W.E.B DuBois

“There is in this world no such forces as the force of a person determined to rise. The human soul cannot be permanently chained”

William Edward Burghardt “W.E.B.” Du Bois (Feb. 23, 1868 – Aug. 27, 1963) is remembered as a civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, sociologist, educator, historian, writer, editor and poet.

  • Du Bois was one of the founding members of the Niagara Movement. Established in 1905, the movement earned its name because it stood as a symbol of the mighty current of change coming in regards to segregation and racism. The small organization was a precursor to the NAACP, which was formed in 1909.
  • In 1895, Du Bois became the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University. The following year, he enrolled as a doctoral student at one of Berlin’s oldest universities, Friedrich-Wilhelms University, which is now called Humboldt University. He was given an honorary doctoral degree from Humboldt in 1958.
  • He introduced the concept of the “talented tenth” in an essay published in September 1903. The talented tenth were considered Black elites who had the responsibility and duty to better the lives of less fortunate African-Americans.
  • In 1900, Du Bois was a leader of the first Pan-African Conference in London. He also led four other Pan-African Congresses held from 1919 to 1927.
  • W.E.B. Du Bois and fellow Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey had ideological differences that focused on the debate of integration vs. separation. However, they both cared about Africa and were committed to the cause of African prosperity.
  • In 1961, Du Bois moved to Ghana. He started work on the Encyclopedia Africana to serve as a resource on Africans and people of African descent throughout the world.
  • During his lifetime, Du Bois wrote 21 books and edited 15 others, and he published more than 100 essays and articles. In 1903, Du Bois published his seminal work, a collection of 14 essays titled The Souls of Black Folk.
  • The site of the boyhood home in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, where Du Bois grew up became a National Historic Landmark in 1979.

 

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World Mental Health Day

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Today (Monday 10th October 2016) is World Mental Health Day. It can be guaranteed that we all know at least one person with some form of mental illness. So many people go through a constant battle on a daily basis with their own mind. Remember, that not all illnesses can be seen physically.

In addition to all the fantastic events planned for the day, I have put together some thoughts and top tips for self-care…

 

First Week Fears!

Starting university can be a wonderful and exciting experience, but it can also bring its own unique challenges. It’s natural to feel nervous or overwhelmed during the first few weeks at university, and it can be a while before you feel like you’ve found your feet.

It’s easy to feel down after the whirlwind and non-stop experience of your first few weeks. Jam-packed with activities, events and now lectures, research and coursework. When you finally have time to sit down on your own and think about everything, it can be overwhelming.

A really important thing to realize is that you’re entering a supportive community where students and staff are working to make sure that things go smoothly and if you run into any difficulties, remember that there are lots of people who are there to support you, from the Students’ Union Welfare Officer…yes thats me :)  and student advice services, such as our fantastic SU Advice Centre, to fellow students who can point you in the right direction.

Feeling pressured to drink?

University life in general is associated with the pressure to drink alcohol, and the misconception that you need to drink to have fun. This needn’t be the case! For some people nights out and drinking are synonymous, however they don’t have to be. You don’t need to order alcoholic drinks at the bar – if you would rather stick with soft drinks, do so and don’t let people make you doubt your decision. If nights out are something you would rather not fill your week with there are plenty of alternatives, joining a society or a sports club is a great place to start. The preconception that university life has to involve going out and drinking too much is just a myth.

Look after yourself!

In the chaos and novelty of university life it’s easy to forget about looking after yourself, in terms of both your physical and mental health. As welcome events settle down and you find yourself with more time, you’ll have the opportunity to step back and organise your daily life. Here are some key things to think about:

Getting into a regular sleeping pattern

Try to get to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every day – and avoid sleeping in too late at the weekend.  Getting enough sleep at a time your body is used to will set you up for the day ahead!

Eating as healthily as you can

Getting your nutrients and eating food which sustains your energy through the day will make you feel much better than constantly drinking caffeine and buying takeaways.

But what if I can’t cook, I hear you cry?
Cooking is much easier than you might think – it’s ultimately a matter of following instructions – so the main thing to do is find some easy and healthy recipes to make in your student kitchen.

Getting some exercise!

Exercise helps you sleep well, helps you feel energized, and boosts feelings of well being. A brisk walk or jog a few times a week will set you on track for greater feelings of well being. Joining a society, sports team, or outdoor activity may help you to integrate exercise into your weekly routine.

Leaving time to relax

It’s not a good idea to be busy all the time! Having some time to wind down and recharge is key to maintaining positive mental wellbeing. Read a book, take a walk, have a bath – if anything, it’ll make you more productive when you are busy doing activities. Above all, it’s the best way to head off rising anxiety levels.

