Monday, November 22, 2010

IU's Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center promotes community service through 'Kwanzaa-in-Action'

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- "Kwanzaa-in-Action," the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center's Pre-Kwanzaa Celebration on Dec. 1 at Indiana University Bloomington, will again focus on community service. The event is designed to incorporate the seven principles of Kwanzaa through friendly competition among IU student organizations to benefit the community.

The public is invited to the event, where a panel of IU faculty and staff will judge the participating organizations' service projects and award a $500 prize to the winning organization. The event will feature entertainment and food, and will begin at 6 p.m. in the Grand Hall of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.

Admission is free with a canned good for local food pantry.

"Kwanzaa-in-Action is a practical and uplifting way to extend the social and utilitarian principles of this culturally rich celebration to the broader community," said Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Director Audrey T. McCluskey.

Kwanzaa-in-ActionNow in its second year, Kwanzaa first was celebrated on Dec. 26, 1966, and is traditionally observed from Dec. 26 through Jan.1, with each day focused on Nguzo Saba, or the "seven principles" -- unity, self-determination, work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
Derived from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza," which means "first fruits," Kwanzaa is rooted in the first harvest celebrations practiced in various cultures in Africa.

Participating student organizations choose one of the seven principles to develop their service project. Last year seven organizations performed service projects that included outreach and mentoring to homeless teens, a fashion show to raise funds to eradicate world hunger, a step-show to raise funds for local HIV/AIDS organizations, and an African bazaar that offered hand-made crafts for sale to support African relief.

The program also will include interactive entertainment led by Betty Dlamini, of Swaziland, who is a singer, actress and playwright in addition to being a IsiZulu instructor at IU's African Studies Program. She will lead the audience in inspirational songs derived from the Zulu/Nguni cultures. A reception will follow in the Bridgwaters Lounge.

Kwanzaa seeks to reinforce a connectedness to African cultural identity, provide a focal point for the gathering of African peoples, and to reflect upon the seven principles that have sustained them. The holiday has been observed at IU since the early 1990s.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Nov. 22, 2010 Media Contacts Audrey T. McCluskey Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center 812-855-9271

Sunday, November 21, 2010

WVU professor, students to launch interactive exhibit honoring state's African-American veterans

The West Virginia University P.I. Reed School of Journalism is sharing the forgotten story of African-American soldiers who fought in World War I.

Associate Professor Joel Beeson and his students will unveil the exhibit, Forgotten Legacy: Soldiers of the Coalfields, which examines the story of African-Americans who migrated to McDowell County, W.Va., from the rural South in the early 1900s to work in the coal mines and who served in the U.S. military during wartime.

Beeson says the exhibit will feature artifacts, photographs and documents that provide an interactive experience for visitors.

“Instead of telling someone the story, we’re letting them piece the story together themselves,” said Beeson. “This will allow people to talk about race and the history of race relations in a much more complex way than the one dimensional stereotypes that sometimes dominate such conversations.”

The exhibit will officially open to the public following a dedication ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 13, at 5 p.m. and will be housed in the Kimball War Memorial Building in Kimball, W.Va.

African American soldiers World War I

Some of the African American soldiers of the 369th (15th New York)who won the Croix de Guerre for gallantry in action during their World War I service overseas.

(National Archives Photo)
The display will contain a room for veterans to tell their stories and be recorded, as well as two full wall exhibits of photographs from the World War I time period.

As director of the West Virginia Veterans History Project, Beeson has acquired and edited more than 500 photographs, including historical World War I images and a photographic social survey of McDowell County coal miners by the famous Farm Security Administration photographer Russell Lee.

Beeson says the images demonstrate that Southern coalfields were more integrated than many people might realize.
“The miners bonded together under dangerous conditions – their jobs often trumped skin color,” said Beeson. “One of the quotes often heard from school children was ‘when our fathers came out of the mine they were all black.’ It was this kind of economic opportunity that drew African-Americans to McDowell County and Kimball.”

The Kimball War Memorial Building, where the exhibit will be housed, is the nation’s first and only war memorial honoring the 400,000 African-American soldiers that fought in World War I. The building itself has been through tough times. Dedicated in 1928, it served as a center for community life until the early 1970s when it began to deteriorate. Vandalism and a fire in 1991 left the building in ruins.

It took nearly 20 years to restore the building, and Kimball War Memorial Board member E. Ray Williams says he has high hopes for the project’s impact on the community.

“I would love to see this building bring communities together,” said Williams. “This building is so important to what’s happening in America now . . . the coming together of all races and cultures.”

In addition to the building’s exhibit, there will be an online component as well. The project website will debut on Nov. 11, Veterans Day, at

Beeson became acquainted with the McDowell County memorial and its board members in 2004 while working on his documentary, Fighting on Two Fronts: The Untold Stories of African-American WWII Veterans.

In the fall of 2009, Beeson shared the idea of creating a photo exhibit for the memorial with students in his visual storytelling class. What started out as a class assignment evolved into the exhibit.

Brianna Swisher (BSJ, 2010), one of the students who helped start the project, is now continuing her work as an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer.

“We started asking questions, and we needed to know more about Kimball, so Professor Beeson planned a trip for us,” said Swisher. “We just became connected to the town and the people there. After that trip, I knew that I wanted to be the person to hang the pictures on the wall – I wanted to finish this project.”

Work on the project was initially funded through a 2010 WVU Public Service Grant. This fall, the project has also been awarded a mini grant through the West Virginia Compact- Campus Community LINK project and a Major Grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council.

The project team is also managing an active Soldiers of the Coalfields Facebook page and a Kimball Memorial Twitter account detailing updates on the progress of the installation and more. -WVU-

CONTACT: Kimberly Brown, School of Journalism 304-293-3505 ext. 5403;

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Navy to Commission Guided Missile Destroyer Gravely

The Navy will commission its newest Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, Gravely, during an 11 a.m. EST ceremony Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010, in Wilmington, N.C.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Alma Gravely will serve as sponsor of the ship named for her late husband. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when she gives the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

Designated DDG 107, the new destroyer honors the late Vice Adm. Samuel L. Gravely Jr. Gravely was born in Richmond, Va., June 4, 1922. After attending Virginia Union University, he enlisted in the Naval Reserve in September 1942. In 1943 he participated in a Navy program (V-12) designed to select and train highly qualified men for commissioning as officers. On Dec. 14, 1944, Gravely successfully completed midshipman training, becoming the first African American commissioned as an officer from the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps. He was released from active duty in April 1946, but remained in the Naval Reserve.

Gravely was recalled to active duty in 1949. As part of the Navy’s response to President Truman’s executive order to desegregate the armed services, his initial assignment was as a Navy recruiter, recruiting African Americans in the Washington, D.C. area. Gravely went on to a Navy career that lasted 38 years and included many distinguished accomplishments.

Samuel Lee Gravely, Jr.

Samuel Lee Gravely, Jr.
Gravely’s performance and leadership as an African American Naval officer demonstrated to America the value and strength of diversity. Gravely’s accomplishments served as watershed events for today’s Navy. He was the first African American to command a warship (USS Theodore E. Chandler); to command a major warship (USS Jouett); to achieve flag rank and eventually vice admiral; and to command a numbered fleet (Third).

Gravely is the 57th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

The ship will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management, to sea control and power projection. Gravely will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare in keeping with “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower,” which postures the sea services to apply maritime power to protect U.S. vital interests.

Cmdr. Douglas Kunzman will become the first commanding officer of the ship and lead the crew of 276 officers and enlisted personnel. The 9,200-ton Gravely was built at Northrop Grumman Corp.’s Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Media may direct queries to the Navy Office of Information at 703-697-5342. More information on Arleigh Burke-class destroyers can be found at

IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 17, 2010 No. 1060-10 U.S. Department of Defense Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) News Release

WEB: Media contact: +1 (703) 697-5131/697-5132 Public contact: or +1 (703) 428-0711 +1

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

‘In the Lion’s Mouth’ Rewrites Chapter of African-American History

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The collapse of Reconstruction was not the end of African-American political activism in the South during the late 19th century as it is often portrayed – far from it, argues Dr. Omar Ali in his new book, “In the Lion’s Mouth: Black Populism in the New South, 1886-1900.”

