Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi

he Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi. UM Southern Studies Director Edits Book on the Civil Rights Movement. Two UM alumni among authors of essays in the collection.

OXFORD, Miss. – A symposium at the University of Mississippi has culminated in a book of essays about the civil rights movement.

“The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi,” edited by Center for the Study of Southern Culture director Ted Ownby, is based on new research and combines multiple scholarly approaches. The 12 essays tell new stories about the civil rights movement in the state most resistant to change. An event that combined the Porter Fortune Jr. History Symposium and the Future of the South Symposium enabled the scholars to come together to share their work.

As a group, the essays in “The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi” introduce numerous new characters and conundrums into civil rights scholarship, advance efforts to study African-Americans and whites as interactive agents in the complex stories, and encourage historians to pull civil rights scholarship closer toward the present.Many symposia lead to collections of essays, said Ownby, also a UM professor of history and Southern studies.

Henry L. Moon Roy Wilkins Herbert Hill Thurgood Marshall

Holding a poster against racial bias in Mississippi are four of the most active leaders in the NAACP movement, from left: Henry L. Moon, director of public relations; Roy Wilkins, executive secretary; Herbert Hill, labor secretary, and Thurgood Marshall, special counsel / World Telegram & Sun photo by Al. Ravenna.

“A number of the younger historians have put out books on the topics they discussed at the symposium, so now the book will serve to bring together a lot of the best, recent scholarship on the Mississippi civil rights movement,” he said.

The papers more or less organized themselves, with the first three studying the process of civil rights organizing: one paper discussing the concept itself, one discussing the various ways different groups organized and a third concentrating on Medgar Evers as an organizer, Ownby said. Then there are six papers that are pairs of essays on similar topics: education, religion, and the issue of violence and self-defense.

“What I hope is interesting is that each of those pairs of essays combines a study concentrating on African-Americans with a study analyzing white Mississippians,” Ownby said. “So, we see professors at Jackson State and the University of Mississippi facing different pressures, and a kneel-in campaign at Jackson churches revealing a different story from the ‘Born of Conviction’ statement by white Methodist ministers. There are also papers about how people remember and try to implement parts of the civil rights movement, whether in politics, or schools or oral history.”

Two UM alumni wrote essays. Carter Dalton Lyon, chair of the History Department at St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis, studies people who confronted the question of how their religion related to their possible involvement in civil rights activism and Michael Vinson Williams, assistant professor at Mississippi State University, raises questions about how civil rights organizing took place.

Other essays are by Chris Myers Asch, Emilye Crosby, David Cunningham, Jelani Favors, Françoise N. Hamlin, Wesley Hogan, Robert Luckett, Byron D’Andra Orey, Joseph T. Reiff and Akinyele Umoja.

For the past 20 years, historians have been doing an important job in using local studies to analyze the civil rights movement, to show how its language, tactics and challenges differed by place and time.

“I think the scholars who contributed to this volume have both learned from and are contributing to that perspective, so we have a fuller history of civil rights activists and what they faced. I hope the book tells some stories not many people know and introduces some new characters,” Ownby said.

Ownby is the editor of “The Role of Ideas in the Civil Rights South; Manners and Southern History;” and “Black and White: Cultural Interaction in the Antebellum South,” all based on Porter Fortune Symposia and published by University Press of Mississippi, coeditor of “The Larder: Food Studies and Methods from the American South” and a coeditor of the Gender volume of the New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture.

December 20, 2013 By Rebecca Lauck Cleary The official source for University of Mississippi news.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Howard University, HBCU Leaders Cite Success in Effort to Increase Minority Students in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Fields

WASHINGTON – November 27, 2013. The Board of Governors for the Washington Baltimore Hampton Roads Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (WBHR-LSAMP) met at Howard University on Nov. 19 to address the under-representation of minority students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and careers. While leaders from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) were optimistic about the progress that has been made, they stressed that more work is still needed.

“It is important that we remain committed to increasing opportunities for minority students in STEM disciplines and careers,” said Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick, interim president of Howard University. “By recruiting highly motivated STEM scholars and researchers, collaborating on STEM program development, and expanding mentorship opportunities, we can help change the world and enhance humanity.”

Howard is the lead institution in the WBHR Alliance. Other institutions include Bowie State University, Morgan State University, Hampton University, Norfolk State University, Virginia State University and the University of the District of Columbia. In an effort to build on its success, the alliance is focusing its efforts on developing stronger partnerships with the federal government and national laboratories, and pursuing opportunities for expanded STEM-related domestic and international student and faculty research and exchange opportunities.

Since its creation in 1994, the WBHR-LSAMP program has increased the number of minority students receiving degrees in STEM disciplines. During the 2012-13 academic year, WBHR-LSAMP universities produced 1,592 degree recipients in STEM disciplines. The alliance is expected to exceed its goal of producing 1,600 or more STEM degree recipients by the 2015 academic year. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the WBHR-LSAMP program is a nationally recognized initiative designed to increase the diversity, quality and quantity of students matriculating in STEM baccalaureate and graduate degree programs.


Howard University LogoFounded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 30 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Rachel Mann Communications Specialist 202.238.2631

Thursday, November 14, 2013

APOL1 Genetic Variation Increases Risk of Kidney Disease Progression in African Americans

Baltimore, MD – New research provides direct evidence that genetic variations in some African Americans with chronic kidney disease contribute to a more rapid decline in kidney function compared with white Americans. The research, led by investigators from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University, may help explain, in part, why even after accounting for differences in socioeconomic background, end-stage kidney disease is twice as prevalent among blacks as whites. Results are published online today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“What we found is pretty remarkable — that variations in a single gene account for a large part of the racial disparity in kidney disease progression and risk for end-stage kidney disease,” says co-lead author and nephrologist Afshin Parsa, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine and member of the Program in Personalized and Genomic Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “If it were possible to reduce the effect of this gene, there could be a very meaningful decrease in progressive kidney and end-stage kidney disease within blacks.”

University of Maryland School of Medicine

Previous landmark discoveries revealed that two common variants within a gene called apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) were strongly associated with non-diabetic end-stage renal disease in blacks. Having only one copy of the variant APOL1 gene variant is associated with a health benefit – protection against African sleeping sickness, a potentially lethal parasitic infection transmitted by the tsetse fly, found only in sub-Saharan Africa. However, people with two copies of the variant are at a higher risk for kidney disease.

The current research expands on these prior findings and demonstrates the effect of these variants on the progression of established kidney disease and development of end-stage renal disease; analyzes their role in black-versus-white renal disease disparities; investigates their effect in patients with diabetes and observes the impact of blood pressure control on APOL1-associated disease progression.

According to Dr. Parsa, approximately 13 percent of the African American population has two copies of the risk variants. Fortunately, most of those at risk do not develop kidney disease. The researchers analyzed the role of APOL1 gene variants in two longitudinal studies of patients with kidney disease: the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) and the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK), both sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Parsa examined the CRIC study data, while co-lead author and Johns Hopkins epidemiologist W.H. Linda Kao, Ph.D., M.H.S., analyzed the AASK data.

The ASSK study consisted of nearly 700 non-diabetic African American participants whose kidney disease was attributed to hypertension, a leading cause of kidney failure. The study was initially a clinical trial that tested the effects of different classes of anti-hypertensive medication and two different blood pressure goals on the progression of kidney disease.

“The hypertension intervention had similar effects in persons with and without the high-risk APOL1 variant, suggesting that patients in the APOL1 high risk group still benefit from these drugs,” says Dr. Kao. “Blacks with two copies of the high-risk APOL1 variants were at higher risk for kidney disease progression, but it is important to note that kidney disease in about 40 percent of blacks in the AASK study who also carried the high-risk variants had not progressed at the time of the study. This finding raises the importance of identifying factors that may modify the effect of the APOL1 risk variants.”

CRIC expanded on AASK, increasing the number of patients to include those with diabetes, one of the most common causes of kidney failure in the United States. CRIC followed 3,000 white and black patients with renal disease; 46 percent of the participants had diabetes and 48 percent of the participants were of African descent. CRIC compared whites with blacks, with and without the APOL1 risk variants, in diabetics and non-diabetics.

“In CRIC,” says Dr. Parsa, “we found that, indeed, the gene variants account for a very significant portion of the faster progression in blacks versus whites. If a person had two copies of the APOL1 risk variant, their kidney disease worsened faster and their chance of developing end-stage kidney disease nearly doubled.” The researchers also found that APOL1 variants equally affected progression rates in patients with diabetes, a finding that had not been fully realized in previous studies. “These results suggest that APOL1 gene variants affect the progression of established renal disease, regardless of the primary cause,” adds Dr. Parsa.

