February 10, 2021

"Our Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams" 

As we continue to celebrate Black History Month (BHM) it is always  important to reflect on the heroes and sheroes who have come before us as well as the many accomplishments we as a people have achieved.  Just the greats that we have lost since last year would make for a “Who’s Who” of black history and a month’s worth of honors:  civil rights icons, Hon . John Lewis, Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, and Rev. C.T. Vivian;  “Hidden Figure” NASA mathematician, Katherine Johnson; famed high school principal, Joe Clark; NBA legends, Kobe Bryant and Wes Unseld; MLB Hall of Famers, Hank Aaron and Lou Brock; Hall of Fame college basketball coaches, John Thompson and John Chaney; first Black USA gymnastics national champion, Dianne Durham; NFL legends, Floyd Little and Gale Sayers; new legend and “Black Panther” star, Chadwick Boseman; “Good Times” star, Ja’net DuBois; legendary actress Cicely Tyson; first Black publisher of a major magazine, Earl Graves, Sr.; first Black Mayor of New York City, David Dinkins; engineer/mathematician namesake son of Black History legend, Marcus Garvey, Jr.; Rock and Roll pioneer, Little Richard; country music Black pioneer, Charley Pride; smooth R&B balladeer, Bill Withers; patriarch of the Marsalis jazz music family, Ellis Marsalis, Jr.; lead singer of the Pointer Sisters, Bonnie Pointer; soul singer, Betty Wright; Afro-funk musician, Manu Dubango; and just yesterday, Original Member of the Supremes, Mary Wilson.  

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So, there’s your 28 days for the month of February. Quite the impressive list.  But we could have also added former boxing champ, Leon Spinks; model/restauranteur, Barbara B. Smith; and “tough guy” actor, Tommy “Tiny” Lister to fill out a 31-day month.   And lest we forget, tragically there were three names that spurned a movement, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.  Sadly, these last three names join a much longer list of BHM folks who because of their deaths cries for justice are finally heard. 

During BHM we often honor entertainers and athletes along with others who have contributed in arenas like science, education, politics,  freedom, and justice. Interestingly, many of the entertainers and athletes also have contributed in these latter two areas, as well.  Our history is replete with people who have sacrificed in ways large and small to make their future world, and our present one, a better place. Those sacrifices should never be forgotten; hence the annual celebration.

For many, this year seems to have more enthusiasm and attention for BHM celebrations and recognition.  As well it should after the tumultuous times we have endured recently.  I challenge each of us to reflect on and to celebrate our collective history.  We have come from a mighty long way.  And yes, we have a long way to go.  But never forget, that each of us are part of Black History.  We all contribute.  Some more than others, but we all contribute.  We are all making history.  Never lose sight of the fact that what we do makes a difference.  Our ancestors knew we would do great things.  Their dreams for us were truly as amazing as the accomplishments we have achieved.  Like the now popular slogan proudly worn by my daughter, Jaia, and others, we are indeed living out, “our ancestors’ wildest dreams!” Happy Black History Month!

“It’s all about the students”,

Dereck J. Rovaris, Sr
Dr. Dereck J. Rovaris, Sr.
President, AABHE


Our 2021 AABHE Virtual Annual Conference will be held March 15-16th.  We will be delivering as much of our regular annual conference content as we can possibly deliver in an engaging virtual format.  Nikki Giovanni is confirmed as our keynote speaker.  Additionally, great speakers, panels, sessions, awards, and even social events are all being planned.  “See you” next March…   



Congratulations to AABHE Board member, Dr. Shantay Bolton who was just named executive vice chancellor for administration and chief administrative officer at Washington University!