Autumn 2010 · Volume 1 Issue 1
the Bronzevillian News from the CEC
A Note from the Director
elcome to the inaugural issue of the Bronzevillian, the AAAS Community Extension Center’s newsletter. The purpose of this newsJudson L. Jeffries, Ph.D. letter is to inform members of the Ohio State University community as well as the larger Columbus community about events at the CEC. This year will be my fifth year as director of the CEC. Serving as director has been one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences of my professional career. As a public land grant institution, OSU recognizes its legal and moral obligation to help improve the quality of life of Ohioans, and to address some of the most pressing issues confronting its citizens through teaching, research and service. With this purpose in mind, the primary mission of the CEC is to enhance community access to OSU’s resources and build relationships between OSU and Columbus’s Black community. I am buoyed by the success the CEC has experienced since my arrival in 2006 and I have every reason to believe that bigger things are in store. Please join the CEC in helping empower the residents of the rich and historic Mount Vernon Avenue community.
A newsletter from the Department of African American and African Studies Community Extension Center
Fifth Annual Black Veterans Day Salute: Honoring WWII Veterans
hoda Martin was never really proud to be a soldier. That changed though when she was honored at the AAAS Community Extension Center’s Black Veterans Day Salute last year. Last year’s salute honored Black servicewomen. “When I heard their stories, their accomplishments, I was happy to say, ‘Yes, I too, served in the military.’ I am proud to have served,” Martin said. Martin served eight years in the U.S. Army. She attained the rank of sergeant. Since 2006, the CEC has honored Black Retired Colonel Dolores Helen Hampton speaks to a crowd of over 100 at the fourth annual Black Veterans Day Salute. Hampton became the first men and women during its annual Black Inspector General of the U. S. Army in 1991, making her the highest ranking Black female in the branch. Last year’s salute honored Black serviceVeterans Day Salute. In 2006, the women. CEC honored the Tuskegee Airmen. Vietnam War veterans were honored in 2007. In 2008, the WWII veterans will be held on Saturday, November 13, CEC honored Korean War veterans. And Black service- 2010 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM at the CEC, 905 Mount women were honored in 2009. This year, the CEC will Vernon Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43203-1413. honor World War II veterans. Dr. Robert F. Jefferson will be the keynote speaker. “I was particularly proud when I was honored at the Jefferson is an associate professor and chair of the 2008 Black Veterans Day Salute,” Olas Dunson said. African American Studies Program at the University of “It gave me an opportunity to tell others about my ser- Alabama at Birmingham. He is an expert in the field of vice.” Black military history. Dunson served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean The event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be War. He attained the rank of Airmen 2nd Class. served. To RSVP, or to submit an honoree information “Nobody had directly asked me about my service be- form, contact Mrs. Sarah Twitty, program coordinator fore, or asked me about the contributions I made during and fiscal officer, by email at email@example.com or by the Korean War,” Dunson said. phone at (614) 292-3922. The fifth annual Black Veterans Day Salute honoring
Department of African American and African Studies Community Extension Center 905 Mount Vernon Avenue Columbus, Ohio 43203-1413
Phone: (614) 292-3922 Fax: (614) 292-3892 http://aaascec.osu.edu firstname.lastname@example.org
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12Core Programs of the Community Extension Center
he Ohio State University’s AAAS Community Extension Center is the outreach component of the Department of African American and African Studies. The CEC is one of the few off-campus facilities of its kind in the nation. Originally housed on the ground floor of St. John’s Church on South Ohio Avenue, the CEC moved to its current location in 1985. The CEC plays an integral role in enhancing the life chances of those who live in and around the Mount Vernon Avenue Area. Toward that end, the CEC offers an array of programs at no or nominal cost to the public. Programs include but are not limited to the following: conferences, symposia, computer classes, credit and non-credit courses, summer programs, lecture series, and film series. People of all walks of life have participated in these programs. Based on evaluations of our programs and personal testimonies, the CEC is having an impact on residents living in and around the Mount Vernon Avenue area. Below is a list of the CEC’s 12 Core Programs.
1 Black Veterans Day Salute During the salute, Black men and women from Ohio who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces are publicly recognized. Since the salute’s inception in 2006, the CEC has honored the Tuskegee Airmen (2006), Vietnam War veterans (2007), Korean War veterans (2008), and African-American servicewomen (2009). World War II veterans will be honored this year.
2 Ray Miller Institute for Change & Leadership This 10-week long leadership course trains young Black professionals from the Columbus community in various areas of leadership. The Institute was founded in 2006 by State Senator and Minority Whip Ray Miller. Miller has built a reputation as a strong advocate for those who have historically not had access to power. Admission to the Institute is highly competitive. Only the strongest applicants are invited to interview. The Institute is offered during OSU’s autumn and spring quarters with the support of OSU’s Office of Continuing Education. Participants who complete the course receive three CEU credits.
3 Senior Citizens Movie Matinee
5 Lecture Series Quarterly presentations given by OSU faculty, students and/or community members about topics pertinent to the Black community.
6 Math and Science Program The Math and Science Program was established in partnership with OSU Medical Center in 2003. The Math and Science Program exposes students in grades 4 through 12 to the wonders of math and science using hands-on activities. The purpose of the program is three-fold: 1.) To increase competency in math and science among students of color. 2.) To expose students of color to math and science related careers. 3.) To encourage students of color to major in math or science. The program meets on the fourth Monday of each month from October to May. Meals are provided.
