The Legion of Black Collegians celebrates 50 years through Homecoming Week

LBC’s Homecoming Week, which was Oct. 14 through Oct. 20, showed LBC’s main goals of educating to create positive change and giving African-American students a way for their voices to be heard.

The Legion of Black Collegians’ Homecoming week was even bigger than previous years because LBC is celebrating their 50th year of being recognized as an organization on MU’s campus.

“Every Homecoming is special, but this one is definitely different because it’s larger, it’s on a much bigger scale,” LBC President Kelsie Wilkins said. “I think it’s hard for a lot of us in college to comprehend how much time 50 years is, because a majority of us haven’t turned 25 yet, so we haven’t even lived half of the life in which the government has lived.”

LBC’s Homecoming started with a brunch on Oct. 14 and introduced the Homecoming candidates. Winners were announced at a gala on Oct. 18. This gala brought LBC, and other umbrella organizations, together for a night of celebration.

LBC was the first and remains the only all African-American student government on any college campus. LBC was founded in 1968 by members of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. with the main goal of creating a voice for African-American students at MU.

“Fast forward to today [and] that’s still our goal– to make sure that we’re representing all black students,” Wilkins said. “We’re the black voice so that we’re at those tables when decisions are being made. We make sure that all students are being represented, not just the majority, but also the marginalized groups.”

LBC was founded on the notion of being a platform on which African-American students can share their voice, and their theme “An Eternal Legacy, Speaking Our Truth,” ties into this. Many of the organization's goals also revolve around educating and helping society further constructive change.

According to LBC’s mission statement, they “are the leading voice on campus working to eradicate ignorance and promote positive change through education, motivation and advocacy for black students at Mizzou.”

“When Mizzou was founded, of course, black students weren’t allowed at school at all,” Caleb Sewell, Homecoming candidate and LBC member, said. “When they first were allowed they weren’t given opportunities to be in leadership positions, to have their own roles...When Homecoming was started we also weren’t allowed [to participate], and from there Mizzou’s Homecoming traditions were started, without representation among people from underrepresented communities.”

Many students in LBC like how oridented the organization is toward underclassmen. For instance, Candidates on LBC’s Homecoming court don’t have to be only upperclassmen – freshmen are also included.

“I like to make a home wherever I go on campus, so when I saw the Legion of Black Collegians was the leading black voice on this campus and they had a freshman action team group that catered specifically towards freshmen, I definitely decided that was where I wanted to be,” Wilkins said.

50 years is a long time to successfully run an organization on any campus, Wilkins said, and LBC plans to be around for even longer, making sure that unrepresented students are given a voice and creating a more socially and politically conscious campus, she said.

“I think it’s important that we acknowledge the power we hold as students in general, and hone in on that and get work done,” Wilkins said.

Edited by Caitlyn Rosen | crosen@themaneater.com

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