The Outlook Recognizes Influential Black Figures

Black History month in America consists of a celebratory string of events honoring Black history and culture. Currently, the African American Student Union at the University has organized a handful of events that run through the month of February to honor African American culture, including a flag ceremony on Feb 1. as well as African American Leaders Trivia on Feb. 20.

The editors of The Outlook recognize the heroism depicted by their past and present black figures:

Michelle Obama

One staffer commented on her well-spoken and overall classy composure and attitude. Michelle Obama’s accomplishments, education, and career paths are what have influenced many people. She graduated locally from Princeton University and went on to become a lawyer, and then later came to accomplish so much as first lady. The editor added, “She really is such an inspiration to me to work hard and achieve all the goals I have set for myself.” Michelle Obama has become a shining example of what girls of all ages and races can become.

Jackie Robinson

Robinson, as the first African American to play Major League Baseball, went through obstacles on and off the field. “Without his courage to ignore the hate and continue to play at a high level, there would be so many great athletes and baseball players in particular that would have never had an opportunity to play,” an editor commented.

Shonda Rhimes

Many know Shonda Rhimes as the writer and producer of the hit drama series Grey’s Anatomy. But, what most people don’t know is that she began her career writing for her school newspaper. “If you listen to any interviews with her, she’s extremely genuine and hardworking after being told she couldn’t do things, she went on to accomplish what she knew she was capable of. She’s inspiring not only as a writer but a person who sets goals to accomplish them,” one editor explained.

Phillis Wheatley

A prominent beacon of hope for many, Phillis Wheatley, pushed boundaries and defied the odds that were surely stacked against her. Reading and writing were mastered despite it being completely unfathomable for women of the time. One editor said, “Being an English major, I really love writing and to see someone such as Wheatley break through boundaries that were so intensely against her back in the 1700s, it puts life today in perspective for me.”


A number of editors have said that their friends and fellow staffers of color are their biggest inspirations. “The person of color that inspires me the most is my childhood best friend, Maggie. I have seen her stick up for others whenever they needed it and inspire people to think of others in different perspectives,” an editor said.

Another staffer asserted, “I grew up around mostly white people…but they [fellow editors] are the first black persons I have communicated with on a weekly basis…People don’t get that you can passionately disagree about something but still not dislike them personally. They are the prime example of how a super conservative white guy like me and liberal black girls can put politics aside and get along.”


An editor stated, “My advisor, Claude Taylor has helped me since freshman orientation to set goals for myself and exceed them. He does so much for the school as well with the human relations advisory council and starting transformative learning.”

Professors of the Monmouth community have influenced their students greatly throughout the years, whether it be through advising, mentoring, teaching, or just being open to conversation during office hours.

The editors agree that celebrating this month in any way possible is important. One staffer commented, “I like to expose myself to a lot of the hidden history that isn’t taught in school. That history should also be taught, and their accomplishments shouldn’t be hidden. And not just during February, but all year around.”

Whereas one editor said, “I recognize Black History month every day of my life.” The observance of Black History month continues daily in the editor’s lives as people like the Obama’s, Rosa Parks, Shonda Rhimes, Jesse Williams, and all of the other influential people of color relentlessly push the boundaries of society to better the future generations.