Black populism, an independent political movement of African-American farmers, sharecroppers and agrarian workers distinct from the white populist movement of the same period, was the largest black movement in the South until the rise of the modern civil rights movement, says the historian and associate professor in the UNCG African American Studies Program.

“After Reconstruction ended in 1877, African-Americans in the South regrouped,” says Ali. “Black populists formed alliances with white populists and challenged the Democratic Party, a party of wealthy interests and white supremacy. They failed, but many of their demands would be enacted within a generation by the New Deal – so in some ways they were laying the groundwork for changes that came to pass.”

‘In the Lion’s MouthPublished by University Press of Mississippi, “In the Lion’s Mouth” describes how the independent movement grew out of established networks of black churches and fraternal organizations in the region. From 1886 to 1900 African-Americans established farming cooperatives, raised money for schools, published newspapers, lobbied for legislation, protested the convict lease system and helped to launch the People’s Party.

“Ali correctly resists the common tendency to either see black populists as an offshoot of the white populist movement, or a failed effort at interracial organizing,” writes Dr. Robin D. G. Kelley in the book’s foreword.
“Rather, he paints a compelling portrait of an independent movement. … Ali flips the script, if you will, and compels us to rethink the entire history of late 19th century Southern politics.”

In North Carolina, black and white populists formed an alliance that won control of the state legislature in 1894 and the governor’s office in 1896. The bloody Wilmington Riot of 1898 was a response by the Democratic Party to retake state control. The incident would signal the demise of black populism in North Carolina, and soon across the region.

A frequent commentator in the national media, with political analysis offered on CNN and NPR, among other networks, Ali sees similarities between the Democratic Party’s virtual monopoly in the South during the late 19th century and the dominance of the Democratic and Republican parties in the nation today. In both cases, entrenched parties have blocked important reforms, he says.

“It’s been the outsiders, the independents, who have been at the forefront of critical changes in American history, from the abolition of slavery to labor rights, from women’s right to vote to civil rights. All of these things came from outside forces, independents and third parties, until they were co-opted by the parties in power.

“What independents, black and white, are doing now is challenging the political control of the two major parties on the electoral process. In that way, they share a history with the populists of a century ago.”

Ali, a former Fulbright scholar with research awards from Harvard University and the University of South Carolina, previously taught in the History Department at Towson University in Maryland and has served as a visiting professor at Vanderbilt University. A graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science, he received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University, where he wrote his dissertation on black populism under the supervision of Dr. Eric Foner.

Ali is also the author of “In the Balance of Power: Independent Black Politics and Third Party Movements in the United States” (Ohio University Press, 2008), which was described as a “landmark work” by The National Political Science Review.

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro By Dan Nonte, University Relations University Relations Location: 500 Forest Street Mailing Address: PO Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170 Telephone:336.334.3783 Fax:336.334.4602

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Howard Surgeon Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick Named to EBONY Power 100 List

WASHINGTON (Nov 15) -- Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, director of the Howard University Cancer Center and division chief for General Surgery at Howard University Hospital, this month joined A-list celebrities, including First Lady Michelle Obama, Michael Jordan, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, Alicia Keyes, Brown University President Ruth Simmons and U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder, as one of EBONY Magazine’s Power 100 for 2010.

Frederick, who also serves as associate dean for Clinical Strategy and Operations at Howard University College of Medicine, was cited for “working to educate and save lives when it comes to cancer” in the December issue of the magazine.

The annual list is a chance for the magazine to profile the nation’s African-American “power players” whose “accomplishments are of special significance to us, because you serve as both proof of our power and as role models to the next generation,” the magazine’s editors said.

The magazine’s editors said in making this year’s list, they looked for people who consistently challenged the status quo, are forging new paths to opportunity and success, have an impact because of the breadth of their sphere of influence and whose efforts have positively benefited African Americans.

Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick

Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick
Frederick earned his bachelor of science degree from Howard University in 1992 and his medical degree from Howard’s College of Medicine 1994.

Dr. Robert Taylor, dean of the Howard University College of Medicine, praised Frederick and his rise from student to associate dean.

“I think that Dr. Frederick is truly one of our exceptional graduates,” Taylor said. “He trained in our residency program and has been on our faculty for four years, where he has truly excelled in teaching, research and service. He’s an extremely gifted surgeon and is well deserving of being on this list.”
Before returning to Howard, Frederick completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He then completed his surgical oncology fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he spent his final year as the Chief Administrative Fellow.

In 2003, he joined the faculty at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, Conn., where he became the associate director of the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, the director of Surgical Oncology and assistant professor in the Department of Surgery.

He held the position of associate program director of the Integrated Residency Program, where he was awarded the residents’ “Teacher of the Year Award” and the students’ “Teacher of the Year Award” in all three of the years that he was on the faculty. In April 2006, The University of Connecticut integrated Surgical Residency issued a proclamation naming their mock oral examinations monthly sessions, “Frederick Rounds.”

He is currently a member of several national organizations, including the Association of Academic Surgeons, the Society of Black Academic Surgeons, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American College of Surgeons, where he is an Executive member of the Committee of Young Surgeons, and the Society of Surgical Oncology where he is a Member of the Diversity Committee.

In 2006, Frederick joined the faculty of the Department of Surgery at Howard University as associate professor, fulfilling a career aspiration of working with his mentor, world renowned cancer oncologist and surgeon Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall Jr.

He is a reviewer for several scientific journals. Recently, he was appointed vice chairman of the District of Columbia Board of Medicine. He also has served as an Associate Board Examiner for the American Board of Surgery.

His research has been published in well-known peer reviewed journals. Frederick currently resides in Washington with his wife and two children.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Howard University Media Contact: Ron Harris Director of Communications 202.683.0182

Chauncey Spencer - Aviation and Civil Rights Pioneer VIDEO

Chauncey Spencer was a member of the National Airmen Association of America and played a key role in the advancement of minority participation in the air services. This is part of an interview done at his home in October 2000. The segments here are part of a documentary entitled "Through Our Eyes: Reflections of America's Eldest Generation" which explored the changes - social, technological, economic and political - in America throughout the 20th century as experienced by people born before 1910.

Chauncey and his wife, Anne, invited a group of strangers into their home in Lynchburg, Virginia and treated us so wonderfully, that even now, seven years later, I consider those three hours some of the most memorable of my life. I only wish more people could have had the opportunity to sit down and talk with this terrific man the way we were able to. Putting this small segment on here will hopefully provide an appreciation of what we were able to experience.

TEXT and VIDEO CREDIT: mccahans

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Vitamin D deficiency does not increase stroke risk among blacks

Abstract 9478 This abstract will be featured in a news conference.

Study Highlights:

* Vitamin D deficiency doubled risks of fatal stroke among white people, but had no effect on stroke death in blacks.
* Researchers were surprised by the results because blacks are generally at higher risk both for stroke and for vitamin D deficiency than whites.
* Unrelated research presented also found correlations between low levels of vitamin D and death.

CHICAGO, Nov. 14, 2010 — While vitamin D deficiency is associated with fatal stroke among whites, it is not linked to more stroke deaths among blacks, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2010.

Analyzing the health records of a nationally representative group of 7,981 black and white adults, researchers found that whites with deficient vitamin D levels had a doubled risk of dying from a stroke compared to whites with higher vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 cholecalciferol
In contrast, researchers found no relationship between fatal strokes and vitamin D deficiency among blacks, even though blacks in the study generally had a 60 percent higher risk of dying from stroke compared to whites.

These results held true after researchers accounted for various socioeconomic and stroke risk factors in both groups. Nearly 7 percent of whites in the study were vitamin D deficient, compared to slightly over 32 percent of blacks.

