Sunday, September 25, 2011

Practices of Freedom and Justice: The Black Diaspora - Week 5 Lecture

Practices of Freedom and Justice: The Black Diaspora
Week 5 Lecture

The Class of 2015 was privileged to have Dr. Richard Wright speak at our week five lecture. This lecture was titled Practices of Freedom and Justice: The Black Diaspora and Dr. Wright focused on three main points. These were the education of African Americans, educational segregation, and the history of Howard University.

Dr. Richard L. Wright is a professor in the Department of Speech Communication and Culture at Howard University. He is also alum of Howard University; graduating in 1964 with a degree in Spanish, French minor. He then went on to obtain a Master’s Degree in Latin American studies and a Ph.D. in Sociolinguistics at the University of Texas in Austin. He is an asset to the Mecca’s faculty and serves on Howard University’s Board of Trustees.

Education for African Americans wasn’t always as accessible as it is today. We now look at education as a right, but during the times of Dr. Wright, education was a privilege that few blacks had access to. The burden of excelling academically was twice as great on African Americans because they had to be the best in the black community, as well as the best when compared to other races. Many blacks broke this barrier and received their degrees of higher education, though. These disadvantages to our race did not break our ambitious and hardworking nature.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities are a direct result of educational segregation. Traditionally, African Americans were not admitted into the predominately white colleges and universities during times of segregation. African American leaders and educators then went on to found colleges and universities dedicated to the education of African Americans and people of African descent. Cheney University in Pennsylvania was the first HBCU established in the United States in 1837. These schools are known for their capacity to produce African American scholars and leaders.

Dr. Wright also explained how Howard became a politically active university. This began with the visit of legendary Malcolm X. Before he visited, the Mecca was not very active in politics or the political community. Then Malcolm lectured before the student body about what they could do to change the community and even the world. His inspirational words hung in Howard student’s minds and led them to take interest in political affairs. This resulted in Howard becoming a more politically active school with a bigger imprint in politics.

This lecture by Dr. Richard Wright is one of my favorites so far. He is an excellent speaker and knows how to keep a large group of college freshman interested; which is an impressive skill. His lecture discussed both historical and contemporary topics, and how they relate to us as students. Motivation at its finest.

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