member<br />

of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority,<br />

Inc., lead digital strategist of Woke<br />

Vote and founder of Literary Vibes<br />

Birmingham. Aside from her list of<br />

accomplishments, the foundation of<br />

her work is very simple, “I think at my<br />

essence I am a person whose mission<br />

is to build ‘the beloved community’<br />

through art and southern culture and<br />

<strong>Black</strong> womanhood,” Cumbie stated.<br />

EATURES<br />

‘The Beloved Community,’ being<br />

the idea that we <strong>are</strong> all made in<br />

God’s image, reflects Cumbie’s work<br />

in speaking and advocating for<br />

marginalized communities along<br />

with giving voice to their stories. In<br />

addition to the belief of our sh<strong>are</strong>d<br />

image, Cumbie is driven by her belief<br />

of purpose for her work. “Honestly<br />

it’s above me. It’s something I’m here<br />

to do and I think that it’s very much<br />

one of the reasons that I’m on earth<br />

to do the work that I’ve been chosen<br />

to do.”<br />

Alexus Cumbie<br />

The beginnings of this chosen work,<br />

poetry, began accidentally when<br />

writing about her life developed into<br />

something more.<br />

RACHEL PARKER<br />

“It was kind of an accident, when I<br />

started writing poetry. What came to<br />

me naturally was writing about my<br />

experiences which just so happened<br />

to be being a <strong>Black</strong> woman growing<br />

up in the Deep South. Because of that<br />

I realized how much of a story there<br />

was to tell which was way bigger than<br />

me,” Cumbie explained.<br />

This was expanded upon in<br />

elementary school when Cumbie was<br />

introduced to the novel, The Watsons<br />

Go to Birmingham. This novel gave<br />

her a reflection of sh<strong>are</strong>d experiences<br />

19 20


FEATURES<br />

that was void in a whitewashed<br />

curriculum. “It was the first time that<br />

I read a book that reflected the life<br />

that I lived as a child growing up in<br />

Birmingham, or even just [as] a <strong>Black</strong><br />

child or a <strong>Black</strong> woman,” Cumbie said.<br />

Wanting a narrative that speaks<br />

to personal experiences and gives<br />

priority to one’s own community<br />

led to the formation of Cumbie’s<br />

Literary Vibes Birmingham, a live<br />

showcase of southern artists through<br />

their music and poetry that also<br />

focuses on increasing literacy rates<br />

in underserved communities.<br />

LITERARY VIBES<br />

LITERARY VIBES<br />

LITERARY VIBES<br />

LITERARY VIBES<br />

LITERARY VIBES<br />

LITERARY VIBES<br />

Focusing on the individuals and<br />

issues that <strong>are</strong> often overlooked or<br />

forgotten helped make Literary Vibes<br />

an important platform for southern<br />

artists to express their creativity and<br />

own their stories and experiences.<br />

“<strong>We</strong> have stories to tell and we’re not<br />

going to wait for people to give us a<br />

stage we’re going to make our own,”<br />

Cumbie said.<br />

Developing a space of one’s own has<br />

been furthered in Cumbie’s personal<br />

life by drawing strength from her<br />

own girl squad. “<strong>We</strong>’re a squad of<br />

<strong>Black</strong> women [from[ all walks of<br />

life [and] all different parts of the<br />

country. Honestly I’ve seen how we<br />

all came together with our individual<br />

burdens and have slowly been<br />

liberated from those burdens and<br />

those constraints that life has given<br />

us,” Cumbie explained.<br />

Building upon life experiences, both<br />

good or bad, <strong>are</strong> showcased through<br />

Cumbie’s work inside and outside of<br />

the academy. Each of her involvements<br />

represents her decision to speak<br />

about causes and individuals that<br />

<strong>are</strong> not given a platform. Through<br />

these interactions, she has learned<br />

the value of community and how<br />

impactful it can be when advocating<br />

for any cause. “I found that we have<br />

to build community to lift those<br />

burdens that we’re all suffering<br />

from. When you have community you<br />

have created this gathering place<br />

for sh<strong>are</strong>d human experience and<br />

the ability to communicate those<br />

