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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Black History Month at Wofford: Russell Wigginton speaks to the campus

Photo+courtesy+of+Mark+Olencki.%0ARussell+Wigginton+giving+his+speech+to+the+Wofford+community.
Photo courtesy of Mark Olencki. Russell Wigginton giving his speech to the Wofford community.

Black History Month is a month dedicated to celebrating the black community and educating the public on the issues that they face on a daily basis. February marks the start of the month and because of that, Wofford is making an effort to uplift African-Americans while educating the campus and the City of Spartanburg. 

This can be seen in many ways, but most notably through the speakers welcomed to campus. Dwain Pruitt, Wofford’s chief equity officer, and the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion have put together a speaker series for the month of February. 

Through this, Pruitt has been able to bring African-American studies experts from across the country to speak on their respective fields. 

Russell Wigginton was the first speaker for the celebration and to be on campus during the 2022 year. After serving as the former Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students at Rhodes College, he decided to change his career path and instead serve as the president of the National Civil Rights Museum located in Memphis, Tennessee. 

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In his speech, he touched on why the National Museum should matter to the general public. 

“The Museum has a responsibility to make sure that [Martin Luther King’s] life and many others were not lost in vain,” Wigginton said. “That may sound like a heavy responsibility, but it inspires me everyday.”

This inspiration is displayed through the goals of the museum. 

“The mission statement of The National Civil Rights Museum is to honor and preserve the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Wigginton said. “We chronicle the national civil rights movement and tell the ongoing struggle for human rights. We educate and serve as a catalyst to inspire action and create positive change.”

Although the museum staff believes that they still have more work to do, Wigginton plans to take this responsibility upon himself. 

“I have work to do,” Winninton claimed. “The National Civil Rights Museum has work to do. Our country has work to do.” 

One of the ways that the museum strives to achieve its goals is through educating the people that are uninformed about the details of the country’s past. 

“We know our purpose is to provide a glimpse into the reality of the history of our country and its relationship to civil and human rights and make that relationship relatable today,” Wigginton said. “We do this through exhibits, primary sources touching back to the early history of this country until this present day environment”

Not only was this speech open to students and faculty, it was open to the Spartanburg community. Through this, Wofford is encouraging the public to take the initiative to educate themselves. 

“I thought that Dr. Wigginton’s speech and presentation about the Civil Rights Museum was very insightful and inspiring and also a great way to kick off Black History Month,” said Dylan Goshorn ‘22, Campus Union president.

The college still has many more events open to the public during the course of the month. Check the Daily Announcements regularly for more detailed information regarding specific events.

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