Moorpark College library hosts display of iconic service members for Black History Month


Lawrence Lee, military enthusiast, sets up the display in the library on Friday, Feb. 7. Lee’s display showcases the many aspects African American history, including military service. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

By Lauren Bender

On Friday, Feb. 7, a display was set up in the library in honor of Black History Month, focusing on African American service men and women. Lawrence Lee, the display’s owner, has set up the figurines and memorabilia for Moorpark College several times, including a Veteran’s Day display.

Lee emphasized how important it is to remember Black history during this month, “My dad served in the military, and he never talked about his experience, because there was so much racism going on.”

Lee made the decision to include other minority groups in order to convey a broader sense of diversity to the display. Making it possible to shed light on history that should be noticed alongside black history.

“Since 1999, I’ve also included other minorities, the Japanese, who at one point their families were interned in a camp until the war ended but yet a group of them said we’re Americans and we want to fight.” stated Lee.

Walking into the library, passersby will see multiple figurines representing real people who made a big impact throughout history along with several books.

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Lawrence Lee adjusts the uniform on one of his figurines on Friday, Feb. 7, in the library. Lee possesses many historical military figurines as well as figurines of some presidents. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Lee explained what students will see as they walk through the library doors, “Generally speaking it’ll be about those who changed history, either by their actions or by their words, their proclamations and so forth.”

Most branches of the military are represented and some of the iconic people displayed are Abraham Lincoln, Harry S. Truman, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King.

Lee explained the importance of these people by saying, “Some of the policies and so forth that they felt so strongly about, some of them took a while to come into position, but they were willing to step up and make a difference because they felt that it was the right thing to do.”

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Several military figurines are showcased in the library for Black History Month on Friday, Feb. 7. The display's creator and owner, Lawrence Lee, says the display is constantly growing every year. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

The figurines have captions next to them to explain the individual’s story and to educate the passersby.

In order to enhance the display, Lee brings in new information and the several books that the library doesn’t hold.

Danielle Kaprelian, a librarian at Moorpark stated, “Mr. Lawrence actually brings other books as well, and even some of the titles he has brought, we don’t have in our library, so for me, I’m interested as a librarian.”

The combination of both literature and figurines brings everything in the display together.

Johnny Conley, Director of Student Equity, seems to be a fan. “Looking at the content of the literature, that’s with the figurine as well, I think is impactful and powerful for our campus community,” stated Conley.

The display will be set up on the main floor of the library until Feb. 21 and there will be several other events taking place this month for Black History Month, including a lecture by the Moorpark College Interim President, Julius Sokenu on black identity and leadership on Feb. 20.