It’s time to stop looking at mental illness as an individual problem.

You are not alone!

BHM – Mary Jackson by Rosie McKenna

Mary Jackson was among a group of female scientists behind some of the biggest advances in aeronautics. In 1940 just 2% of black women got a university degree, and more than half of them became teachers. This didn’t stop Jackson from joining NACA (the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which would later become the organisation known today as NASA).

Jackson’s work underpinned some of the biggest advances in aeronautics, during some of the most defining moments of the 20th century – including World War II, the cold war, & the space race. It’s often forgotten that it was a team of all-female, all-black mathematicians working on the early technology which has enabled the biggest discoveries about outer space. (To see more about that, there’s a film coming out later this year called Hidden Figures, which tells the story of Jackson & her colleagues.)

Despite being hired by NACA as a part of this team, Jackson faced abhorrent racism in the workplace. People of Colour where separated from their white counterparts in which bathrooms they could use, what offices they could work in, & which tables they could sit at in the canteen. Advancing to work directly with the aeronautical teams or into management positions was almost impossible. & yet the black women that made up the team that Jackson was a part of were crucial to a moment that is held as one of the most iconic in human history, putting man on the moon.

Mary Jackson was also a trailblazer in the Women’s rights movement. She educated Black Women in her field on how to advance in their careers, on how to go from being mathematicians to being engineers, something which she herself had done. She also worked for the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs as the Federal Women’s Program Manager, & the Affirmative Action Program Manager.

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Rosie McKenna (Women’s Officer)

Eartha Kitt

As some of you may have noticed, at the start of this week, we added our first image of BHM to the bridge and asked ‘do you know who I am?’. For those of you who don’t know, our first inspirational person was Eartha Kitt…

 

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Dr Einstein was not successful in school, but he found something in the air from his own imagination and his own brain power, and look what he did.

Eartha Kitt is a well-known activist, Youth Worker, LGBT Rights advocate and a member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Whilst still being highly influential in various industries through acting, singing, dancing and cabaret. As a woman of mixed race heritage, this caused her to be excluded from society at such a young age, which led to her mother sending her away at the age of eight, where she lived with an aunt on a cotton field. However, this was the start of her amazing career. Later being nominated for three Tony Awards, two Grammys and two Emmy Awards.

Alongside her talents, she also invested a lot of time in the 50’s and 60’s to helping young children stay out of trouble, clean up the streets and prevent juvenile delinquency. Following into the 80’s where she continued with her civil rights movement, focusing on same sec marriage, something that she strongly believed was a civil right.

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Sherry Tebs (BME Officer)

Do you know who I am?

Hi all,

So… October is already upon us and here at the Students’ Union we wanted to start this month off explaining some of the things we have going on around campus, that you should look out for.

For those of you who don’t know, October is Black History Month in the UK. Throughout this month, many people throughout the nation celebrate and recognize key and inspirational individuals or historic events from the BME community. The focus is around those who have pushed and fought for an improved society, contributed to the development and progression of governments as well as people as a whole. During this month, we give attention to those who have led the way, from those who achieved the right for black people to vote, to those who inspire us and perform in art, sport and culture.

Throughout this month, we here at the Students’ Union, led by Sherry (our BME Officer, see picture above) will be looking to achieve a number of things. We hope to increase awareness, encompass a brief history, and celebrate some of the cultures held by different BME groups.

During the month, we will highlight and pay tribute to individuals who have gone above and beyond in their commitment to a more equal world, where racial discrimination and segregation do not play a part. Each week, we will consider key politicians, doctors, lawyers and other professionals who worked toward liberation. Many of our sports teams and societies also have amazing campaigns planned, all looking to raise awareness, so be sure to look out for them.

As you walk through the hub, you may see some faces begin to appear on our bridge. Our question is ‘do you know who I am?’. We want you to think about who that person is, what they are famous for and some things they have achieved.

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Our first blog is on Martin Luther King.

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Martin Luther King is perhaps one of the most well known, non-violent leaders in BME History. Through powerful speeches and inspirational words, he was at the forefront of change in America for African-American Civil rights. Time’s Person of the year in 1963, he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Some of his major accomplishments include

  • Leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott
  • First president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
  • Led the Birmingham Campaign making change to many discriminatory laws
  • Instrumental in the great march on Washington
  • Delivering powerful speeches including “I have a dream” to over 250,000 people – polled in 1999 by scholars as the top American speech
  • Behind African-Americans getting basic civil rights such as the right to vote and desegregation
  • Youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
  • Became a symbolic leader of African Americans