7 Summer Residential Program The Summer Residential Program (SRP) was established in 1999 and is designed to provide students with both an appreciation for and an understanding of African-American culture and history. The SRP also helps students strengthen their computer literacy skills. Past themes include: “letz b down: Social Justice Advocacy for Blacks During the American Revolutionary War Era” (2010), “The Low Country: Black Culture, Literacy and History in Charleston, South Carolina” (2009), and “Hip Hop Literacies” (2008). The program is held every June and is for rising 11th and 12th graders. Students live on campus. There is a fee for this program.
8 African Affairs Symposium This one-day symposium brings members of the African American and African communities together to discuss issues of particular interest to Africa. The inaugural symposium in 2007 examined the life of South African civil rights activist Steve Biko. “Africa in the Age of Globalization” was the theme of the 2008 symposium. The 2009 symposium examined the life of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, West Africa.
9 Summer Enrichment Program This week-long, non-residential day program is designed to help rising 9th and 10th graders improve their reading and writing skills. The program, which was founded in 2009, is hosted annually in June and accepts approximately 25 students. There is a fee for this program.
10 History of Black Columbus Conference The purpose of this one-day conference is to bring the community together to celebrate the rich history of African Americans in Columbus and to increase awareness of the significant contributions African Americans have made in all areas of city life. This annual conference is held in the spring.
The movie matinee is a chance for senior citizens to watch a 11 Black History Month Forum film that otherwise might be cost prohibitive in an accommodat- The forum is in its second year and is focused on celebrating Afriing environment. A discussion, usually led by an OSU professor can descended peoples from all over the world. This year, documentaries about the following four influential African Americans or administrator, is held at the end of the film. were shown: Shirley Chisholm, Elijah Muhammad, Robert F. Williams, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 4 Computer Literacy Program During OSU’s autumn, winter, spring and summer quarters, the 12 Enemies of the State CEC offers free and reduced-cost computer technology The annual event features activists from America’s most notorious courses. The program is geared toward seniors but open to radical organizations, people who pressured America to live up to everyone. Courses include the following: Senior Computer Orientation, Internet, Email, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Pub- its highest ideals. This year, two members of the Chicago chapter of the Young Lords Organization shared their stories: José Cha lisher. Cha Jiménez, the founder of the organization, and Omar Lopez, the organization’s former minister of information.
About the Bronzevillian During the 1930s, African-American leaders in Columbus named the predominately African-American neighborhood between the boundaries of Woodland Avenue (East), Cleveland Avenue (West), Broad Street (South) and the railroad tracks (North) Bronzeville. The population was approximately 70,000 residents. In 1936, the same African-American leaders elected a mayor of Bronzeville and created an eight member Cabinet to address social, political and economic issues in the neighborhood. Now, as a result of the establishment of several Neighborhood Civic Associations such as the Woodland Civic Association (East) and the Discovery District (West), Bronzeville was reduced to its current boundaries: Taylor Avenue (East), Jefferson Avenue (West), Broad Street (South), and I-670 (North). The Bronzevillian is inspired by this rich history. CEC Advisory Board Wanda Dillard Francisca Figueroa-Jackson Mark S. Froehlich Ray Miller, State Senator Lupenga Mphande, Ph.D. William E. Nelson Jr., Ph.D. Rick Pfeiffer, City Attorney Thomas Simpson, Ph.D. Reita Smith Charleta Tavares, Councilwoman Nana Watson Les Wright *Samuel Gresham Jr. *Ike Newsum, Ph.D. and Chair CEC Director *Judson L. Jeffries, Ph.D. CEC Staff Sarah Twitty Program Coordinator and Fiscal Officer Carla Wilks Senior Outreach Program Coordinator Marvin Mitchell Technology Coordinator Kamara Jones Editor of Newsletter Address Department of African American and African Studies Community Extension Center 905 Mount Vernon Avenue Columbus, Ohio 43203-1413 *Ex officio members.
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Friday & Saturday
Senior Movie Matinee: The Express Ernie Davis was a star athlete at Syracuse University during the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Express chronicles his life story, specifically his time at Syracuse where he experienced racism in the town of Syracuse, NY, in class, and on the field. 1 to 3PM Free. Open to adults 55 and older. Refreshments will be served.
41st Anniversary Celebration: This event will commemorate the founding of OSU’s Black Studies program, now the Department of African American and African Studies. Founded in 1969, the unit earned departmental status in 1971. The festivities begin on Friday with a reception for Dr. Ike Newsum, who assumed the chairmanship of the department in the Spring. A symposium will be held the following day that will feature some of the most highly regarded scholars in the field of Africana Studies. The scholars will discuss the impact that the program has had on the discipline since its inception. Free. Open to the public. Times to be determined.
20September The Community and Resistance Tour: Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans and exacerbated problems in the city related to housing, education, incarceration, healthcare, immigration, and employment. Although billions of disaster recovery dollars have been spent in the historic city, these problems have worsened. New Orleans-based community organizers Jordan Flaherty and Jesse Muhammad will join local scholars, activists, and artists to discuss post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans and how the problems experienced in the historic city relate to problems experienced in Columbus. 6 to 8PM. Free. Open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
Saturday 02October Tour of Bronzeville: What should be preserved in the historic Bronzeville Neighborhood? Help the Bronzeville Neighborhood Association, the AAAS Community Extension Center administration and staff, and local dignitaries answer that question. This two hour-long tour is intended to give concerned citizens a voice. After the tour, a list of recommendations will be presented to the Columbus City Council. If you would like to be a part of the tour, please RSVP by contacting Sarah Twitty, CEC program coordinator and fiscal officer, at (614) 292 -3922, or emailing her at email@example.com. 10AM to 12PM. Free. Open to the public.