Researchers are surprised because previous studies have indicated blacks are both more likely to have low levels of vitamin D and more likely to have strokes compared to whites.
“We thought maybe the lower vitamin D levels might actually explain why blacks have higher risks for stroke,” said Erin Michos, M.D., M.H.S., the study’s lead researcher and an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md. “But we did not find the same relationship between vitamin D and stroke in blacks.”

The study further shapes an emerging body of research about the potential health benefits of Vitamin D, a fat soluble vitamin involved in bone health that helps prevent rickets in children, protects against severe bone loss in adults, and potentially lowers the risks of heart disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and other medical conditions. Sources of vitamin D include exposure to ultraviolet B rays in sunlight, and eating fatty fish, egg yolks and fortified foods such as milk products and breakfast cereals.

Researchers, using data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of Americans (NHANES-III) conducted between 1988 and1994, followed the study participants for a median of 14 years. They measured vitamin D amounts based on blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, a form that represents vitamin D stored in the body.

Average levels of vitamin D were significantly lower in blacks compared to whites. By 2006, according to the National Death Index, there were a total 176 deaths from fatal stroke (116 among whites and 60 among blacks).

Through regression analysis, researchers estimated the risks of fatal stroke based on low vitamin D blood levels 15 ng/ml and race, eliminating the effects of socioeconomic status (including age, sex, income and education) and stroke health factors (including diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, smoking, physical activity and alcohol use).

Blacks may have a natural resistance to the negative effects of low vitamin D levels, which might also explain the lower frequency of bone fractures despite the higher prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among blacks, Michos said.

“Since stroke is the No. 3 cause of death in the United States, it’s important for us to consider low vitamin D as a possible risk factor for stroke at least among whites,” Michos said.

Clinical trials are needed to determine whether treating vitamin D deficiency will help lower stroke risks, she said.

Researchers only had access to death records and thus couldn’t account for stroke survivors, which potentially limits the study’s reach. Since blood levels of vitamin D were only measured at the beginning of the study, this may not have been an accurate reflection of the participants’ lifetime vitamin D status, Michos said.

Co-authors are: Jared P. Reis, Ph.D.; Wendy S. Post, M.D., M.S.; Pamela L. Lutsey, Ph.D.; Rebecca F. Gottesman, M.D., Ph.D.; Thomas H. Mosley, Ph.D.; Albert Richey Sharrett, M.D., Dr.P.H.; and Michal L. Melamed, M.D., M.H.S. No authors reported any disclosures.

NHANES-III is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics.

(Note: Actual presentation time: 9:45 a.m. CT, Monday, Nov. 15, 2010)

Also Note These News Tips also for release at 11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010

Abstract 21058 – A cross-sectional study of more than 9,000 adults in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES-III) noted a positive association between low blood levels of vitamin D and rates of prehypertension. Prehypertension is a stage of blood pressure where prevention efforts may delay the onset of actual hypertension. Researchers say future randomized trials are needed to determine if vitamin D supplementation can prevent or delay the onset of hypertension.

(Note Actual presentation time: 4:15 p.m. CT, Monday, Nov. 15, 2010)

Abstract 12680/P2074 — While vitamin D deficiency is associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure and heart attack risk factors, a new study found that low levels of Vitamin D was also associated with reduced survival from these conditions. Vitamin D supplements improved survival rates.

(Note Actual presentation time: 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010)

Abstract 10321 — Researchers analyzing the causes of death among a group of post-menopausal women found that low levels of vitamin D were associated with higher risks of dying from cardiovascular disease and other causes. However, the risks appeared to be substantially lowered once heart disease risk factors were considered, with waist circumference being the most prominent.

(Note Actual presentation time: 2 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 17, 2010) ###

Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at

IMAGE CREDIT: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Attribution to Wikipedia

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Oregon Man Sentenced for Threatening Lima, Ohio Civil Rights Leader by Mailing Noose

WASHINGTON—Daniel Lee Jones, a Portland, Oregon white supremacist, was sentenced today to 18 months in prison and three years supervised release for threatening the president of the Lima, Ohio chapter of the NAACP by mailing him a noose. Jones entered a guilty plea on May 17, 2010, to using the U.S. Postal Service to send a threatening communication.

In the plea agreement, Jones admitted to mailing F.M. Jason Upthegrove a hangman's noose, which arrived at Mr. Upthegrove's home on or about Feb. 14, 2008. Jones stated in the plea agreement that he mailed the hangman's noose in order to convey a threat to Mr. Upthegrove because he was an African-American who publicly advocated for better police services for African-Americans in Lima, Ohio. The indictment indicated that Mr. Upthegrove also spoke out in the media against Jones's white supremacist group's mailing of hate flyers related to the shooting of an African-American woman by a member of the Lima Police Department.

"A noose, an unmistakable symbol of hatred in this nation, was used by this defendant as a threat of violence aimed at silencing a civil rights advocate," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division. "The Department of Justice will vigorously prosecute those who use threats of violence to attempt to silence proponents of racial equality."

Daniel Lee Jones

Daniel Lee Jones Image Credit: Multnomah County Sheriff's Office
"We will not tolerate those who use threats of violence, such as by mailing a noose, to intimidate individuals who are advocating for racial equality," said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Steven M. Dettelbach.

The case was investigated by Special Agent Brian Russ of the FBI, and the prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Bauer from the U.S. Attorney's Office, and Special Legal Counsel Barry Kowalski and Trial Attorney Shan Patel from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Department of Justice Press Release. For Immediate Release November 8, 2010 U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs (202) 514-2007/TDD (202) 514-1888

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Reinvention Center Hosted by University of Miami Enters 10th Year with Ambitious Goals

November 11, 2010 — Coral Gables — “The Reinvention Center, hosted by the University of Miami, heads into its national conference with a new director and ambitious goals.

Ten years after the creation of the national center aimed at improving undergraduate education at leading research universities around the country, a growing number of those institutions have initiated programs to enhance the freshman experience while also ramping up opportunities for baccalaureate students to conduct laboratory research alongside top scientists.

Still, colleges and universities must do a better job of offering those students more research opportunities in the humanities and performing arts and in making sure that they are educated as global citizens, said Patricia A. Turner, a leading scholar in African and African-American studies and the newly named director of the Reinvention Center, a consortium of 65 public and private schools hosted by the University of Miami.

Dr. Patricia Turner

Dr. Patricia Turner
“We’ve done a lot more in the past ten years of actually getting students into laboratories working with faculty and in some instances being listed as co-authors on faculty publications,” said Turner, vice provost of undergraduate studies at the University of California, Davis. “But we’ve still got some work to do to improve that experience for students who mix humanities with research.”
The Reinvention Center’s two-day national conference begins this week in Crystal City, Virginia. University faculty, provosts, deans, and department chairs will attend, as will the center’s executive board members, including William Scott Green, senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate education at UM. Sanjeev Chatterjee, vice dean and executive director of the Knight Center for International Media at UM’s School of Communication, will give a talk on visual storytelling.

Turner says that some of the improvements in undergraduate education over the past decade can be linked directly to the Boyer Commission, which in 1998 issued a report calling for sweeping reforms in baccalaureate education—among them, a greater emphasis on research-based learning, the removal of barriers to interdisciplinary education, and the creative use of information technology.

The creation of academic positions like Turner’s and Green’s that are charged with addressing undergraduate education is one result of the commission’s recommendations, Turner explained. But the baccalaureate experience still needs to improve in other areas. Keeping global education programs like foreign-language classes afloat, for example, is critical, she said.

An African American who was the first in her family to go to college, Turner said she is committed to increasing the percentage of first-generation and underrepresented minority students in higher education. She wants the Reinvention Center to be the source to which media and public policy officials turn for matters related to undergraduate education.

