Two students will be conducting the Carter G. Woodson Black History Month Student Lecture Series, hosted by the Carl Spain Center, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Feb. 27 at the Walling Lecture Hall.
For the celebration of Black History Month, the student-led lecture event will honor Carter G. Woodson, who began Negro History Week in 1915 which evolved into what is now celebrated as Black History Month. A committee of faculty and staff under the Carl Spain Center selected students Jeremiah Taylor and Jalen Garrett to speak on Woodson’s two most classic works titled “The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861” and “The Mis-Education of the Negro.”
Tryce Prince, executive coordinator of the Carl Spain Center, said Dr. Jerry Taylor, associate professor of bible, missions and ministry and director of the Carl Spain Center, had the vision for the event.
“Dr. Jerry Taylor had a vision to encourage students to participate in research about black history and black literature, but also to encourage them to equip the people and students around them,” Prince said.
To be selected for the lectureship, students were required to submit an application, complete the two assigned readings and submit an eight page essay over the readings.
“We felt like this was the next step to getting more student involvement with education and encouraging students to not only educate themselves but educate their peers,” Prince said. “We feel like if we can establish a constant rhythm of building up and equipping students to build up and equip their peers on matters of race and race studies then we will benefit campus greatly.”
The students will give a 30-minute lecture on Woodson’s works which chronicle the systems of teaching, educationally and societally, in place for individuals of the black community.
“Any person that I talk to that has read the book, said that it has opened up their minds and given them a new perspective on seeing the world, seeing where we are right now and the implications for the future,” Prince said. “And I think both of the students presenting will have similar responses as well.”
Each student presenting will receive a $500 scholarship. Jalen Garrett, freshman journalism major from Garland, said the research in preparation for the lecture was difficult but worth it in the end.
“The most important thing I learned from Woodson’s work was that the regression of African Americans as a whole has been an ongoing struggle since his books were published,” Garrett said. “I believe that our generation needs to educate themselves on the past and learn how we can continue to move forward as a race. I also think celebrating our black history was another thing that stuck with me. It reminded me that black history is unique and we should celebrate and be proud of our history.”
The event will include additional performances, as well as an interview with former students who attended the Carter G. Woodson school, Abilene’s first public school for African Americans. The event is open and free to the public. No registration is required to attend.
“We just ask that people show up with an open mind to learn about history,” Prince said. “But also with their notepads and notes to discuss after how they can apply practically some of the principles and themes that these students will be talking about.”