We at The Daily Eastern News believe that students at Eastern deserve to have Douglas Hall renamed and renamed after someone truly tied to the Eastern community and someone who has done good for Eastern.
This week we will be offering some suggestions of people we believe would represent Eastern and its commitment to diversity and inclusion.
First, we would like to suggest Zella Powell.
Zella was Eastern’s first Black graduate in 1910, a time where college education was sparse, especially for Black Americans.
She came from a local family and lived in the area for around 20 years before taking her passion for teaching to Chicago.
Her family were pioneers in Mattoon and held successful businesses in the area.
They came to Mattoon before the Civil War and lived through the Charleston Riot, only a short distance away from their home.
Zella herself lived through a time when she was not able to vote and through the Civil Rights Movement.
Zella represents perseverance and strength, something college students can always benefit from seeing examples of.
She was a strong woman who made it through a world that was not built for people like her. She made her place in the world and Eastern should honor her by renaming Douglas Hall after her.
Students deserve a hall named after someone who represents the values they hold true.
Students deserve a hall named after Zella Powell.
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