Black History Month: Black Achievements at Pacific
February is the perfect month for drinking hot cocoa, doing homework by the fire in the UC, or maybe making some warm cookies with friends. February is also the perfect month for celebrate Black history! In honor of Black History Month we will be looking back on a few of the many achievements of Black students at Pacific.
Pacific’s first Black graduates were William Wealthy Howard (class of 1911) and Mildred Elizabeth Jones (class of 1924). Since widespread racial integration of universities did not begin until the 1950s, the odds were stacked against these ambitious students from the very beginning of their journey to higher education. Even admittance to white universities at this time was virtually unheard of, therefore, their status as graduates from Pacific is considered even further distinguished.
For the formation of our lively Black Student Union, we have to thank the Pacific students of 1968. Pacific’s Black Student Union was organized with the intention of creating a sense of community for the increased numbers of Black Students being admitted, as well as fostering cultural awareness on campus.
Another Black organization we have on campus is the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). The NSBE was founded in 1975 at Purdue University by John Logan, Edward Coleman, George Smith, Stanley Kirtley, Brian Harris, and Anthony Harris. The main goal, as stated by the organization is to “increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.
The NSBE branch at Pacific is advised by Mr. Patrick Day. Pacific students participating in the organization attend networking conferences in order to build essential skills needed to succeed in the field of engineering. Organizations like this are extremely important because they encourage Black students to pursue occupations that are not necessarily popular within the Black community. For example, although the engineering field is mainly comprised of non-minority students and workers (75% of US engineers are white), organizations like the NSBE show minority students that they shouldn’t be discouraged from pursuing their dreams simply because of their skin color.