Eastern Michigan University’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People hosted “Women of History: Celebrating Our Queens,” an event honoring the achievements of black women in history and at the university, in the Student Center Tuesday night.
The event featured a faculty panel and a student panel who answered questions about black womanhood and shared their personal struggles and triumphs with the audience.
The student panel was comprised of black women from several different areas of study and organizations on campus.
Many of the young women on the student panel shared a fear that their generation is not living up to the standard of their role models.
“We are where we are because of our past, not our present,” student panel member Laurial Ross said.
Junior and African American studies major Courtney Milner said the women on the student panel inspired her.
“It’s inspiring to see young women who are dedicated to the advancement of women of color on campus,” Milner said.
Women’s studies professors Robbie Ransom and Dyann Logwood made up the faculty panel.
Ransom, a Flint native, said she grew up in a time when black women worked in white people’s homes. She is proud of how far black women have come since then, but still feels there is much more work to be done.
Logwood shared a similar experience growing up, and said the women in her neighborhood were her role models. She also shared the notion that black women need to continue to fight for a voice and for equality.
Logwood defined black womanhood as, “faith, resilience, perseverance, strength and vulnerability.”
She stressed that black women cannot always be strong and independent. They must know when to look for support and help.
Ransom defined black womanhood as “having a sense of humor, natural hair, the weave, motherhood and sisterhood and being misunderstood.”
She urged the black women in the audience to share their voice and take pride in their identity.
“And men, support women in their passion,” Ransom said.
Between panel discussions, several poets gave performances about everything from the perception of female beauty to the role of black women in history and literature.
Special guest Karen Yelerton also performed emotional and moving forensic skits about the struggle black women face.
Alicia Hargrove, and senior and member of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority helped put on Tuesday’s event.
“The main focus of Black History Month always seems to be on men,” Hargrove said. “So we wanted to showcase women and talk about black womanhood.”
NAACP Historian Chiquita Wells, also instrumental in creating and hosting the event, was very impressed by the turn out and pleased with the panel discussions and performers.
“Black women played a big part in our history and we wanted to highlight them,” Wells said.
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