University of Miami Media Contact: Contact Person: Barbara Gutierrez. Email:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


(Boston) - The Boston University (BU) College of Communication (COM) will host Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, noted author and Director of the Narrative Nonfiction Program at BU, Isabel Wilkerson, to discuss her latest book The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration.

The discussion will be moderated by John Stauffer, Chair of the History of American Civilization program, and a Professor of English and African and African American Studies at Harvard University.

The event will include a book reading, reception and book signing.

Voices of the Great Migration: Isabel Wilkerson discusses The Warmth of Other Suns

Moderated by John Stauffer, Chair of the History of American Civilization program, and Professor of English and African and African American Studies at Harvard University

The Warmth of Other SunsHosts:
Boston University College of Communication

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Program at 4:30 PM; Reception and book signing at 6:00 PM

Boston University Photonics Center, Room 206
8 Saint Mary’s Street, Boston, MA
Free and open to the public

Wilkerson, former Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times, won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for her coverage of breaking news and human interest pieces in Chicago. She is the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism and the first black American to win the prize for individual reporting. She also won the George Polk Award for her coverage of the Midwest and was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists also in 1994. The Warmth of Other Suns is a New York Times best seller and has received rave reviews by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, The Boston Globe and many others.

Stauffer is a well-known book reviewer and accomplished educator of varying topics including the Civil War era, anti-slavery, social protest movements and visual culture. His written work has been published in The Washington Post, Time Magazine, The New York Post and The Harvard Review. Stauffer reviewed The Warmth of Other Suns for The Wall Street Journal.

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 30,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school's research and teaching mission. — 30 —

For Release Upon Receipt - November 10, 2010 Contact: Kira Jastive, 617-358-1240,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

IU's Guterl honored by American Studies Association

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Matthew Guterl, professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies and director of the American Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington, has been named the recipient of the American Studies Association's 2010 Mary Turpie Prize.

The award honors Guterl for his distinguished teaching, advising and program development, and his achievements and contributions to the field at the local, regional, national and international levels. He will be presented with the award at the ASA meeting in San Antonio on Nov. 19.

"This is a richly deserved honor," said Michael Steiner, chair of the selection committee. "We received an almost overwhelming outpouring of heartfelt testimony, including eloquent letters from some 40 colleagues at Indiana University and nine other campuses across the country as well as from 16 of his current and former students. Time and again, these letters praise his intellectual creativity and energy, his devotion to program building in path-breaking areas of American studies and his tireless efforts to enhance the careers of your students and colleagues."

Matthew Guterl

Matthew Guterl
A historian of race and race relations in the United States, the Americas and the world, Guterl is the author of two books published by Harvard University Press. His first book, The Color of Race in America, 1900-1940, was named Best Book of 2001 on the History of Race and Ethnicity by the American Political Science Association. He is currently at work on two books: a biography of Josephine Baker, focusing on her adopted family, and a critique of the visual culture of race

Guterl is an adjunct professor in the Department of History and in the College of Arts and Sciences' Cultural Studies and African Studies programs; he is also an affiliated faculty member in the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program..
He earned his Ph.D. in history at Rutgers University in 1999 and joined the Indiana University faculty in 2003.

"Matt Guterl is a tremendously successful director, universally admired for his administrative skill, his intellectual depth, and his complete honesty and thorough decency," said Karen Hanson, IU Bloomington provost and executive vice president. "I congratulate him on receiving this recognition from his peers in the field."

David Zaret, interim dean of the IU College of Arts and Sciences, said, "Matt Guterl is one of the best of the best. He is a respected scholar, a popular teacher with a strong commitment to undergraduate students, and an effective academic leader. We're proud to have him as our colleague in the College of Arts and Sciences."

For more information on the American Studies Association, see

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Nov. 9, 2010 Media Contacts: Steve Hinnefeld University Communications 812-856-3488

Monday, November 8, 2010

UGA to mark 50th anniversary of desegregation in 2011

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia will mark the 50th anniversary of its desegregation with a series of events starting on Jan. 9—the date in 1961 when Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter (now Hunter-Gault) became the first African Americans to register for classes—and continuing for 50 days through Feb. 28, the end of Black History Month.

Hunter-Gault will return to campus for a kick-off reception on Jan. 9 that also will include the family of the late Hamilton Holmes and Mary Frances Early, who transferred to UGA as a graduate student in the summer of 1961 and the next year became the first African American to earn a degree when she received her master’s in music education.Holmes and Hunter-Gault graduated in 1963.

The reception, which is free and open to the public, will be from 6-8 p.m. in the Grand Hall of the Tate Student Center.

On Jan. 10, Hunter-Gault will deliver a 50th anniversary lecture at 3 p.m. in Mahler Auditorium of the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel.Overflow seating will be available in Masters Hall, with a live video feed.

Charlayne Hunter Gault

Charlayne Hunter Gault
A panel discussion of the legal issues involved in the university’s desegregation will follow in Masters Hall at 5 p.m. Participants will include Horace Ward, who first challenged UGA’s discriminatory admissions policies after being denied admission to the School of Law in 1950, and Robert Benham, who earned a law degree from UGA in 1970 and later became the first African-American chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court.Ward, who served on Holmes and Hunter’s legal team, was appointed a U.S. District Judge in 1979 and is currently a Senior District Judge.
At 8 p.m., the premiere campus screening of a documentary on Donald Hollowell, who led the legal team that secured admission for Holmes and Hunter, will be held in Masters Hall.The documentary was produced by Maurice Daniels, dean of the School of Social Work, and Derrick Alridge, director of the Institute for African American Studies.

Hunter-Gault also will participate in a conversation with students in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, from which she earned her degree, on Jan. 11.The event will be recorded.The Grady College is promoting a college-wide read of her 1992 memoir In My Place prior to her return to campus.

Also on Jan. 11, noted poet, author and activist Sonia Sanchez will participate in a dialogue moderated by Valerie Boyd, the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Writer-in-Residence in the Grady College, and featuring poet Reginald McKnight, who holds the Hamilton Holmes Professorship in English.The event is at 2 p.m. in the Grand Hall of the Tate Student Center with a reception and book-signing following.

Another panel discussion is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. that day in 101 Miller Learning Center with UGA faculty authors Maurice Daniels, who wrote a biography of Horace Ward; Robert Pratt, who chronicled UGA’s desegregation in We Shall Not Be Moved; and Thomas Dyer, who included a chapter on the event in his bicentennial history of UGA.Joining them will be Robert Cohen, professor of history and social studies at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, who also has written about UGA’s desegregation.

The week concludes with the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Breakfast with Mary Frances Early as the speaker. Co-sponsored by the university, the Athens-Clarke County Government and the Clarke County School District, the event will be at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 14 in the Grand Hall of the Tate Student Center.Advance reservations are needed and should be made through the Office of Institutional Diversity (706/583-8195).

Early also will visit with students at J.J. Harris Elementary Charter School on Jan. 13 for an event sponsored by UGA’s College of Education and the Institute for African American Studies.

Additional details about these and the many other events planned throughout January and February are available on the 50th anniversary of desegregation website (, which also includes historical information as well as “milestones and achievements” of the past 50 years.

“We really want to encourage the campus community and the local community to participate in this landmark occasion,” said Cheryl Dozier, associate provost for institutional diversity, who co-chairs the planning committee with Derrick Alridge. “There are so many ways to do so and we are excited to see the creativity being shown by UGA departments and student groups in finding ways to celebrate the courage of Hamilton Holmes, Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Mary Frances Early, as well as those who supported them and those who have followed in their footsteps.” ##

UGA News Service Writer: Sharron Hannon, 706/583-0728, Contacts: Cheryl Dozier, 706/583-8195,; Derrick Alridge, 706/542-5197, Nov 8, 2010, 07:46

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ruston, Louisiana, Man Sentenced for Federal Hate Crime

WASHINGTON– Robert Jackson, 37, of Ruston, La., was sentenced to 12 months in federal prison for placing a hangman’s noose under the carport of the home of a Honduran immigrant who moved to Ruston from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Jackson was also sentenced to one year of supervised release upon his release from prison. Today’s sentence was handed down by U. S. Magistrate Judge Karen L. Hayes in Monroe, La.