Tuesday 19October Lecture Series: Sharon L. Davies, professor at OSU’s Moritz College of Law will discuss Ohio and Kentucky’s legal battle over a free Black man living in Cincinnati who was accused of “seducing and enticing” a Kentucky slave named Charlotte to leave her owner. “The Triumph of Willis Lago: The Saga of the Black Man Behind the Fight Over Fugitive Slaves” is sure to be a treat. 6 to 7PM. Free. Open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
Saturday 30October African Affairs Symposium: The fourth annual African Affairs Symposium “PanAfricanism in the 21st Century: Decade of the Diaspora” will feature Dr. David L. Horne, PanAfrican Studies professor at California State University at Northridge. Horne is also the National Facilitator of The Sixth Regional Diasporan Caucus (SRDC). Come and assist all those living in the Diaspora plan Africa’s future. 1 to 5PM Free. Open to the public. Lunch will be served.
09Tuesday November Lecture Series: Dr. Osei Appiah, associate professor in the School of Communication at OSU, will discuss minorities and advertising. Appiah is an expert in the field of mass media and race. 6 to 7PM. Free. Open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
Saturday 13November Black Veterans Day Salute: The fifth annual Black Veterans Day Salute will honor AfricanAmerican men and women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. Dr. Robert F. Jefferson will be the keynote speaker. Jefferson is an associate professor and chair of the African American Studies Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is an expert in the field of Black military history. Do you know a veteran who should be honored? If so, please call the CEC at (614) 292-3922 or download the nomination form at http://aaascec.osu.edu. 11:30AM to 1:30PM. Free. Open to the public. Lunch will be served.
Senior Citizens Enjoy Summer Matinee Series
he AAAS Community Extension Center’s five-part Senior Citizens Matinee Series attracted nearly 300 senior citizens from neighborhoods, senior centers, and retirement homes across Columbus. Some seniors came alone, other seniors brought family members and/or friends, and others came with an entourage. The purpose of the matinee is to provide senior citizens with an exclusive space for fun, fellowship, and constructive dialogue. The first film, Lackawanna Blues, chronicles the life of an Afro-Latino child who grew up in Lackawanna, New York in a world of soul and blues. Down in the Delta, the second film, is about a drug-addicted mother of two who goes back to her ancestral roots in rural Mississippi. The third film, Armored, is about a cash-strapped war veteran who gets pressured into robbing two armored security trucks carrying $42 million dollars. This Is It, the fourth film, documents the late pop icon Michael Jackson’s last international tour. And the fifth film, The Express, chronicles the life of the first African-American Heisman Trophy winner whose biggest battles were off the field. The Express will be showing at the CEC on September 16 at 1PM. After each film, a discussion was led by an OSU professor or administrator. For example, after the film Lackawanna Blues, seniors discussed Black migration to the North. After the film Down in the Delta, seniors discussed relating to the younger generation. And after the film Armored, seniors discussed greed. Next year, the film series will be hosted monthly from April until September. If you have movie suggestions, please contact Sarah Twitty, program coordinator and fiscal officer, by phone at (614) 292 -3922, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about each film, go to www.imdb.com.
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Summer Enrichment Program
By: Jaelani Turner-Williams hat is hope?” Davante “ Goins,15, asked himself. He eventually answered his own question. In fact, he put the answer in a poem. “Hope is something people pour their greatest fears into or their greatest dreams into,” Goins wrote in the beginning of the poem. The poem was written during the AAAS Community Extension Center’s week-long Summer Enrichment Program (SEP). This year’s theme was “S.P.I.T.: Spoken-Word Poetry, Individual Truths.” Goins was one of 18 high school students who participated in the program. And his poem “Hope” was one of the many poems that was inspired by it. “My experiences at S.P.I.T. are outspoken by words,” Goins said. “I grew so much in trusting people, like I’ve never trusted anyone before.” T he pr ogr am ’s acr onym “S.P.I.T.” was inspired by the slang term “spit,” which means “to rap.” Spoken-word poetry, unlike traditional poetry, is intended to be read aloud to a beat or with a rhythmic cadence. For students in “S.P.I.T.,” the term often meant something deeper: A poem about an abusive relationship, for example, or a poem about a friend who committed suicide. “I view spoken-word as a necessary vehicle to maneuver the complexities of everyday life in the lives of all people, young and old,” Jamila Smith, the program’s instructor, said. Smith is a Ph.D. candidate in the College of Education at OSU. “The beauty of this art form is that it allows us to put rhythm to our everyday thoughts, frustrations, joys, and confusions,” Smith said. The program had two components: language arts and technology. During the language arts component of the program, students participated in writing workshops, open mic sessions, and guest
Spoken-Word Poetry Individual Truths
“...I just had a great idea for a poem. It literally felt like it hit me, and I just got up and began writing.” -Muata Howard, 15 Camper
Top Center: SEP camper Alura Myers reads her spoken -word poem during the graduation celebration. Several of the students’ poems brought audience members to tears. Middle Left: SEP campers work on collages. The campers were required to make a collage about a specific theme and use the collage as inspiration for a poem. Middle Right: SEP camper Addae Brooks sports a Marcus Garvey t-shirt that says “Proud to Be a Problem,” a statement reminiscent of W.E.B. Du Bois’ famous question “How does it feel to be a problem?” from his canonical text The Souls of Black Folk. Program faculty loved the shirt. Bottom Left: Local poet and selfpublished author Charles “Is Said” Lyons stands behind a table with more than 20 of his books on top. Is Said was one of three guest speakers who conducted a writing workshop for the program.
