By NICOLE EDMERSON
On Feb. 11, Pasadena Community College Professor of 20 years, Dr. Paul-Jahi Christopher Price, presented The African American Experience Lecture in honor of Black History month to students packed wall to wall in the Saville Theater.
Professor of Sociology and author of “Social Control”, Price spoke on the history and various accomplishments of African American history dating back as far as the late 1800s. Stating quotes and facts such as Marcus Garvey’s importance of the Pan-African Flag “Show me the race or the nation without a flag, and I will show you a race of people without any pride. Aye! In song and mimicry they have said, ‘Every race has a flag but the coon.’ How true! Aye! But that was said of us four years ago. They can’t say it now..”
Price also covered some of the key people who helped develop Black History Month including Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) who is known as the “Father of Black History.” Woodson, through researching, publishing and increasing public awareness of black history founded Negro History Week in 1926. James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) is another person who participated in the successful development of African American History. Johnson held many titles such as author, politician, diplomat, critic, journalist and poet to name a few. Johnson was best recognized for his writing of novels, poems and folklore with the most influencing and popular piece being the “Black National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing”. Johnson went on to become a professor at Fisk University. Price stated he is also Fisk University Alumni. In addition, also playing a major role in the development of African American History is Jamaican native Marcus Garvey (1887-1940), founder of the UNIA-ACL, Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League. Garvey formed a team with Booker T Washington (1856-1915), a political leader, and other black officials and created what is recognized as the Pan African Flag.
Not only was this event about the struggle, success and history of African Americans, but the affect that it has on society today. Price emphasized the word “choices” and the importance of how they are to be made. When asked what the main things that are holding people as a whole back are, Price replied, “Not knowing, and not being informed affects the decisions that you make. What students must do is be serious about their work, do the research, study and ask questions. By acquiring such skills, doors will be opened, and this will carry over into all parts of your life.”
American Indian Studies major Arturo ‘Art’ Tisnado said, “We don’t realize the common knowledge that we have with each other throughout history. We need to start with the younger generations, put the importance of why we should come together in their hearts, show them that together we would be stronger not weaker.” Art helped develop HUBU (Hermanos Unidos Brothers United), a program which teaches the importance of unity, bringing all together as brothers and sisters.
Cosmetology professor Tessy Bonner, who is also the mother-in-law of Price, says, “It’s not what you teach, it’s how you teach it. Accept everyone for who they and what they are. Accept them as a whole and not just what is in your mind about them.”