Video games, Literature, Military History, Journalism, Photography, Movies
February 24, 2017
First of all, I feel obligated to apologize for the title of this post. It's about as corny as a Kansas cob. But it was either that or "I'm black, y'all," which I was hesitant to use.
Anyway, in light of Black History Month, last week the university's Black Student Alliance (BSA) and Multicultural Student Solidarity Network (MSSN) sponsored a bus trip up to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. It was free -- all we had to do was pay a $20 deposit a few days beforehand, which we received right back on the day of the trip.
D.C.'s close, but it's not precisely a stone's throw away. So in order to ensure that we would get as much time as possible to see the museum, the trip's organizers took the drive into account and had us meet at the Transportation Hub around 8. Our group numbered about 50 or 60 people and included students, faculty, and staff. A sizable crew, for sure, but the buses weren't crowded.
It took us about two hours to reach that little territory over the Potomac, and the first thing we did was get lunch. The museum is adjacent to the Washington Monument, and there were a ton of food trucks next to the curb. I bought a falafel sandwich before sitting down on the grass and eating with a few of my friends. That's where I snapped this:
After lunch, we headed in.
The museum can essentially be split into two halves. There's the "history" section that begins underground and requires you to take an elevator down to reach, and then there are the top two floors, which focus on African American culture and its contribution to the rest of the United States and the world. My friends and I started with that lower half.
Officially named "The Journey Toward Freedom," this part of the museum surveyed African-American history from the beginning of the Transatlantic Slave Trade up until the 21st century. As someone with a profound interest in history and its effects on us in the present, this was immensely intriguing to me. Like any museum, this one was full of exhibits, with real artifacts like chunks of a slave ship, shackles, United States Colored Troops uniforms, and more.
I'm glad all of this info about our history was shown in such a way -- really puts things into perspective.
We then made our way to the other floors of the museum, which focuses on culture. There were exhibits on African-American involvement in television, film, visual arts, music, and sports.
The museum closes at 5:30, so that's the approximate time we left.
Overall, it was a great experience! I'm definitely glad to have visited.
—Hunter, Class of 2019
And yes, it has occurred to me that this is an About Me and I've neglected to tell you much about me. So I'm from Chesapeake, Virginia, a place just south of Norfolk that's large enough to be a county but isn't because reasons. There's not much to do in Chesapeake other than going for a dip in the Great Dismal Swamp (ill-advised) or head to a neigboring town to hit the beach, and I think that's part of the reason I spent most of my earlier childhood holed up in my room reading books or playing Playstation.
I branched out in my high school years, though, and I've developed affinites for genealogy, running, film, and photography. I am not a man of many talents, though among them include the remarkable power to turn my thumb all the way backwards, the ablility to tell you almost everything you'd ever want to know about the Star Wars Expanded Universe (which unfortunately has been declared non-canon, thanks to J.J. Abrams), and the astonishing skill to cook Minute Rice in 58 seconds. My playlist includes mostly oldies, and my favorite movies all came out before I was born. So you might say I'm a bit of a hipster. I've even got my own snazzy red Polaroid camera, which is practically a license to hipster in this day and age, right?
So, yeah, that's me. In conclusion, read on! Hope you enjoy my blog posts!
Why UR?I'm not a very decisive person. During my senior year of high school, I envied the kids who were certain straight from the get-go where they wanted to go to college. I had applied to several great schools that I thought could offer me a great education, but I had trouble picking which one was the best fit for me. I constantly held debates against myself, weighing the pros and the cons of each school in my head and occasionally and occasionally audibly voicing my concerns a la Gollum: "How about this one?" "No, no, too big. And too far away. Going back and forth to home could prove to be a real bummer." "Good point, but look at their alumni network! They could hook you up with a job fresh out of graduation!" "Ah, true, but check out these student reviews online. You really want to go to a place with this reputation?" "Do you believe everything you read in those reviews?" "Of course I do. They can't put anything on the internet that isn't true." And so on and so on. I still hadn't made a decision by mid-April, so the jury was still out on where I was going just two weeks before the deadline. Pressure from my parents and peers to choose just kept piling on heavier and heavier. Around this time I went to a Richmond Scholars visit, which afforded prospective students who'd been offered scholarships from the University the chance to get a glimpse of life as a student here. The visit was really what sealed the deal for me. The beautiful campus was a joy to explore even in the surprisingly sweltering spring heat. I had the opportunity to sit in on a class, which wasn't very big. Richmond's small class sizes allow for intimate discussions as opposed to drawling lectures and make it rather easy to develop close relationships with professors. I've found that most of them encourage you to meet with them in their spare time, something that might be more difficult to do at a larger institution. While at the Scholars visit, I talked with my host for hours. He gave me a bare bones, down-to-earth explanation of what he thought of Richmond. And I know it's a total cliche, but there's one thing he told me that I really think rings true here at Richmond and life in general: It can be a great and rewarding experience, but only if you put in the effort to make it one. Bottom line, I think Richmond gives students the resources needed to make their college years more than worthwhile, moreso than any other school I checked out. We've got top-notch academics to satisfy any hungry mind, we've got a plethora of extracurriculars to enjoy, tons of chances to broaden our horizons (literally and figuratively), and of course, we've got the chow at D-Hall. All that's really what made me want to spend the next four years of my life here.