experiences,” Cumbie stated.<br />

Communication plays a big role in<br />

Cumbie’s work and purpose. Through<br />

her poetry, she is able to voice these<br />

concerns and emotions fully and<br />

without the worry of her message<br />

being ignored or misconstrued. “The<br />

most important thing about poetry<br />

is that it’s a reminder that audiences<br />

have to listen,” Cumbie said. “<strong>We</strong> sort<br />

of control the conversation, and I<br />

believe there’s something beautiful in<br />

that, especially for communities who<br />

have historically not had voices [and]<br />

have not had those uninterrupted<br />

voices.”<br />

Cumbie utilizes her voice to further<br />

this narrative of the work being done<br />

in the South, creatively, politically<br />

and academically. Cumbie showcases<br />

the work of southern <strong>Black</strong> women<br />

and sends a message that goes against<br />

any misguided ideas and moves<br />

forward the goal to show others “to<br />

communicate how much <strong>Black</strong> women<br />

in the South should be appreciated<br />

and loved, how impactful we <strong>are</strong> and<br />

how much beauty lives inside of us<br />

when we’re allowed to be free.”<br />

21 22


ENTIAL<br />

EGATION<br />

zLS<br />

TIONNA TAITE<br />

RESIDENTIAL SEGREGATION<br />

STILL IMPACTS MONTGOMERY<br />

PUBLIC SCHOOLS<br />

IMPACTS<br />

TGOMERY<br />

IC aaa<br />

XPERIENCES<br />

The effects of residential segregation<br />

can still be observed in Montgomery<br />

Public Schools. This fact may come<br />

as a surprise; nevertheless, it is a<br />

persisting problem in Montgomery.<br />

Residential segregation is the<br />

discriminatory act of covertly<br />

separating two racial groups into<br />

different neighborhoods. Wait,<br />

segregation is illegal right? So, how<br />

does this issue still exist?Residential<br />

segregation is upheld by misinforming<br />

individuals and intentionally denying<br />

services relating to realty and<br />

financing. In this way, minorities <strong>are</strong><br />

limited to residing in neighborhoods<br />

that lack racial diversity.<br />

institutionalization of residential<br />

segregation.<br />

Minorities <strong>are</strong> significantly affected<br />

by residential segregation. Minority<br />

students often suffer academically as<br />

a result of this issue.<br />

Priscilla Collins worked at traditional<br />

public schools in Montgomery for 22<br />

years.<br />

This issue can be traced back to<br />

the Civil Rights Era. During that<br />

time, policies were established<br />

in Montgomery to make sure<br />

predominantly <strong>Black</strong> neighborhoods<br />

experienced drastic economic<br />

decline after white residents<br />

left the <strong>are</strong>a. Remnants of these<br />

policies still exist today through the<br />

“The racial demographics of my<br />

current school <strong>are</strong> approximately<br />

95% <strong>Black</strong>, 3% Hispanic and 2%white,”<br />

Collins says. The “ne<strong>are</strong>st school<br />

plan,” more commonly known as<br />

“school zoning,” leads to traditional<br />

public schools with higher dropout<br />

rates, lower standardized test scores<br />

and discipline issues.<br />

23 24


EXPERIENCES<br />

OPPORTUNITIES<br />

“There <strong>are</strong> several opportunities presented to magnet<br />

[students] that traditional students <strong>are</strong> lacking. Magnet<br />

students receive more invitations to extracurricular<br />

activities and social engagements. They have more<br />

community connections and alumni support,” Collins<br />

says. “There is inequity of supplies and low p<strong>are</strong>ntal<br />

involvement to name a few [for traditional schools].”<br />

Opal Khotsombath attended magnet schools in<br />

Montgomery for nine years. Khotsombath details the<br />

notable differences between magnet schools, traditional<br />

schools and private schools.<br />

DISPARITIES<br />

Nick Powell attended traditional schools in Montgomery<br />

from first grade through tenth grade. He initially applied<br />

to a magnet school in response to criticism about his<br />

grades.<br />

“People said I couldn’t make good grades at a magnet<br />

school,” Powell says. He frequently dealt with people<br />

making assumptions about him solely because he attended<br />

