Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Speaker: black leaders should be recognized

Melissa Van Grinsven/Winonan

What do Crest toothpaste, light bulb filament and seasonal fashion taste all have in common? These ideas were all created by African-American men. And according to one recent speaker on the campus of Winona State University, these items and their inventors should be better recognized for their role in world history.

The Winona State Inclusion and Diversity Office hosted author and speaker Bryant K. Smith Feb. 11 in East Hall of Kryzsko Commons.  In honor of Black History Month, Smith presented “Before and Beyond the Dream,” an exploration on the background of black history and its role in world history.

He began to uncover many detailed stories about black men and women making a difference in the world. Smith said this is what sparked his interest in teaching black history as a part of world history.

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Smith said he is passionate about this workshop because it informs students about black history, which may not be taught in general world history in schools today.

Smith said there is a reason college students, specifically, should be learning this in the first place.

“By having me come in here and show you all we are all connected as a human family, to show you that other people help build the world and turn it into the place that it is, it helps you go out and sell yourself to a potential employer because you have more knowledge on how the world really works,” Smith said.

Smith spoke about Afrika Bambaataa, an ex-leader of a street gang in New York, who became the founder of The Universal Zulu Nation, an international hip hop awareness group.

Smith also talked about Hannibal, a leader of what is now Tunisia, who invented military tactics that are still taught today at U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Smith explored more ancient times through Roman and Egyptian history and said many citizens of these societies were black. He said the Kingdom of Kush, a place near Egypt, was named Kush because it meant “land of the blacks,” and ruled Egypt for many dynasties.

Alex Paulson, a junior majoring in teaching english to speakers of other languages, attended the event. He said the presentation was very eye-opening and expanded his knowledge beyond Black History Month.

Paulson also said he thinks students should start to do some research beyond what they are learning in school about a lot of other events in history they may not be informed about.

He also encourages fellow students to “take this information that you learned and incorporate it into your own lives and realize there is a broader view and that everything has multiple dimensions not just what you are being presented.”

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