Athlete reflects on black history month

Misha Frazier

Junior thrower Misha Frazier continues to etch her name into the Southeastern record books. The New Orleans native captured the women’s indoor weight throw school record earlier this season. The Lion’s Roar / file photos

What is the month of February known for? As a child, you learn it as the second month and then it becomes  the weirdly-spelled month. However, since 1976, February is also Black History Month. It has been celebrated in the United States, but also in Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Founded by historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1926, it was originally celebrated on the second week of February because it coincided with Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. In 1976, it expanded to encompass the entire month.

For years, it has sparked a debate on the continued usefulness and fairness of a month dedicated to only one race’s history. 

Controversies aside, it is a time that is seen by some to celebrate African-American’s past and by others to educate themselves on the contributions African-Americans have made in society.

“To me, African-American History month is a time of reflection,” said senior track and field athlete Misha Frazier.

Just in the past 100 years, there have been famous men and women who achieved greatness by furthering the advancement of civil rights, making impacts in entertainment, government, science and sports.

When speaking of athletes, famous names such as Muhammad Ali and Althea Gibson come to mind. Gibson was the first colored athlete to advance past the line into international tennis. In the 1950s, she won the Australian, French and United States openers as well as Wimbledon; she was voted the Female Athlete of the Year by Associated Press in 1958 and indicted in the International Tennis and Women’s Sports Halls of Fame.

Ali is a former professional boxer and recognized for his feats in the ring as well as the values he embodied outside of it. Religious freedom and racial injustice are just two controversies he faced. He was deemed Sportsman of the Century by Sports Illustrated and Sports Personality of the Century by BBC.

Perhaps the greatest success story to come out of Southeastern athletics is Hammond native Robert Alford. The current Atlanta Falcon put Southeastern athletics on the map after being drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

In the literary world, famous authors were Maya Angelou, Lorraine Hansberry and Louisiana native Ernest Gaines, who has won over a dozen awards including the National Humanities Medal and Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Civil Rights Leaders and Activists included, but are not exclusive to, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Ella Baker.

As part of a race that were, for a time, considered the property of another being, individuals such as the afore mentioned have worked to ensure that similar indiscretions not to be repeated. However, role models are not limited to figures who have text books written about them, but include those in one’s everyday life.

“My role model is my mother. She is a strong, passionate, intelligent woman who instilled those same characteristics in me. She raised me to be strong-minded, steadfast in my beliefs and independent. Thanks to her, I refuse to be a victim to any situation. Just like her, I can overcome any obstacle thrown my way,” said Frazier.

Unlike some organizations, such as the NBA, hosting events in honor of Black History Month, like “Barrier Breakers,” Frazier doesn’t believe that Southeastern’s athletic department should host similar events in the month.

“I may not speak for all African-Americans, but I do not want to be treated like a child that requires special attention once a year. Our history should be recognized year round, therefore events should be held year round,” said Frazier.