Georgia State athletes reflect on Black History Month

February is black History Month in America, a time where people look back and reflect on that history and impact of blacks in America. Sometimes its value gets overlooked, but it means different things to different people. Here are how some Georgia State athletes feel about Black History Month.

Tiffany Holston

What does Black History month mean to you?

Holston: I think Black History month means basically celebrating our culture basically going back to what happened in the past viewing on our upbringing. We made it out of tough times and slavery, and I think as blacks we came a long way.

Who is your favorite prominent black figure?

Holston: Currently, I would have to say, [Barack] Obama, he’s shown a lot of leadership as our former [president], definitely was a great leader,”. I looked up to him and the [former] first lady [Michelle Obama]. And of course [Martin Luther King Jr.] that’s a given, but all of them really they basically paved the way for us.

What would you do to help black people achieve social equality in America?

Holston: I wouldn’t try to fight fire with fire. You have to be smart in situations and basically, learn. I think what most blacks don’t know is that knowledge is basically our power, we have to have a lot of knowledge and progress through because you can’t fight fire with fire and we can’t do wars, but that’s what they want. We basically have to learn and get in the books.

D’Marcus Simonds

What does Black History month mean to you?

Simonds: We’ve had a lot of our rights oppressed, a lot of things going on against the black community, so to have this month dedicated to us, it’s just a big part of respecting our culture and just really appreciating everything that has happened to us so that we can grow.

Who is your favorite prominent black figure?

Simonds: It has to be Obama, he really set the standard high for black people and with everything that he’s done for our country, he kept everything civil he did what he was going to do, he kept people with jobs, he just did a great job while he was in office.

What would you do to help black people achieve social equality in America?

Simonds: Honestly, I would just tell people that we’re all here to love each other, people can have their differences but those differences should never end up in violence and things like that. We should always keep our heads cool and keep everything riding.

Willie Clayton

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Clayton: Black history means a lot to me because black history tells the history about black people and how important black people is to America. I think with black history it opens up the next generation eyes to a lot of things. It’s a lot of things people don’t know about black people invented. So I think with teaching our next generation all of the information is good to continue the history of black people. So it means a lot.

Who is your favorite prominent black figure?

Clayton: Langston Hughes, he’s a brother of Omega Psi Phi, and he did a lot for the renaissance with his poetry. He just did a lot, especially for the fraternity.

What would you do to help black people achieve social equality in America?

Clayton: I do that now, I speak on a lot of things through my fraternity about how black men should be viewed in a great light and how we should pretty much not live the stereotypes and not live up to the stereotypes. If you carry yourself like a respectable young man, then a guy or a woman is going to approach you like a respectable person. So with saying that, if you present yourself in a way of respected, then you can get a lot of things as a black man.

Penny Hart

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Hart: It means celebrating the history of all African-American people and the history that we’ve had over the years from past struggles and even prospering throughout society and everything that we’ve been able to do here in America and throughout our history.

What is your favorite prominent black figure?

Hart: It’s so many, of course, people like Martin Luther King [Jr.] I think a good one is Fred Hampton. I even joke with a lot of people and say Lydia Newman because she created the hair brush. All of them, they really made a huge impact on the way that I’m able to live my life and the way a lot of our players and African-American people, in general, are able to live our lives today.

What would you do to promote social equality for black people in America? I know that you’ve been to a few marches, but what else would you do?

Hart: I think it would have to take further measures, more than just marching because I remember at the march before we left, I gave a little brief speech. A lot of people try to say that marching… doesn’t work, but I feel like it does, and that’s step one. Because maybe just getting people to understand what you’re going for and what you’re trying to do and getting people’s attention. Because a lot of those times when we’re walking down those streets and people were on top of buildings and they were looking down on us maybe they didn’t know what was going on because it’s so many people out here that don’t understand what’s going on and what has been going on and they all of a sudden get an idea of what’s going on, now they try to help the change.

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