lectures. These activities were intended to improve students’ reading, writing, and speaking skills. Black Star · Autumn 2010 During the technology component of the program, students learned how to create a personal blog. Students were required to use their blog as an online journal, a space where they could write about their program experience and post information about their favorite spoken-word artists. Students also watched the HBO documentary series Brave New Voices, which chronicles the lives of high school spoken-word poets from across the nation who competed in the Youth Speaks’ 2008 Brave New Voices International Poetry Slam in Washington D.C. “A memorable moment for me was when we watched Brave New Voices and I just had a great idea for a poem,” Muata Howard, 15, said. “It literally felt like it hit me and I just got up and began writing.” At the end of the program, students shared their poetry with family, program faculty, and friends during a real-life open mic session at the CEC. At times the open mic session was overwhelming. Some students shared poems about absentee mothers and fathers, others shared poems about losing friends, and others shared poems about their deepest insecurities. The students’ poetry was powerful. There was not a dry eye in the room. “I love this program a lot, it put me around people my age who were interested in the same things that I was,” Howard said. “I would suggest this to anyone, even those who just want to have fun for a week because you will and you’ll learn and improve also.” Ultimately, S.P.I.T. gave students the hope that they needed all along. Hope that they poured their greatest fears into and their greatest dreams into. To see documentary footage of the Summer Enrichment Program and to read poetry written by the students, go to http://aaascec.osu.edu.
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Summer Residential Program
letz b down Black Star · Autumn 2010
Social Justice Advocacy for Blacks During the American Revolutionary War Era
By: Kamara R. Jones andra Quick is no stranger to the classroom. She worked for Columbus City Schools for 34 years, first as a junior high English teacher and then as a principal. This year, Quick was the instructor for the AAAS Community Extension Center’s Summer Residential Program (SRP). A program that attracts students from across Ohio and the nation. “I know kids. I know education,” Quick said. The SRP is a pre-college program for rising 11th and 12th graders. The program provides students with an understanding of the African-American social, cultural, and historical experience. Each year, the SRP is based on a creative theme. Quick, a member of the historical acting troupe “We’ve Known Rivers®,” decided to base the program on social justice advocacy during the American Revolutionary War Era. “That was the start of the struggle for independence for Black folks,” Quick said. At the beginning of the program, Quick did a historical reenactment of Phillis Wheatley, reportedly America’s first notable Black poet. For Quick, Wheatley embodied an important aspect of the American Revolutionary War Era. “She sees the hypocrisy and irony in the American Revolutionary War,” Quick said. “She asks, ‘How can my master fight for freedom from British rule but hold me as a slave?’ A lot of people were changed because of her poem [“On Being Brought from Africa to America”]. She made a difference and that’s what social justice advocacy was all about.”
TauVaughn Toney, 16, a program participant, was greatly impacted by Quick’s discussion of the cruel institution. “[I learned] that our people were really strong,” Toney said, adding that African slaves who survived the Middle Passage had to be strong in order to endure the voyage. “People were dying all around. You could smell the slave ships coming in from miles away.” Quick had five goals for the program. First, she wanted the students to compare and contrast the social justice issues that were prevalent during the American Revolutionary War Era to the social justice issues that are present today. “Slavery then, human trafficking now, fugitive slave laws then, Arizona Immigration Law now, lack of health care then, lack of health care now,” Quick said, noting the connections she wanted the students to make. Second, Quick wanted the students to develop a community service project. “I wanted them to do something to make a difference,” Quick said. “All the people we learned about made a difference.” Third, Quick wanted the students to have a precollege experience, which is primary goal of the program. “That meant research and writing,” Quick said. Fourth, Quick wanted the students to have “primary” or real-life experiences. Students participated in a “Colonial Slave Experience,” which was a reenactment of the Underground Railroad led by “We’ve Known Rivers®” troupe members Dr. Annette Jefferson and An-
thony Gibbs, debated about the Arizona Immigration Law inside the Columbus City Council chambers, and visited State Senator and Minority Whip Ray Miller at the Statehouse. Finally, and most importantly, Quick wanted the students to find their voice. For example, one day when the students were researching for their debate about the Arizona Immigration Law, Quick told them to go beyond the Internet and find a primary source for their research. “How do you get them?” the students asked. “You talk to people,” Quick replied. “Who should we talk to?” the students asked. “Let’s start with the people who make the laws,” Quick replied. “That was a big deal,” Quick said. “You should have seen them, everybody was on their cell phone.” One girl found a statement made by President Obama about the Arizona Immigration Law. But that wasn’t enough for Quick. “Call him,” Quick instructed. “I can’t call the President,” the girl replied. “Are you a citizen? Is he your president?” Quick asked. The girl picked up the phone and called the White House. President Obama didn’t pick up, but something bigger happened. “For her to step outside and realize that ‘I’m a citizen and I can call the White House and that I have the right to representation’ was huge,” Quick said. “That’s what the American Revolutionary War Era was all about. No taxation without representation!”
