February 21, 2024

Black History Month profile: Ryan Griffin

Ryan Griffin

An adjunct professor of Sociology, Griffin said Black History Month is a time to focus on major times and events in history.

To celebrate Black History Month, Schoolcraft College will highlight the stories of Black students, faculty, staff and administrators and what Black History Month means to them. Check back every week this month for stories on the Black experience here at Schoolcraft College.

Black History Month is important to Ryan Griffin for all the obvious reasons.

The month highlights the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans that all of America should be aware of and are pleased to discover and share. Most importantly, Griffin said, it gives us the motivation to research and gather information different than what we have been accustomed to from our childhood.

Black History Month is also a time to not only focus on major times and events such as the Civil Rights Movement and political figures, but a time to educate ourselves on the arts such as music, science, literature and other areas of great contribution and invention. Understanding history and culture can bring healing and strength to many.

Griffin is an adjunct professor of Sociology, working at the College the past seven months. He is about to earn his Master’s degree in Africology and African American Studies.

The biggest influencer for Griffin and the impact on our nation is Malcolm X. Malcolm X, through his dedication and love for African Americans, asked his people to understand their God-given right to live a peaceful and productive life. He demanded us to claim that right “Through Any Means Necessary.”

“As Malcom X made many Americans feel uncomfortable, his continual growth showed the world that his ultimate goal was for the basic human rights of all, regardless of color,” Griffin said.

Higher education is a vessel for allowing minds to expand and grow, which brings perspective, even if it is different than one’s own. It’s a vehicle to learn more about one another and use the tools to be free to think for ourselves and have our own conclusions. This can help with cultures unfamiliar with Black History Month to be more willing to learn about such a rich and strong history in America.

Griffin said a quote that speaks to him comes from James Baldwin, an American author and civil rights activist: “The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.”

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