Jackson entered a guilty plea on June 24, 2010, to violating the Fair Housing Act by intimidating and interfering with another’s housing rights because of race. According to court testimony, the victim and her children arrived home on June 13, 2008, and found a hangman’s noose suspended from a bird-feeder underneath the carport of her home. Jackson admitted that he hung the noose in order “to send a message” to African-American males who visited the victim’s home.

“A noose is an unmistakable symbol of hate in our country, and using this symbol to intimidate a family will not be tolerated.” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute those who resort to violent acts motivated by hate.”

Hangmans Noose“When a noose is used to interfere with federally protected rights, it is a crime which will be prosecuted by this office” said Stephanie Finley, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana. “The victim and her family sought nothing more than to live in their home peacefully. Everyone should feel safe in their homes without being subjected to hateful acts.”

The case was investigated by the FBI, Monroe Resident Agency; and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Mudrick and Trial Attorney Myesha Braden of the Civil Right Division of the Department of Justice.
10-1259 Civil Rights Division Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, November 5, 2010

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Massachusetts Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Burning African-American Church VIDEO

WASHINGTON—Benjamin Haskell was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor in Springfield, Massachusetts to nine years in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in the 2008 burning of the Macedonia Church of God in Christ, a predominately African-American Church, on the morning after President Barack Obama was elected as the first African-American president of the United States. In addition, Haskell will pay more than $1.7 million in restitution, including $123,570.25 to the Macedonia Church.

On June 16, 2010, Haskell, 24, of Springfield, pled guilty to conspiring to injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate the mostly African-American parishioners of the Macedonia Church in the free exercise of the right to hold and use their new church building, which was under construction, and to damaging the parishioners’ new church building through arson and obstructing their free exercise of religion because of their race, color, and ethnic characteristics.

At the earlier plea hearing, a prosecutor told the court that had the case proceeded to trial, the government’s evidence would have proven that in the early morning hours of Nov. 5, 2008, within hours of President Barack Obama being elected, Haskell and his co-conspirators agreed to burn down, and did burn down, the Macedonia Church’s newly constructed building where religious services were to be held. The building was 75 percent completed at the time of the fire, which destroyed nearly the entire structure, leaving only the metal superstructure and a small portion of the front corner intact. Investigators determined that the fire was caused by arsonists who poured and ignited gasoline on the interior and exterior of the building.

Mass. Governor Deval Patrick toured work site with Macedonia Church of God In Christ Bishop Bryant Robinson Jr. and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. They thanked volunteers who have been working to rebuild the church. The church was torched hours after Barack Obama was elected the nation's first black president in 2008.

Haskell confessed to the crime and admitted that prior to the presidential election, he and his co-conspirators used racial slurs against African-Americans and expressed anger at the possible election of Barack Obama as the first African-American president. Haskell admitted that after Obama was declared the winner of the election, he and his co-conspirators walked through the woods behind the Macedonia Church to scout out burning it down. Then, in the early morning hours of Nov. 5, 2008, Haskell and his co-conspirators went back to the church, poured gasoline inside and outside of the church, and ignited the gasoline.

“The freedom to practice the religion that we choose without discrimination or hateful acts is among our nation’s most cherished rights,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “As seen here today, the Department will prosecute anyone who violates that right to the fullest extent of the law.”

“The burning of the Macedonia Church because of racial hatred and intolerance was a vicious attack on one of our most cherished freedoms—to worship in the religion of our choice safely and without fear of discrimination,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Carmen Ortiz. “The successful investigation, prosecution, and punishment of those who committed this hateful act is a clear statement that law enforcement will do all in its power to protect our citizens’ civil rights.”

“While the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) is charged with investigating some of the most violent crimes, I consider the arson to be one of the most serious and dangerous offenses. Not only was this case about the burning of a house of worship, it cut to the very heart of our most valued rights, that of religious freedom. I want to acknowledge all of our partners who assisted in bringing the individuals responsible for this fire to justice,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Guy Thomas.

“Today’s sentencing represents just one more step toward closure and healing, not only for the victims of this hate crime, but for the Springfield community as a whole. The FBI, along with its federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, remains committed to protecting each and every citizen’s civil rights, and will aggressively investigate any violation of those rights, bringing the perpetrators to justice,” said Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul H. Smyth and Kevin O’Regan of the U.S. Attorney's Springfield Office, and Nicole Lee Ndumele, Trial Attorney in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

TEXT CREDIT: Department of Justice Press Release. For Immediate Release. November 1, 2010 U.S. Department of Justice. Office of Public Affairs. (202) 514-2007/TDD (202) 514-1888


Friday, November 5, 2010

Arthur Miller Dialogue on Sports, Media and Race: The Impact on America, Nov. 11th

On Thursday, Nov. 11th Arthur R. Miller, one of the nation’s most distinguished legal scholars and a renowned commentator on the law and society, will moderate a panel discussion on “Sports, Media and Race: The Impact on America.”

The panel will feature a group of participants with national, regional and local perspective and resonance, including Harry Edwards, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley. Edwards is the author of “The Revolt of the Black Athlete” and architect of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, which led to the Black Power Salute protest by African-American athletes at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Edwards has taken vocal and dissonant positions on the relationship of African American athletes to American culture and has been a proponent of black participation in the management of professional sports.

The panel will also include:

* Otis Birdsong, four-time National Basketball Association all-star
* Bob Boland, professor of sports management and sports business at New York University

Arthur Miller* Talmage Boston, author and baseball historian
* Clayborne Carson, professor of history and director of the MLK Research and Education Institute at Stanford University
* Rob Fink, assistant professor of education at Hardin Simmons University and author of “Playing in Shadows: Texas and Negro League Baseball”
* Fran Harris, Longhorn women’s basketball player who led her team to its first NCAA championship with the first perfect season in women’s NCAA history
* Norm Hitzges, radio host at KTCK 1310 AM in Dallas
* Jane Leavy, author of “The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle”
* Ted Shaker, former executive producer of CBS Sports
* Craig Watkins, associate professor of radio-TV-film at The University of Texas at Austin
* Julius Whittier, Dallas County assistant district attorney and the first black athlete to letter in football at The University of Texas at Austin.

The dialogue will take place from 3:30 to 5pm in the Lyndon B. Johnson Auditorium at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum on The University of Texas at Austin campus. Free parking is available in lot 38. University maps are available online.

The event is sponsored by the Texas Program in Sports and Media, the College of Communication and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum. It is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact: Erin Geisler, College of Communication, 512 475 8071, or Christopher Hart, 512-471-2431, christopher.hart at

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This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Three Arkansas Men Indicted for Burning Cross to Intimidate African-American Resident

WASHINGTON – James Bradley Branscum, Tony Branscum, both of Salado, Ark., and Curtis Coffee of Batesville, Ark., were indicted this week by a federal grand jury on charges related to their roles in burning a cross in the yard of an African-American resident in Salado on Aug. 28, 2010.

In the three-count indictment, the three were charged with one count of conspiracy to interfere with the housing rights of another, one count of interfering with the housing rights of another and one count of using fire in the commission of a felony.

If convicted, the three face a maximum punishment of 30 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the FBI with cooperation from Independence County, Ark., Sheriff Alan Cockrill and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Independence County Sheriff‘s Office. The case will be prosecuted by Trial Attorney Cindy Chung from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and Assistant U.S. Attorney John Ray White from the U.S. Attorney ’ s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

Department of Justice logoThe charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010


COLLEGE PARK, MD. – The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora was recently awarded a $149,719 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services [IMLS]. The two-year grant will provide support for documenting and presenting the Professor David C. Driskell Archive of African American Art, a task central to the Center’s mission to expand and replenish the field of African American art. The grant is awarded as part of the Museum Grants for African American History and Culture to organizations committed to preserving and sharing the history of African American life from the period of slavery through present day.

