Schwartz residents quizzed on Black Women history
In honor of Black History Month, senior Isaiah Yopp went door-todoor in Schwartz Hall, quizzing residences on African-American female history, an event he named “Who Run the World? Girls,” after the black female icon, Beyoncé.
“I felt like throughout history there’ve been a lot of influential African-American females and most of them don’t get the recognition they deserve or don’t get the credit from other people who may steal from them or borrow from them,” he said, “so it was important for me to highlight some of the people we may see on the TV screens or hear their music to how they’ve broken barriers and how they’ve helped people to follow in their lead.”
One historical figure who Yopp, a resident adviser of Schwartz Hall, pointed out was a democratic senator Shirley Chisholm—the first African American to run for president.
“People don’t really discuss her often,” he said. “I feel like during Black History Month, people focus on Rosa Parks or Coretta Scott King and they’re important but I think there are some other black females that don’t get the credit they deserve.” Yopp ran a cart of candy and snacks through the halls and knocked on students’ doors to ask them questions such as “Who was the first black woman to be featured in the Hall of Fame?” and, “Who was the first black woman to be on the cover of a Dior campaign?” Questions and answers ranged from historical figures, like Shirley Chislom to current celebrities like Rihanna and Halle Berry.
One student, Chanel Bonsu, a sophomore, took a guess to a question when she answered with “Beyoncé” and ended up being correct.
“I feel like some black musicians in Africa don’t get appreciated as much as Americans,” Bonsu, a communications disorder major said. “They’re doing really good things but nobody’s focusing on them.”
Communications major Tyler Rettberg came close when he guessed who was who the first American to win an Olympian gold medal in every event was, answering Gabby Douglas instead of Simone Biles in gymnastics.
“I thought this was pretty interesting. No one else has come to ask questions before,” said Rettberg, a sophomore. “I made an educated guess. I didn’t get it right but you can’t win everything.
Adaeze Iwuchukwu, a sophomore and nursing major, said she feels today’s society does not understand that black women are the foundation of society and looks to Rosa Parks and Maya Angelou for inspiration.
“Women in general and black women specifically are like the lower-class society,” she said. “There’s men and women and men are looked at as superior. There’s blacks and whites and whites are looked at as superior. It’s really sad so it’s nice that [Isaiah] is going around and letting everyone know who’s the sh-t.”
Yopp said he has heard a quote saying the most underappreciated, most disrespected person in America is the black woman. “Obviously being raised by a black woman and having a black grandmother and I’ve seen the things they’ve had to battle in their own everyday life,” he said. “I think to shine light on not only the very day problems black women have but the more societal problems that they have.”
Yopp said he was hoping students would be surprised and eager to learn new information during his round of trivia. He said he aimed for students to hear about women they do not know, or do not know much about, and decide to do some research on them.
“I think its important that everybody takes responsibility to learn American icons,” he said, “and why our country is the way it is and how it got to be the way it is.”