The Journey to the BlacKeaning

My journey here on this BlacKeaning tour has been a strenuous one. During my research I was utterly appalled. My main focus for the group is student organization. While researching I learned that there really wasn’t any African American students that were in the student council and weren’t any until about 1962. There wasn’t another African American student council representative until the 70’s. With that being said you can see why my topic is a little strenuous. I utilized the student yearbooks to help achieve and gain the knowledge that I needed in order to execute my part of the tour. I utilized our alumni department in our school to see if there were any black student council representatives that I could possibly meet with to get their story on what it was like to be a black student here at Kean and what struggles they had to go through to obtain their spot in the student council.

What is the Blackening Tour?

The BlacKeaning Tour is a tour that is going to explore topics that most people wouldn’t talk about on a normal basis. The tour will cover topics like African Americans and the hardships they had to endure to be successful here at Kean University. In this tour you will see the history of the multiple organizations that we have and how certain African Americans have helped make some of these organizations successful. This tour will help you experience a multitude of black lives at Kean University. Hopefully this tour can help open eyes wide about African Americans and their greatness.

The tour was developed by a group of about 15 to 20 students that were interested in black lives and black history. In order to get the tour and plan in motion, we had to create a title that would entice yet inform our tourists to even want to see what the tour is about. The title that the group has come up with was the BlacKeaning. We are going to shed light on the issues that we are going to be researching. Because the subject matter is so broad, we have decided to be split into sub groups that represent each topic that we would like to touch on.

I’m actually happy that this tour is happening because I feel as though, even while we have these groups that are deemed to represent black lives, that’s in the present and we need to be educated on the past because without the past there would be no present. The BlacKeaning will be a part of Kean’s history and knowing that I was a part of something so inspiring makes me feel great.

A Tour Fulfilled

Once again, I had the slightest idea of what would come of this tour and if we would really be able to make it happen in a way that truly represented the black individuals that we were speaking of.  Now that it has been completed and fulfilled I honestly think that we as a class came together very well. I know that this was a pretty big deal and we as a class have done a considerable amount of research to pull it together, but it hasn’t hit me yet. But I am extremely proud of the progress that we made. I really enjoyed our discussions and the way this project really brought the class together. I did not know anyone before I came to this class, and now I feel like I am leaving knowing that I have a acquired a few friends over the semester. This process and journey has been a major part of my growth as an individual through the research, communication, students, and the reflection of every step through this project.

Now when it comes to the actual tour, it was nice. I wish I was less nervous and that I spoke with a little more conviction. I also wish that we had an audience that seemed more interested in what we had to say. As we were walking from one spot to the next I heard a women say I’m sorry that the tour is boring. Then again maybe that is something that has to be fixed; being more involved in communication with the individuals on the tour and speaking to them about the process and the research we did to get here so they get the full impact of the work and dedication that was put into it. I also like the idea of a commentator like what Marcus was doing it really made things more interesting.

For the future of the tour, I just really want it to expand into something great. As I was doing my research I realized there were so much more things that I found that I wanted to share. So much more stories that I wish could have been told. I really like the idea of turning it into a digital tour and really elaborating on the material and the process that helped developed the tour to begin with. And if there are future classes that take this class just to add to it, I really wish they find a wealth of information to make this tour even more outstanding so that people can see the amazing contributions that black students have made in the  past and the ones they are making presently. I also hope that  this inspires people from other cultural backgrounds to come up with their own tour.

Reflection

The Blackeaning was an overall success and I’m extremely appreciative for the hard work and dedication that both my classmates and I have put in to this project. The knowledge that I’ve gained through this tour will stick with me for the rest of my life and maybe something that I could share with my children. This class was a different type of class because it was a class where the students have the upper hand in creating this project. The thing I loved about this class the most was the open conversations that we would have that helped create such a success. Each class was something different. Some days we would have conversations about real life topics that affect our lives and some days we would have guest speakers to help with the construction of the project. Dr. Perkiss trusted us with the task to get this tour complete while challenging us to become better researchers, presenters and overall students. I loved the fact that the class was so diverse because it allowed room for growth in a sense of knowledge not only about blacks at Kean but black lives in general. I can say that the tour impacted me in ways I didn’t think it could. I learned so many different things being apart of this tour and from the bottom of my heart I would like to thank each and every one that has helped this tour become a success. I wish you love, success  and happiness!