Beyond that, however, the analysis showed that black patients without the APOL1 high-risk variants still had a slightly increased chance for end-stage renal disease. For this reason, the researchers conclude there may be some remaining unaccounted factors contributing to increased progression of kidney disease in blacks.

Further research will focus on the specific activity of the APOL1 variants. “These gene variants can modify the gene’s function. However, we have not yet been able to delineate how they affect renal disease progression. Our next line of research is to find out what pathways are triggered by these gene variants and how they could cause worsening of renal disease,” says Dr. Parsa.

“This study underscores the importance of research examining genetic and racial disparities as part of the effort to improve outcomes by personalizing medicine,” says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “It may lead to targeted treatments tailored to the individual’s genetic makeup and could significantly reduce the toll of kidney disease.”

An estimated 20 million or more American adults have chronic kidney disease, and over 400,000 people in the United States and 2 million worldwide depend on dialysis to treat kidney failure.

Source: Study: Genetic Variation Increases Risk of Kidney Disease Progression in African Americans | University of Maryland Medical Center University of Maryland Medical Center Follow us: @UMMC on Twitter | MedCenter on Facebook

Sunday, October 27, 2013

How Covert Government Funds Influenced Race. American Cold War Culture and the "Negro Problem."

How Covert Government Funds Influenced Race. American Cold War Culture and the "Negro Problem."

PITTSBURGH—When most people think of Ralph Ellison, they think of his novel "Invisible Man," which won the National Book Award in 1953 and is still heralded as one of the most important novels of the 20th century. Inspired by the works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Louis Armstrong, Ellison wrote "Invisible Man" from the perspective of a young, nameless narrator coming to political and racial consciousness during the 1930s.

A new book by Carnegie Mellon University's Richard Purcell reveals another side of Ellison, a writer — like others during the Cold War — who was supported by covert government funds to function as a literary ambassador at home and abroad.

"Race, Ralph Ellison and American Cold War Culture" looks at the period following World War II when writers and literary critics — both black and white — debated how African-Americans were represented in literature, which was referred to as the "Negro Problem." As the Cold War unfolded, many of the debates began to appear in journals, conferences and other events that were directly funded by U.S. and British intelligence agencies. Purcell, associate professor of English in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, used never before published materials from Ellison's papers at the Library of Congress to fully understand the acclaimed literary figure's thinking of the Negro Problem within the shadow of governmental influence.

Negro farmer plowing his field of four acres

"Many critics gloss over or downplay this aspect of Ralph Ellison's career," Purcell said. "It's an example of the political usages of literary culture. Ellison's work gives us the opportunity to tell a story about race and racism during the Cold War that is complicated and messy."

Ellison joined the American Committee for Cultural Freedom — an organization that received funds from the Central Intelligence Agency — and participated in a Salzburg Seminar in American Studies, which received State Department funding. Through these and other events, Ellison introduced or repackaged American culture for foreign and domestic audiences.

"The government funded American writers who were not necessarily America's cheerleaders. The thought was, 'At least they're not communist,'" Purcell explained.

While the book explores how the Cold War's ideological conflicts swayed literary discussions, Purcell also exposes the important role race and African-American writers and intellectuals played.

"This gives a different view of the Civil Rights Movement and racial segregation," Purcell said. "Our government was directly and indirectly funding writers and other artists who knew that America was not a truly democratic country. Yet, in the case of Ellison at least, they also saw that the promise of a truly democratic United States was already realized in its arts."

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

TV shows with ethnically diverse casts, writers have higher ratings

Television viewers are more likely to watch shows that employ racially diverse casts and writers, according to a new study done at UCLA's Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies.

In an analysis of more than 1,000 television shows that aired on 67 cable and broadcast networks during the 2011–12 season, UCLA researchers studying racial diversity in the entertainment industry found that more viewers were drawn to shows with ethnically diverse lead cast members and writers, while shows reflecting less diversity in their credits attracted smaller audiences.

Racial diversity does make a marked and measurable difference to television's bottom line, said Bunche Center director Darnell Hunt, a professor of sociology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science and author of the new study, "Hollywood Diversity Brief: Spotlight on Cable Television."

"It's clear that people are watching shows that reflect and relate to their own experiences," said Hunt, who has worked for two decades on several projects exploring issues of access and diversity in Hollywood.

Amos 'n' Andy

Yet, according to the study, released on Oct. 8 at the 27th annual National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications conference in New York, ethnic minorities and women remain woefully underrepresented on both cable and broadcast programs as lead actors, writers and show creators.

"This is one of the first studies, to my knowledge, that attempts to flesh out the relationship between the issue of diversity among cast members and writers and the bottom line," Hunt said. "While this brief is just the first snapshot in what we envision as a multi-year study, it certainly lends support to an argument we have been making for a long time. Everyone in the industry talks about the importance of diversity, but it clearly isn't priority one when decisions are made. And it's not going to be a priority until people realize how it affects the bottom line."

The study is the first in a series of analyses that will be done for the center's Hollywood Advancement Project. The project will track over time whether the TV-and-film industry is employing diverse groups of lead actors, writers, directors, producers and talent agents, and it will identify best practices for widening the pipeline for underrepresented groups.

Researchers found that for cable television shows, median household ratings were highest among those programs with casts that were 31 to 40 percent minority. Only dramas and comedies — not reality shows — were included in this part of the analysis. Examples of shows that reflected this level of diversity were "A.N.T. Farm" (Disney), "The Closer" (TNT) and "Falling Skies" (TNT).

At the other end of the spectrum, ratings were the lowest among shows with casts that were 10 percent minority or less, a category that included 52 shows — the largest number of cable shows in the analysis.

The importance of diversity to the bottom line was just as pronounced in broadcast television as it was in cable during the 2011–12 season, the researchers found. Median household ratings peaked among broadcast television shows that were 41 to 50 percent minority, while ratings took a dive for shows with casts that were 10 percent minority or less.

The study also showed a ratings slump for those shows on cable television with writing staffs that were 10 percent minority or less — the vast majority of shows in the analysis. Median household ratings were lowest for these shows. By contrast, ratings peaked among cable shows with writing staffs that were 11 to 20 percent minority and 41 to 50 percent minority. "In Plain Sight" (USA), "Common Law" (USA) and "Southland" (TNT) were among the eight shows included in these two categories.

This same relationship, however, did not hold completely true for broadcast television. Broadcast shows with the least diverse staffs did not post the lowest ratings. But broadcast shows with the highest ratings had writing staffs that were significantly more diverse — from 21 to 30 percent minority — than those of most broadcast shows.

Researchers also looked at who did a better job in the 2011–12 season — cable or broadcast networks — in reflecting diversity among lead actors and show creators.

"It's a mixed bag when it comes to who did better at this, depending on the variables we looked at," Hunt said. But women and minorities working as actors in lead roles and show creators were underrepresented on both cable and network television, based on their percentage in the U.S. population in 2010, he noted.

With the changing nature of television, the dominance of the broadcast networks is clearly waning, according to Hunt. "The fact that we had 61 cable networks in our study would have been unimaginable just a few years ago," he said. "Every network is getting smaller and smaller audiences. Shows can now be produced locally on a cheap budget for the Internet."

With the competition for ratings heated, Hunt said, "It makes sense that if the industry wants to keep up with these changes, it really has to pay close attention to what the audience is looking for."

And, as the researchers point out in the report, with the U.S. population becoming more diverse, "this new emerging America will undoubtedly continue to express its diversifying experiences and tastes by making programming choices that resonate more faithfully with them."

Hunt is the author of the "Hollywood Writers Report," an ongoing analysis for the Writers Guild of America focusing on employment, access and earnings among television and film writers. He was also the principal investigator on "The African American Television Report," released by the Screen Actors Guild in 2000. In 1993, he served as a media researcher for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hearings on diversity in Hollywood.

Support for this research was provided by the Bunche Center's Hollywood Advancement Project, Sony Pictures Entertainment and the Walter Kaitz Foundation.

University of California Office of Media Relations and Public Outreach By Cynthia Lee October 08, 2013 Media Contacts Ricardo Vazquez, 310-206-3986

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mike Woodson, coach of the New York Knicks: Stay in school, stay focused, stay true to what you love.

Mike Woodson, coach of the New York Knicks: Stay in school, stay focused, stay true to what you love.

