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

Black metroplex evolution discussed on NE

By Westin Campo/reporter

Students, faculty and others gathered on NE Campus Feb. 26 for a Black History Month discussion on the State of the Black Metroplex.

“This program is a celebration, examination and declaration of change,” Dr. Murray Fortner, NE English professor, said as the audience enjoyed a lunch of Caribbean jerk chicken, dirty rice and black beans.

He introduced the first of two rap groups to perform. Black Star, a three-person rap group from Texas with a positive message, was received with applause.

“Music and black history go hand in hand,” Fortner said as they exited the stage.

He explained that songs from the 1960s created a soundtrack for the civil rights movement and brought people together under a message of change. Rap might be considered today’s soundtrack for changes in the black community.

Fortner warned that Barack Obama’s election does not mark the end of the struggle for equality and said the U.S. needs real change where blacks, Asians, Hispanics and whites could work together.

“We are living in a separatist society,” said Kenny Blankenship, the first of three student presenters.

According to Blankenship, of the 24.3 percent of people in the U.S. living under the poverty line, only 8.2 percent of these people are white. Seventy-five percent of whites own houses as opposed to 47 percent of blacks.

“The sad thing is,” Blankenship said, “the unemployment rate for blacks is higher now than it was in 1960.”

The second presentation was a report on black churches by student Jimmy Kabela.

“During the 1960s, the black churches were the foundation of the black experience in America,” he said.

Kabela said the church would pay to further a child’s education in the community.

“Black churches of today,” he said, “seem to be about getting bigger instead of getting better.”

According to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, in 1970, the U.S. had 10 churches with a sustained average weekly attendance of 2,000 persons or more. Today more than 740 fit that description. The average megachurch has an estimated net income of $4.8 million.

The second musical interlude was a rap group called Suave Squad from Cedar Hill.

Fortner focused the discussion on a question that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. asked in his day.

“The question that Dr. King asked over 40 years ago is most relevant today: ‘Where do we go from here?’” Fortner said.

“We must teach our children to judge by character and not color,” he said, “in order to have a truly color blind society.” Fortner said the change will come from grassroots campaigns.

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