"Black history is American history"

David Hayes hangs up some of his posters on the GHH main stairwell. 

The start of February marks the beginning of Black History Month. The month is one that celebrates the history of the black American population, both the good and the bad. At RWU, the Multicultural Student Union (MSU) usually takes the lead in campus celebration, but one senior aims to change that. 


“This school doesn’t do much for Black History Month and when they do, they kind of punt it off to MSU, so it gives off that the school doesn’t really care much about it," said senior David Hayes. "They aren’t really doing something for the university as a whole. It speaks to a broader issue of American education."


While sitting at home and listening to Kendrick Lamar during winter break, Hayes, a legal studies and political science major, was struck with the realization that February was fast approaching. Then, an idea hit him. Hayes wanted to take Black History Month on campus into his own hands so with the necessary approval, he began working on a poster project throughout campus. 


“I wanted to do a series that kind of celebrates black history and especially the lesser-known parts of black history,” Hayes said. 

With the help of his friends, Hayes put the posters up all around campus on Sunday, Feb. 3. The Intercultural Center was willing to sponsor the campaign, so they helped with the printing costs and getting tape to hang the posters up.

 

Each poster shows an image of an important black figure in history with the words, “Know the name, Know the story.” There are QR codes below the image that can be used through the camera application on any phone. Scanning the code brings the viewer to the Wikipedia page for that specific person. It is an easy process and does not take much time. 

 
Hayes would like to change out the posters each week. He hopes students and faculty members will take the time to interact with the posters and learn something new. He also hopes his message is seen by members of the university's administration, so they can change the way Black History Month is celebrated on campus. 
 
“If one person takes the time to just look at a poster and then scan it and read about the person or event that’s on it, that is a win," Hayes said.
 

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