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Celebrating Black History Month

Photo courtesy of Brianne Williams
Brianne Williams fulfilled her mom‘s dream by becoming the 2016 Queen of Miss Black El Paso.

In the month most notable for it being the season of love, February holds another significant meaning. Gaining its recognition in 1976, Black History Month, honors the memory and accomplishments that people of the African-American community throughout history have and still are accomplishing. Brianne Williams for , the 2016 Queen of Miss Black El Paso. Williams says that her mother told her growing up that she would be Queen one day, but Williams says she never thought her mother’s dream would come true. 

“It was a lot to do with like growing up in a predominantly Hispanic city. Sometimes I would be the only black kid in my, not only my class, but like my entire grade level.” Williams said. “So I just never really felt like I was like pageant worthy, you know?” 

According to the U.S Census Bureau, by 2023 El Paso city’s population of the Black community is 3.6% and El Paso County at 4.4%. In a predominantly Hispanic city, Williams says that when she was reigning queen, she used her title to support the community as she could. 

“I would show up to  Martin Luther King programs or things like that and the black community responded well to that. They said that they hadn’t seen  an active queen in so long. So I really loved that.” Williams said. “And there were just  special moments here and there. I remember one time, these two little girls, I don’t even know their name, but they just ran up to me and hugged me and I felt so like important,.” 

Williams says that she recognizes the Black community is small in El Paso, noting that she has noticed most of the Black population comes from military families and fears they think El Paso has nothing to offer them. Because of the lack of Black culture, Williams says that she also feels as if she lost touch with her Black culture growing up in El Paso. She says she feels it is important for the Black culture to be celebrated for the younger generations of Black El Pasoans in order for them to feel seen and it must also be taught because textbooks are limiting. 

“The only education they’re really going to get is  when they go to school and learn about it in the history books, but of course,  you can learn about something, but  when you’re actually in Black culture being around your people and like celebrating like our freedom and stuff like that” said Williams. 

Two years after her win in Miss Black El Paso, the pageant was shut down unexpectedly with most people finding out at the Black History Month Parade in 2018 when the pageant float was no where to be seen. This year, that same parade will not be held as well.  

Though these empowering events will not be held this year, El Paso will be host to several events to honor Black History Month. “Still We Rise: El Paso’s Black Experience” art gallery at the Union Gallery at The University of Texas at El Paso held to run through March. 16  is an art gallery showcasing the history of the Black community in El Paso throughout history. 

One other major event is the lecture held at the Magoffin Home State Historic site, which according to El Paso Matters, Dr. Lawrence A. Nixon will be talking about the time when he was denied the right to vote in Texas for being Black. Entitled “Brain Trust Brown Bag Lecture: The Life of Dr. L. A. Nixon” the lecture will be held on Valentines day, Feb. 14 at noon at the Magoffin Home.  

Though El Paso is filled with a rich culture, the community can not forget those who live here who are not Hispanic and educate themselves on a culture that is beyond theirs. Though recognized on the shortest month of the year, Black History month will continue to discuss the importance, memories and accomplishments of Black people here in El Paso and all over the United States. 

Adam Regalado is the multimedia at The Prospector and may be reached at [email protected] 

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About the Contributor
Adam Regalado
Adam Regalado, Multimedia Editor
Adam Regalado is a senior here at The University of Texas at El Paso studying multimedia journalism. Adam is the multimedia editor at The Prospector. Once he graduates, he plans to be a reporter for a news station in Texas while growing his platform and brand on social media promoting LGBTQ+ rights.
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