Black History Month Kickoff teaches with virtual technology
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Black History Month Kickoff teaches with virtual technology

The word museum often evokes the thought of stone buildings, expensive artwork and “no touching” signs. 

The Union of African American Students (UAAS) decided to modernize this concept by using QR codes to teach people around campus about famous African Americans from the past, present and future. The student organization unveiled the Past, Present & Future: Virtual Museum during the Unsung Heroes Black History Month kickoff in the Munester University Center pit on Monday. 

Sophia Lima, treasurer for UAAS, said the purpose of the QR codes was to educate members of the USD community on lesser-known African Americans leaders of change.   

“When talking about Black History Month, you know Martin Luther King Jr., you know Rosa Parks and some of the more well-known figures in history,” Lima said. “We wanted to touch on some unsung heroes, so people from the past you may not have heard of that have had a huge influence on our lives today.” 

The crowd of around forty members was encouraged to scan the QR codes and participate in a Kahoot later during the kickoff. The codes linked to a website showcasing 20 African American people from the past and now. 

The site features influential figures like the first black lawyer, John Mercer Langston and Nathan “Nearest” Green, the slave who taught Jack Daniels how to make whiskey. 

Some of the present African American activists include Jackie Aina, a beauty influencer and Ilhan Omar (MN-D), the first black Muslim elected to Congress. The slides also feature important athletes like tennis players Serena Williams and Cori Gauff and Misty Copeland, the first African American woman to become a principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre. 

Bantou Kamara, UAAS social media coordinator, said they also chose young black activists to represent the future in the virtual museum.

“(We) wanted to feature people who are our age now, big activists who have a voice in their community that we don’t really know about but are going to be big people in the future for black activism,” Kamara said.

UAAS plans to have the QR codes  around campus all month long. Upcoming events for Black History Month include the Ruby Ball on Feb. 8, Panel of Black Love Dinner on Feb. 13 and the Timeless Wrap-up Event: Discovering Black Hair on Feb. 26.

For more information on these events visit