Top Left: SRP campers and members of the historical theater troupe “We’ve Known Rivers®” pose for a photo in front of Second Baptist Church. Second Baptist Church was founded in 1824 and is the oldest Black Baptist church in Columbus. Campers toured the church, learned about its history and its first pastor the Rev. James P. Poindexter. The church was the last stop on the campers’ “Colonial Slavery Experience” tour, a program activity intended to expose participants to the harshness of slavery. Top Right: SRP campers Jalane Sernessa, left, and Jasmine Yeboah-Boahene, right, stand with program instructor Sandra Quick. Quick was portraying a fictional character named Aunt Hettie. The Aunt Hettie character is a composite of several real-life literacy advocates from the American Revolutionary War Era who worked with Benjamin Franklin to educate slaves and free Blacks. Bottom Left: SRP campers listen to a tour guide during their visit to the Statehouse in Columbus. During the visit to the statehouse, SRP campers met with State Senator and Minority Whip Ray Miller.
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Enemies of the State An Evening with Members of the Young Lords Organization T
Top: José “Cha Cha” Jiménez, middle left, and Omar Lopez, far right, at a rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago in Chicago Circle. Bottom: The Young Lords Organization’s 1969 Albizu Campos March in Chicago. Pedro Albizu Campos was a Puerto Rican politician who was instrumental in the Puerto Rican Independence Movement. He was the president of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party from 1930 until his death in 1965.
he Young Lords Organization was a revolutionary human rights organization that began as a street gang called the Young Lords in the Puerto Rican neighborhood of “La Clark.” The street gang, founded in 1959, transformed into a human rights organization in 1968 after one of its principle founders, José “Cha Cha” Jiménez, was released from jail. While in jail, Jiménez read writings by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. He also read about the 1937 Massacre of Ponce in Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rican politician Pedro Albizu Campos. Reading led Jiménez to reflect on the experience of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. He began to realize that Puerto Ricans’ real enemies were not rival gangs like the Latin Kings, Black Eagles, and Paragons but, instead, Mayor Richard Daley’s administration and the U.S. government. Eventually, he convinced several members of the street gang to launch a political organization. The political organization was influenced by the Chicago Black Panthers. After Jiménez was released from jail, he developed a close friendship with Fred Hampton, the Deputy Chairman of the Illinois State Chapter of the Black Panther Party. The friendship contributed greatly to his intellectual development. On Wednesday, June 2, 2010, the AAAS Community Extension Center hosted the first installment of its annual series “Enemies of the State: An Evening with America’s Most Notorious Radicals.” Young Lords Organization leaders José “Cha Cha” Jiménez, founder, and Omar Lopez, the organization’s former minister of information, were the guest speakers.
“In the 60s, I think that the contradictions were more clear; it was more black and white. We knew who was against us. We didn’t have any [Latino] elected officials, we didn’t have any Latinos in the police department. We didn’t have things like that. It was very clear. So it was easier for us to identify what we call the enemy. Today we have, in Illinois at least, we have a [Latino] congressman, we have three state senators, we have about six state representatives, we have judges, we have all kinds of people that are already a part of the structure so for young people today it makes it more difficult for them to move against them.” -Omar Lopez Young Lords Organization Minister of Information
“I think we did what we had to do with the resources that we had. I would say that we need to...take our time and continue to build a movement, that it hasn’t ended, it’s just beginning. And we didn’t begin this, this has been going on throughout history. We were just part of it, part of a larger movement.” -José “Cha Cha” Jiménez Young Lords Organization Founder
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Top Left: AAAS Professor and CEC Director Dr. Judson L. Jeffries moderated the discussion. Jeffries is an expert on radical organizations of the 1960s. Jeffries intentionally wore purple and black, the official colors of the Young Lords Organization. Top Right: Omar Lopez, former minister of information of the Young Lords Organization, left, and José “Cha Cha” Jiménez, one of the principle founders of the Young Lords, a Chicago street gang, and the founder of the Young Lords Organization, right. Middle Left: Alecia Shipe greets Lopez and Jiménez after the event. Middle Center: Dr. Eugene Holland, chair of OSU’s Department of Comparative Studies, asks Lopez whether they witnessed Chicago gangs being lured into the drug trade. Holland followed up by asking how the Young Lords Organization avoided becoming involved in the narcotics industry. Middle Right: Melissa Pierre-Louis asks Lopez and Jiménez whether they are currently building on their legacy to cultivate the next generation of leaders. Bottom Right: Flyer used to advertise the event.
