Sunday, February 23, 2014

Black History Month: A Time to Remember, A Time to Enjoy

Black History Month: A Time to Remember, A Time to Enjoy
By Sharron Duncan

“It’s too early for people to be this live,” were the words of a Frostburg student as he watched members of his organization energetically board a bus to Washington D.C. at 7:15 a.m. Feb. 22, 2014 marked the date of the annual black history month trip for members of Frostburg State University’s Black Student Alliance (BSA). Last year, the organization traveled to Baltimore’s National Blacks in Wax Museum. But this year, they traveled to D.C. to visit the MLK memorial and Madame Tussaud’s wax museum.

The trip included 17 student members, including the BSA executive board, as well as their faculty advisor Mrs. Robin Wynder. The energy on the bus was fairly high for such an early morning trip. “I hope we make it back for the stroll competition,” one student exclaimed aloud. A couple of female students, who happen to be best friends, playfully fought over where to sit, while another group debated over which movie to watch for the 2 ½ hour ride. After finally settling on the film “Prisoners,” the energy died down for a while but then picked up again when students began to yell at the TV, trying desperately to solve the mystery unfolding on screen.  

After arriving in D.C., the students finally fell quiet as they reflected upon the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the MLK memorial. Many students paced themselves, walking slowly to read and absorb the famous quotes of Dr. King that were engraved into the memorial walls.  This was a special moment for the organization as a whole being as though they had recently conducted a forum on the legendary activist only days prior. “I never even heard that quote before,” a student admitted as she admired the wall. The students gathered around Dr. King’s statue for photos full of smiles and laughter.

After filling their brains with knowledge, the students fed their bellies. More laughter and bonding were shared over lunch, and then the students headed to Madame Tussaud’s around noon. Everyone split off into small groups and toured the museum. The late Madame Tussaud, a French entrepreneur and wax sculptor, has many wax museums across the world including the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia. The Washington, D.C. wax figures are categorized into Presidents, Behind the Scenes, Civil Rights, Sports, Glamour and Media.

What distinguishes this museum from many others is the fact that there are no barriers between the public and the models. People are allowed to touch the models, excluding hair, face and hands, and walk right up to the figures and take photos with them. Also, the museum is full of interactive exhibits, making it fun for people of all ages. The BSA students were seen exploring the exhibits making wax hands, taking pictures behind the desk of the oval office, making speeches behind the presidential podium, and sitting in Rosa Parks’ bus seat.

The trip appeared to be a success, despite the small amount of students that attended. “It was great! I just wish a more diverse group would have attended” commented president of BSA, Kira Al-Mateen. More importantly, the bus made it back to Frostburg just in time for the Iota Phi Theta stroll competition.

BSA members at Madame Tussaud's wax museum 

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