Thursday, February 28, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 103


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 of the
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 activist
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 Eusan.

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 dynamic."

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 Atlanta.
"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 change." She
called for today's students to carry on the struggles of the past, saying, "There are still battles that need to be fought."

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 physically
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 which Eusan
dedicated her life.

"You have the same opportunities and the same challenges today" that Eusan and her colleagues faced in the '60s, said Shara
Aguirre, who attended UH with Eusan. "You can do the same thing."

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