UofL SGA President Dorian Brown stands in Freedom Park.
UofL SGA President Dorian Brown stands in Freedom Park.

What makes someone a history maker? Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the concept as “one that by acts, ideas or existence modifies the course of history.” 

Throughout the years, the University of Louisville has been impacted by contributions of Black innovators who have paved the way for current students, faculty, staff and even future students who have big dreams for their lives.

Memorial plaque at Charles H. Parrish, Jr., Freedom Park
Memorial plaque at Charles H. Parrish, Jr., Freedom Park

While UofL commemorates Black History every day in spaces like Charles H. Parrish, Jr., Freedom Park and UofL Library’s “Celebrating Black History” guide, we will observe Black History Month in February on our social media channels by highlighting “UofL Black History Makers: Past & Present.” 

From legends like Eleanor Young Love to Woodford R. Porter, Sr., we will share stories from our archives in the spirit of keeping Black Cardinal trailblazer legacies alive. We also must uplift those in the present, because many UofL Black History Makers are still working to change the future. 

Follow along on our social media channels to see the videos, photos and stories that we’ll highlight from our archive throughout the month.

We also will share insights from departments and organizations around campus including the Cultural Center, Black Student Union and Black Faculty & Staff Association.

During Black History Month, we invite the Cardinal community to express thoughts through our Instagram story by asking: “What does Black History Month mean to you?” This page will be updated as we receive answers. 

UofL SGA President Dorian Brown was the first to answer:

UofL News: What does Black History Month mean to you?

Brown: Black History Month is important to me because it serves as a powerful reminder of the contributions of Black Americans that came before me that had an incredible impact in the fight for equality and the struggles that came with it. Black history is American history. It is a celebration of the achievements and accomplishments of the many Black Americans that paved the way for the opportunities that we have today. Without them, I would never have had the opportunity to be in the position that I am in today as UofL’s Student Body President. But we are still not where we need to be when it comes to racial equality and equal representation in the United States. Black History Month is a time to confront the injustices of the past that we still experience today.

UofL News: Who comes to mind when you think of UofL Black History Makers: Past and Present?

Brown: Marian Vasser. I had the chance to speak with Marian on multiple occasions this year and I can feel her passion and her drive as I hear her talk. I first met Marian after hearing her give a presentation at the Cultural & Equity Center and I was immediately blown away by her dedication to diversity education, inclusion and acceptance. Marian knows the truth is sometimes hard to face, but we must face them in order to move forward. With more than 29 years of diverse service at the University of Louisville, her commitment to creating environments that are more diverse and inclusive has had a direct impact on the progress that is UofL’s Black History, and she continues to be involved in the progress that still needs to be made.

By Gabrielle Lawless