What the loss of Chadwick Boseman means to WTAMU students

Legendary actor, Chadwick Boseman passed away on Aug. 28, 2020 after battling colon cancer. The 43-year-old actor began his career guest starring in various television shows and. Boseman would later be known for his iconic roles in “42”, “Get on Up”, and “Black Panther”.

Boseman’s sudden death was a shock to many around the world, including the students and staff at West Texas A&M University.

“I really never saw a lot of black heroes, just so to see somebody that looks like me represent somebody who’s not the villain…to see my younger siblings be happy to see somebody who looked like them. Like, it’s really amazing,” said DeAnn Murry, president of the Black Student Union.

Boseman was known for telling the stories of historical figures such as Jackie Robinson and Thurgood Marshall.

“I’ve read stuff about Jackie Robinson but so I see a proud black man actually come and fill that role and show me like, ‘Oh, Jackie Robinson was a special human being and he did all these things’ like it really made me feel proud, you know,” said Nathan Stotts, social chair of the Black Student Union.

Boseman was known for his talents in acting. However, he also used his platform to promote the importance of education.

“He was always going to colleges, he was always going to schools and talking to kids and especially specifically, black kids. He wanted them to be educated and tell them they can be more than athletes. He was telling me more than rappers and he was trying to show them that education is actually key to life,” said CJ Cox, co-president of the Black Student Union.

Boseman’s health conditions were not made public until his passing and many students admired Boseman’s perseverance and humility.

“Finding out he had colon cancer and him kind of hiding it kind of reminds me of myself. The major I’m in and I have a heart condition. I want to be a cardiologist and help kids who also have heart conditions. So, I can help them and maybe build a hospital so he kind of inspired me to do something like that,” said Tyrone Leggett, a sophomore health science major.

One of Boseman’s most prominent roles was that of T’Challa in Marvel’s “Black Panther”. The film and Boseman’s role of the Black Panther would go on to inspire many.

“My favorite line is ‘Don’t freeze,’ he says ‘I never freeze.’ I tell our students ‘Don’t freeze.’ When things are closing in on you, you need help, you get behind, don’t freeze. Don’t stay in your dorm room and do nothing. Don’t go home, ask for help. We have tons of resources that will help you, we have so many things going on, just don’t freeze,” said Angela Allen, chief officer for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Boseman’s career may have been cut short. However, his legacy will live on through his films and many acts of selflessness.

“He was very humble and the fact that he was ill for that many years and no one knew it speaks to his humility and to his commitment to his work,” Allen said.