Same homecoming, a different tradition
LBC President Shelby Anderson: “It's open to anyone who wants to celebrate black students and understand the history of them not being allowed to participate in the homecoming festivities Mizzou hosted.”
Oct. 19, 2016
In 1988, the MU Homecoming theme was “Show Me Old Mizzou.”
For black students, the concept of “Old Mizzou” meant racism, exclusion and traditions like waving Confederate flags and the marching band playing “Dixie,” a song rooted in blackface culture.
In response, the Legion of Black Collegians began its own Homecoming tradition. The legion launched a theme called “Show Me a New Mizzou: Black to the Future” to create a more inclusive tradition for black students who did not feel they could participate in the homecoming.
In 1995, the tradition ended for awhile, but it was revived in 2008.
The current traditions are a combination of those that were initially started in 1988 as well as newer ones, such as the dance by royalty court candidates and the night of reveal, which were started by Curtis Taylor Jr., who was activities chair in 2013.
The current traditions
LBC President Shelby Anderson said initially, previous court members hold an informational session to educate interested students on what it takes to be on the court.
The students then apply by submitting an application, which is followed by an interview conducted by the LBC Activities Committee under the supervision of executive members. The activities chair then informs the students who have been selected, and the students attend a reveal night where they get to see who is on the court with them.
Anderson said during this night, court members also learn about the importance of being on Homecoming Court. Following the night, LBC tweets the results of the royalty court nominees.
"We’re always striving to educate people,” Anderson said. "We pick the people with the most passion, that strive to educate and are knowledgeable and interested in changing the aspects of the black community.”
The first public event held following the appointments is the royalty court debates. This year, students discussed various issues that affect the black community, such as cultural appropriation and the effectiveness of campus protests in creating change.
“Things that impact our day-to-day lives are what they debate on," Anderson said.
Anderson said the debates allow other students to understand who the candidates are. She also said it allows students to debate on important topics and allows LBC to see how these students respond under situations of pressure.
The debates are judged by an LBC panel, and the students who win them are awarded points, which go toward their overall points.
Students also earn points for attending practices and events. These are combined with votes the students receive, which are each worth one point and go toward determining the results of the court.
Another event that allows students to get to know members of the court is the Royalty Court Meet and Greet brunch, which was held Sunday. Anderson said this year, LBC invited members of the Mizzou Alumni Association royalty court, and some members of the court attended the event.
On the day of the LBC homecoming ball, which will be held Thursday, Oct. 20, the nominees perform a prepared dance with a member of the opposite sex of the same class year. A dinner is then held for people who RSVP and for those on the court, cabinet and activities committee. There are 120 spots for the event.
The ball then opens up to the general public. Later in the night, the winners of the court are announced.
Anderson said LBC also takes part in main festivities of the overall MU Homecoming tradition, such as being a part of the Homecoming Parade.
She also said there is often a misconception about who can participate in LBC homecoming events. She said LBC has reached out to the Panhellenic Association and Interfraternity Council members to take part in the celebrations.
“It's open to anyone who wants to celebrate black students and understand the history of them not being allowed to participate in the Homecoming festivities Mizzou hosted; that's the primary goal,” Anderson said. “But anyone who wants to join and celebrate that is welcome.”
Edited by Kyra Haas | firstname.lastname@example.org