Black men are celebrated at Livingstone
By Laurie D. Willis
Livingstone College News Service
SALISBURY — At the Oct. 5 assembly sponsored by the Gamma Delta chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and the Junior Class Council, Dr. Edward E. Bell encouraged Livingstone’s male students to continue defying the odds and working to change images of African-American males.
Titled “100 Black Men in Suits,” the assembly’s theme was the brainchild of students Jimmy Wilson, 2016-2017 Mister Livingstone College, and Terrell T. Richardson, president of the Junior Class.
“Continue to press on, even in America where there seems to be troubling times for black people, black men in particular,” said Bell, a native of New Bern. “Success doesn’t fall from the sky. We must enter the clouds. We possess swagger, dare, confidence and the audacity to conquer the world.”
Bell encouraged the young men to exercise their right to vote, to be respectful of others, particularly black women, to be mindful of the way they dress and carry themselves, to know their history, to realize the importance of education, to never lower their expectations for themselves and to avoid getting entangled in the penal system.
He was invited to speak because of work he’s done to champion black males.
Livingstone President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr., who upon arriving on campus 10 years ago capitalized on the weekly assemblies by inviting motivational role models to attend them, was excited about the efforts put forth by Richardson and Wilson.
“I was at home one Sunday night and received an email from Mr. Richardson saying that he and some other male students wanted to dress for success during that week’s assembly,” Jenkins said. “His email also stated they wanted a few minutes on the program to talk about the negative images that are often assigned to black males and ways we, as a campus community, can change those images.
“I was so impressed by Mr. Richardson’s email that I asked some of my staff members to collaborate with him to ensure the entire assembly was devoted to uplifting and celebrating black males,” Jenkins continued. “After the assembly, a large contingent of us gathered on our front lawn to take a picture, and I must say that was one of the best, student-driven assemblies we’ve had during my tenure at Livingstone.”
Richardson said he’s pleased the assembly went so well.
“I’ve become increasingly dismayed by the way the media consistently portrays black men as irresponsible fathers, gang members, uneducated, lazy and shiftless,” Richardson said. “While there are some men of all races who fall into one or more of those categories, it’s not fair to label black men in general as such. My fraternity brothers and I thought it’d be nice to take a stand against negative stereotypes that are often heaped on us, so that’s why I contacted Dr. Jenkins about giving us some time during the assembly. I’m very grateful that he allowed us to spend the entire hour celebrating black men.”
The Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. members who joined Richardson in participating in “100 Black Men in Suits” are Jamar Anderson, Jordan Bellamy, Chaz Davenport, Justice Marshall, Tyler Pressley, Harry Standberry and Jimmy Wilson.