Hiram Revels And Black History Month

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During the month of February, in honor of celebrating Black History Month, Norfolk State University schedules cultural events for each day of the month.  This year, I attended an event hosted by FACE IT.  Students from the FACE IT organization on campus introduced themselves and briefly discussed their involvement with FACE IT. The purpose of the organization is to promote mental wellness, diminish the power of stigma, and develop individuals through knowledge. The theme of the event was Hip-hop and how it has and presently serves as a form of expression and survival for African Americans.

The images representing the four elements of Hip-Hop were displayed.  The fifth element, the lyricist was missing, yet mentioned for those unaware.  The context of the discussion amongst the guest panelist and students questioned the idea of African Americans in the time of war. The topics of collectivism and orality were covered in textbook of this course and were highly discussed during the external event.  The concept of collectivism was discussed during the event as being synonymous with cultural involvement, an example the Black Lives Matter movement. Chapter 2 of the textbook for this course, discussed the concept of orality and its relation to Hip-Hop.  The textbook included an insert examining contemporary issues highlighting the West African origins of Hip-Hop to the Bronx (Belgrave & Allison, 2014).  The art of storytelling was and still an influence and major factor in the culture of African Americans.

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The music video, The Message, by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five was viewed alongside the lyrics provided.  After watching the video, discussions spanning from the streets of inner cities across the United States to other countries around the world where other Blacks are experiencing the same situations, was very interesting to me.  That was my first time opening my lens beyond the scope of U.S. racial issues. As well, recognizing just how inclusive the song is of collective voices within the struggle. I grew up listening to the song and learning all the words.  I was too young to fully understand the angst being vividly depicted through the song. I was too busy trying to learn how to move like Ozone and Turbo from the movie “Breakin.”

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the insight, knowledge, and experiences from the guest on the panel. Moreover, I enjoyed being able to combine my passion and relationship with Hip-Hop to history, sociology, and psychology, specifically African American psychology.

Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X. These are all names that we are familiar with, now let’s introduce Hiram Revels. Hiram Revels was born on September 27, 1827, in Fayetteville, NC and raised by both his mother and father. Hiram Revels was the first African American to become a part of the U.S Congress more specifically a U.S Republican Senator who represented the state of Mississippi during the time a Reconstruction. In 1870 Hiram Revels was given a seat in the Senate where he was not accepted by the fellow colleagues where they tried to block him from taking a seat because they didn’t want an African American to serve along with them. Hiram Revels was finally able to take his seat after a couple weeks into his arrival. Hiram Revels exemplifies a risk taker of the Ib learner profile because not only was he the first African American to make his way into the U.S Congress but he also stood up for his beliefs and tried to help other African American people during the time of Reconstruction.

Revels traveled the U.S spreading his religious beliefs and educating other African Americans. He was able to organize a Church in the year 1866 where he was the founding pastor and minister and started a school for African Americans in Missouri. Revels showed he was a risk taker when he was imprisoned for preaching to slaves and yet still chose to continue preaching once he was out. He also showed that he was willing to take a risk when he encouraged African Americans to fight in the war. He was a well-known man who was supported by the community. Revels was born in the South during slavery as a free man. his goals words to have integration in schools, equal opportunities for black workers, and education.

A risk taker is an individual who approaches unfamiliar situations independently with courage due to their confidence in being able to defend their beliefs. Being able to stand up to a large group of people and present your belief shows independence and confidence which can be used to define a risk taker. Hiram Revels decided to argue for racial equality when he was a part of the US Senate. Being the first African American on the Senate and fighting for racial equality is seen as a very bold action. Not only did the other members disagree but he was judged and seen lower than themselves. Being in this type of community is not easy to state your beliefs in, which is why Revels is a risk-taker.

In conclusion, Hiram Revels is an important part of Black History Month by being able to represent a risk-taker who falls under the IB profile learner definition. He can show us that we have the ability to be risk takers too just by being independent, confident, and ready to learn new things.

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Hiram Revels And Black History Month. (2022, May 13). Retrieved from


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