Black History: from the Great Pumpkin to Ellen DeGeneres

“The fad started with the hippies. I saw them in Haight-Ashbury. Wearing a beard or a mustache or long hair doesn’t necessarily make anyone look like the scum I saw there but it gives an empathy for a movement that certainly is the direct opposite of what we strive for in college football.”
– Ara Parseghian, Notre Dame

February is Black History Month. Ellen DeGeneres kicked it off a couple days early with DeAndre Arnold as her featured guest. The high school senior from a small town near Houston Texas has been in the national news for refusing to cut his dreadlocks. School officials told him that if he didn’t cut his hair they would not allow him to participate in graduation. Arnold said no, dreadlocks are part of his Trinidadian heritage.

To show support for the student, who — depending on whose story you believe — may or may not have been suspended from attending class, DeGeneres introduced Alicia Keys who came onstage carrying a giant check for $20,000, payable to Arnold, as a scholarship contribution for his college education. (DeAndre Arnold obviously is a student of history, one of the few in his generation who wouldn’t need to ask “What’s a check?”)

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