By: Brenda Figueroa-Gonzalez
The Paw Print
On Wednesday January 20th, Dr. Crowther presented “Torchbearers for Social Change: Mary Fair Burks, Jo Ann Robinson and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, 1946-1955” in Porter Hall room 130. Dr. Crowther gave a brief description of what living in Montgomery, Alabama in the 1950’s would have been like and how familiar the name Mary Fair Burks would have been. He then stated his hypothesis –“Monuments and images tell something, but they do not and cannot fulfill the role of history to understand the past as it was.” Dr. Crowther explained the importance of the WPC (Women’s Political Council of Montgomery) program created by Mary Fair Burks. The WPC program proclaimed ‘Bus Demands’ in 1954 demanding ‘back to front’ seating for African Americans and bus stops at every corner in African American neighborhoods as in white neighborhoods. The real goal was to gain integration on every bus. The WPC also maintained a list of grievances and abuses. MIA (Montgomery Improvement Association) financial secretary Ema Dungee stated, “We really were the ones who carried out the actions…we organized the parking lot pick-ups (but) let the men have the ideas and carry the ball.” Dr. Crowther turned to his audience and asked –“So what? Can and should we get the memory right?” Dr. Crowther presented the challenge to look beyond monuments and common names. The history that is often told may not be the entire story. Looking beyond what is commonly known will further our knowledge of history.
A “sit in” to protest civil inequalities and oppression took place on Friday, January 22nd in the SUB Atrium. Twelve ASC students participated, and the discussion was lead by Aaron Miltenberger. He gave the women participants these choices – be a mother, have a husband, or have a career. They could only choose two out of three. David Gittings recieved the following three choices for being African American – be an entertainer, be an athlete, or join the military. The Caucasian males Erik Weinberg, Aaron Miltenberger, and Josh Reynolds could have every opportunity they desired. These options were a reminder of the stereotypes faced in our society. But not everyone was as open as we would hope for them to be. Aaron asked two African American ASC students to join our sit in and protest civil inequality. They responded with “No thanks, man. I’m happy where I’m at.” When Aaron asked why they wouldn’t join, one responded with “Black people should be happy where they are at. Damn it.” No doubt ASC students are not afraid to voice their opinion.
At 1:30 p.m. students gathered in the Carson Auditorium for a re-enactment of an interview with Rosa Parks –the mother of the Civil Right Movement. Erica Holmes played the interviewer and Brittney Chowning played Rosa Parks. Afterward, Dr. David Svaldi recalled where he was the day Dr. King Jr. was shot. “I urge young people to pay attention. Otherwise you may miss something important. Be a witness to history.” He closed the afternoon events with a reminder to all ASC students –“We’ve come a long way. But there’s still miles and miles to go.”
ASC students gathered at La Puente Food Bank at 3:00 p.m. to paint benches and decorate them with Martin Luther King quotes and other famous Civil Right Movement quotes. This was a part of a service project.
What’s Been Said…