Roland Wiley, a principal at RAW International, captivated a joint session of BOSS athletes and Menformation students with a powerful presentation on the history of Black people, “From Adam and Eve to Barack Obama”. RAW International is a diverse team of professionals who collaborate with client and community stakeholders to solve programming, planning and design challenges. Since 1984, RAW International has delivered more than $2 billion of new construction and renovation for transit, federal, public works, higher education, healthcare, corporate, hospitality, and retail projects.
The purpose of Roland’s presentation was to help the youngsters understand that Black History started at the very beginning of time with Adam and Eve. Our traditional education system generally teaches us the history of Black people after slavery and does not shed any light on the rich history we as a people have had since the beginning of time. As a student of the recently deceased Dr. Josef Ben Jochanan, Mr. Wiley spent 2 weeks exploring Egypt under his tutelage in what was a life changing experience. History confirms that Black folks have achieved greatness since the beginning of time. Mr. Wiley used images of black people from Adam and Eve to Noah and the original Hebrews. Using images from ancient Egypt, he illustrated images of people who look like us and the great temples and monuments they built. Mr. Wiley also illustrated the greatness we have achieved since arriving to the United States as slaves using images of Congressmen and Senators elected during Reconstruction, to Black Wall Street, to Martin Luther King, to President Barack Obama.
The feedback from the presentation was very positive, students asked insightful questions, and even the adults in the room learned a thing or two about our journey. We believe that the more young people know about their history, and the nature and extent of our contributions to civilization, the easier we can combat the “young Blacks are only athletes” stereotyping in society.