The Black Experience: From Chains to Change

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The Black Experience: From Chains to Change

JaDa Paulk, Staff Writer

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Dr. Talika McCoy came to campus on Feb. 6 to discuss “Chains to Change” for Black History Month. Her goal was to bring awareness to the progression of black people in America.

McCoy began by explaining that she did research on the black experience by getting responses from African-Americans in all different age groups starting with those in their teens as well as age groups up to the 60’s.

She didn’t have anyone that was in their 20’s. Her reasoning for this was because she wanted to hear from William Peace University’s own students on what “the Black experience” was to us.

She talked about history such as realizing that slavery wasn’t that far ago. After all those years African Americans finally became free, but right after that they had black codes were put in place to limit their freedom. The limitations of people of color was difficult because employment was required for all freed men.   

Freed men also weren’t allowed to assemble without the presence of a white man and were not allowed to be taught how to read and write.

“Jim Crow deprived African Americans of their social and political power by segregating schools, having white only fountains, forbidding interracial marriages,” McCoy said. 

In North Carolina, African Americans used Green Books to guide them so they knew where to travel safely, sleep safely and eat safely.

After the 1955 Emmett Till case, Tills mother wanted everyone to see what had happened to her baby. She didn’t want to sweep things under the rug. The question McCoy asked was “do black bodies matter?”

She then went on to tell about different things that happened such as the civil rights movement with Dr. Martin Luther King, sit-ins in Greensboro and the bombing and killing of the four little girls at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was then enacted and prohibits racial segregation in schools, employment and public accommodation.

The chains that we thought we had gotten away from are still holding us down. The chains of a new Jim Crow era where millions of African Americans are locked behind bars and still using the race card hold us down today.

What does make America great again mean? It means psychological turmoil, or PTSD, or better put a PSTSD (Post Slavery Traumatic Stress Disorder), McCoy said. We’re trying to break these chains but how can something be broken if it is not acknowledged? All of American history has to be talked about so that we can thoroughly heal.

At the end of the discussion, Dr. McCoy challenged us to get to know our roots  She asked us to know at least 5 different HBCU’s and support black-owned businesses.

We have to better ourselves to break the chains that have trapped us for so long.

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