a traditional school.<br />

IMPACT<br />

Residential segregation directly impacts Montgomery<br />

Public Schools in the form of school zoning. “School<br />

zoning is not fair,” Collins says. “Zoning is the catalyst for<br />

impoverished schools.”<br />

NEXT STEPS<br />

“Magnet schools generally offer a more challenging<br />

curriculum . . . [including] AP courses that allow students<br />

to earn college credit. Private schools definitely have<br />

easier access to more resources,” Khotsombath says. “I<br />

have family members who attended traditional schools<br />

that lacked a school staff to properly educate them about<br />

future opportunities such as how to afford attending<br />

college or who to consult to get such information.”<br />

Some zoned students <strong>are</strong> denied the ability to attend<br />

magnet schools even after applying. Students who <strong>are</strong><br />

denied often can not afford to attend private schools.<br />

Therefore, the only option they have for an education<br />

is to remain at a traditional school. In the Montgomery<br />

Public School system, 11 traditional schools <strong>are</strong> classified<br />

as failing by the Alabama Accountability Act.<br />

“There was an almost indescribable difference between<br />

traditional [schools] and magnet [schools],” Powell says.<br />

“Administration was even vocal about it, saying several<br />

times that ‘we do this for you all because y’all <strong>are</strong> magnet<br />

and we know y’all <strong>are</strong> worth it’.”<br />

Powell went into detail about his stark experience at a<br />

magnet school after previously attending traditional<br />

schools.<br />

“I don’t remember speaking to anyone from any college<br />

while at Lee [High School] & Lanier [High School], but<br />

I would need both hands and feet to count how many<br />

schools came to talk to us at Brewbaker Technology<br />

Magnet High School,” Powell says. “I vividly remember<br />

them stressing the importance of standardized testing<br />

and internships, but I don’t remember any mentioning of<br />

it at my previous two schools.”<br />

Residential segregation must be stopped in its tracks.<br />

This problem is leading to <strong>are</strong>as with concentrated<br />

poverty, crime and failing schools in Montgomery. The<br />

community must make an effort to address residential<br />

segregation to ensure the future safety and well-being of<br />

students and residents.<br />

“I am very aw<strong>are</strong> of the impact residential segregation<br />

has on Montgomery Public Schools. Traditional schools<br />

in less funded <strong>are</strong>as of the city or in parts of the city<br />

[with] a lower income range <strong>are</strong> less able to provide a wellrounded<br />

and nurturing education system.” Khotsombath<br />

says. “Over the years as a student, I don’t believe I saw any<br />

increase in attention or extra aid for these schools.”<br />

Over time, residential segregation will affect more citizens<br />

of Montgomery directly or indirectly. One of the indirect<br />

effects is Montgomery Public Schools’ accreditation being<br />

under review. If accreditation is lost not only <strong>are</strong> students<br />

in failing traditional schools affected but also those in<br />

magnet schools.<br />

Rather sooner than later, residential segregation must be<br />

taken off the back burner and dealt with. Resolving this<br />

issue requires time and preparation because this type of<br />

segregation is deeply rooted into Montgomery.<br />

People living in neighborhoods with significantly less<br />

poverty rates may not realize residential segregation<br />

is still a problem in Montgomery. The public must be<br />

educated about residential segregation and how it affects<br />

their community.<br />

Steps must be taken to make housing more accessible.<br />

Cities such as Chicago distribute housing vouchers<br />

to combat residential segregation. Housing vouchers<br />

help families move to safer neighborhoods with more<br />

opportunities. Through the distribution of aid from<br />

the government the affordability of better housing can<br />

become a reality.<br />

Housing vouchers and additional aid from the government<br />

<strong>are</strong> effective in other cities battling residential segregation.<br />

