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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Ebony ball returns after two year hiatus


In 2020, in-person events were put on pause, and in 2021 some events were held online with many modifications. Now, in 2022, there is hope as many Marquette events have returned to the in-person format and continue to bring students, faculty and staff together.

After a two-year hiatus, the Marquette University Ebony Ball was held in person in the Alumni Memorial Union Ballroom Feb. 27.

The annual event was held in person for the first time since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students gathered to celebrate black excellence, culture and Black History Month.

Lonny Clay, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences and president of Black Student Council said that the ball was more than just a celebration, highlighting the importance of being able to gather for the first time since his sophomore year.

“Since COVID came about we have not been able to have this event so we are trying to reinstate the culture and the tradition and bring back the ball with a newfound respect, newfound energy, and newfound support on campus,” Clay said.

With a 4.3% population of Black undergraduate students on campus, as of the fall 2021 semester, campus leaders said that events like the Ebony Ball are crucial for giving that population the time and space to gather and share each other’s company.

“We hope that this event can bring our community and staff closer,” Emmanuel Johnson, senior in the College of Education and vice president of Black Student Council, said. “It is so nice that we get a chance for college age students to dress up formally and celebrate black excellence which is rare so the opportunity is amazing.”

Johnson said that he is grateful for opportunities like the ball and owes it all to his early involvement with student organizations.

“We worked with a few other seniors who have since graduated and they pushed us and motivated us to get involved early on. They saw our leadership and we knew the need was there so we stepped up to the call and it has been very worth it and fulfilling because we get to put on events like this,” Johnson said.

The ball started with the president and Vice President of BSC greeting and welcoming the guests followed by the Marquette Gospel Choir singing their rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, known as the Black national anthem. Staff and faculty members also read various poems and letters from historical figures celebrating Black history.

Benjamin Jackson, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences and president of the Marquette Gospel Choir, said that he was looking forward to the event for weeks.

“I believe being African American in a predominantly white institution it’s crucial that we have this space for other African American students to share our culture and history. I believe that Black history is not only black history but it is American history and I love that we are able to gather and celebrate with one another,” Jackson said.

Jackson, like many other students who attended said his takeaway from the event was one that he would not take for granted – enjoying the space and time together while also being dressed up breaking bread with one another.

With events like the Ebony Ball only happening once a year, students took full advantage of the opportunity

“I just love everything Black.” Alauna Rupert, a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences said. “I love being around my people, I love the food, I love the music and it is one of the few events out here where I feel safe here.”

Last year, many of the BSC events took place online which students said made it difficult to feel “together” but now, more than ever, students are ready for in-person events once again.

“It was weird and hard to meet people online so it was really different. It sort of felt like a chore when it was online and when it is in person it really feels like an family like and way more fun,” Rupert said.

With Black History Month concluding on Monday, students, faculty and staff were happy to gather in person and celebrate black excellence.

Students who are interested in other BSC events can visit the Black Student Council Website for more information

This story was written by TJ Dysart. He can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
TJ Dysart
TJ Dysart, Content Coach
TJ Dysart is a junior from Boston, Massachusetts studying journalism and criminology and law and is the content coach of the Marquette Wire. Last year, he also served in this role. Prior to this position he served as a new multimedia journalist as well as a news reporter. He is also currently the 2023-2024 Foley Fellow for The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation. Outside the Wire, TJ enjoys playing basketball, cooking and hanging out with friends.

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