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Campus News / News

Black History Month at Rockford University: 2017 Alum Shares Thoughts

02/13/2023 2:44 pm

By Sara Myers

We’ve been speaking to Rockford University students and alumni about Black History Month. Throughout the month of February, the university will highlight different individuals and their thoughts about the historic month and its importance.

We spoke with 2017 RU graduate Dominique Campbell on what Black History Month means to him and how he celebrates. Campbell received his Bachelor of Science degree from RU in physical education with a minor in health. He later received his Master’s in Business Communications from the University of Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa.

Campbell, who currently lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and works as a Commercial Underwriter at United Fire Group.

Here are Campbell’s thoughts on Black History Month.

Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

How do you honor or celebrate Black History Month? 

Oftentimes, I attend an African American Gala in Waterloo, Iowa or Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I also try to post a fun African American history fact on social media every day during the month of February. I take my kids to the African American Museum where we participate in fun activities and learn about our culture and what makes this month so significant.

Name a Black figure – past or present –that you admire. Why?

Muhammad Ali because he stood for something that he believed in and was not afraid to speak his mind. He did not spew out nonsense. He stated facts and wanted to be treated equal. During a time when Black men and women were treated so unfairly, he gave our people hope, he let it be known that he was Black and proud.

I also admire rappers Jay-Z and Rick Ross. They continue to surprise me, not only by their music but by their actions in between the lines. They are both marketing geniuses and changed not only Hip-Hop culture but Black entrepreneur culture. Whether it is real estate, art, building a brand and music, they continue to show Black men and women that you can come from a tough background and rise above. 

Why is Black History Month relevant today? 

Black history has always been relevant and will never stop being relevant. America was made on our ancestors’ backs and I hope one day we realize that. Today, we live during a time where Black History Month is not talked about in the schools as much. Black History Month affords us the chance to challenge what we learned in history, dig deeper, and find out the actual events of the past that were not taught in schools or portrayed in the media. 

The media tends to showcase the negatives of the Black community, such as poverty, drugs, incarceration, lack of education, etc. These portrayals paint a biased and unfair stereotype in our minds. Black History Month allows us to learn about, celebrate, and honor Black leaders. Many of these leaders who contributed to the world in the name of science, innovation, and economy were never acknowledged and/or received their honor. Black History Month celebrates and puts their achievements in recognition and mitigates the damage caused by the unfair depiction of Black Americans in the media.