February is Black History Month and the African American Alumni chapter at Howard Payne University (HPU) celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.
This is the university's 3rd annual celebration. It was held Wednesday morning inside the Mims Auditorium, where faculty and students were transported back to the "Separate but Equal" time period.
The ceremony started with an introduction to the New Age Disciples organization, followed by the Negro National Anthem. It also consisted of multiple songs and slideshows to convey powerful messages. Alumni took to the stage to talk about the Jim Crow Law, Brown v. Board of Education and other significant moments in history.
"Our hope is that the history will not be forgotten. A nation who doesn't know his history is destined to repeat it," said HPU Alumni Association member Wilbert Rogers. "This generation of children may not know what happened and may not understand what it means to have the things that they have. It didn't come easy and they need to know that. We don't want to go through this again. We've been through it once. Always remember that you're standing on the shoulders of great men and women that went before you."
HPU Dean of Students Dr. Brent Marsh said the commemoration serves as a reminder of how much progress society has made since the days of segregation.
"I hope people walk away with a great sense of appreciation and respect for those who have worked and fought so hard for civil rights and equality in the past. Don't take those lessons for granted," Dr. Marsh said.