The IMLS grant will provide support for documenting Professor Driskell’s one-of-a-kind archive, assembled over more than six decades and consisting of an estimated 50,000 objects. IMLS funds will be used to hire an archivist and two graduate student interns, as well as a consulting archivist, to guide the process. The archivist will develop procedures for inventorying and accessing the collection, supervise students in data entry, and write a manual of procedures to be used by the Center’s future students, archivists, and staff. Accessibility to the archives will be enhanced through an online presence, thus increasing outreach and exchange of ideas with the surrounding community as well as with researchers and art professionals both nationally and internationally.

David C. Driskell

David C. Driskell
“With these grants, museums dedicated to the African American experience will be able to preserve their collections, train their staff, and reach out to their communities. IMLS is proud to support these institutions as they work to protect our shared American history,” says IMLS Acting Director Marsha L. Semme. IMLS awarded Grants for African American History and Culture to 14 organizations, for a total amount awarded of $1,485,000.

Professor Emeritus of Art David C. Driskell -says that “Having received this major grant from IMLS will enable the David C. Driskell Center to provide research tools and access to important documents in the area of African diasporic studies and African American art for scholars around the world.
We are profoundly grateful to IMLS for this vote of confidence in the work of the Center.”

Among the unique objects in the Driskell Archive are exhibition catalogues; lectures; students’ dissertations; slides; art projects; children’s art kits about African American life and culture; magazines; and, most importantly, correspondences with such nationally known artists as Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Aaron Douglas, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keefe, and James Porter. Most of the material included in the archive has yet to be explored; however, the contribution of Prof. Driskell to the field of African American art is unquestionable. Using the words of Professor Keith Morison, retired Dean of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University, PA, and a Driskell Center Advisory Board Member, “The Framework of African American art and its relationship to people of African descent was set forth by three people: Alain L. Locke, James A. Porter, and David C. Driskell…he established African American art as a legitimate and distinct field of study.” (David C. Driskell: Artist and Scholar. Julie L. McGee. Pomegranate Communication Inc., Petaluma, CA. p. 9-10. 2006).

Dr. Robert E. Steele, who serves as the Executive Director of the David C. Driskell Center since 2004, says: “It has been my contention that one of the hidden treasures of the David C. Driskell Center is the invaluable archive of Prof. Driskell’s personal papers. This archive demonstrates the rich history and development of the field of African American art within the canon of American art history. I am pleased that IMLS provided this award in recognition of this treasure.”

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the Nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit

The David C. Driskell Center celebrates the legacy of David C. Driskel—Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Art, Artist, Art Historian, Collector and Curator—by preserving the rich heritage of African American visual art and culture. The Driskell Center is committed to preserving, documenting and presenting African American art, as well as replenishing and expanding the field of African American art. The Center exhibition program is supported, in part, by a special fund from the Office of the President at the University of Maryland, and a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.

The Driskell Center Exhibition Program is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. All programs at the David C. Driskell Center are free and open to the public. The facility is wheelchair accessible. The Driskell Center Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 11AM to 4:00PM with extended hours on Wednesday until 6PM. For further information regarding exhibitions and activities at the Driskell Center, please call 301.314.2615 or visit ###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NEWS RELEASE Contact: Ms. Dorit Yaron Title: Deputy Director Phone: 301.405.6835 Email:

IMLS Contact: Ms. Jeannine Mjoseth Phone: 202-653-4632 Email:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Make a Splash with Cullen Jones" to raise awareness of importance of learning to swim

Olympic Gold Medalist to visit Centenary Nov. 10

SHREVEPORT, La. (Centenary News Service) — Following the tragic drowning deaths of six teenagers in Shreveport earlier this year, Olympic gold medalist and African-American swimmer Cullen Jones and USA Swimming Foundation will visit the city, including Centenary College on Thursday, Nov. 10 to raise awareness about the importance of learning to swim.

Cullen along with three time Olympic gold medalist, Rowdy Gaines, will speak to the community at a breakfast held at the College beginning at 7:30 a.m. in the Whited Room of Bynum Commons. He will speak about life-saving learn to swim programs, his personal story of near-drowning and what it took for him to later become an Olympic champion. While the event is free and open to the public, there is limited seating and it is required to RSVP (contact information below). Later, Cullen will speak directly to hundreds of children at a youth assembly and then give a swim lesson as part of the team’s efforts to shine a light on water safety and save lives.

Cullen JonesThe visit is part of “Make a Splash with Cullen Jones, presented by ConocoPhillips,” a six city event series focused on the statistics and factors impacting a child’s ability to swim and educating families about solutions to the drowning epidemic, including the availability of free or low cost swimming lessons in hundreds of cities across the country. In addition to Shreveport, “Make a Splash with Cullen Jones” will visit five other cities this year – Omaha, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Santa Ana, Calif., and New York.
Jones burst onto the swimming scene at the 2005 World University Games. He easily won the Gold Medal in the 50 freestyle and became the first African-American Male to win a Gold Medal at the World University Games. Cullen continues to dominate the 50 meter sprint event and has also become a threat in the 100 meter freestyle. At the 2006 Pan Pacific Games, Cullen became the first African American to break a world record in swimming in an Olympic contested event as a part of the USA’s 4 X 100 Freestyle Relay Team. He also won the 50 meter freestyle swimming the fastest time in the world for 2006. Cullen was a 4 time ACC Champion and 2006 NCAA Champion from North Carolina State University. In 2008 he became the second African-American in history to win an Olympic Gold medal in swimming.


7:30 – 8:30AM – Breakfast with community leaders regarding building more learn to swim programs in Shreveport; Cullen Jones is keynote speaker*
Centenary College: Whited Room – 2911 Centenary Blvd., Shreveport, La 71104

10:30AM – 11:30AM – Youth assembly
Creswell Elementary – 2901 Creswell Ave., Shreveport, La

11:45AM – 12:15PM – Cullen gives five children a swim lesson
Centenary College: Pool - 2911 Centenary Blvd., Shreveport, La 71104

* The breakfast event is free and open to the public, however seating is limited. Contact Guillermo Rojas at or 719-866-4573 to attend.

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 373 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City. - 30 -

Centenary College of Louisiana FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (October 28, 2010) Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Study finds race, ethnicity impact access to care for children with frequent ear infections

Study finds race, ethnicity impact access to care for children with frequent ear infections.

Ear infections are one of the most common health problems for children, with most kids experiencing at least one by their third birthday. Annual costs in the United States alone are in the billions of dollars.

When these infections are left untreated, complications can include hearing loss, speech problems and more severe infections that can spread to bone and brain, causing meningitis. But not all kids have the same access to medical specialists and medicines.

A new study by researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Harvard Medical School has found that racial and ethnic disparities among children with frequent ear infections can significantly influence access to health care resources.

The findings, published in the November 2010 issue of the journal Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, show that compared with white children, African American and Hispanic children are at increased odds of not being able to afford prescription medications, not having medical insurance and not being able to see a specialist.

Nina Shapiro, MD

Nina Shapiro, MD
The study also shows that African American and Hispanic children are more likely than white children to visit the emergency room for an ear infection. "Our goal was to provide an accurate demographic picture of the U.S. so that we could identify disparities to target for intervention," said study co-author Dr. Nina Shapiro, director of pediatric otolaryngology at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA and an associate professor of surgery at the Geffen School of Medicine. "Clearly, we found that children of certain ethnicities who suffer from frequent ear infections are more likely to face greater barriers to care. This information provides an opportunity for improvements in our current health care reform."
Researchers used data from a 10-year period (1997–2006) taken from the National Health Interview Survey, a large-scale, household-based survey of a statistically representative sample of the U.S. population.

