Three Generations Share Their Experiences at UMKC

Freedom Breakfast celebrates 50th anniversary of The African American Student Union
Current and founding TAASU members gather for a group photo

The three keynote speakers at the 29th annual Freedom Breakfast may represent different generations, but they all share the experience of being a black student at UMKC who found life-changing meaning through The African American Student Union, commonly called TAASU.

Founded in 1969, a year after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., TAASU focuses on fostering a sense of community among African American students. Each of the speakers reflected on how TAASU made a difference in their life as a black student at UMKC.

Margaret Evans speaking at the event

“African American students reached out to each other on campus. There were not many of us on campus, so we were glad to see each other. Our group paved the way for minority students. It was during the Civil Rights movement, and we wanted to show support for one another because of what was going on in our nation during the time. Being with students like us gave us comfort and a sense of security and community.”

-Margaret Evans, Ph.D. (B.A.,’71, MPA, ’72), an early member of TAASU

Michael Watson speaking at TAASU event

“I met successful black men. I saw successful black women. And for me, the light just went on, and I thought we can be so much more. And being on campus and being exposed to that just lights your fire.”

-Michael Watson, attended UMKC in the 2000s, played basketball professionally

Cameron Johnson speaking at TAASU event

“My experience has mostly been shaped by other student leaders who have been molded by leaders from the staff and administration at UMKC. Leaders of all races and all backgrounds. Thanks to TAASU’s leaders, my time here has been nothing short of great.”

-Cameron Johnson, current president of TAASU and a junior majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry

Published: Feb 5, 2019

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