COLUMN: The possible end of an iconic, cultural pageant at Eastern


Rob Le Cates

Kyla Moton is a junior English major and can be reached at 217-581-2812.

Kyla Moton, Columnist

It’s a few days before the start of Black History Month.

To me, Black History Month seems like the few times out of the year where Black culture and history are celebrated with genuine energy and true pride from communities other than our own.

Being a Black woman on the campus of Eastern, I look forward to the various events and opportunities to celebrate African American culture, seeing as it is the one month that we feel a strong sense of representation on campus.

On Jan. 25, a press release was issued regarding the Miss Black EIU pageant, stating that the 51st annual Miss Black EIU pageant would be cancelled.

The news did not come as a shock to me, unfortunately.

Last semester, you all may remember an article that I wrote about regarding a staff member here at Eastern who moved on to a better job opportunity.

This was due to the fact that administrators here at Eastern were not willing to pay her the proper wage for the amount of work that she does.

Yolanda Williams was the main advocate for resources for African American students on our campus for years.

She was very vocal about the fact that the resources for Black students on campus being scarce.

In return, she was met with criticism instead of change. Now, we are starting to understand a bit more how the university operates when it comes to Black students.

The cancelation of one of the most anticipated events amongst the African American community on campus makes it clear that there is an inclusion gap that is directly affecting our African American students.

The Miss Black EIU pageant was a way to spotlight the amazing African American women that grace Eastern’s campus.

Every past contestant of the Miss Black EIU pageant has continued to do amazing things both on and off campus, in and out of Charleston.

There was not much focus on the pageant this year.

It is obvious that the lack of attention to the pageant was by those behind the scenes because there was a lack of interest in potential pageant contestants.

Black Student Union (BSU) members have been working and trying to get the word out about the pageant and get people excited for it, but the students on the BSU executive board only have so much that they can do.

They are the last people that we should be blaming for this situation.

As for the Miss Black EIU pageant, I hope that the pageant plans to come back eventually.

It was definitely one of my favorite Black History Month events just like many other people.

The idea of tradition is something that Eastern prioritizes and takes pride in.

Hopefully, with tradition in mind, a new tradition starts to develop or the old tradition will see its way back on campus in the future. 


Kyla Moton is a junior English major. She can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.