Parents of children under the age of 18 were asked various questions, including whether their child had three or more ear infections over the previous 12 months. For those who answered yes, researchers pulled demographic data — including age, sex, race/ethnicity, income level and insurance status — to determine the influence of these variables on frequent ear infections.

The study found that each year, 4.6 million children reportedly had "frequent" ear infections —defined as more than three infections over a 12-month period. Overall, 3.7 percent of children with frequent ear infections could not afford care, 5.6 percent could not afford prescriptions and only 25.8 percent saw a specialist.

Among the study's other findings for children with frequent ear infections:

* A greater percentage of African American children (42.7 percent) and Hispanic children (34.5 percent) lived below the poverty level than white children (12.0 percent) and those of "other ethnicity" (28.0 percent).
* A greater percentage of Hispanic children (18.2 percent) and "other ethnicity" children (16.6 percent) were uninsured, compared with whites (6.5 percent).
* A greater percentage of white children (29.2 percent) reported having access to specialty care than African American children (20.0 percent), Hispanic children (17.5 percent) and "other ethnicity" children (18.9 percent).
* A greater percentage of African American children (28.4 percent) and Hispanic children (19.8 percent) visited the emergency room at least twice for ear infections over a 12-month period than white children (15.5 percent).

"Emergency room visits for ear infections by African American and Hispanic children may represent their source of primary care services, which is more costly and a significant burden on the health care system," Shapiro said. "This finding, along with the fact that fewer Hispanic and African American children were insured or received specialty care, highlights the importance of targeting interventions that help children with frequent ear infections."

The next stage of the research is to follow the racial and ethnic groups prospectively and to monitor whether changes stemming from health care reform influence disparities in these groups over time.

Co-authors of the study included Dr. Kalpesh T. Vakharia of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Neil Bhattacharyya, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

The research was not funded. Bhattacharyya is a consultant for Intellus and Intersect ENT, and Shapiro is a consultant for ArthroCare ENT. Vakhaira has no disclosures.

University of California Media Contacts: Amy Albin, 310-794-8672

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

UT Alumnus and Art Historian Robert Hobbs to Lecture on Thursday

KNOXVILLE — UT Knoxville alumnus Robert Hobbs has curated dozens of exhibitions around the globe. This week, he’s visiting the UT Knoxville for a lecture at the School of Art.

A renowned and accomplished art historian, Hobbs will present “The Contemporary Sublime and the Art of Wade Guyton, Meredyth Sparks, and Kelley Walker,” a look at the work of three prominent UT Knoxville alumni, two of whom received their degrees in printmaking.

The free lecture will begin at 7 p.m., Thursday Oct. 28, in the Art and Architecture Building room 109.

Since 1991, Hobbs has held the Rhoda Thalhimer Endowed Chair of American Art in the highly respected School of Arts at the Virginia Commonwealth University. Since 2004, he has served as a visiting professor at Yale University.

Robert Hobbs
Robert Hobbs
Hobbs, who received his bachelor’s degree in art history from UT in 1969, specializes in both late modern and post-modern art. His work joins social history with literary criticism and aesthetics and also relies on feminist and postcolonial theory. He has published widely and has curated dozens of exhibitions, many of which have been shown at important institutions in the U.S. and abroad.

Hobbs’ publications include monographs on Alice Aycock, who designed the sculpture on the Johnson-Ward Pedestrain Mall at UT Knoxville, as well as on Milton Avery, Edward Hopper, Lee Krasner, Mark Lombardi, Robert Smithson and Kara Walker.
In addition, he has written on many mainstream modern and post-modern artists. His published research also includes in-depth studies of regional, self-taught, African-American and American Indian artists, as well as investigations of contemporary craft media.

For four years, Hobbs served on the College Art Association Millard Meiss Committee, which awards money for publications. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Grove Encyclopedia of American Art (Oxford University Press). He also has held positions at Cornell University, University of Iowa, Florida State University and Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Iran, and is known for a number of books, in-depth essays and exhibitions.

His visit is sponsored by the Visiting Artists Scholars and Designers Committee in the School of Art.

TEXT CREDIT: The University of Tennessee • Knoxville, TN 37996 • (865) 974-2225

Monday, October 25, 2010

UB Law School Mitchell Lecture Features International Law Scholar Henry J. Richardson III

Henry J. Richardson III, a leading international law scholar with special interest in Africa, will deliver the 2010 Mitchell Lecture at the University at Buffalo's Law School from 2-4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 27.

Richardson will speak on "The Origins of African-American Interests in International Law" in Room 106, John Lord O'Brian Hall on UB's North Campus. Richardson, professor of law at the Beasley School of Law at Temple University, plans to draw on two themes featured in his recent book: the birth of the African-American international tradition and the roots of African-Americans' stake in international law.

The Mitchell Lecture, which is free and open to the public, continues a distinguished tradition that began when the lecture series began in 1950. Richardson is the latest in a list of respected and prominent speakers who includes Irene Khan, C. Edwin Baker, Derrick Bell, Barry Cushman, Carol Gilligan, Elizabeth Holtzman, Stewart Macaulay, Catharine McKinnon, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Richard Posner, Clyde Summers and John Payton.

Henry J. Richardson IIIA reception will follow Richardson's presentation.

For more details, visit Members of the media who plan to cover the lecture are asked to contact Charles Anzalone in UB's Office of Communication, 716-645-4600, or 716-440-8824 onsite.

Contact: 716-645-4600.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

African American Males Drive City Schools’ Record Improvements in Dropout, Graduation

The record, three-year gains Baltimore City Public Schools reported in its dropout and graduation rates earlier this month were largely driven by the academic progress of its African American male students, new data show. City Schools’ overall dropout rate is down 56 percent and its graduation rate is up 10 percent in the last three years. According to district analysis, the gains for African American male students during this time outpaced the district rates: Their dropout rate is down 59 percent, and their graduation rate is up 12.4 percent. Local leaders and national education experts are hailing the Baltimore findings as an important exception to what have been troubling national trends for this group of students.

The number of African American male dropouts in City Schools decreased from 1,439 in 2006-07 to 593 in 2009-10. At the same time, the number of African American male graduates increased from 1,537 in 2006-07 to 1,724 in 2009-10. The bottom line: In 2006-07, City Schools had nearly equal numbers of African American male dropouts and graduates; by 2009-10 the district had nearly three times as many graduates as dropouts among African American males.

African American Males“These new results indicate that Baltimore City Public Schools is making unusual and outsized gains with African American males,” added Michael Casserly, Executive Director of the Council of Great City Schools.
“Graduation rates are up substantially and dropout rates are down, exactly the trend line that every other major city school system wants, but too rarely achieves. Cities across the nation will beat a path to Baltimore to find out what the district is doing to make this kind of progress.”

“This is a noteworthy national accomplishment,” said Dr. Robert Balfanz of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Social Organization of Schools. “District-level declines in dropout rates and gains in graduation rates often show little or no improvement among African American males. The Baltimore school district was able to move from nearly equal numbers of dropouts and graduates to three times as many graduates as dropouts in a short period of time. This should serve as a challenge to other districts, that rapid and large gains are possible.”

After releasing its high school performance results for 2009-10 on Oct. 6, City Schools continued to analyze the data to identify specific growth trends and challenges, and it zeroed in on a significant finding. One of the student subgroups that has historically struggled most, drove the overall progress of the district in graduation and dropout gains in the last three years.

City Schools had 1,481 fewer dropouts in 2009-10 than in 2006-07; of these, 846 were African American males, accounting for 57 percent of the district’s overall reduction in dropouts over three years. Similarly, the district had 303 more graduates in 2009-10 than in 2006-07; of these, 187 were African American males, accounting for 62 percent of the district’s overall increase in graduates over the last three years.

“This is very heartening news for everyone who cares about our schools and our city,” said Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners Chair Neil E. Duke. “These figures are testimony to a great deal of hard work by schools and community partners, and most of all by our students.”

