The Only Black Student

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Author and speaker Lull Mengesha chats with The Carillon about his book and workshops on race, inclusion, and education

Sophie Long
News Writer

Lull Mengesha recently visited the University of Regina to facilitate a workshop designed to prevent discrimination. His book, The Only Black Student focuses on the struggles some students face in faculties that are dominated by white students.

Mengesha took some time to explain the origin of his book and where it took him, saying “I wrote it in my senior year at the University of Washington. It’s a guide to help students navigate through college, and I wrote it for a group of four guys I was mentoring. I would collect their questions and then it turned into a book. It’s called The Only Black Student, but it’s pretty relatable for all students.”

The workshop Mengesha created for the University of Regina is designed for students and teachers to consider the issues of acceptance on campus and in schools.

“We do some pretty fun scenarios and role-playing to know what challenges students might face, like dealing with roommates and talking to your professor. That’s usually fun because I like to [show] the wrong way, and then the right way to do something, and the audience likes to give feedback,” he said. 

Mengesha’s goal is to open up conversations about racism and the unseen difficulties students face. “I’ve had people crying, I’ve had people yell at me, which is great,” he said about his workshops.

The Only Black Student is based on Mengesha’s own experiences. In the book, he talks about how he felt alone in his classes at the University of Washington.

“I was in several upper-division economics classes where it was only me as the only black student” he commented.

To the people that believe this is unlikely, and question the book’s title, Mengesha responded that it is like being “the only international students or the only female student” in a class. The novel’s message, and the message of his workshops and lectures, says Mengesha, is not only for black students, but for everyone that feels excluded.


“I’ve had people crying, I’ve had people yell at me, which is great.” – Lull Mengesha


Lull Mengesha recently visited the University of Regina to facilitate a workshop designed to prevent discrimination. His book, The Only Black Student focuses on the struggles some students face in faculties that are dominated by white students.

Mengesha took some time to explain the origin of his book and where it took him, saying “I wrote it in my senior year at the University of Washington. It’s a guide to help students navigate through college, and I wrote it for a group of four guys I was mentoring. I would collect their questions and then it turned into a book. It’s called The Only Black Student, but it’s pretty relatable for all students.”

The workshop Mengesha created for the University of Regina is designed for students and teachers to consider the issues of acceptance on campus and in schools.

“We do some pretty fun scenarios and role-playing to know what challenges students might face, like dealing with roommates and talking to your professor. That’s usually fun because I like to [show] the wrong way, and then the right way to do something, and the audience likes to give feedback,” he said.

Mengesha’s goal is to open up conversations about racism and the unseen difficulties students face. “I’ve had people crying, I’ve had people yell at me, which is great,” he said about his workshops.

The Only Black Student is based on Mengesha’s own experiences. In the book, he talks about how he felt alone in his classes at the University of Washington.

“I was in several upper-division economics classes where it was only me as the only black student” he commented.

To the people that believe this is unlikely, and question the book’s title, Mengesha responded that it is like being “the only international students or the only female student” in a class. The novel’s message, and the message of his workshops and lectures, says Mengesha, is not only for black students, but for everyone that feels excluded.

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