BlacKeaning tour experience

BlacKeaning tour shows the amazing lives of African Americans and their history with Kean University. During this tour we talked Greek life and some of the founder of those organizations. We also talked about the history of the hardwood arena and how we had influential speakers such as Martin Luther King Jr. who spoke at hardwood arena. We also learn the history of the Nancy Thomas Library we learn that Nancy Thomas kept letters from soldiers during World War II. Another group we talked about was PASU which is the black student union here at Kean University. This group is very influential here at Kean they connect all different nationally of black descent together. They are known for bring awareness to the issues that black students have at Kean University and  they have  a lot of knowledge on many African American s contributes here at Kean. During this tour I found to be the most interesting was the sculpture of Martin Luther King Jr. Prior to this tour I had no idea that this sculpture was even here on campus. I learn that there is controversy about the location and design of the sculpture. I have to agree with this because the sculpture is located in the back of the library outside and this is not a place that a lot of people can actually see it. For it to Martin Luther King Jr. who had a huge impact on the black civil rights movement this sculpture should be in a better spot so it can be recognized  more .Also the way it was design wasn’t very good  the sculpture doesn’t really look like MLK. In conclusion I am very proud and happy on how the tour turn out and I believe this should be take place again next year because I feel a lot of people can learn and be inspire  by the BlacKeaning tour !

Reflections on experience

Over the course of the past few months taking this course on Black History at Kean University, I have to say that my experience was enlightening to say the least, that being said I wish I had done much better in the actual speaking part of the tour. I don’t know what happened, I had rehearsed what I was planning to say in my head many times and practiced in person, but when it came down to the nitty gritty, everything just alluded me. I don’t why that happened, but it did, so I’m hoping that down the line I can make up for it.

However this blog post isn’t about me, but rather my experience in being in this course and tour. I personally feel that even though I had many shortcomings in this class, the experience was interesting, and a much-welcomed change of pace from the usual history class of large textbooks and 20 page papers. I had originally planned to post a collection of interviews that I had obtained on campus of several black students describing their experience at Kean University, but the videos just ended being too poor in quality, so I opted against it. But this has been a learning experience for me, and my mistakes in this course I feel will help better prepare me for future courses.

When the Process Leads to Progress

As I reflect upon my time building the tour, I am awed by the lengthy strides we’ve made as a group, from the nascent stages until its unveiling. Just as recently as my last blog post, I was lamenting the collective complications we faced in researching, due to what we felt was the somewhat obstructive disposition of some members of faculty and administration. Fast forward a month or so, and I’m praising our impressive discoveries and terrific presentations. But it’s the growth that occurred in that “flash” that truly brings me joy.

It was the impassioned in-class exchanges that resulted in shared approaches, and the in-depth conversations during Thursday group meetings that gave our mission purpose. Frustrations from lack of transparency and evidence of residual discrimination, nor fears of a still incomplete narrative could undo us.We kept digging until we saw some beams of luminescence that would help us put the past in perspective, reveal the realities of the present, and highlight the bright prospects of the future. We were bringing forth The BlacKeaning – the perpetual act of bringing Black to the forefront of the institutional map.

The construction of this tour was very much an exercise in seeing projects through and building upon the ideas which one feels are most intriguing. It turned out to be more than just a class, but rather a course in the truest sense – a path to a meaningful and substantive end.  That end is enlightenment, and that substance is solidarity. The relation I have to my professor and classmates is real. The respect I have for this tour is real. Most of all the reverence I have for those who came before me in this struggle is real. We are connected by The BlacKeaning experience and we represent it well. Let it begin!