‘More Than A Month’ highlights commonalities, differences in black Ole Miss experience

Posted on Mar 3 2018 - 2:17pm by Jyesha Johnson

A project created a few years ago has resurfaced, reaffirming that black history and black voices are “More Than A Month.”

The Black Student Union and Center For Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement partnered to host More Than A Month, a photoshoot and interview lounge for black alumni.

Originally established as a photo campaign to highlight the black experiences at Ole Miss then and now, More Than A Month was started in 2015 by Summer Wrigley, who was a current student at the time.

“Although the project was highlighted throughout the month of February, it was intended to demonstrate that there is black history in the making,” Summer Wrigley said. “It is important we acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices of black people. In addition, we must highlight the black excellence that still continues to exist today and on the campus of Ole Miss.”

Brittany Brown interviews UM alumni Barry Glover during the More than a Month event hosted by the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement during the Black Alumni Reunion weekend. Glover graduated in 1978 and was a member of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity. (Photo by Kiara Williams)

Wrigley now attends graduate school at Kent State University, but the project she started is still being continued.  

“It feels wonderful to see that it has continued. I love my alma mater and my experiences at Ole Miss have carried into my current space,” Wrigley said. “Those conversations with the original participants have left a lifelong impression into my heart and the way I navigate the world.”

More than A Month was held as a part of the Black Alumni Reunion, and gave black alumni a platform to share their experiences at Ole Miss. Black alum were invited to the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement where they had the opportunity to stand in front of a backdrop celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Black Student Union in addition to a one-on-one interview highlighting their college experience.

Participants also had the opportunity to mingle amongst each other which turned More Than A Month into a reunion in itself. Greeks got the opportunity to represent their sororities and fraternities.

“The goal is to vocalize that black people, people of color … this is a everyday thing for us. It’s not something that should be celebrated in one month,” secretary of the Black Student Union Zacchaeus Mcewen said. “Another thing is intersectionality amongst black people. A lot of people don’t realize this but we are diverse. We all have different experiences.”

More Than A Month offered a platform for all of those different experiences.

“The students that were here, pulled together to help each other. We tried to make sure everyone was successful,” alumni Ruth Ball said.

Ball is an Oxford native that graduated from Ole Miss in 1976.  She said she witnessed change in her years at Ole Miss. When she arrived on campus, there were no black sororities or fraternities, but she would eventually become a charter member of the Lambda Sigma chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. at the university.

“The university was very supportive because they wanted black students to feel included,” she said. “Make every student feel welcomed here. This is an institution of higher learning and everyone is needed at this university for it to grow.”