Many facets of Lynn Eusan
remembered by her friends
By Ellen Simonson
Daily Cougar Staff
Lynn Eusan is remembered first and foremost
as UH's first black Homecoming queen, but few who know her name are aware
vitality of her character or the legacy
she left the University.
Yvonne Feece/The Daily Cougar
Omowale Luthuli-Allen tells
an audience what it was like to be an African-American student at the University
in the late 1960s. Allen's
remarks were part of a tribute to Lynn
Eusan held Wednesday night in the Oberholtzer Grand Ballroom.
Those who knew Eusan came together Wednesday
night in the Oberholtzer Grand Ballroom to remember her as a person, an
and a friend and to discuss what may be
her most enduring legacy at UH: the African-American Studies Program.
Tracy Howard of the AAS introduced the
program as "a dialogue with the audience" before turning the microphone
over to Esther King,
who described his first experience with
King said that when he returned from the
military, he told a friend he wanted to get involved in the struggle for
civil rights. The friend
"brought me straight to this campus and
found Lynn Eusan — he brought me to this 90-pound sister and said, 'This
is who you need to
talk to,'" King said. "She was just that
Omowale Luthuli-Allen, a 1970 UH graduate,
answered an audience member's question about how much of a struggle it
was being a
black student at UH in the mid-1960s:
"We have to remember that 1965, 1966 could
be considered the low tide of the fight" for civil rights, Luthuli-Allen
said. "Most of us had
been socialized in a climate of segregation
— Jim Crow."
Nonetheless, he said, the spirit of the
time was one of unity. "We were just absolutely delighted to be able to
connect with other
African-American students," he said. "We
were making friends with international students and we were also making
friends with a lot of
white students ... We made it a warm place."
Harold Jones described Eusan as "the sweetheart
of our movement," comparing her to such leaders as Coretta Scott King in
"Lynn is proof positive that one person
can make a difference," Jones said.
Michelle Barnes, who was Eusan's roommate
during freshman orientation, described the impact Eusan had on her life.
"Never did I expect that I was going to
encounter someone who was going to raise my consciousness," Barnes said.
"But Lynn did that
in one week."
Barnes called Eusan "feisty" and "verbal,"
saying it was Eusan who taught her "how to make a commitment to effect
called for today's students to carry on
the struggles of the past, saying, "There are still battles that need to
Eusan "knew (winning Homecoming queen)
was a symbolic legacy," said Tatcho Mindiola, an associate professor of
sociology at UH
and director of the Mexican-American Studies
Program who attended the University with Eusan.
Mindiola added that Eusan's true legacy
at UH is the AAS, which she did not survive to see implemented. "She was
beautiful, but she was beautiful on the
inside too ... and very, very determined."
As the old friends who once fought side
by side remembered the old days, there were hugs, applause and cheers.
However, the emphasis was not on the past
but the future — the need for today's students to carry on the fight to
dedicated her life.
"You have the same opportunities and the
same challenges today" that Eusan and her colleagues faced in the '60s,
Aguirre, who attended UH with Eusan. "You
can do the same thing."