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Knowledge Is Power
Technology Courses Help Seniors Improve Their Lives could cover additional material. “He obviously doesn’t have to do that,” she said. Like Encarnanze, she tried to take computer classes at another location but “didn’t learn a thing.” The instructor, she said, wasn’t very patient. “[Mr. Mitchell] is patient. I can sense that he doesn’t mind answering questions,” she said. Mitchell doesn’t mind helping students. In fact, one of his primary goals is to find different ways to teach students the material so they don’t become frustrated and quit. “A lot of people who come to the classes have never even touched a computer. Many of them have computers at home but they don’t touch them,” Mitchell said. “The thing that I try to convey to them is that you can control what happens on your computer, it’s not going to control you.” The CEC’s technology courses have changed lives. And that’s not an overstatement. Frequently, Mitchell receives handwritten letters from former students, elderly students particularly, who feel that their world has changed as a result of the CEC’s technology courses. “You know it’s great to know that you can impact somebody’s life by doing your job. As a teacher Fred Dennis, 56, follows along in his workbook during the Microsoft Word course in July. Last spring, Dennis was laid sometimes you never know the impact that the off and decided to go back to school at Columbus State Community College. He said the CEC’s technology courses courses may have because you just see [the stuhave made his college experience easier. dents] in class,” Mitchell said, adding that he does By:Kamara R. Jones keep in touch with some students who have addiperience a lot easier. red Dennis, 56, was laid off when the recession “I’m able to get my assignments done and do re- tional questions after class or others who simply want hit. A few months later, he decided to go back to search, and I’m able to type reports,” Dennis said. to know about future events at the CEC. “Some of the school. Dennis enrolled at Columbus State Commu- “The course is a blessing and you got a great instruc- students, they don’t say it directly, but it’s like their lives are dependnity College in the tor.” fall of 2009 and is ing on the classes Marvin Mitchell, the CEC’s technology because they now studying to coordinator, has been teaching computer “You know it’s great to know become a facility that you can impact somebody’s courses at the CEC since 2004. Mitchell “Everything is on computers now need to apply for so you gotta know about it, energy conservajobs and a lot of is consistently praised by seniors like life by doing your job. tion technician. Dennis for his kindness, patience, and job applications you need to know about it, As a teacher sometimes “Once I got over thoroughness. are online.” I want to know about it. So you never know the there I needed to “The teacher, I think, is an outstanding Currently, Denwhen I’m confronted with impact that the courses know how to operteacher,” Christina Encarnanze said. “He nis is looking for a a situation I’ll have some basic ate a computer knows how to teach.” job. And, he said, may have because you because most of Before enrolling in the CEC’s technol- skills, I’ll have some knowledge.” the computer just see the students in class.” the work [in college] ogy courses, Encarnanze took computer skills he learned in is done on comclasses at a local senior center but quit –Fred Dennis the CEC’s tech–Marvin Mitchell puters,” he said. because the teacher, she said, was nology courses Student Technology Coordinator have helped with That same fall, “rude.” Dennis enrolled in “This teacher has a lot more patience that process. Like Mitchell the AAAS Commuand he is always willing to stop and help,” nity Extension Center’s Senior Computer Orientation Encarnanze said, adding that she has a passion for said, most job applications are online now and applicourse. learning but needs to be in an encouraging environ- cants are required to upload a cover letter, resume “I had no knowledge of operating a computer. [The ment. and list of references and/or copy and paste informaclass] covered the whole gamut that I needed, from “He’s always very polite. We’re all very lucky to find tion into blank field boxes. Dennis learned to upload the basic skills to the Microsoft [Office] programs,” a teacher like that because that’s what a lot of seniors files and copy and paste at the CEC. “Everything is on computers now so you gotta Dennis said. want,” she said. Since then, Dennis has taken the CEC’s Internet Linda Lawson, 55, also appreciated Mitchell’s in- know about it, you need to know about it, I want to course, Excel course, and the Word course. He has struction. She was particularly impressed by know about it,” Dennis said. “So when I’m conalso taken the PowerPoint course. The CEC’s tech- Mitchell’s willingness to add an extra hour to the last fronted with a situation I’ll have some basic skills, nology courses, he said, have made his college ex- day of the Microsoft Word class she took in July so he I’ll have some knowledge.”
the Bronzevillian Autumn 2010
An African-American Lieutenant Governor PoindexterOnVillage: What Mount Vernon · Autumn 2010 the future hold? Clever Move, or Political Miscalculation? does By: Walter Lincoln By: Judson L. Jeffries, Ph.D. As a political scientist, I’m particularly interested in the 2010 Ohio governor’s race. Several months ago, Governor Ted Strickland surprised many by making a most intriguing decision—tapping Yvette McGee Brown as his running mate for lieutenant governor. Having an African American on a statewide ticket often produces fireworks of an undesirable nature. There are seven reasons why a White incumbent governor might make such a move: 1) He believes the candidate is the best person for the job; that the person happens to be African American is incidental; 2) To influence party discussions about a gubernatorial success; 3) To maintain his Black support base; 4) To stimulate Black voter turnout; 5) He believes that the candidate will contribute greatly to the ticket in some way; 6) To pay off a political debt of some kind; or 7) He is confident about the outcome of the election that he believes an African American running mate will not adversely affect his reelection bid. In such cases, the move is more about legacy building than anything else. Since the Civil Rights Movement, African Americans have been elected to every major political office in the country. Today there are over 9,000 Black elected officials. At some point, Blacks have been elected mayor of nearly every major city. Thousands of African Americans have served in state legislatures and on city councils across the nation. Where Blacks have not experienced major success is at the statewide level. Since the voting rights act of 1965, only two African Americans have been elected governor; three elected to the U.S. Senate and only eight Blacks have held the office of lieutenant governor. Most of the eight African-American lieutenant governors were ushered into office on the governor’s tidal wave of support. In other words, whatever voter support the winning governor received the lieutenant governor also received. How can this be? Because split ticket voting is prohibited in some states. Ohio is one such state. When one votes for the governor, that person is also voting for the lieutenant governor. By contrast, in Virginia, a voter is afforded the opportunity to pull the lever for a Democratic or Republican candidate for governor and then do the same for the Democratic or Republican candidate for lieutenant governor. Hence it is not atypical for the winning ticket to be comprised of a Democratic governor and a Republican lieutenant governor. One could argue that although eight African Americans have held the office of lieutenant governor since 1965, only a few of them have been elected independently of the governor: Mervyn Dymally in California in 1974 and L. Douglas Wilder in Virginia in 1985. Again, in those states, voters can vote separately for the top three posts, those being the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General. George L. Brown in Colorado in 1974, Jeanette Bradley in
