by Dr Boyce Watkins
Kentucky State University is an HBCU which lies next to my heart. My sister, who just finished medical school, spent her undergraduate career there, so I was kept in the loop when the world seemed to flip on its head regarding who the students chose to hold the title of Miss Kentucky State University. As you can see, she's not exactly what one would expect an HBCU Homecoming Queen to look like, but Elisabeth Martin's skin color likely reflects one of the many faces that define Historically Black colleges in the new millennium. So, while I was personally dismayed that Kentucky State University (along with many HBCUs around the nation) seems to be forgetting about the importance of having African American faculty, the truth is that we are in an era in which one needs to determine what it means to be an HBCU.
Personally, I love the fact that the students at Kentucky State chose Elisabeth Martin as their homecoming queen. Martin, a 21-year old International Studies major, won the crown by a landslide, dominating the competition. It has been her race, however, that has sent shock waves through the Kentucky State University community. But Martin takes the heat in stride and carries herself with a grace and class that should make the campus proud. The fact that the students love her so much is verified by her love for the campus and commitment to school spirit. She has also handled the national media attention like a true queen should.
AOL Black Voices had the chance to catch up with Elisabeth Martin: