The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE learns students’ history in activism

By Hayley Morrison/reporter

NE students learned about the national and local struggle for freedom and equality during We Are Not Afraid, presented by history instructor Tramaine Anderson Feb. 23.

The presentation opened with two of Anderson’s family members — mother Patricia Thomas and the Rev. Kim Bird — singing freedom songs, an important part of the movement’s history.

“Freedom songs played a central part in maintaining morale,” Anderson said. “These songs were sung during rallies. They were sung in jail cells. They were even sung when people were registering to vote.”

While many historians believe that the freedom movement began in the early 20th century, Anderson disagrees.

“In my historical opinion, the freedom movement began when the first people of African descent were enslaved,” she said. “Whenever there was oppression, there was resistance.”

While students had technically been a part of the freedom movement for as long had schools had been segregated, young people began making their support known after four young African-American men sat at Woolworth’s lunch counter in North Carolina and refused to leave, Anderson said. Organizations like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee were formed and dedicated themselves to protesting violence, following in Mahatma Gandhi’s footsteps.

“It takes an immense amount of strength to be nonviolent when someone is beating you over the head with a billy club,” she said.

The strength of these protesters affected some of the students like Tammy Sensel, who attended the presentation.

“The impact that this movement and these people had as well as the ignorance they were facing, an ignorance that’s still around, is shocking,” she said.

Student Chad Russell agreed.

“I came because I was interested, and I got extra credit,” he said. “I feel like I have a better understanding overall of what they went through.”

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