58 years ago, five black woman intergeated Texas State University forever breaking the previous White serving institutional staus. Since then, Black student enrollment has risen and Texas State now serves 4,217 Black students out of a total of 22,852 .The experience known as, Black Texas State was created amongst the black student body, faculty, and staff to “highlight, unite, and ultimatey celebrate black culture” according to Texas State Black Student Alliance President and Black Presidents Council Vice Presdient, Maia Napier.
Black Texas State, An Introduction.
While the concepet of Black Texas State has been around since the schools desegregation in 1962, the experince became more popualrized over the last decade due to the role of Black Organizations. Currently there are 15 active Black Organizations that allow black students the opportunity to join and participate in activities centered around their cultural/ life experience. Out of the 15 Black student organizations, only 2 of them are offcially recognized by the university as, an Charterd organizations. These two organizations, Black Student Alliandce (BSA) and Black Presidents Council (BPC) are the oldest functioning Black Organizations. Black Student Alliance was created over 40 years ago and orginally started off as Black student government. Today BPC serves more in the function BSG (Black Student Government) used to serve in the sense that this organization operates like a cabinet to promote and serve Black Texas State. One of the ways inwhich they acheive this is through Black Homecomming week.
Homecomming week is all about uniting all 15 Black Student Organization and preparing a week long of celebrtaion hosted by the team of Black Presidents and Vice Presidents of the respected organizations. According to Maia, “the role that we play is crucial, for a week straight we all cancel our evnts and celebrate togther.” Essentially, Black Presidents Council is the face behind, Black Texas State. While the student body fills it up, it is mainly these 30 students who plan and orchestrate most of the events that will fall under #Black Texas State.
Defining Black Texas State but from the People.
When conducting research I found that while Black Texas State meant a lot of different things to a lot of different people, the desire to meet people was the main driving force that attracted black students to black organizations and ultimately Black Texas state.https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/8048528/embed#?secret=ZNYDWsbvKXSurvey conducted at Game Night during Black Homecomming week from a pool of 50 Students. Students had to summerize why they joined and from there, the data was able to be grouped between 4 categories. The data is in % conversion.
Conducting more interviews with Senior and Electronic Media major Jadan Ross, her experience with Black Texas State served more of a political purpose. “It is no secret that black and brown students experience discrimination, but at their schools they should feel safe”, she said when asked about her driving purpose for joining Black Student Alliance. The impact she wanted to make was to spread awareness around the rights Black students are entitled too so that they are aware of when they are facing injustice.
Organizations such as NAACP, BSA, BMU, and BWU offer more poltical insight to their memebers as they touch on these topics more. NAACP for instance had a few of their executive board memebers sign up for voter regestration classess so that they could register black students on campus to vote. They also talk to black students about the threats that can occur to them on and off campus. Through this information, students are able to gain more insight on how they can prevent this issue and select government officials locally that are advocating in ways that will align with their needs.
The Impact of Black Orgs Within the Community
https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?visual=true&url=https%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F1172976019&show_artwork=true&maxheight=930&maxwidth=620An interview with Maia Napier and Noah Ezigbo about their organization experiences.
Black Texas State & it’s contribution to the collective, continued.
Like Black Homecomming week, the MLK celebration and Black Histroy month provide the chance for Black Presidents Council to come togther and plan marches, pageants, and more celebration opportunities for the collective.
The MLK celebration is a event founded by the Diversity and Inclusion office here on campus and features both faculty and staff. In years past, faculty, staff, and student have danced, motivationally spoke, and preformed in honor of the civil rights activist Martin Luther King. This event tradionatlly is followed up by a month long of events during Black History month in which all15 organizations meet to come up with a calender of events.
When speaking with student Jadan Ross more about her involvement and the process it takes to put on events she stated how “although it can be stressful, seeing the results and people enjoy what we do makes it worth it.” These students according to Ross will often spend weeks at a time on top of school and private lives planning and practing for events such as Mr. Black Texas State. This show in particular takes 3 months to prepare for and is majority funded by the Students fundraising ability. At this event the winner is presented with a scholarship and a platform that will leave them with the responsibility for representing Black Texas State properly. One of the main criterias for winning this pageant, is coming up with a service project in how you would benefit Black Texas State.