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PJC’s AASU sponsors 2016 Black History Month Program

Published or Revised January 11, 2017


Shown (at top) performing “Our God is an awesome God” are, from left, Mieshea Green, Na’Omei Walker, Plensir Willie, Marissa Ellis, Johnnel McQueen, Shaquala Grimes, Raven Maxwell, Tynaelen Braxton and Kamryn Smith who led the performers. Below: performing a skit about slavery conditions and hope for the future are, from left, Raven Maxwell (at podium), Mieshea Green and Na’Omei Walker.

A lively program was offered by the African American Student Union to celebrate Black History Month on Wednesday. Members performed with songs, a skit and a poem, and retired PJC English instructor Joan Mathis was the keynote speaker.

“Our goal was to get the message across to people coming in,” said Acting AASU President Kamryn Smith, “even many African Americans don’t know about black history. My goal was to teach them a few things about it.”

The program opened with the pledge by all AASU members, and closed with the members reciting their motto. Plensir Willie gave the opening prayer and Naomi Walker the official welcome.

Members performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and “Our God is an Awesome God.” Mieshea Green recited a poem, and Raven Maxwell, Walker and Green performed a skit to portray conditions of slavery and hope.

Mathis delivered an interactive history quiz where she read or recited important facts and writings from various figures, then gave the name of the person responsible for it. Audience members were given handouts to follow along and link the names to the correct answer.

“Did you know that the great-great granddaughter of Frederick Douglas lived in Clarksville?” asked Mathis. “PJC has an interview in the library here that was done with her.”

Mathis covered many historical figures such as Ida B. Wells, Matthew Henson, Dr. Martin Luther King, George Washington Carver and many others. The main theme of her talk was striving to improve, achieving educational goals and helping others.

“I appreciate your inviting me and I wish the best to each of you in your goals in your education, Mathis said. “These people made it and they never gave up. I’m 76 years old and I’m determined that I’m going to learn more about technology. I don’t text but in order to keep up with the children and great-grandchildren, I have a young lady in the ninth grade who is teaching me to text. Don’t ever give up. So I want everyone to leave here with a challenge: that we are going to make contribution, we are not going to give up on our goals, and we are going to impact the life of someone else.”

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