Center for Black Culture hosts sit-in study in honor of little rock nine
The Center for Black Culture (CBC) organized a sit-in study session in Purnell Hall on Sunday with the aim of strengthening the community aspect of academic enrichment. The study was held in commemoration of the Little Rock Nine, who were the first African-American students to enroll in Little Rock Central High School, Arkansas, in 1957. Those who attended had the options of either a quiet study room or a slightly larger lecture hall meant for group discussion.
The Little Rock Nine became among the most prominent figures in the endeavor to combat systemic segregation and racism when they were registered by the NAACP to attend a previously all-white public school. Just four years prior, the U.S. Supreme Court had deemed facilities made exclusive on the criteria of race to be unconstitutional in the historic Brown v. Board of Education case. The Nine were met with massive opposition and their ultimate triumph made this a marginal, but no less important, step to national integration.
The CBC wanted to celebrate their indelible contributions to the civil rights movement and the African-American community by furthering the goal of total desegregation of American school systems. Furthermore, the CBC sought to uphold the ideal that the Nine represented: promoting an environment dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge regardless of what obstacles may exist, where everyone may enjoy the same quality of academic enrichment.
Edward Franklin, program coordinator for the CBC, articulated the importance of this sit-in study and its relevance to the Little Rock Nine.
“The program was created to, one, assist with the academic reinforcement of our students and also to build more community. We look at the Little Rock Nine as an iconic group of people in terms of education and persistence when it comes to academic reinforcement.” Franklin said.
Students began gradually making their way into the lecture hall around 2 p.m., all present made good use of their time and worked diligently, precisely the sort of dedication to academics the event was intended to promote. The evening continued in similar fashion and after its conclusion, those who had reserved their space in advance were treated to dinner.
Events such as this one are held in order to promote cultural diversity at the university by raising awareness of African-American history. Lemehn Boayue, freshman and criminal justice major, is also a member of the CBC and finds programs such as this one to be quite promising.
“[The CBC has] been doing these types of initiatives and it seems to be working. [Students] know where to find the resources that they need,” Boayue said.
When asked if the CBC has made significant strides in achieving its goals of promoting diversity and assisting African-American students on campus, Franklin expressed much confidence.
“Most definitely. [We are] supporting our students in various areas on campus and in their different leadership roles and always trying to build community. I think that’s the main area, that’s the main focus of what we do here,” Franklin said.
The CBC’s next event will be The Get Down Showcase on Oct. 12 in Trabant, and will focus on the evolution of hip-hop.