Looming larger than life while making his way from the back of the theatre, the 6’5” coach took to the small stage at UMKC and shared stories about his life, his career, his success and failures.

Throughout a Q&A and ongoing discussion led by UMKC senior Rashad Lartey at the Men of Color Campus Initiative, his theme remained the same: stay in school, stay focused and stay true to what you love.

Mel Tyler said that the definitions of friendship and leadership personified his long-time friend, Mike Woodson, coach of the New York Knicks, as he welcomed Woodson to UMKC.

Tyler, vice chancellor of student affairs and enrollment management, said Woodson gives support and assistance, serves as someone who guides others and is an example for others to follow.

Woodson’s answers to the audience of more than 100 confirmed what Tyler said.

“My greatest influencers were my parents, my whole family really,” said Woodson. “We were programmed to work, and I have worked since my father died when I was about 13 years-old.”

Mike Woodson, coach of the New York Knicks

Mike Woodson, coach of the New York Knicks Photo credit: Janet Rogers, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications.
Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

“During college, I needed back surgery as I was hoping to be drafted into the NBA,” said Woodson. “I had worked hard to get to this point. It was an eight-week recovery, and at the end my mom had one profound piece of advice for me.”

Woodson said his mother urged him to focus on his education, not athletics. She said she was not concerned if he ever played basketball again. “Finish college – no one could take your education away.”

“My strong discipline and dedication helped develop my leadership skills, and they were strengthened by coaches, especially Bobby Knight at Indiana University,” Woodson said. “When working with players, you wear a lot of hats and need to find the ‘right buttons’ to reach each player.

“Knight was a stickler for being on time, going to class and coming to practice. Today students have a hard time with this kind of discipline and criticism that’s designed to help them get better.”

According to Woodson, students need to realize that study plays a major role in life and criticism – constructive – aids in their growth.

“As coach for the Atlanta Hawks, I was working with a struggling team, but we made great progress,” said Woodson. “We had 53 wins in the year that I got fired. I still don’t know why I was fired, but I took the time to help me get better.”

He encouraged everyone to take such setbacks as opportunities to reflect – what I did right, what I need to improve upon – and prepare to move forward when the next opportunity comes your way.

“And, it will,” said Woodson. He said it gave him more time for his wife, two daughters and some golf.

His advice to all students is to get an education, go to class. He and his wife of 32-years are helping their daughters, who just graduated from Georgia Tech, figure out the jobs that are best suited for them.

“You have to steer your children in the right direction. And you have to heed the advice you give them – when you fail, you have to get up.

“Find what’s worthwhile – I believe we all have a purpose. Without education, jobs are tough to find; life is full of ups and downs.” Figure out your mistakes during down times and get back up, Woodson reiterated throughout the afternoon.

Woodson started a real estate business, and each year beginning in 1986, he would buy property in Bloomington, Ind. for college students. He hired a management company to manage the property and learned the business in the off-season.

Today, Woodson has 2,500 apartment units with 40 employees managing the company.

“I love basketball and real estate and find it fulfilling to help basketball players become the best they can be and put together plays that make us a winning team. And, I enjoy putting together deals in real estate. Helping others has always been important to me, and I’ve continued it throughout my life and my career.”

Woodson believes you can find your passion – where you have an opportunity to grow, to enjoy life and to help others.

“I am truly thankful for the life I have.”

University of Missouri-Kansas City | Kansas City, MO 64110 | (816) 235-1000

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"The soft bigotry of low expectations"

"The soft bigotry of low expectations" African-American Students May Improve Grades if Teachers Convey High Standards, Study Shows

AUSTIN, Texas — African-American students who need to improve their academic performance may do better in school and feel less stereotyped as underachievers if teachers convey high standards and their belief that students can meet them, according to new psychology research from The University of Texas at Austin.

The findings, published online in August in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, contradict a common trend in education of praising students for mediocre work to help raise self-esteem before delivering critical remarks. That method may seem patronizing and could backfire and lower self-esteem, especially when white teachers praise African-American students, said lead researcher David Yeager, assistant professor of developmental psychology.

In three studies conducted at suburban and inner-city schools, African-American students improved their grades after receiving a simple, one-sentence note from their teachers or an online pep talk. The exercises were designed to dispel students’ fears that criticism of their academic work could be caused by different treatment of African-American students rather than their teachers’ high standards.

African American Students

Washington, D.C. International student assembly. American Negro students. Creator(s): Parks, Gordon, 1912-2006, photographer. Date Created / Published: 1942 Sept.

In the first study at a suburban public middle school in Connecticut, 44 seventh-grade students (22 African-American and 22 white) wrote an essay about a personal hero that was critiqued by their teachers for improvements in a second draft. The students were randomly assigned to two groups with the experimental group receiving a hand-written note with their critiqued essay that stated, “I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations, and I know that you can reach them.” The control group got a note that stated, “I’m giving you these comments so that you’ll have feedback on your paper.”

For African-American students who received the high-expectations note, 71 percent revised their essays, compared to 17 percent in the control group. The findings were even more pronounced for African-American students who had reported low trust in their teachers in surveys, with 82 percent revising their essays in the high-expectations group, compared to none in the control group. White students who received the high-expectations note also were more likely to revise their essays, but the difference wasn’t statistically significant compared to the control group.

The second study, conducted a year later with a similar group of 22 African-American and 22 white seventh-grade students, carried the research a step further by analyzing grades for the revised essays. In the high-expectations group, 88 percent of African-American students received better grades on their revised essays, compared to 34 percent in the control group. More than two months after the exercise, African-American students who had received the high-expectations note also reported higher levels of trust in their teachers. White students in the high-expectations group also saw slightly higher grades, but the difference wasn’t statistically significant.

The third study was conducted with 50 African-American and 26 white students at a New York City public high school where most children lived in low-income households. One group of students watched online testimonials that included photos of older students and their advice that academic criticism resulted from teachers’ high standards and their belief that students could reach them. One control group saw online testimonials with vague statements about teachers’ motives, while another control group completed some puzzles.

Over the next 10 weeks, African-American students in the high-expectations group showed higher grades across four core subjects — math, science, English and history. The improvement averaged a third of a grade point increase on a standard 4.0 grade point scale, equivalent to moving from a C- to a C or a B to a B+. White students in the high-expectations group saw a slight improvement in grades, but the change wasn’t statistically significant.

Sept. 5, 2013 For more information, contact: Jessica Sinn, College of Liberal Arts, 512-471-2404; David Yeager, Department of Psychology, 512-471-1846,

Sunday, September 1, 2013

For the Sake of All: A Report on the Health and Well-Being of African Americans in St. Louis

For the Sake of All: A Report on the Health and Well-Being of African Americans in St. Louis.

The first of five policy briefs — the hallmark of an ongoing, multi-disciplinary study titled “For the Sake of All: A Report on the Health and Well-Being of African Americans in St. Louis” — has been released to coincide with the Aug. 28 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

Titled “How Can We Save Lives — and Save Money — in St. Louis? Invest in Economic and Educational Opportunity,” the brief focuses on the need for a multidisciplinary approach to improve health by focusing on education and economic opportunities for African Americans in St. Louis. The brief notes that educational and economic factors are closely related to health outcomes but many do not think of them as linked.

Using local data and a formula derived from decades of studies on social factors and mortality, it estimates that one in six deaths among African-American adults in 2011 was due to poverty or low levels of education. The cost to the region of this loss of life is estimated at $3.3 billion.

For the Sake of All: A Report on the Health and Well-Being of African Americans in St. Louis

“On a day when we stop to reflect on the great progress we have made as a nation since Dr. King first articulated his dream and the considerable work yet to be done, it seemed appropriate to add this information to the conversation here in St. Louis,” said Jason Q. Purnell, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and lead researcher on the project.

“Access to quality medical care is essential to improving the health and well-being of African Americans,” the brief notes, “but the health sector cannot do it alone.”

The report offers two concrete, evidence-based suggestions for improvement — and examples of what is already working — that were informed by engaging key stakeholders in the community:

Invest in quality early childhood development for all children.
Help low- to moderate-income families create economic opportunities.

The project team hopes that members of the community will use the opportunity of the brief’s release to add their own perspectives through a commenting feature on the project website. They will use comments and input from additional community engagement efforts to craft the final set of recommendations to be included in a final report.