“These numbers show that African American male students are not just improving—they are leading the way for the entire district,” said City Schools CEO Andrés A. Alonso. “I thank all of our students, and our school staff, parents and community partners whose hard work and commitment is reflected in these important results. Today we are able to affirm, with hard data, the insistence of our community for so long that our African American male students can and must succeed. But even as we celebrate this news, we must double and redouble our efforts until all of our students are succeeding.”

When it comes to actual dropout rates, the progress of City Schools’ African American males is outpacing that of the district overall:

* City Schools’ African American male dropout rate declined from 11.9 percent in 2006-07 to 4.9 percent in 2009-10—a 59 percent decrease.
* City Schools’ district dropout rate declined from 9.4 percent in 2006-07 to 4.1 percent in 2009-10—a 56 percent decrease.

Ditto with graduation:

* City Schools’ African American male graduation rate increased from 51 percent in 2006-07 to 57.3 percent in 2009-10—a 12.4 percent increase.
* City Schools’ district graduation rate increased from 60 percent in 2006-07 to 66 percent in 2009-10—a 10 percent increase.

“Baltimore’s schools continue to improve and move forward because we refuse to let anyone slip through the cracks,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “I am proud of Dr. Alonso, his administrators, principals and teachers for creating an environment where every student can be nurtured and succeed. I am also grateful for the parents and families of our most vulnerable students for giving them the support they need to stay in school and earn their diploma.”

“I commend Baltimore City Public Schools for taking important steps to tackle an issue that exists throughout our state and nation,” said State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick. “Strengthening the achievement of African American male students must remain a priority if we are to ensure that every student who exits Baltimore City schools is college and career-ready. These students must be given the opportunity to take their rightful place in our society.”

City Schools officials attribute the graduation and dropout gains among African American males to a range of strategies to reach out to students and support them in school. In the last two years the district has conducted several Great Kids Come Back campaigns, knocking on the doors of students who have dropped out of school and encouraging them to return; expanded middle and high school options so that more students have an easier middle to high school transition, and increased access to advanced academic, alternative and accelerator programs. At the same time, many schools are partnering with community-based organizations to pair those students who may be most marginally connected to school and vulnerable to gangs and other negative influences with youth specialists.

“The movement in these numbers reflects a wide range of strategies to get our students in school, engage them in learning and help them succeed,” said Jonathan Brice, Executive Director of Student Support for City Schools. “School staff and community partners have worked together, in many cases working long and unusual hours to help our students succeed. We have a lot more work to do, but it is great to know all their efforts are showing results.”

Local leaders and organizations that have focused for years on improving results for African American males stress the significance of the dropout and graduation gains among City Schools’ African American male students.

“Based on the progress we are making in turning around the black male graduation and dropout rates in Baltimore City’s public schools, we can expect to see an increase in the number of black males entering college and a reduction in the high unemployment and incarceration rates that plague our community,” said Baltimore Urban League President and CEO J. Howard Henderson. “Today’s news is not only encouraging, but it validates what so many of us have been saying for so long—our African-American males can succeed when schools and community partners work together.”

“We celebrate the progress made to date because of the increased involvement of men, particularly African American men, with the city’s schools,” said Bishop Douglas Miles, co-chair of the Baltimore Interfaith Coalition. “But we cannot begin to relax our efforts until the graduation rate for African American males is 90 percent or better. The faith community will continue to press for even greater involvement.”

“This is important and encouraging news, because these improvements among our African American males in school will lead to improvements in so many other aspects of city life,” said Baltimore civic leader Marvin “Doc” Cheatham. “This is a critical step in the healing of Baltimore.” ###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 20, 2010 CONTACT Ryan O’Doherty (410) 818-4269

Saturday, October 23, 2010

UND political scientist writes new book about Voting Rights Act

Associate Provost Steven Light says Act didn't end racial discrimination

Barack Obama crushed a major racial barrier in 2008 when he was elected 44th president of the United States. People across the globe celebrated the Obama victory as a huge political milestone.

“Basking in the spotlight of history on election night as he addressed tens of thousands of supporters, the president-elect acknowledged the magnitude of what had just occurred,” writes Steven Light, professor of political science and public administration and associate provost for undergraduate education at the University of North Dakota, in the opening chapter of a new book that spotlights the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and its effects on minority representation.

President Obama told the cheering crowd in Chicago election night that “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, tonight is your answer.”

Steven Andrew LightSteven Andrew Light (Ph.D. & MA Northwestern, B.A. Yale) is Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, Professor of Political Science & Public Administration, and Co-Director of the Institute for the Study of Tribal Gaming Law and Policy at the University of North Dakota (UND).

Phone: 701.777.3549 Fax: 701.777.2085. EMail:
So, some folks argued that we had now reached the “post-Obama era” when the country no longer had to worry about racial equality, especially at the polls.

But not so fast, argues Light in “The Law is Good:” The Voting Rights Act, Redistricting, and Black Regime Politics, which reads a lot more like a fascinating social novel full of interesting characters than the political science text it was written as.

“The end of the story has yet to be told,” Light says.

“As it happened,” Light writes, “Obama’s election corresponded with the timing of an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the most important and effective civil rights law in U.S. history, and the major reason why, as an African American, Obama could vote, let alone become president.”

That challenge was struck down and the Voting Rights Act has been re-authorized, yet ongoing voting discrimination based on race or ethnicity underscores the continued need for vigilance on political equality,
Light says in his book, recently released by Carolina Academic Press, which publishes books that address law and policy issues by making them accessible to a general readership.

“The Law is Good” addresses three questions of central importance to scholars, students and anyone else interested in the intersections of race and American politics, especially during the “post-Obama era”: What is the Voting Rights Act; how does it work; and do we still need it?

Light’s story revolves around an account of the struggle for minority voting rights and representation in the small-town south.

He deftly highlights how electoral success of African-American officials in Tallulah, Louisiana, stems from electoral districts drawn to comply with the Voting Rights Act. Light shows that despite that success, many challenges to equality still remain in towns like Tallulah. And, he notes, the upcoming round of redistricting following the 2010 Census is sure to generate lots more controversy about the ongoing role of race in America.

Light wrote the book not only as a scholarly work with significant research behind it, but also from his personal experience serving as a civil rights analyst in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Voting Section, where he looked closely at the politics and policy of race-based redistricting.

“The Law is Good” is a must-read for understanding the political process of voting in the United States. The book will generate great discussions about the continuing role of race in American political, economic, and social life—yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

About Steven Light
Distinguished University of North Dakota political scientist and Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education Steven Light is a Yale graduate who received his Ph.D. from Northwestern.

Light—who is responsible for providing strategic vision and leadership on innovative and high-impact best practices in undergraduate education and also teaches and conducts research on American government, constitutional law, and race politics—joined the UND faculty in 2000. Before that, he taught at Marquette and Northwestern Universities, and served as a civil rights analyst in the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, where he enforced the Voting Rights Act and assessed the effects of redistricting on minority representation.

Light also is co-director of UND’s Institute for the Study of Tribal Gaming Law and Policy, the first academic institute in the U.S. dedicated to understanding the impacts of casinos owned and operated by tribal governments.

With more than 40 articles and three books on the subject, Light is widely recognized as a leading national expert on Indian gaming. With frequent collaborator Kathryn R.L. Rand (dean, UND School of Law), Light has testified on Indian gaming regulation and oversight before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., and his first book was featured on C-SPAN’s Book TV. He is quoted regularly in such media outlets as the New York Times, public radio’s Marketplace, and Bloomberg. Light and Rand blog on Indian gaming at their Web site, Indian Gaming Now

In addition to tribal gaming, Light has published on best practices in university teaching and learning, including assessment and diversity, the policy effects of court decisions, and affirmative action. – 30 –

Contact: Juan Miguel Pedraza UND Office of University Relations 701-777-6571 office 701-740-1321 cell

Peter Johnson, Office of University Relations | Tel: (701)777-4317 |