Bryan Smith is president of the Alpha Phi Alphas. He has spent 3 years in the fraternity. He is a senior Sports Management major and has been attending Western for 6 years.
Q. What attracted you to the fraternity?
A. Just the history. Like, it has a real rich history of being involved in the Civil Rights Era. It was involved in the First World War and just fighting for the rights of African-Americans.
Q. Which black leader is your role model?
A. Currently, I would say Barack Obama since he has made so much history being the first African-American president. And, in history, I would have to say Martin Luther King; he is also my fraternity brother. I have just admired his will for the fight that he had, what he believed in.
Q. In what ways have black leaders had the most impact on society?
A. I would have to say in the historical aspect: just getting things done as far as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other bills that were passed in the past.
Q. In the last 10 years, how do you think black leaders have affected America?
A. I believe they have made strides in the world and the United States to take African-Americans more serious, because you can go back to Condoleeza Rice where she was under George Bush’s cabinet. You can go now to Barack Obama where he is the President of the United States and just the strides they have made the last 10 years.
Q. How has the election of the first black president affected your life?
A. It has affected my life by just now that I can be anything I want to be as long as I work hard towards it and put forth the effort.
Q. What does it take to be a black leader in America?
A. It really doesn’t take much, because just about any black person and about any person in general can be a leader, but as long as you have a purpose of what you are doing or what you are fight or what you are standing up for you can be a leader.
Q. What do you hope students or people in general will learn from black history month?
A. Just don’t recognize our achievement for one month. If you are really interested in black history or if not just black history, but history, celebrate it 365 days a year.
Q. What do you feel is the most important aspect of multicultural studies?
A. Understanding: understanding the different cultures, what they believe in, what they don’t believe in. Just understanding and respecting.
Q. How important do you think it is for students to be familiar with the various cultures, including their own?
A. I think it is very important, because the more diverse you are and understanding other peoples cultures, the better person I believe you will be.
Q. What do you believe is or was the biggest impact black leaders had on society?
A. To go back to 1964 in the Civil Rights Era. Back then, because if that bill wasn’t passed or if they wouldn’t have did what they did back then, we wouldn’t have the rights we have today. I wouldn’t be sitting here in Saint Joseph at Missouri Western.
Q. What do you hope students learn from your organization?
A. I hope they learn that we develop leaders and our leaders on campus as well as role models.