“For the Sake of All” is funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health and includes faculty from Washington University in St. Louis and from Saint Louis University. WUSTL’s Institute for Public Health, the Brown School’s Policy Forum, the The St. Louis American newspaper and the online news site St. Louis Beacon are partners as well.

“This is incredibly important work for this region,” said Donald M. Suggs, DDS, publisher of The St. Louis American. “It is vital that this information about the relationship between health and key social factors is in the hands of policymakers and members of the community so that we can work together to address lingering disparities.”

The next brief, scheduled for release this fall, will center on high school dropouts and health. The project’s entire research findings will culminate in a community conference in the spring of 2014, the year of the 60th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The project team of African-American scholars cuts across disciplines and institutions.

The participating scholars from Washington University, in addition to Purnell, are:

Bettina F. Drake, PhD, assistant professor of surgery in Public Health Sciences at the School of Medicine;
Melody S. Goodman, PhD, assistant professor of surgery in Public Health Sciences at the School of Medicine;
Darrell L. Hudson, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School; and
William F. Tate, PhD, the Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences and chair of the Department of Education.

Saint Louis University faculty partners are:

Keith Elder, PhD, associate professor and chair, Department of Health Management & Policy for the College for Public Health & Social Justice; and
Keon Gilbert, DPhil, assistant professor at the College for Public Health & Social Justice.

Washington University in St. Louis. One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130. MEDIA CONTACTS Leslie McCarthy Senior News Director (314) 935-6603

Sunday, August 18, 2013

‘Reflections: African American Life’ from the Myrna Colley-Lee Collection. Private Collection Reveals the Culture and Identity of African Americans in the 20th Century

Howard University Gallery of Art Presents ‘Reflections: African American Life’ from the Myrna Colley-Lee Collection. Private Collection Reveals the Culture and Identity of African Americans in the 20th Century

WASHINGTON (August 9, 2013) – Howard University is pleased to announce Reflections: African American Life from the Myrna Colley-Lee Collection, an exhibition which honors the lives, traditions, and environments of African Americans in the 20th century. Featuring more than 50 pieces from the collection of renowned costume designer and arts patron, Myrna Colley-Lee, Reflections tells a story of heritage, community, and place. Reflections is on view at Howard University Gallery of Art from Aug. 17 through Oct. 27. The Gallery, located in Childers Hall, is open Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Comprised of paintings, collages, photographs, textile pieces and works on paper, the exhibition is thoughtfully curated to reflect the culture and experiences of African Americans, celebrating their unique style, and providing insight into their Southern roots and migratory history. The imagery in Reflections focuses primarily on narrative works and landscapes of everyday life, past and present. With this multifarious selection, figurative artworks lead viewers on a journey into memory and beyond. Each piece reveals a portion of the inspiring story of the African diaspora that the entire collection portrays.

Leading this exploration are works on paper by prominent African-American artists including Elizabeth Catlett, Gwen Knight, Betye Saar, John Scott and Hale Woodruff. Rural landscapes captured by Maude Schulyer Clay, Gerald DeLoach, Randy Hayes and Tom Rankin are set in contrast with urban landscape paintings by Ernest Crichlow and Rod Ivey. Studio portraits by celebrated photographer James Van Der Zee, and the more candid photography of Roland Freeman, Milly

Moorhead and Eudora Welty, provide a glimpse into the African diaspora. Works by collage masters Romare Bearden and James Denmark, along with a haunting shadowbox construction by postmodernist Radcliffe Bailey, speak to the layered histories and spiritual strength. A rare painting by famed artist Charles White highlights the transformative journey and conveys the quiet wisdom of Reflections.

Charles White, Untitled

Charles White, Untitled, c. 1969, oil on canvas. Image courtesy of Ian White.

This collection represents a dialogue between the artists and reflects the attitude and eye of Myrna Colley-Lee—artist and cultural connoisseur with great respect and understanding for the African storytelling tradition. Ms. Colley-Lee is a leading advocate for the arts, an arts patron, and a pioneer costume designer in Black Theatre. Ms. Colley-Lee is currently Chair of the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Arts Commission. She serves on the Acquisitions Committee of the Mississippi Museum of Art and on the Advisory Boards of both the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, and the College of Architecture, Art and Design at Mississippi State University.

Getting her start in the 1960s and continuing to design for regional theatres today, Colley-Lee is credited as one of the foremost costume designers in the Black Theatre Movement. Her work was featured in the exhibition Songs of Social Significance at the Tobin Collection Gallery of the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio in 2012. The exhibition showcased costumes, renderings and collages from plays and a study of her design process. In 2006, following the success of several small regional shows, the Mississippi Museum of Art organized a major exhibition called GladRags: Sketches, Swatches, and Costume Designs by Myrna Colley-Lee. It toured to more than a dozen venues.

Ernest Crichlow, Window, 1980

Ernest Crichlow, Window, 1980, oil on canvas. Image courtesy of the artist.

Also in 2006, Colley-Lee established the SonEdna Foundation, Inc., an organization that celebrates and promotes literary arts and writers of all genres and backgrounds in the greater Mississippi Delta community, and the world. In her role as founder and president, Colley-Lee travels nationally as an advocate of the literary arts while advancing the cause of her foundation and establishing relationships with other organizations. Believing that people are empowered through the literary arts, her primary vision is to promote the essential value of literature by providing a quality artistic and intellectual environment for writers and the public. The SonEdna Foundation delivers creative and transformative programming in order to develop new writers and readers.

Colley-Lee has received numerous awards, including Honored Artist from the National Museum of Women in the Arts; the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Lifetime Achievement Award; the Exemplary Arts Service Award from the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education; Outstanding Costume Design from the National Black Theatre Festival; the Wynona Lee Fletcher Award for Outstanding Achievement as a Designer from the Black Theatre Network; among others.

Reflections is organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C., in collaboration with the office of Myrna Colley-Lee.

Following the showing at Howard, the exhibition is scheduled to tour Alexandria Museum of Art, Alexandria, La. (Nov.1, 2013 – Feb.17, 2014); Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Laurel, Miss. (Sep. 2, 2014 – Nov. 16, 2014); and Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Ala. (Jan. 15, 2015 - March 15, 2015).

The exhibition is co-curated by René Paul Barilleaux and Susan Lloyd McClamroch, who worked together at the Mississippi Museum of Art. Barilleaux is currently the Chief Curator and Curator of Art After 1945 at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio. Ms. McClamroch is an Independent Curator, who has served at the University of Mississippi as Exhibition Coordinator for the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and at Tougaloo College as Curator of the Tougaloo College Art Collection.

International Arts & Artists in Washington, DC, is a non-profit arts service organization dedicated to increasing cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts internationally through exhibitions, programs and services to artists, arts institutions and the public. Visit

ABOUT HOWARD: Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 30 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Rachel Mann Communications Specialist 202.238.2631

Monday, June 10, 2013

ACLU Marijuana Report Finds Overwhelming Racial Bias in Marijuana Arrests

New ACLU Report Finds Overwhelming Racial Bias in Marijuana Arrests. Groundbreaking Analysis Finds Marijuana Arrests Comprise Nearly Half of All Drug Arrests

NEW YORK – Black people are 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people despite comparable usage rates, according to a report released today by the American Civil Liberties Union. The report also found that marijuana arrests now make up nearly half of all drug arrests, with police making over 7 million marijuana possession arrests between 2001 and 2010. "The War on Marijuana in Black and White: Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Arrests" is the first-ever report to examine nationwide state and county marijuana arrest data by race.

"The war on marijuana has disproportionately been a war on people of color," said Ezekiel Edwards, director of the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project and one of the primary authors of the report. "State and local governments have aggressively enforced marijuana laws selectively against Black people and communities, needlessly ensnaring hundreds of thousands of people in the criminal justice system at tremendous human and financial cost."

The findings show that while there were pronounced racial disparities in marijuana arrests 10 years ago, they have grown significantly worse. In counties with the worst disparities, Blacks were as much as 30 times more likely to be arrested. The racial disparities exist in all regions of the U.S., as well as in both large and small counties, cities and rural areas, and in both high- and low-income communities. Disparities are also consistently high whether Blacks make up a small or a large percentage of a county's overall population.

ACLU Marijuana Report

Despite the fact that a majority of Americans now support marijuana legalization, states spent an estimated $3.61 billion enforcing marijuana possession laws in 2010 alone. New York and California combined spent over $1 billion. Even though many police departments across the country have made enforcement a priority for the past decade, the aggressive enforcement of marijuana laws has failed to eradicate or even diminish the use of marijuana.

