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.
Originally I thought that i would end up in the group that dealt with dorm life because that was what I really wanted to do. The group that I was selected to be a part of was Greek life, Sports, and student organizations. I was bummed at first because I wanted to know more about how black students felt about being there. How they handled the obstacles of being in a place that formerly did not see them as important enough to educate. So when I received my group I did not think that i would find it as interesting as it actually is.
When I started doing my research I realized that this was exactly what I wanted. This was precisely what I was looking for. There is an organization known as the Exceptional Educational Opportunity, or the EEO for short; it was created to help give funding and financial support to black students that may have had trouble paying for their tuition fees. This organization was what I’d hope to find when searching for students that overcame challenges and played an integral in the black community.
Without them the daycare that we have now would not have been formed. They realized the importance of education. Students that were mothers would take shifts watching each others kids while taking classes. I thought that was amazing. That they were able to really band together and unite for something that would better all of them, and that that is why we have that here till this day. They have much more stories but that was one of my favorites.
Doing this research has really put a few things in perspective for me. It showed me that although blacks students currently are not as united as we once were that it is possible. It made me wish that I could go back in time and be a part of such a powerful and strong-minded community.
Initially upon entering this class I thought this would be your typical black history class; one where we focus on civil rights and prominent black figures. To my surprise the class took an unconventional direction. During this semester we are focusing on black lives at Kean past, present, and future. Immediately questions began to pop in my head. How could we construct our own tour? How far back into the past do we go, and how close into the present are we going to come? Are we going to have enough time and research to even make this a substantial tour? Will this be a controversial issue like race has frequently been? I have never been apart of anything as immense as this. It almost makes me wonder if we will be able to pull it off in this short amount of time, and if we will be able to collaborate cohesively with all of our unique and individual minds. And also, will we be able to tell the stories of these black lives in a manner that truly represents them?
I am very interested in seeing where this course is going to take me. I am interested in learning when black students made there first appearance and any influences they may have had. When I had to think of some research questions for my group placement I already knew where I wanted to begin. The area that quickly caught my attention was black lives at Kean outside the classroom. I wanted to know when blacks were accepted on Campus and how the transition was for them? How was dorm life for them and when were they able to stay? What were the white students reactions to them becoming a mixed race school? I can not imagine what it must have been like to go to a predominantly white school and be one of the handful of blacks to be the first there. Would I be afraid? Would it have been better for me to go to a black college instead? All of these questions that I am unsure of now I hope to find the answers to in the following research to come.