North Texas Daily

Black History Month event to recognize freedom fighters

Black History Month event to recognize freedom fighters

Black History Month event to recognize freedom fighters
February 17
23:07 2014

Ali West // Intern Writer

In celebration of Black History Month, the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center in Denton will host an event recognizing the freedom fighters from the civil rights movement to those of present day on Saturday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

The event is free for all ages and will include trivia about various freedom fighters, dancing, singing, keynote speaker Marcedes Fuller and more.

Although the term freedom fighter has many definitions depending on the movement and time, in general it denotes a person who campaigns for political liberty. Freedom fighters of black history include Nelson Mandela, Carter G. Woodson, Shirley Chisum, Dorothy Dandridge, President Barack Obama and Stevie Wonder, among many others.

Denesha Factory, recreation specialist at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, said she wanted to host the event because she believes it is important to remember that the liberties Americans have are not free.

“The civil liberties of African Americans and minorities in America was not just given. We had to fight for it, so I think it’s important to recognize the people who died fighting,” Factory said. “I fight a little bit, but I’m not getting hosed down or bitten by dogs on a daily basis.”

Black History Month isn’t only for black people, Factory said.

“Especially for the freedom fighters in particular, they fought for the rights not just of coloreds but they fought for the rights of anybody,” Factory said.

Sociology senior Briana Crowe will perform the monologue “Ain’t I a Woman?” written by abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth in 1851. Crowe said she wanted to contribute to the freedom fighters program to educate others through her form of art.

“I hope people take away a desire to go and learn more beyond the program, and be motivated to do things for our communities and generations to come,” Crowe said.

Troy Elliott, general, choral and instrumental music sophomore and president of the Black Student Union at UNT, will perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a song he believes the Denton community can identify with.

Originally performed as a poem in celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday in 1900, the song is now the official song of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.

“In thinking of the song, it talks about not only what we get from our past, but what our past allows us to do,” Elliott said. “I hope that people take from my performance that ideal, that every day we should stretch towards progression in commemoration of our own history.”

Elliott hosted a recital of his own for Black History Month last year called “The Commemoration of Black History in Music,” honoring those who have been prominent in classical music within the black community. He also performed at the Multicultural Center’s Equity and Diversity Conference last year.

Although Black History Month is important to him, Elliott said he celebrates his own history and culture daily.

“I’m living my own black history now,” Elliot said. “Black history is American history. It should be recognized as such.”

The freedom fighters are recognized so highly today for doing something everyone should have been doing in the first place, Elliott said.

“[Freedom fighters] are the representation of true morality and what morality stood for in the first place,” Elliott said. “I don’t think morality has changed. I think it’s consistent and it’s ever steadfast. No matter how corrupt a community may get, it [morality] stays strong.”

Feature photo: General, choral and instrumental music sophomore Troy Elliot will be singing “Life Every Voice and Sing”, at the Freedom Fighters event on Feb. 22. Photo by Marisa Baker / Intern Photographer 

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