The month of February is dedicated to recognizing Black History Month and in its honor, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Department of Media Studies hosted a presentation called “The Untold Stories in the African-American Experience,” led by Reggie Jackson on Feb. 19.
Reggie Jackson graduated from Concordia University and is the Head Griot of America’s Black Holocaust museum. He is an educator and consultant at Nurturing Diversity Partners at Jackson-Kaplan Consulting LLC.
Topics that were discussed at this presentation started with African Peoples Before Captivity. It went over the culture Africans had and how they were related to other cultures. “They were like most of us, they honored their parents and adored their children.” Then the topic shifted towards enslavement, the middle passage and the 300 years of slavery.
The next topic briefly went over the glimpse of freedom African Americans had during reconstruction and transitioned to the 100 years of Jim Crow.
“The System of ‘Jim Crow’ consisted of five pillars: Economic, political, legal, social, and personal” Jackson said.
Those five pillars were how the South maintained their power over African Americans and how they were oppressed. In order to escape the oppression, African families would migrate to the North hoping to escape Jim Crow oppression. But even in the North they would find “sundown towns,” all-white communities that excluded anybody who wasn’t white. They were not enforced by law, but were customs to that area. Even in the North, cross-burning and lynching occurred. Jim Crow didn’t end until 1965.
The last topic was titled Now- Free at Last? which consisted the growing amount of black college graduates and professionals. The American dream was starting to become believable to African Americans. However, there were new obstacles for working class African Americans to face including police brutality, the war on drugs and the rising amount of incarcerated African Americans.
“ [I found the presentation to be] eye opening and provided a different perspective of what African Americans have been facing since the start of this country,” civil engineering major Alex Severson said.
Jackson currently writes for the Huffington Post as the Black Voices contributor as well as holds the Executive Board Member for the Rid Racism Milwaukee.