By Laina Sweetney
Sankofa – it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you have forgotten.
The Florida Southern College Thrift Alumni room resembled more of a museum than a school venue last Friday, Feb. 24, as Angela W. Jennings, African American historian and curator, brought the Sankofa African American History Museum on Wheels to campus.
The event was hosted by Florida Southern’s Multicultural Student Council as a part of their Black History Month event lineup and allowed students the opportunity to explore African American history and culture through a series of memorabilia, collectables and artifacts.
Arranged in chronological order, the Sankofa exhibit took onlookers on a journey through black history from 1860 to the present.
Jennings showcased artifacts from the West African tribes of Ghana, the American slave trade, the onset of abolition and culminated with the Civil Rights movement and the election of America’s first African American president, Barack Obama. The museum tells the stories of many influential people in the black community, such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Tuskegee airmen.
The artifacts provided a detailed display of the pain, struggle and triumph of the African American community.
Jennings acted as a wise storyteller—stopping at each artifact to explain its historical significance. She ended the event with a moving dramatization based on a figure in her family history.
Jennings’ passion for African American history is what originally led her to begin the curating process for her traveling museum. After a conversation with her nephew, she came to the disheartening realization of the absence of opportunities for children to learn about African-American history.
Jennings uses her traveling museum as a tool to educate people across the country about the unique heritage of African American people.
“I wanted to take it to the masses,” Jennings said about her traveling museum. “Museums don’t get enough people. I knew I couldn’t be stationary.”
Florida Southern College Sophomore History and Political Science major Taylor Paulin attended the event and commented on the significance of Jennings’ African American museum on wheels.
“I think it was pretty awesome that Angela Jennings took her personal time and money to preserve these artifacts,” Paulin said of the museum’s curator. “So many people don’t have access to these artifacts and aren’t given information about this history in school. This is a large part of American history that needs to be told and seen by more.”
The FSC Multicultural Student Council shares Jennings’ passion for spreading cultural awareness. Their mission is to expand the cultural knowledge and experiences of the FSC campus community. Events such as these provide an avenue for students to expand their knowledge of our diverse world.
The Council wrapped up their Black History Month event schedule with a Black Film Series screening of “Fresh Dressed” on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at in the Simmons Center.
The documentary explores the history of urban fashion and its connection to pop culture and the world. Students had the opportunity to engage in an active dialogue about the film.