Bartley Hall Displays Mural for Black History Month


Courtesy of Villanovan Photography

The mural will be up until the end of the month.

Lydia McFarlane, Staff Writer

On Thursday, Feb. 3, senior Alicia Mangan, junior Kendall Rogers and sophomores Trinity Rogers and Kamryn Rogers spent six hours working on a mural on the chalk wall in Bartley Hall for Black History Month. 

The mural features a black fist with the words, “Rest in Power.” Adjacent to the fist, is a collage of black individuals. Each person is unique in this collage and they all surround the words, “Black Lives, Dreams and Futures Matter.”

The mural will be up through the duration of Black History Month. The group started the mural around 8 p.m. on Thursday night and did not finish until around 1:40 a.m. on Friday morning. Although it took almost six hours to complete the mural, the group joked that time flew pretty fast. 

The initial push to do the mural in Bartley was to “make sure Black students in the business school felt celebrated and appreciated,” Kamryn said. “Especially with the business school there’s this notion that students of color don’t really feel comfortable, and I just wanted to make sure that people knew there were others out there looking out for them. We just wanted to make sure that everyone feels loved.” 

Several nonblack students also gave encouragement through the process of doing the mural.

“That made me feel the bit of community that I’ve been sometimes missing,” Kendall said. 

Upon looking at the demographics of the University’s undergraduate student population for the year of 2021, only about 4% of each graduating class identifies as Black. Because of this disparity within the undergraduate population, it is understandable why students like Kendall feel a sense of isolation within the University community. These statistics are enough to identify the University as a Primarily White Institution (PWI). When less than 5% of a graduating class is Black, it is essential to celebrate and appreciate the Black students on campus. 

The group of artists hopes that this mural can help white students to understand how isolating the experience of being a Black person on this campus can truly be, while commending and encouraging the students of color around them. It wants Black students to feel celebrated and as if they belong, because it is easy for imposter syndrome to set in when one does not look like the majority of the students around them. While there is a strong support system for students of color in organizations such as Black Student Union, students of color deserve recognition within the classroom and other spaces on campus that are not necessarily created for them. 

Outside of these organizations, the disparity is clear when there are only a handful of Black students in each classroom setting. This disproportion and the ignorance of other students to Black students’ struggles on campus served as huge motivation for the group’s mural project, in addition to Black History Month. The importance of this month is emphasized when it becomes clear just how few Black students occupy white spaces at the University. The group also emphasized the importance of education regarding black history. 

“A lot of the white Villanova students are comfortable where they are, and even something just like a mural of Black people in the business school can offset that comfortability,” Trinity said. 

Instead of staying comfortable, we need to take the time as a University to learn about Black history.

“Black history is American history,” Kendall and Kamryn said.

“A lot of Black students at this school make a lot of amazing contributions to what this school’s all about,” Kamryn said. “The motto of this school is ‘Ignite Change,’ and that’s what we [Black students] are trying to do.” 

Be sure to visit Bartley to see the mural before Black History Month is over and be conscious of the hardships Black students of the University may face regularly.