Black History Month Student Spotlight: DeShaun Bell

In honor of Black History Month, Lamar University will celebrate with a series of events organized and sponsored by a variety of organizations, departments and clubs that highlight and pay tribute to the achievements of African Americans and important events that contributed to U.S. history.

In addition to university events, LU also chose to celebrate Black excellence by spotlighting several Black LU students and the many reasons why they feel this month is important. DeShaun Bell, senior graphic design major, shares the importance of Black History Month and paying homage to those that have helped her along her journey thus far. deshaun-bell

Why does it feel important to celebrate Black History Month?  
It is important to celebrate Black History Month because it gives us as a people a shared opportunity to reflect on how much our ancestors have done for this country. From activism to innovation, without the contributions of our African American ancestors, we would not be as advanced of a society as we are today. It is important to celebrate Black History Month because we are encouraged to bring about awareness to our past. Without this awareness, future generations and ourselves included, will soon forget. I believe that it is important to celebrate Black History Month because we are then reminded of the fact that Black history did not start in the U.S. and certainly did not start with the pain and suffering of slavery. We come from kings and queens and that is unquestionably something to celebrate. 

What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month serves as a reality check for me. There’s this light switch that prompts me to be more self-aware and cognitive of where I come from. It also reminds me simply to be grateful of how far we as African Americans have come and just how far we have left to go. When I take an overall look at my generation, I’m certainly proud to be a part of one that is so inspired by our ancestors bravery that we actively put forth an effort to break generational curses daily. I take pride in knowing that we stand for something, together, just as our ancestors did. History repeats itself and I am Black History. We are Black History. 

What motivates you to be successful? 
What motives me to be successful is knowing that I have it in me to be successful. Once you know you have it in you, nothing will stop you from becoming successful. I’ve struggled with my mental health for a few years now, and I’m determined to invalidate all of the past versions of myself that have ever deemed me of being unworthy. No amount of fear or anxiety can stop what has already been written and success has my name written all over it!

Which historical figure is most inspiring to you and why?
The historical figure that is most inspiring to me is none other than Dr. Cynthia Lenton-Gary. Dr. Lenton-Gary currently serves as the Houston Community College Board Trustee for District VII. She was the first African American female to serve in the city government for the city of Missouri City and the first African American woman appointed to the Fort Bend Independent School District Board of Trustees. She is a recipient of many awards such as the NAACP President’s Award for Community and Civic Engagement and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators’ Award for Outstanding Success and Invaluable Contributions. I have had the pleasure of witnessing her dedication and love for her community first hand. She’s a woman of many strengths, and her perseverance and diligence is most honorably inspiring to me.

What do you hope to accomplish during this month of recognition and celebration?
As a charter member, serving as the Membership/Media Chair of the Collegiate 100, I plan to use our social media platforms during this month to reach and inform as many people as possible of some of the noble accomplishments of those who came before us. I want to acknowledge and commemorate some of the great stories of the brave African American individuals who we barely get to hear about while simultaneously educating myself. I also hope to encourage my peers to become more aware of themselves and where they come from because ultimately, how can we be conscious of ourselves if we don’t know our roots?

Anything else that you would like to add?
I would like to thank Dr. Kathryn Washington and Dr. Johnny O'Connor, chapter advisors of the Collegiate 100, John Eugene, President of the 100 Black Men of Greater Beaumont, and all of the 100 Black Men of Greater Beaumont for supporting me and motivating me to be great this past year. Without them, I would not have had the opportunity to receive my very first scholarship award or the chance to enter and win the Youth Violence Prevention Billboard & Social Media Contest! I’m so proud to be a member of the Collegiate 100 and it is an honor to be able to serve and make a difference right here in my parents’ hometown. Have a Happy Black History Month! 

Learn more about how Lamar University is celebrating Black History Month this year, visit