These methods may also be instrumental in overcoming<br />

residential segregation in Montgomery. Completely<br />

ridding Montgomery of residential segregation requires<br />

time and diligence.<br />

25 26


EXPERIENCES<br />

BLACK HISTORY<br />

ABSENT FROM THE<br />

ALABAMA K-12<br />

CURRICULUM<br />

TIONNA TAITE<br />

The Alabama State Department of Education’s K-12 curriculum does not<br />

include <strong>Black</strong> history. The exclusion of <strong>Black</strong> history from the curriculum<br />

diminishes the numerous contributions of African Americans throughout the<br />

past and present. Historically, school curriculums initially upheld the ideology<br />

of white supremacy. Current school curriculums resemble the past system<br />

that allowed unjust notions of racial superiority to persist. Tara Dean taught<br />

at Monroe County Public Schools for 18 years. Dean, a tenth grade teacher,<br />

explains most of her students do not have a thorough understanding of <strong>Black</strong><br />

history outside of slavery and the civil rights movement. If <strong>Black</strong> history was<br />

a requirement in the Alabama K-12 curriculum Dean believes “more people<br />

would value <strong>Black</strong> lives and <strong>Black</strong> students would have role models they could<br />

identify with.”<br />

CURRENT CURRICULUM<br />

The Alabama State Department of<br />

Education’s K-12 curriculum guide<br />

lists social studies standards and<br />

instructional objectives:<br />

Kindergarten – Self and Family<br />

First Grade – Exploring Our<br />

Community and State<br />

Second Grade – Exploring Our<br />

Nation and World: People<br />

and Places<br />

Third Grade – People, Places and<br />

Regions: Geographic<br />

Studies<br />

Fourth Grade – Alabama Studies<br />

Fifth Grade – United States<br />

Studies: Beginnings to 1877<br />

<strong>Six</strong>th Grade – United States<br />

Studies: 1877 to the Present<br />

Seventh Grade – Citizenship;<br />

Geography<br />

Eighth Grade – World <strong>History</strong> to<br />

1500<br />

Ninth Grade – World <strong>History</strong>:<br />

1500 to the Present<br />

Tenth Grade – United States<br />

<strong>History</strong> to 1877<br />

Eleventh Grade – United States<br />

<strong>History</strong>: 1877 to the<br />

Present<br />

Twelfth Grade – Economics;<br />

United States Government<br />

REMNANTS OF SYSTEMIC<br />

RACISM<br />

The curriculum guide does not<br />

incorporate <strong>Black</strong> history<br />

into any of the grade levels.<br />

Alabama school curriculums created<br />

during segregation were built on<br />

a system of oppression and white<br />

supremacy. Therefore, the creation<br />

of white false heroes was prevalent<br />

within textbooks and school<br />

lessons. The current Alabama school<br />

curriculum still contains remnants<br />

from past curriculums.<br />

Alaceia Taylor is a recent graduate<br />

from Montgomery Public Schools.<br />

“Most Alabama school curriculums<br />

revolve around American history,”<br />

Taylor says. “Everything has been<br />

changed in a way so that white<br />

history is the dominant history and if<br />

it didn’t pertain to white Americans<br />

it wasn’t a requirement.”<br />

<strong>History</strong> books in the Alabama<br />

curriculum idealize and glorify white<br />

oppressors such as Christopher<br />

Columbus. Columbus murdered<br />

and enslaved millions of Indigenous<br />

people and was not the first person to<br />

discover America. Historical evidence<br />

proves Columbus was among the last<br />

explorers to reach America. So, why is<br />

he one of the first explorers students<br />

learn about in history classes? “Most<br />

lessons [were] misconstrued to make<br />

sure caucasians were painted as<br />

savior[s]. Growing up we were taught<br />

that Christopher Columbus was the<br />

greatest man on Earth but in reality<br />

he started a mass genocide,” says<br />

Taylor.<br />

BEHIND THE SURFACE<br />

“Schools never digged deeper into<br />

<strong>Black</strong> history. Typically we learned<br />

about Dr. Martin Luther King and<br />

Malcom X,” Taylor says. “<strong>Black</strong> history<br />

was not deemed important based on<br />

societal standards in America.” From<br />

elementary school to high school,<br />

students can not recall instances<br />

