(KSLA) - For Dr. Larry Hygh, Jr., diversity is always been important to him.
“It is really what makes America great for the fact that someone who is the great-grandson of slaves and a native American can occupy spaces that they never dreamed possible,” Hygh said.
Hygh is full-time lecturer at Cal State San Bernadino and has roots in East Texas. He earned his undergraduate at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches. He was a White House intern during the Bill Clinton administration, an intern for former U.S. House of Representatives Max Sandlin and has worked in media as a television anchor, reporter and disc jockey. He earned his Ed.D. from Pepperdine University.
His great-great-grandfather was a freed slave who migrated from Macon, Georgia to Ore City, Texas after the abolition of slavery and set up a cotton gin.
“Our family still owns some of the land to this day,” Hygh said. “On my father’s family, my great-great-grandfather Sam Hygh was enslaved in South Carolina and was sold to someone in east Texas in Karnack.”
Sam Hygh later went back and got his family, then returned to Karnack. Hygh says that his family still owns some of that land to this day. Visiting that site was emotional for Hygh.
“I normally post black history facts on social media about famous folk and then I said I would post about my family this year,” Hygh said. “I come from a legacy of educators and entrepreneurs as we think about Black History and touch land and realize they did so much with so little and fought against the odds. I know that black folks are survivors and thrivers we can do anything we put our minds to. I consider the land to be sacred and they farmed that land.”
Hygh added that his family benefitted from what they did two generations ago.
“I think we do have a long way to go but I do think we have come a long way,” he added. “I hear folks say things are still the same — but no, they are not.”
Hygh’s parents both grew up in a Jim Crow south and went to segregated schools.
“I am not even a generation removed from Jim Crow,” he said. “I know that I have been able to walk in spaces that the ancestors long ago never dreamed possible. We have come a long way. This year we got Madam Vice President this year that is an amazing time in the life of our country, but we do have a ways to go.”
High adds that the present political climate has unearthed some underlying systematic racism that needs to be addressed and dealt with.
“Every day I say is Black History,” Hygh said. “We make history 365 and we just celebrate it in February but year-round folks are making black history and folks are excelling and doing great things.”