"The aggressive policing of marijuana is time-consuming, costly, racially biased, and doesn't work," said Edwards. "These arrests have a significant detrimental impact on people's lives, as well as on the communities in which they live. When people are arrested for possessing even tiny amounts of marijuana, they can be disqualified from public housing or student financial aid, lose or find it more difficult to obtain employment, lose custody of their child, or be deported."

The ACLU calls for states to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, which it says would eliminate the unfair racially- and community-targeted selective enforcement of marijuana laws. In addition, at a time when states are facing budget shortfalls, taxing and regulating would allow them to save millions of dollars currently spent on enforcement while raising millions more in revenue – money that can be invested in community and public health programs, including drug treatment.

If legalization is not possible, the ACLU recommends either depenalizing marijuana possession by removing all civil and criminal penalties or decriminalizing low-level marijuana possession, so that it becomes a civil offense. Finally, if decriminalization is not possible, the ACLU suggests deprioritizing police and prosecutorial enforcement of marijuana possession laws.

In the report, the organization also urges lawmakers and law enforcement to reform policing practices, including ending racial profiling as well as unconstitutional stops, frisks, and searches. It also recommends reforming state and federal funding streams and their performance measures that can incentivize police to make low-level drug arrests.

ACLU, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York NY 10004. June 4, 2013 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: 212-549-2666,

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rutgers Study: Protective Effect of Education on Marriage Differs Between White and African-American Women

Rutgers Study: Protective Effect of Education on Marriage Differs Between White and African-American Women.

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Married couples who have attained higher levels of education are less likely to divorce than less-educated couples, but a new study conducted at Rutgers School of Social Work points to significant racial differences.

“African-American women don’t seem to enjoy the same degree of protection that education confers on marriage,” said Jeounghee Kim, assistant professor at the school. “For white Americans, higher education is related to a lower chance of divorce, and this protective effect of education on marriage increased consistently among the recent generations. But for African-American women, higher education is not necessarily related to a lower chance of divorce.”

In her study, published in the journal Family Relations and funded by the Silberman Fund Faculty Grant Program, Kim observed that researchers have found the overall divorce rate has leveled off since the 1980s after more than a century-long rise. But the rate has increasingly diverged by race and socioeconomic class, as measured by educational attainment. The divorce rate has remained steady for white women since 1980, while the trend has been less stable for African-American women.

Kim separately studied white and African-American women in five-year marriage cohorts starting from 1975 to 1979 and ending in 1995 to 1999. She took into account demographic characteristics including age, motherhood status and post-secondary education (associate degree at minimum) when married, and geographic region. Kim also measured marital dissolution (within nine years of first marriage) rather than by legal divorce, which many African-American women eschew in favor of a permanent separation.

Young African American womanKim’s analysis revealed that the percentage of white women with some postsecondary education continuously increased throughout the cohorts. This was not the case with African-American women, whose educational attainment peaked in the 1985-1994 cohorts before declining.

Concurrently, she found the percentage of white women having marital breakups declined throughout the study period, while African-American women experienced an increase in the 1980s’ cohort before declining in the 1990 to 1994 cohort.

Kim’s findings were consistent with much existing literature: Women with higher levels of education, and thus greater earning potential, would make more attractive marriage partners than women without in more recent marriage cohorts. Also, their marriages tend to last longer than those of their counterparts – particularly among white women – with less education.

Kim’s research raises questions as to why African-American women’s higher education does not have a strong marriage protective effect. “One possibility is that college education does not translate into the higher earnings that would help protect marriage for African Americans, she said. “Another could be that educational attainment may be insufficient to address the high levels of economic inequality that even well-educated African Americans experience. Many are the first in their families to have attained a post-secondary education and do not benefit from the cushion of intergenerational wealth possessed by some white families.”

A third possibility involves the gender gap in African Americans’ educational attainment; there are nearly twice as many African-American women college graduates as men. “We see the increasing power of education protecting marriage within the same socioeconomic class,” Kim said. “Well-educated white women may still have power to select an equally well-educated mate. Then, there may be a synergy factor – higher incomes, better and healthier lives, smarter kids – that helps sustain their marriage.

"On the other hand, the return on higher education may not be the same for many African-American women, who have less chance to marry their educational equals. Also, because they are less likely to marry outside their race, their choices are limited.”

Rutgers, The State University of New Jerse. Rutgers News, Your Source for University News. Media Contact: Steve Manas 732-932-7084, ext. 612 E-mail:


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

“Sugarcoated Arsenic.” Film Explores African-American Life at University of Virginia in the 1970s

“Sugarcoated Arsenic.” Film Explores African-American Life at University of Virginia in the 1970s

MARCH 11, 2013 ROBERT HULL. Students, faculty and other members of the University community filled the South Lawn Auditorium at Nau Hall Thursday to watch a black-and-white film, “Sugarcoated Arsenic.” In slightly more than 20 minutes, the film tells a remarkable story of African-American intellectual, social and political life at the University of Virginia in the 1970s.

“Sugarcoated Arsenic” was co-created by two College of Arts & Sciences faculty members, filmmaker Kevin Jerome Everson, a professor in the McIntire Department of Art, and Claudrena Harold, an associate professor in the Corcoran Department of History and the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies. The film conveys its message through the words and legacy of the late Vivian Verdell Gordon, director of U.Va.’s black studies program between 1975 and 1980.

The short film stars Erin Stewart, a professional actress and graduate of the U.Va. Department of Drama, as Gordon in re-enacted documentary-style footage, and utilizes an audiotape of a speech Gordon gave in 1984 at an event sponsored by the Office of African-American Affairs at the Luther P. Jackson House.

“Vivian Gordon was very much loved,” Harold said. “I think it’s safe to say that there’s never been a professor who enjoyed the kind of popularity that she had among black students.”

African-American Life at University of Virginia in the 1970s

(photo credit: Magdeldin Hamid, Roxanne Campbell and Claudrena Harold)

In more than 70 shorts and five feature-length films, Everson has often used a faux documentary technique in his award-winning work. Archival footage is re-edited or re-staged, real people perform re-enactments and historical moments interweave with contemporary narrative.

Shot on 16mm film, “Sugarcoated Arsenic” – the title is drawn from a phrase in Gordon’s taped speech – unfolds as if it were archival footage being discovered at the moment of viewing.

“It looks like the cans of film that Claudrena would find – that we, in fact, did not find – in searching through the archives,” Everson said. “It’s as if she had been in the archives somewhere, and she’d see these cans of film. For me, that’s what the film is – that’s part of the art object.”

Shot during the advent of Superstorm Sandy at the end of October, the film was made quickly and on the fly. Prior to the shoot, students were fitted for ’70s-style clothing and given hairstyles to match the era. The key was to avoid making the footage look like a fashion shoot or a nostalgia piece.

“We had the audiotape of Gordon,” Everson said, “but all the footage you see is based on photographs that were taken of African-American students here at the University in the ’70s. We just re-enacted the photographs.”

Everson and Harold applied for the Arts in Action grant in October 2011 to do a project on the history of African-Americans at U.Va. during the 1960s and the ’70s.

“It’s been 12 months of work, 12 months of digging, 12 months of discovering and 12 months of questioning,” Harold said.

“Sugarcoated Arsenic” is part of a multimedia initiative, “Black Fire,” sponsored by U.Va.’s Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts and funded by an Arts in Action grant. Featuring film, photography, lectures, performance art, a public exhibit and an online resource center, the “Black Fire” project explores the complex history of the struggle for racial equality, social justice and cultural transformation at the University between 1969 and 1985.

The project includes a wide range of research and artistic activities, including extensive interviews with former African-American faculty and alumni, as well as digitizing the files of the Black Student Alliance.

“My vision was to tell the story of African-American studies at U.Va, along with the struggle not just to integrate this place, but to transform it,” Harold said. “And I wanted to tell the story using Kevin’s aesthetic.”

As the film project progressed, Harold searched various archival collections, hoping to find footage of African-American students on Grounds at U.Va. during this key period of activism. But nothing turned up.

As an experimental filmmaker working in the space between fact and fiction, Everson’s style is to interrupt the documentary impulse by creating supposedly found archival documents. His established techniques dovetailed with the turn of events.

“Well, I thought, why don’t we just make a film as if Claudrena Harold – with all her effort, time and passion looking through the archives – had found this footage,” Everson said. “So the whole strategy was to shoot a film as if somebody shot it here at U.Va. in 1976.”

