Sonya Douglass Horsford Speaks at Annual Carter G. Woodson Lecture

Joseph Geha, The Pioneer

Lamonte Dewindt
Campus Editor
March 1, 2012

Sonya Douglass Harsford discussed the history
of unequal education.

Sonya Douglass Horsford spoke at this year’s CSU East Bay Carter G. Woodson Lecture in Black History on Tuesday in front of a small audience inside the Old University Union.
Horsford spoke on “Learning in a Burning House: School Desegregation and the Disintegration of the American Dream.”

Horsford currently works with the Lincy Institute at the University of Nevada,Las Vegas and also was a part of an event for the Alameda County Office of Education, which helped the History department want to go on with the selection of having Horsford.

Dee Andrews, of the History department, opened the event before turning it over to Dr. Nicholas Baham of the Ethnic Studies department, who had a few opening words and asked the audience participate in singing the Negro national anthem “Lift Every Voice,” which was led by Associated Students Inc. (ASI) Director of University Union Parris Moore, who is minoring in Ethnic Studies.

According to Andrews, this is the sixth or seventh year of hosting the event, which is in honor of Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), an African-American historian, author and journalist.

“I think [this] event is very important,” said Andrews. “It’s a chance for two departments to work together […] the College of Education helped pay for [the event].”

Horsford spoke on the history of desegregation and integration in schools and what has caused it in a historical context.

“By sharing that history we can hopefully excite and mobilize people to address some of the same problems we face today,” said Horsford.

Though many enjoyed the words of Horsford, some believe that the CSUEB community needs to show up to these kinds of events.

“If we have a speaker and lack of community, like I only saw a handful of students,” expressed Moore.

“We’ve tried various venues […] it’s about the same each time,” said Andrews. “It is kind of up to people to kind of pay attention.”

During her speech, Horsford discussed Dr. Martin Luther King’s use of the term “Burning House” and expressed that everyone in society needs to be “firefighters.”

By using a Microsoft PowerPoint to assist her speech Horsford discussed the term “achievement gap” and how it has been used multiple times.

If you Google “achievement gap” there will be almost four million results that will come up according to Horsford.

After Horsford wrapped up her speech there was a Q&A session that followed, where the audience picked the brain of Horsford.

Overall the audience had enjoyed the words of Horsford.

“I thought she brought a lot of light to some issues that we are dealing with in public education,” said Moore. “The fact that we don’t address race because we believe that we’re in a post racial society or have this false idealism that we’re in a post racial society […] is still impacting education today,” said Moore.

“Every opportunity I have to talk about the history of school desegregation and the history of unequal education I try to take advantage of that,” said Horsford.

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