Black History Month Spotlight: Dr. Lekeitha Morris


In honor of Black History Month, Lamar University will celebrate with a series of events organized and sponsored by a variety of organizations, departments, clubs and student organizations 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, faculty and staff and the many reasons why they feel this month is important and more

This Black History Month, Dr. Lekeitha Morris, associate professor of speech and hearing sciences, shares what she's most proud of as a Black individual in her career field.

First/last name: Dr. Lekeitha R. Morris
Current Title: Associate Professor of Speech and Hearing Sciences
Department: Speech and Hearing Sciences
Why does it feel important to celebrate Black History Month?
It is important to celebrate Black History not only during Black History month, but every month because Black people have made and continue to make significant contributions globally, but more specifically to this country.  In so many of those instances, those contributions have cost Black people their lives.  I think it is important for children to understand those contributions and to celebrate those not only in February, but all of the time.  History isn’t the complete without the inclusion of Black history.

What motivates you to be successful?
This is a tough one because I believe there are many things that contribute to the internal drive that I possess.  If I had to pick one though, it would have to be future generations.  The children and young people motivate me to be the best me I can be.  I want the young people that I engage with to be able to see themselves in me and know that I expect them to be great and successful in whatever ways they themselves define as success.

How long have you worked in speech-language pathology and what are you most proud of as a Black individual in your career field?
Whew, you want me to feel old now.  I have been a speech-language pathologist for 20 years! Given the low percentage of Black individuals in my career, I am most proud of the work that I have done over the years to inspire brilliant Black students to become speech-language pathologists. In a profession where you don’t see people that look like you often, I am proud to know that just being here at a university is powerful and meaningful for Black students aspiring to become speech-language pathologists or audiologists.  I know because I lived it and experienced it as a young Black woman at a PWI with the audacity to want to be an SLP.  I feel proud and honored to be able to impact young people’s lives in the way that I can by being a Black woman in a field dominated by white women.  I take pride in being able to teach all students, but there’s something extra special about being a Black SLP who Black students can see and say, ‘there are Black people in this field,  I know a Black person and have had a Black professor who is a speech-language pathologist, so if she can do it, I can do it.’  My White students don’t have to search for that, but my Black students do and it makes me proud to be able to encourage them in that way.
How does Black history influence your professional or personal life?
Black history encourages me in both my professional and personal life and reminds me that I stand on the shoulders of giants and I have an obligation to give back to the community that has given so much to me.  I use Black History to help me navigate and understand people’s actions.
What advice do you have for the generations of Black students coming after you?
My one piece of advice would be to measure your success by your own measuring stick.  Determine what success is to you and pursue that. 

Did you learn anything new about history in the Black community this year? (this could be personal or broader in a historical sense)
I have been really trying to have a better understanding of health and wellness for Black people so I have learned more as it relates to health and wellness especially in terms of colon cancer and breast cancer.