Based on the enthusiastic response to Thursday’s premiere, the strategy worked. With Gordon at the center, the film captures a vibrant community of African-American students and faculty connected by intellectual curiosity and human warmth.

Throughout the ’70s, there were numerous marches by African-American students to Carr’s Hill, including one in 1971. Inspired by these peaceful protests, the film depicts a staged protest using current U.Va. African-American students in the roles of their forerunners.

Harold was interested in seeing how current students would access the spirit of the original protest. “One of the most interesting moments that we had in the film was when the students were marching, and they had to sing,” she said.

Everson’s footage shows that the students are truly emotionally involved in the experience, touched by their own united voices as they march and sing together in re-enacted protest.

“And I told them,” Harold said, “that if you feel this way on Oct. 30, 2012, and there are 35 of you, imagine how black folks felt in Birmingham, Ala., in 1953, when there were 5,000.”

Media Contact: Robert Hull General Assignment Writer U.Va. Media Relations 434-989-1745

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Civil Rights Lawyer Michelle Alexander to Visit LSU for Discussion on Race and the Criminal Justice System

Activist and Civil Rights Lawyer Michelle Alexander to Visit LSU for Discussion on Race and the Criminal Justice System. Lecture is a part of the Critical Conversations: Cradle to Prison Pipeline series of programs examining racial inequalities and the penal system.

BATON ROUGE – Renowned advocate, activist and civil rights lawyer Michelle Alexander, the author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” will visit LSU’s campus on Thursday, March 14, for a lecture at 7 p.m. in the LSU Student Union Theater. The event is free and open to the public.

Immediately following the lecture, Alexander will meet event patrons and host a book signing. Copies of “The New Jim Crow” will be available for purchase on site from Barnes & Noble at LSU.

Alexander’s visit is a part of a yearlong programming series called Critical Conversations: Cradle to Prison Pipeline. The programming is a collaboration of LSU Campus Life, LSU Black Faculty Staff Caucus, LSU African American Cultural Center, LSU African & African American Studies Program, LSU Department of Sociology and LSU Women’s Center.

Alexander will be available for a press conference prior to her lecture at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 14, in the LSU Student Union’s Castilian Room, Room 304. No other pre-event media interviews will be accommodated.

The New Jim Crow

In “The New Jim Crow,” Alexander presents her view that the criminal justice system has recreated a caste-like system that has resulted in millions of African-Americans being imprisoned and as a result, finding themselves in significant socio-economic disadvantage upon release.
Credentials and parking permit requests for members of the media must be requested through Melissa Foley in the Office of Communications & University Relations at no later than Tuesday, March 12, at noon.

In “The New Jim Crow,” Alexander presents her view that the criminal justice system has recreated a caste-like system that has resulted in millions of African-Americans being imprisoned and as a result, finding themselves in significant socio-economic disadvantage upon release. As a civil rights lawyer and legal scholar, Alexander demonstrates that it is within the law to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways in which it was once legal to discriminate against African-Americans. Alexander points out that once labeled a felon, old forms of discrimination are legal again through the denial of basic civil and human rights, such as the right to vote, discrimination in employment and housing, and access to education and public benefits. In her words “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.”

Alexander has taught at a number of universities, including Stanford Law School, where she directed the Civil Rights Clinics. In 2005, she won a Soros Justice Fellowship and accepted a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University. Alexander is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Vanderbilt University.

Prior to entering academia, Alexander served as the director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of Northern California. She also has worked as a litigator at private law firms where she specialized in class action lawsuits alleging race and gender discrimination.

For more information on Michelle Alexander’s lecture or the Critical Conversations: Cradle to Prison Pipeline series, please contact Josh Dean, assistant director of Campus Life, at 225-578-5160 or by email at Individuals with disabilities should contact Campus Life at 225-578-5160 at least seven days in advance to address any accommodation concerns. For information about the full Critical Conversations series of programs, please visit

Melissa Foley LSU Media Relations 225-578-3869 Media Center Communications & University Relations Louisiana State University 3960 West Lakeshore Drive Baton Rouge, LA 70803 Telephone: 225-578-8654 Fax: 225-578-3860 E-mail:

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Andrew Williams, professor and John P. Raynor Distinguished Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering, was recognized as one of the 50 most Important African-Americans in Technology by

50 most Important African-Americans in Technology include Marquette engineering professor. Professor recognized for inspiring women and minority students to become engineers

Andrew Williams, professor and John P. Raynor Distinguished Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering, was recognized as one of the 50 most Important African-Americans in Technology by

Williams has worked extensively in education, recruiting, retaining, and motivating underrepresented and female students to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in computing and engineering. He started in 2012 at Marquette, where he is the director of the Humanoid Engineering and Intelligent Robotics Lab. His research is currently focused on innovative methods for utilizing robots and artificial intelligence to address childhood obesity.

Williams and the other 49 honorees will be recognized at the 13th annual Innovation and Equity Symposium in Washington, D.C., Thursday, April 4. The theme of this year’s symposium is “Keeping America First in Technology: Public Innovation and Supplier Diversity.” During the event, Williams will be part of a panel that discusses the best practices to improve diversity in the sciences and describe how to spread best practices to classrooms across the country, as well as how to get students to embrace careers in the STEM fields.

Andrew Williams

Andrew B. Williams, Ph.D. Professor and John P. Raynor, S.J., Distinguished Chair; Director, Humanoid Engineering & Intelligent Robotics Lab
“Dr. Williams has been a beacon in the engineering field for more than a decade, advocating for and improving minority representation in engineering,” said Robert H. Bishop, Opus Dean of the Marquette College of Engineering. “Marquette is thrilled that he is continuing his outreach and research endeavors here in Milwaukee.”

Prior to Marquette, Williams was the chair of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at Spelman College, a historically black college for women in Atlanta. At Spelman he secured nearly $6 million of research and educational funding and served as the principal investigator for the National Science Foundation-funded project ARTSI (Advancing Robotics Technology for Societal Impact), which encourages minority and underrepresented populations to study engineering and robotics.

“I started using robots early in my career because I saw it was a good teaching tool,” Williams said. “Particularly for students who historically don’t consider computing or engineering, robots help draw these students to these fields when they see how engineering can make a positive impact on social issues like obesity.”

Williams received his master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from Marquette. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Kansas and returned to become the first African-American to graduate from Kansas with a doctorate in electrical engineering.

Office of Marketing and Communication Contact: Andy Brodzeller Senior Communication Specialist (414) 288-0286 (office) (414) 587-6241 (cell)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

African-American studies director Valerie Babb to discuss legacy of slaver ship Wanderer

Athens, Ga. - Valerie Babb, director of the University of Georgia Institute for African American Studies, will give a lecture on "In the Footfalls of Diaspora: Reflections on the Wanderer" March 5 at 5:30 p.m. in the Ciné Lab, 234 W. Hancock Ave. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Babb's talk will be the last in the six-part Global Georgia Initiative, a series of lectures and conversations organized by the UGA Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts.

Babb is a professor of English in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Her research is primarily focused on constructions of race and gender in American and African-American literature and culture. She is the author of "Whiteness Visible: The Meaning of Whiteness in American Literature and Culture" and "Ernest Gaines" and the co-author of "Black Georgetown Remembered."

The Wanderer was a converted luxury vessel that, in 1858, brought 409 Africans from the region of present-day Angola to the Georgia coast to be sold into slavery. The voyage took place nearly 50 years after the passage of the federal Slave Importation Act, which made the foreign slave trade illegal in the U.S.

The Wanderer (slave ship)

"Nothing has crystallized the complexities of diaspora for me more than researching the Wanderer, a New York Yacht Club pleasure ship that became a slaver and brought Congolese humans into chattel slavery when it landed on Jekyll Island, Ga.," said Babb. "My talk will reflect upon the many reconsiderations of diaspora's significance brought about by my trying to discover who those enslaved might have been and the ways they attempted to pass on their story."

Barbara McCaskill, associate professor of English in the Franklin College and co-director of the Civil Rights Digital Library Initiative, will introduce Babb's lecture.

The goal of the Global Georgia Initiative is to present global problems in local context by addressing pressing contemporary questions—including the economy, society and the environment—with a focus on how the arts and humanities can intervene.

Willson Center for Humanities and Arts

The Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts is a unit of the Office of the Vice President for Research. In the service of its mission to promote research and creativity in the humanities and arts, the Willson Center sponsors and participates in numerous public events on and off the UGA campus throughout the academic year. It supports faculty through research grants, lectures, symposia, publications, visiting scholars, visiting artists, collaborative instruction, public conferences, exhibitions and performances. For more information.

