Kinniebrew shares knowledge of black history at SSU

February 6, 2013

Portia Williams

PDT Staff Writer

Shawnee State University’s slate of events for Black History Month continued as motivational speaker Royce Kinniebrew addressed an audience of more than 50 people Tuesday at the university’s Flohr Lecture Hall.

Royce Kinniebrew, of Kinniebrew group, a motivational speaker, historian, and educator spoke to the gathered crowd as a part the series of activities scheduled for Black History Month.

The program was opened with a welcome, and introduction of the speaker by Carla Daniels, Coordinator Student Activities and Cross Cultural Inclusion at the university, and the event-organizer.

Kinniebrew prefaced his lecture with the singing of the “Negro Anthem,” in which he asked the audience to stand, and invited them to sing along with him.

Kinniebrew said the “Negro Anthem” is a very important part of African American history and culture.

Kinniebrew’s lecture was entitled, “Civil Rights, Civil Wrongs: Rethinking Dr. King and the Movement.”

During the presentation, Kinniebrew showed footage from a film of King speaking, which Kinniebrew called, “The Unknown King.”

In the film King is quoting as saying, “Don’t let anybody take your manhood. Be proud of our heritage. They made everything black, ugly and evil. Look in your dictionary and see the synonyms of the word black, its always something low, and degrading, and sinister. Look at the word white its always something pure, high.”

King went on to say that changes needed to be made in terms of the perception of what it means to be black.

“I want to get the language right tonight. I want to get the language here so right that everybody here will cry out yes, I’m black, I’m proud of it, I’m black and beautiful,” King said in the footage.

Kinniebrew suggested to the audience that the film revealed a side of King that is not typically shared in the history books or through the media.

“Those aren’t references that can be connected to Dr. King, are they?” Kinniebrew asked. “This sounded more like other groups, like the Black Panthers,” Kinniebrew said.

Kinniebrew also said King’s ideologies expanded.

“Dr. King evolved through his life after the march on Washington D.C. to think about poverty, self-responsibility, about speaking truth to power,” Kinniebrew said.

Kinniewbrew said the civil rights movement for African Americans did not just start in the 50’s and 60’s, but earlier on the shoulders and accomplishments of others before that period.

According to Kinniebrew a march on Washington nearly took place in 1941, and was organized by a man named A. Phillip Randolph for fair labor rights for African Americans. Kinniebrew said the march was postponed due to negotiations initiated by Roosevelt, who was president of the United States at the time. Henceforth, the 1941 march never took place.

Kinniebrew disclosed names of African Americans who made important contributions to history, but received little or no acclaim in the history books.

In addition to information about King, Kinniebrew shared a plethora of knowledge and insight about lynchings, and other horrific crimes against African Americans that have transpired in American history.

Kinniebrew concluded the lecture by encouraging all young people that they too can make a difference, as the youth that participated in the civil rights movement in the South.

“What we learn from this is, that young people, college kids, K-12 kids can make a difference in how the world works. Don’t believe that what you think, or what you have to say is irrelevant. The history of this country shows that it was young people that helped to move the civil rights movement forward,” Kinniebrew said.

Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or portiawilliams@civitasmedia.com.