Ohio in 2002, Joe Rogers in Colorado in 1998, Michael Steele in Maryland in 2003, David Paterson in New York in 2006 and Anthony Brown in Maryland in 2006 won by virtue of being on the winning ticket. If split ticket voting was permitted in those states, the number of Black lieutenant Governors would be more dismal. Because Ohio voters cannot split their tickets for governor and lieutenant governor as is done in some other states, Governor Strickland’s candidacy, as a result of Brown’s presence on the ticket, is likely to be negatively impacted by some degree of anti-black sentiment. There is no way to ascertain exactly what percentage of White voters will withhold their support or vote against the Democratic ticket based on race. There has always been a sector of the White electorate that will vote against a Black candidate on the basis of race. Again, in the case of the Ohio governor’s election, however, a vote against the lieutenant governor will not only be a vote against the lieutenant governor, but a vote against Governor Strickland. In 2008, the world witnessed arguably the most significant election of the 21st century. Since then, political pundits, journalists and even some scholars have declared enthusiastically, but unconvincingly, that Obama’s ascent to the White House signals a post-racial era. Translation: The racial glass ceiling has been shattered; now everyone including African Americans, have, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, and I’m paraphrasing here, an equal opportunity at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In the minds of some, race has ceased to be America’s albatross. We live in a country where an African American can be elected president, and a guy named Chris Gardner, also an African American, can go from being a homeless single parent to being a stockbroker at a prestigious firm in a matter of months, in, of all places, California, the land of milk and honey. Where palatial homes with in-ground swimming pools are a dime a dozen, and a glamorous job such as that of an executive for a major Hollywood Studio or a stockbroker at a prestigious firm are within the reach of anyone who wants it, regardless of race, class or gender. It is possible that race is not as significant in some spheres as it once was, but it is as significant, if not more in most areas of American life. Given the ignominious history of race and politics, why did Governor Ted Strickland, an intellectual and ardent student of politics choose Brown as his running mate for lieutenant Governor? There is no way to know for sure, however, for you political junkies, scrutinize each of the seven considerations and render your own conclusion. Space constraints preclude me from presenting my findings. One thing is certain, on November 6, 2010, Governor Strickland’s selection of Brown will be revealed as either a devilishly clever move or a political miscalculation.
Poindexter Village, Poindexter Tower, and adjacent lands in the historic Bronzeville Neighborhood have become the center of Columbus's economic development plans. At a Columbus City Council meeting, Bronzeville Neighborhood Association President Willis Brown made the neighborhood stakeholders position clear regarding the Poindexter Area’s future: “Bronzeville residents must be involved in the city’s Poindexter Area Master Plan discussion,” Brown said. Councilwoman Charleta Tavares agreed. During the meeting, Tavares told City of Columbus Development Director Boyce Safford that Bronzeville residents should be involved in the Poindexter Area Master Plan process. Safford replied by stating that the Poindexter Area Master Plan process has not begun. Actually, a lot of discussion about Poindexter Area’s future has been going on for some time. The question is this: When will the city officially acknowledge that the process has began? The Poindexter Area includes several acres of prime real estate adjacent to the West side of The Ohio State University Hospital East: Poindexter Village and Tower, the Carl Brown site, occupied and vacant residential structures, and numerous empty lots. What will the future hold for these city blocks? Blocks that have been a part of a rich history as early as the 1850s, which marked the beginning of Columbus Development in the Poindexter Area corridor. The geographical area bounded by East Long Street, Ohio Avenue, Mount Vernon Avenue and Taylor Avenue are already experiencing the winds of change. There is little doubt that the Poindexter Area will be redeveloped. But several questions merit discussion: 1) Who will determine the Poindexter Area’s future? 2) Will its future be determined by the city’s Department of Development or by OSU, and OSU Hospital East with its $10 million commitment to the neighborhood over the course of 10 years? 3) What is the future of the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) which oversees Poindexter Village? 4) What are the intentions and motivations of the new Central Ohio Community Corporation? 5) Will Bronzeville residents have a voice in the Poindexter Area Master Plan or be notified after the plan has been completed? 6) Will developers proceed with the community’s best interest in mind or stymie its social and economic future? The history of Poindexter Village is a robust one. The CMHA was established in 1936 through local and federal government action. The Blackberry Patch, the predominately African-American neighborhood that formerly occupied the Bronzeville area, was razed in 1938 by the CMHA and became the site of Project Number Ohio 1-1, which was later named Poindexter Village. Poindexter Village and Poindexter Tower were named after the Rev. James P. Poindexter, the first pastor of Second Baptist Church in Columbus. He was also a prominent abolitionist. James Madison became the first resident manager of Poindexter Village in 1941. Madison was an original member of the 1937 Bronzeville mayor’s cabinet, Mayor Rev. N.L. Scarborough. Bronzeville has played a significant role in Poindexter Village and is poised to do so in the future. Walter Lincoln is a historian and long-time resident of Columbus.
