The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

New Philadelphia

New+Philadelphia
AC Carson

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. hosted yet another event on campus to commemorate Black History Month, making an already special month even more celebrated.

The fraternity hosted a Civil Rights Exhibit with some amazing facts, and a nice game to keep it even more engaging. This exhibit consisted of multiple artifacts along with two flyers that talked about a place called New Philadelphia, Illinois. Many, including myself, have never heard of this before, making this event even more effective.

The artifacts consisted of different photos, notes and even records of some people by the name McWorter. After everyone looked and analyzed the different artifacts, the Alphas then escorted everyone to sit down and watch a short documentary that gave everyone a briefer understanding of who this mysterious McWorter was, what New Philadelphia was, and why it was so important.

According to the information given, New Philadelphia is noted to be the first town legally platted and registered by an African American in the United States. The man responsible for founding and establishing such an important milestone is Frank McWorter, or “Free” Frank McWorter, who did so in 1836. We are to also note that it was in fact a racially integrated town that consisted of both African Americans and European settlers. 

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A man born into slavery himself, he worked and worked, until he had enough money saved up to buy his own freedom, in addition to later on acquiring his own business, which gave him the opportunity to buy his wife’s freedom, along with acquiring other family members freedom including his children and grandchildren along the way. 

Something that made the documentary even more special and mind-blowing was the one speaking on the establishment of New Philadelphia, a man by the name of Gerald McWorter.

McWorter is the direct descendant of “Free” Frank McWorter, being his great-great-grandson. He spoke so highly of his great-great-grandfather, of the sacrifices he made, and the work it took for him to be able to execute so many great achievements including founding New Philadelphia. 

After this history lesson the Alphas hosted a Black History game of Kahoot. This Kahoot game didn’t consist of just one category but a variety of categories, such as Black music, sports, authors, movies, actors, and actresses, civil rights and more. This activity was fun and educational to say the least. There were many facts on there that a handful of us knew and there were some we didn’t know. However, giving prizes to the top three people made it even more competitive and exciting thus making everyone determined to get the answers right. 

I had the opportunity to speak to one of the people responsible for making this event happen, Morwin Coney, who is a Junior Theater Performance and Studies Major here at Millikin and who is a part of the Theta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Morwin Coney stated that most of the Alphas that put this event on are in fact new to the Omicron Chapter and knew they wanted to have a host of different events to happen. Morwin made note that a Civil Rights Exhibit like this one has never been done by another organization or Millikin University itself which made this the perfect opportunity to do so. Since it is Black History Month, the Alphas knew it would allow them to show a little bit more of Black Culture. 

The process of getting this event together wasn’t bad at all, seeing that a Frat Brother from the Chapter Mu Delta Lambda who works at the Springfield African American History Museum was willing and able to donate these historical pieces to them. Mu Delta Lambda is another Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. which is also the Chapter for Springfield and Decatur. This special gesture done by that Frat Brother was a great help and ensured that their event was successful. 

A flyer that helped spread the word about this important event.

All the other information given during this event was acquired through the internet as well as the flyers they printed off and it didn’t take too much to add in the Black History Kahoot.

Coney was asked what he wanted people to gain from this event.

“I want people to experience something different here on Millikin’s campus while also having a fun way of interacting with each other,” he said.

He also said that to guarantee they didn’t overwhelm the crowd with so much info causing them to lose interest and thus losing the crowd as a whole, they added on the Kahoot game.

“Everyone Loves Kahoot, which was perfect,” Coney saud.

Morwin believes it is so important for people to see this exhibit and even engage in the games presented.

“This is for the diversity of information on Millikin Campus,” he said.

Coney added that the information is accessible but in all actuality, it is not as pertinent as it should be, and that this event gave them the ideal outlet to make it so. 

Different steps Coney plans on taking in the future to keep Black History relevant on campus is to first continue establishing their relationships within their Chapter, in addition to building a unified connection amongst the other Black Organizations on campus as well.

“It is not just the Alpha’s responsibility but all of our responsibilities as Student leaders and even as African Americans,” Coney said.

What Black History means to Morwin Coney is for one, his culture. On top of that, his heritage which.

“My heritage makes me, me,” Coney said. 

Black History is also one of the many reasons he claims he is a part of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity as it pertains to the many contributions they made to the Civil Rights Movements, the NAACP and Black History in General. 

This Civil Rights Exhibit consisted of some very important information that I hope didn’t go in one ear and out the other, but actually seeped in the minds of those who listened. Everyone had fun, enjoyed the exhibit, the game and each other. In the end, this event turned out great for everybody and made this year’s Alpha’s Civil Rights Exhibit successful, thus teaching us about the great “Free” Frank McWorter and New Philadelphia. 

 

For more info on “Free” Frank McWorter, here’s a link:

Free Frank McWorter – Father of Freedom – Rediscovering Black History (archives.gov)

There is also a book that can be taken into account titled Free Frank: A Black Pioneer on the Antebellum Frontier by Juliet E. K. Walker. 

 

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About the Contributor
AC Carson, News Editor
News Editor '24

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