Gardner-Webb freshman brings awareness to Black history

Freshman Rachael Meachem outside of the Dover Memorial Library at Gardner-Webb where her Black History month displays can be seen. Photo by Elizabeth Banfield

By: Chelsea Sydnor

Freshman Rachael Meachem was inspired to draw attention to accomplished African-American alumni and authors, after she wrote a reflection based on Dr. Albert Brinson’s visit for Dr. Paula Quall’s Old Testament class. Meachem has created displays for the library for the month of February, as well as a guest post about lesser-known individuals that have made a difference for civil rights.

Meachem was looking for ways to become more involved on campus, so when the idea presented itself, she took advantage of it. “I wanted to bring awareness to Black History month, because it’s not always advertised,” said Meachem. “I figured the library would be a good place because a lot of people go there.”

The display includes notable Gardner-Webb African-American alumni due to inspiration from a teacher from Meachem’s high

Meachem stands with her display in the library. Photo by Elizabeth Banfield

Meachem stands with her display in the library.
Photo by Elizabeth Banfield

school. She started with Artis Gilmore, a basketball player from the class of 1969, then found information about many more African-American athletes that had also graduated from Gardner-Webb.

However, this project required a lot of responsibility because Meachem was acting by herself, rather than as a part of a group effort.

“I had to balance work study, class work and the project,” said Meachem. “But, I wanted to be able to find clear, precise information and condense it.”

Ultimately, Meachem was encouraged to complete her project by her family, and others around her at Gardner-Webb.

“She asked me if I thought people would come [to see the displays] and I told her ‘I would’,” said Ary Bottoms, one of Meachem’s supervisors for her work study job in the library. “I’m proud of her for carrying out the project even without support from an organization.”

Although she wasn’t working with an organization, Meachem was able to call on the support of another student, senior Heaven Watson-Weary, for help with her research. Watson-Weary was excited to contribute, and provided information about the portion of the project centering around authors.

“We have this month to highlight things we don’t learn [about] on a regular basis in our classrooms,” said Watson-Weary.

Meachem hopes that her work will begin a discussion about the contemporary issue of race, as well as the influence of these people from the past.

“Sometimes even I overlook Black History month, so I’m sure that a lot of other people do as well,” said Meachem.

Two of Meachem’s displays can be viewed in the front lobby of the library, along with one more that is still in progress.

Rachael_BHM_flyer(1)Meachem is also organizing the Black History Month Poetry Slam at Broad River Coffee Shop, Feb. 29, at 7 P.M. For more information, contact rmeachem@gardner-webb.edu.

1 Comment on "Gardner-Webb freshman brings awareness to Black history"

  1. Congratulations on a job well done! This information is sure to spark the curiosity of the students and encourage them to learn more about black inventors, authors, poets and politicians who have helped to build and shape this great nation of ours! Kudos to you! ?❤

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