where <strong>Black</strong> historical figures were<br />

referenced in history classes. There<br />

<strong>are</strong> numerous notable <strong>Black</strong> people<br />

who typically <strong>are</strong> not acknowledged<br />

in schools. Richard Allen, Robert<br />

Abbott, Benjamin Davis Sr.,<br />

Katherine Johnson, Matthew Henson<br />

and Charlotte E. Ray <strong>are</strong> a few of the<br />

numerous <strong>Black</strong> historical figures in<br />

American <strong>History</strong>. Olaudah Equiano,<br />

Queen Charlotte, Chevalier de<br />

Saint-Georges and Allan Glaisyer<br />

Minns <strong>are</strong> just a few of the <strong>Black</strong><br />

historical figures who notably<br />

impacted European <strong>History</strong>. This<br />

has only touched the surface of the<br />

vast amount of <strong>Black</strong> history school<br />

curriculums do not include nor teach.<br />

“I grew up in the Alabama school<br />

system and I was not properly<br />

educated on African American<br />

history. It is extremely detrimental<br />

to the education of brilliant minds,”<br />

Aniyah Fleets-Giles says. “Education<br />

is power. Those in power know that<br />

history will hold us accountable...<br />

without such knowledge, people <strong>are</strong><br />

more likely to remain bound.”<br />

BLACK HISTORY MONTH<br />

ISN’T ENOUGH<br />

Alabama schools attempt to justify<br />

the lack of <strong>Black</strong> history in the<br />

curriculum with <strong>Black</strong> <strong>History</strong> Month.<br />

President Gerald Ford officially<br />

recognized <strong>Black</strong> <strong>History</strong> Month in<br />

1976, calling upon the public to “seize<br />

the opportunity to honor the toooften<br />

neglected accomplishments of<br />

<strong>Black</strong> Americans in every <strong>are</strong>a of<br />

endeavor throughout our history.”<br />

Taylor explains her experience at<br />

school during <strong>Black</strong> history month.<br />

“Most of my classmates did not<br />

appreciate <strong>Black</strong> <strong>History</strong> Month,<br />

especially in high school. Many<br />

students and teachers voiced the<br />

<strong>Black</strong> <strong>History</strong> Month program was<br />

‘too much’ or racist,” Taylor says.<br />

“They often questioned why an<br />

entire month had to be dedicated to<br />

African American history. There was<br />

unnecessary animosity towards the<br />

one thing that <strong>Black</strong> students had<br />

to look forward to –<strong>Black</strong> <strong>History</strong><br />

Month.” The lack of <strong>Black</strong> history in<br />

the Alabama K-12 school curriculum<br />

allows for the pervasiveness of<br />

racially insensitive students. “Last<br />

year a student went viral for saying<br />

that George Floyd and other <strong>Black</strong><br />

people deserve to die because we<br />

commit more crimes. He actually<br />

tried to use statistics to back up his<br />

information,” Taylor says. “He also<br />

told me that I have no right to be<br />

upset about slavery and segregation<br />

because I didn’t live in that era. But<br />

my grandma who is very much still<br />

alive lived through segregation and<br />

she tells me about all the backlash<br />

she faced during that time.”<br />

TIME FOR A CHANGE<br />

Students turn to alternate sources<br />

to learn about <strong>Black</strong> history that<br />

is absent from the Alabama K-12<br />

school curriculum. The internet and<br />

social media <strong>are</strong> a few of the sources<br />

students seek out. “Surprisingly<br />

TikTok can be very informative. I’ve<br />

learned so much from TikTok about<br />

history in a couple of months than<br />

I learned in my four years of high<br />

school.” Taylor says. The education<br />

system is one of the tools Alabama<br />

can use to build a future where racial<br />

injustice is not tolerated. Students<br />

must be accurately informed about<br />

the contributions of <strong>Black</strong> historical<br />

figures from around the world. The<br />

lack of <strong>Black</strong> representation in the<br />

Alabama K-12 school curriculum is<br />

an issue we must address and push<br />

to be reformed because <strong>Black</strong> history<br />

matters.<br />

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