Writer: Dave Marr News Service: University of Georgia Office of Public Affairs UGA Public Affairs Hodgson Oil Building, Suite 200N 286 Oconee Street Athens, GA 30602-1999 Phone 706 / 542-8083 · Fax 706 / 542-3939

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Morehouse College founded February 14, 1867

Morehouse College founded February 14, 1867. Title: [Exterior view of Graves(?) Hall, Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia] Related Names: Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963 , collector. Date Created / Published: [1899 or 1900] Medium: 1 photographic print : gelatin silver. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-124909 (b and w film copy neg.)

Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Access Advisory: Original albums; Restricted access; Served by appointment only. Call Number: LOT 11930, no. 333 [P and P] Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.

Notes: In album (disbound): Negro life in Georgia, U.S.A., compiled and prepared by W.E.B. Du Bois, v. 4, no. 333. B and w copy prints for LOT 11930 are provided as surrogates of original photographs for reference use in P and P Reading Room. A microfilm surrogate is also available. Forms part of: Daniel Murray Collection (Library of Congress). Original albums filed in PR 12 under LOT 11930

Morehouse College

Subjects: Morehouse College (Atlanta, Ga.)--Buildings--1890-1900. African Americans--Education--Georgia--Atlanta--1890-1900. Educational facilities--Georgia--Atlanta--1890-1900. Format: Gelatin silver prints--1890-1900. Collections: African American Photographs Assembled for 1900 Paris Exposition

Part of: Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963. Du Bois albums of photographs of African Americans in Georgia exhibited at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900.

On February 14, 1867, the Augusta Institute was founded by William Jefferson White, an Baptist minister and cabinetmaker, with the support of the Rev. Richard C. Coulter, a former slave, and the Rev. Edmund Turney, organizer of the National Theological Institute for educating freedmen. The institution was founded to educate African American men in theology and education and was located in Springfield Baptist Church, the oldest independent black church in the United States. The school received sponsorship from the American Baptist Home Mission Society, an organization that helped establish several historically black colleges. The Institute's first president was Rev. Dr. Joseph T. Robert (father of Brigadier General Henry Martyn Robert, author of Robert's Rules of Order).

Friday, February 8, 2013

Franklin College Celebrates Black History Month

Franklin College Celebrates Black History Month. Release date: February 5, 2013 FRANKLIN, Ind. - As February is national Black History Month, Franklin College's Office of Multicultural Services is kicking off its programs with an event to bring in professionals from the Indianapolis area to talk about issues that impact the community, especially African-Americans.

This event will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6 in the Napolitan Student Center in Branigin Room East. Topics that will be highlighted during the program include education, HIV/AIDS and women in the media. This event is free and open to the public.

The schedule of additional events for Black History Month includes:

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day This free event will be held at 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7 in the Napolitan Student Center Health Center.

Front of Old Main on the campus of Franklin College

Front of Old Main on the campus of Franklin College

The Truth about Hip Hop: Hip Hop's Influence on Today's Culture This free event will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12 in the Napolitan Student Center in Room 245.

National Pan-Hellenic Council Step Exhibition Representatives from the NPHC will be discussing their college experiences and demonstrating traditional step routines. This free event will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16 in the Napolitan Student Center in the Branigin Room.

Black Student Union's 6th Annual Fashion Show This year's theme is Fashion Eclipse. Tickets are $3 per person, or audience members can pay $2 per person and bring in toiletry items. Proceeds and donations will benefit Women in Motion, Inc. This is an Indianapolis-based, nonprofit organization that raises awareness about HIV/AIDS prevention. This event will be held 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22 at in the Napolitan Student Center in the Branigin Room.

CommUnity Dialogue: Race V. Ethnicity This free event will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26 in the Napolitan Student Center in Room 245.

All events are open to the public.

For more information, contact the Franklin College Office of Marketing and Communications at (317) 738-8185.

Founded in 1834, Franklin College is a residential four-year undergraduate liberal arts institution with a scenic, wooded campus located 20 minutes south of downtown Indianapolis. The college prepares men and women for challenging careers and fulfilling lives through the liberal arts, offering its approximately 1,000 students 28 majors, 36 minors and eight pre-professional programs. In 1842, the college began admitting women, becoming the first coeducational institution in Indiana and the seventh in the nation. Franklin College maintains a voluntary association with the American Baptist Churches USA. For more information, visit Franklin College ⋅ 101 Branigin Blvd. Franklin, IN 46131 (800) 852-0232

Image Credit: This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Mingusboodle at the wikipedia project. This applies worldwide. In case this is not legally possible: Mingusboodle grants anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Richard Allen "African Methodist Episcopal Church" (AME Church)

First African Methodist Episcopal Church ~ is founded in Phildelphia, Pennsylvania. Richard Allen led a small group of black Methodists. They formed the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1793. In general, they adopted the doctrines and form of government of the Methodist Episcopal Church. On February 4, 1794 Bethel AME was dedicated with Allen as pastor.

To establish Bethel’s independence, Allen successfully sued in the Pennsylvania courts in 1807 and 1815 for the right of his congregation to exist as an institution independent of white Methodist congregations. Because black Methodists in other middle Atlantic communities also encountered racism and desired religious autonomy, Allen called them to meet in Philadelphia in 1816 to form a new Wesleyan denomination, the "African Methodist Episcopal Church" (AME Church).

The African Methodist Episcopal Church has a unique history as it is the first major religious denomination in the western world that developed because of sociological rather than theological differences. It was the first African-American denomination organized and incorporated in the United States. The church was born in protest against racial discrimination and slavery. This was in keeping with the Methodist Church's philosophy, whose founder John Wesley had once called the slave-trade "that execrable sum of all villainies."

Richard Allen

Richard Allen from the frontispiece of History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (1891) by Daniel A. Payne.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Alfred L. Cralle ice cream scoop

Alfred L. Cralle  September 4, 1866–1920) - Is best remembered for inventing the ice cream scoop, a design still in use today. Born in Kenbridge, Lunenburg County, Virginia. He attended local schools and worked with his father in the carpentry trade as a young man, becoming interested in mechanics.

Moving to Washington, DC he took advanced courses at Wayland Seminary, one of a number of schools founded by the American Baptist Home Mission Society to educate African -Americans after the Civil War.

Later, he settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he served as a porter at Markell Brothers' drug store and the St. Charles Hotel. While working Cralle noticed that ice cream, which had become a popular confection, was difficult to dispense. It tended to stick to spoons and ladles, usually requiring use of two hands and at least two implements to serve.

Alfred L. CralleTo overcome this, he invented a one handed mechanical device now known as the ice cream scoop and applied for a patent. On February 2, 1897, he was granted U.S. Patent #576395. Cralle’s invention originally called “Ice Cream Mold and Disher” was designed to be able to keep ice cream and other foods from sticking, and easy to operate with one hand. Strong and durable, effective, inexpensive, it could be constructed in almost any desired size and shape, with no delicate parts that could break or malfunction.

Alfred L. Cralle went on to become a successful businessman as well. He was named assistant manager when the Afro-American Financial, Accumulating, Merchandise and Business Association in Pittsburgh was organized.

Alfred L. Cralle ice cream scoop

Friday, January 25, 2013

Personal Experiences of African American Pioneers to be Featured in HSU Western Heritage Lecture Series

Personal Experiences of African American Pioneers to be Featured in HSU Western Heritage Lecture Series.

Noted historian, Dr. Cary Wintz, weaves a tale of both hope and hardship as he brings to life the stories of those who pushed through Texas as pioneers in the late 19th century. Even more intriguing are the personal experiences of African American westerners who carved out a life on the plains of West Texas.

Wintz, distinguished professor of history and interim department chairperson at Texas Southern University in Houston, is the featured speaker in Hardin-Simmons University’s Guy Caldwell Western Heritage Lecture Series.

The free event grows each year as the Abilene community and university students come to hear about the pathfinders who trail blazed these same grounds more than a century ago.

Nat Love. pronounced as Nate Love, also known as Deadwood Dick (1854–1921), was an African-American cowboy following the American Civil War.
Wintz combines a rare combination of African-American history and culture, race and ethnicity, and Texas history in his presentation, “African Americans in West Texas: Personal Experiences of Pioneering Black Westerners.” His recent research interests include the Harlem Renaissance, racial and political ideology in the early 20th century, and African Americans in Texas.

