Haunted History event educates students

February 24, 2014 6:19 AMComments Off

Story by Beth LeValley

Although Halloween is far in the future, the upper level of the Olmsted Center haunted students and community members on Tuesday and Wednesday night.

The Coalition of Black Students created a non-traditional haunted house in Olmsted that toured the history of African Americans.

Coinciding with Black History month, this was the fourth-annual Haunted History event at Drake University.

“It’s definitely a must-do,” said Tess Montgomery, the president of the Coalition of Black Students.  “It’s one event at Drake that happens once a year.”

With different rooms expressing different time periods in America, students experienced an interactive tour that opened their eyes.

From being bought and sold as slaves to witnessing the death of a black child, students were impacted by racial slurs, physical aggression and overall degradation.

Volunteers dressed as slave owners forced students to keep in a straight line while they inspected each body type and auctioned them off.

Constantly ridiculing every move, smirk and blink, the volunteers even forced students to do push-ups and run to every room.

“People tend to feel really awkward afterwards,” Montgomery said. “That’s why we have the debriefing session.”

In the debriefing session, students were allowed to express their emotions they felt during the experience as well as how they felt afterwards.

Reactions were recorded to improve the event for coming years.

The money raised each year goes toward the rooms for next year’s event, which also helped intensify the tour.

Eris Hawkins, the founder of the event, said the scenes were more intense this year than ever before.

“We try and make it bigger and better every year. We also base a lot of it off of the debriefing sessions,” Hawkins said. “We try and make it as realistic as possible.”

Hawkins said that while this year was the most unorganized in terms of preparation, everyone who helped got it done on time.

As a fifth-year student and not technically involved with the Coalition of Black Students, this year was a bit different for her.

“It was easier for me and not as chaotic,” Hawkins said. “I was still stressed out, but I knew I had help.”

Ali Jandal, a sophomore, went to this event last year as well as this year.

“It was better this year. I liked the room with the child. Last year, they sat us down in chairs and surprised us, and this year they had yelling from the beginning of the tour, which I really liked,” Jandal said.

Jandal also said he felt rebellious during the tour, which related to how black people of the time felt.

“I wanted to yell back or look up, but I knew I couldn’t. Personally, I didn’t want to follow the rules, but I knew I had to,” Jandal said.

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