Throughout February, the Waynesville Daily Guide will be feature several profiles African American members in our community, highlighting their accomplishments and celebrating their successes.
Occupation: Assistant Professor at Drury University in the School of Education and Child Development and Education Consultant for Wood Elementary
Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA
Education: Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Southeastern Louisiana University, Master's in Administrative Supervision from Southern University, Doctorate from Howard University in Education and Policy
Volunteer Work: President of the National Association Advancement for Colored People
What are your proudest accomplishments?
I started a young girls' group called the Pride Ladies for troubled teams in Washington D.C. A lot of the girls in the group were headed for destruction. It was based off integrity, positive attitude, and I worked with them a lot on etiquette. Seeing the troubled girls transform into young ladies was a really big moment for me.
Explain how race has changed your life experiences.
I have a very diverse background with lots of different experiences. The first college I attended was predominately white. It was very common for me to be the only African American in my classes. I went through that period of time where I felt like I had to prove myself. I had higher expectations placed on me.
Then going from a predominately white university to a historically black university, Howard University, where they take a lot of pride on history and culture, you have to prove that your “blackness” will help contribute to your community.
And with my teaching experiences, I have taught in urban communities and rural communities. The first year I taught I was the first black teacher at the school, known as “the brown teacher.” It was definitely an eye-opening experiences. I felt like I had a call to open other people's awareness up and make them realize that I am just like them, but a darker shade. I also ended up having to serve as a role model for the few black students at that school because they didn't see anyone who looked like them that were teachers and I often get that from my students at Drury, who may go through their entire academic career and never be exposed to an African American professor. It's a lot of pressure when you are put in the minority category to dispel any misconceptions and stereotypes that might be out there.
Who do you idolize and why?
God. I've learned to not look up to man because man will let you down. Even the person who seems like they have it together the most is flawed in some type of way.
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Why is black history month important?
We have come along way as African Americans and it is so easy to forget things that our ancestors have done in the past, especially for those children who are born into today's society, they don't really hear much about it. Unless it is emphasized in their history classes. So it is very important to remind them that we have come so far and yet we have so far to go. It's very important to highlight the contributions that African Americans have made toward society.
Where do you see society in 30 years?
I think with the help of our President, the culture is definitely starting to change. We are starting to see African Americans in positions that we have not seen them in before. They are being portrayed in the media in a different light. I think the President has opened up a lot of opportunities. I think society is going to get more and more diverse, not only with race but with gender and sexual orientation as well.