Wintz has had a long connection with HSU. After the death of HSU’s noted author/historian president, Dr. Rupert N. Richardson, Wintz, co-edited Richardson’s work, Texas: The Lone Star State, which was the first college-level textbook on Texas history.

The 2013 installment of the Guy Caldwell Western Heritage Lecture is slated for Friday, February 1, 7:30 p.m. in the Johnson Building multipurpose room on the HSU campus. The public is invited to this free event.

About Dr. Cary Wintz

Wintz holds memberships in the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the Southern Historical Association, and several other professional organizations. He has served as president of the Southwestern Historical Association, president of the Southwestern Social Science Association, and president of the East Texas Historical Association.

Wintz also edited, abridged, and commented on an edition of Thomas Dixon Jr.’s 1905 novel, The Clansman. He has recently completed work on Oxford University Press’s Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present: From the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-first Century, 5 vols, (2009), and is currently working on an Encyclopedia of African American Political Thought and several other projects.

Dr. Wintz also serves in the Texas State Guard with the rank of WO1. He is the public affairs officer of the Houston Medical Response Group of the Medical Brigade and also attached to State Guard headquarters where he serves as historian.

About the Guy Caldwell Western Heritage Lecture Series

The Guy Caldwell Western Heritage Lecture Series began in 2006 in order to promote and preserve the western legacy so closely tied to Hardin-Simmons University, the Abilene area, and West Texas. The series is funded by the Guy Caldwell Endowment.

Dr. Tiffany Fink, chair of the Guy Caldwell Western Heritage Lecture Series and associate professor of history at HSU, says, “It is our goal to continue to preserve the western heritage of HSU, Abilene, and West Texas.”

Historical Background

Guy and Jeanette Caldwell were HSU alums and remained active for many years with the university, Abilene, and the Albany community where they ran a 25,000 acre ranch and farm. Both Guy and Jeanette served in church and civic leadership positions in the Abilene community as well as worked diligently to support their alma mater.

Henry (Guy) Caldwell was born in Breckenridge, September 24, 1904, the only son of C. M. “Judge” and Cora Belle Caldwell. He graduated from Breckenridge High School in 1922, at which time the Caldwell family moved to Abilene, in part so that he could attend what was then known as Simmons College. He graduated from Hardin-Simmons University in 1927 with a major in economics and a minor in history.

Like his father before him, Guy Caldwell was a strong supporter of HSU, serving on the university’s Board of Development, the Academic Foundation, and Board of Trustees.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Caldwell worked with a few other Simmons College alumni to establish the dollar-a-month club. The alumni proposed that alumni give a dollar of their earnings to Simmons College each month during the economic calamity in order to help keep the institution open. Dr. Richardson noted that the dollar-a-month club proved very inspirational to the faculty, staff, and administrators, many giving back 50% of their pay checks during the 1930s.

In the early 1950s, Guy and Jeanette Caldwell, in conjunction with the Cowboy Band and some of the HSU faculty, worked with evangelist Billy Graham on the campus and at the Caldwell ranch to produce a motion picture designed to carry a gospel message. To repay the Caldwells and HSU for their support and assistance, Graham spent a day on the Forty Acres, visiting with students, faculty, and staff and delivered an evangelical message to the largest crowd ever gathered in Rose Field House.

In 1958, Guy Caldwell received the John J. Keeter Jr. Alumni Service Award, the highest honor that can be bestowed on an HSU graduate. In 1981, he and his wife, Jeanette, were the first couple to receive jointly the Distinguished Alumni Award.

HSU president emeritus, Dr. Jesse Fletcher, described Caldwell as, “The son of pioneers and the consummate West Texan. With the deep faith that so often characterized the founding fathers, he could be counted on as a rancher, a family man, a churchman, a citizen, and a friend. Few graduates of HSU have been more consistently supportive than Guy Caldwell. That spirit so beautifully practiced by Guy and his college sweetheart and wife, Jeanette, will be reflected on the campus throughout its years.”

PRESS RELEASE: Hardin-Simmons University 2200 Hickory, Abilene, TX, 79698 (325) 670-1000; 877-GO-HSUTX Friday, January 25, 2013 Contact Information (325) 670-1264

IMAGE CREDIT: This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Significant Contributions of African-American Scientists, Authors, Educators and Leaders

Black History Month: UAlbany Faculty Experts Discuss Significant Contributions of African-American Scientists, Authors, Educators and Leaders

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 21, 2013) -- As Black History Month is celebrated throughout the United States in February, University at Albany faculty experts are available to discuss the legacy of African-American scientists, political leaders, educators and artists who helped shape U.S. history. These experts and areas of specialty include:

UAlbany Associate Professor of Women's Studies Janell Hobson explains the history behind the observance and details the important contributions of lesser known individuals who helped shape the nation. Hobson has spearheaded a special series for Ms. Magazine's blog on “Black Herstory” month and is leading the planning for a special symposium in honor of the 100th anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s death. Hobson is the author of Body as Evidence (2012), an analysis of how race and gender intersect in the rhetoric and imagery of popular culture in the early 21st century.

UAlbany Assistant Professor of Africana Studies Ibram Rogers researches African-American history, American social history, the racial history of higher education, history of Africana Studies, civil rights and black power studies, student activism, the Long Sixties, black social and political thought, and American intellectual history. He has published essays on the Black Campus Movement, black power, and intellectual history in books and referred academic journals, including The Journal of African American History, Journal of Social History, Journal of Black Studies, Journal of African American Studies, and The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture.

Legendary Civil War veteran Harriet Tubman passed away is among a host of African Americans who helped shape U.S. history. (Illustration by Curtis James, used by permission)
Africana Studies and History Professor Allen Ballard offers insight into the history and culture of African Americans, as well as the history of the Civil War. Ballard has published several books, including The Education of Black People (1973) and Carried by Six (2009). He was also one of the first two African Americans to integrate Kenyon College.

Africana Studies Chair and Associate Professor Marcia Sutherland studies African psychology (including issues affecting people of African heritage), enslavement and colonial experiences of people of African descent, HIV/AIDS, and transracial adoption. Sutherland is the author of Black Authenticity: A Psychology for Liberating People of African Descent (1997).

University at Albany, State University of New York · 1400 Washington Ave. · Albany, NY 12222 · Phone (518) 442-3300 Contact: Media Relations Office (518) 956-8150

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson will lecture at the University of South Alabama’s African-American Studies commemorative event to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Best-Selling Author, Professor and News Contributor Michael Eric Dyson Speaks on Dr. King at USA Event.

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, professor of sociology at Georgetown University, MSNBC political analyst and best-selling author, will lecture at the University of South Alabama’s African-American Studies commemorative event to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, at the Mobile Civic Center Theater.

Dyson will lecture on “The Sweetness of Struggle.” Jaguar Productions and the Mobile County Commission are co-sponsors, and this event is free and open to the public. JagTran will pick up students near the USA Dining Hall and Epsilon Residence Hall at 6 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.

“Our campus is changing and students need to be reminded about the importance of living a life consciously engaged in struggle,” said Dr. Kern Jackson, assistant professor of English at USA and director of the African-American Studies program. “During this event, we will celebrate the life of Dr. King, and the power and importance of our collective struggle with American democracy.”

University of South Alabama logo

Dyson is recognized as one of the nation’s most insightful and remarkable figures of our time. He is a native of Detroit, Mich., and has taught at Brown, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Columbia University, and several others. Dyson has won many prestigious honors, from an American Book Award to the NAACP Image Award, where he was nominated five times, taking home the celebrated trophy twice.

His influence has spread far beyond the academy in his roles of social activist, renowned orator, highly sought-after lecturer, and ordained Baptist minister and prophetic preacher. His work has led him from meeting with the president in the Oval O-ffice of the White House to meeting with prisoners across the country.

Dyson has been cited by Ebony magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential African-Americans and as one of the 150 Most Powerful Blacks in the nation. He has appeared on every major television and radio show in the country, including the Today Show, NPR’s “Talk of the Nation,” CNN, the Tavis Smiley Show, Def Poetry Jam, Meet the Press, Face the Nation, Real Time with Bill Maher and the Colbert Report.

Dyson is the author of many books, including “Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X,” which was named one of the most important African-American books of the 20th Century. The book was also named as a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times. He is also the author of “Holler if You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur” and a 2005 New York Times bestseller “Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?”

For more information about the USA MLK event, call Jaguar Productions at (251)460-7144.

January 15, 2013 Contact: Joy Washington, USA Public Relations, (251) 460-6638