10 the Bronzevillian Autumn 2010
Trailblazers and Torchbearers Ray Miller Institute for Change and Leadership Celebrates Fourth Year
On Mount Vernon · Autumn 2010
By: Kamara R. Jones tate Senator Ray Miller (D-Columbus) had the vision: A leadership institute for young Black professionals focused on transforming the Black community in Columbus. “I wanted to train the next generation of AfricanAmerican leaders on the history and tradition of what it means to be an effective and responsible leader for our community,” Miller said. “The time for celebrating leaders simply because of their skin color has past.” To implement his vision, Miller joined forces with Dr. William E. Nelson, Jr., and Dr. James Upton, professors in the Department of African American and African Studies at The Ohio State University, and Carla Wilks, senior program and outreach coordinator at the AAAS Community Extension Center. “There were a series of meetings that were held…to very clearly define the curriculum and protocols for the Institute,” Miller said. Dr. Judson L. Jeffries joined the planning committee in August of 2006, after he was hired as professor of AAAS and director of the CEC. Miller wanted the Institute to be housed at the CEC. And he also was looking for an instructor. (Originally, Miller planned to be a guest speaker for the Institute, not a co-instructor.) During an introductory meeting with Jeffries, he re-presented his proposal. The two connected immediately. Jeffries quickly agreed to help develop Miller’s idea. “Shortly after getting to Columbus I realized that there were more Black folks in positions of influence and power than any other city of comparable size, but I also realized that the level of Black representation was not commensurate with Black peoples’ quality of life,” Jeffries said. “This leadership Institute, I thought, might help make Columbus the city that many publications already claim it to be, one of the best cities for Black people to live.” The planning committee debated about the name of the Institute. At first, the name was going to be generic, The Institute for Change and Leadership. And then Jeffries suggested that the Institute be named after Miller. “That was a great honor,” Miller said. “I was humbled by that.” After the curriculum was established, a textbook was needed. Jeffries suggested The MisEducation of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson and the rest of the planning committee quickly agreed. “Although the book was written 70 years ago, it is still applicable to what’s happening in the Black community today,” Jeffries said. “And when you see the proverbial light bulb go off in the heads of fellows in the Institute who make that connection, it’s rewarding.” The Ray Miller Institute for Change and Leadership (RMICL) was born in the fall of 2006. Miller’s
Graduation Celebration for Cycle 8 of the RMICL
Back Row: Adam Troy, Ike Newsum, associate professor and chair of the Department of African American and African Studies at The Ohio State University, Naila Chauncey Hughes, Timothy White, Aaron Jenkins, Kevin Carter, Malik Wilson, M. Patrick Braide, Phillip Patrick Middle Row: Candace Allen, Tia Carter, Melissa Pierre-Louis Front Row: Yolanda Moser, Aminah Sloan, Makia Kambon, Ericka Wicks, Elaine Turner, Donielle Eldridge, State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland), Noah Mason, Hanifah Kambon, Ako Kambon, Azuka Mumin, Angela Cornelius Dawson, Carla Wilks, State Senator Ray Miller (D-Columbus) Not Pictured: Landon Adams, Cycle 8 graduate.
vision had become a reality. The Ray Miller Institute for Change and Leadership is a 10-week long leadership course that is offered with the support of OSU’s Office of Continuing Education during the spring and fall quarters. Approximately 20 young Black professionals are chosen to participate in the Institute each cycle. There are currently over 150 graduates. “It is gratifying to me to walk into a room in our city and see so many graduates of the Institute occupying key positions of influence and conversing with one another,” Miller said. “We want to see them, however, significantly alter the landscape of our city. They know the voids that exist.” The Institute is competitive. Miller and Jeffries personally choose the brightest young Black professionals, professionals who have demonstrated leadership experience in the past and have a commitment to the Black community. Professionals like Donielle Eldridge, 26, for example, an accountant at a military defense firm. Eldridge wants to start a program for teenagers focused on community justice issues. She would also like to teach at a community college. Or professionals like Kevin Carter, 38, a senior account executive for a radio company. Carter wants to run for city council. Or professionals like Yolanda Moser, 26, an adult food educator for a
local non-profit organization that is dedicated to improving food systems. Moser wants to ensure that impoverished communities have access to healthy food. Eldridge, Carter, and Moser were all members of Cycle 8, the most recent cycle of fellows who graduated from the Institute in June. “Before I started the Institute, I was gauging my success by material things and not by the number of people I impacted,” Eldridge said. The Ray Miller Institute for Change and “The Institute really em- Leadership brochure. powered me to want to give back to the Black community.” Carter’s experience was similar. He thought the Black community had arrived. That there was no longer a need to make the empowerment of the Black community a priority since there are more opportunities available to the Black community today than there were in the past. “I’m a better person in that respect for being a part of the Institute,” he said.
the Bronzevillian Autumn 2010
State Senator and Minority Whip Ray Miller and Ray Miller Institute for Change and Leadership Alumni at the African American Male Wellness Walk on Saturday, August 14, 2010. About 40 RMICL alumni showed up for the event.
During the Institute, fellows attend a weekly owners, corporate executives and executive directhree-hour-long seminar. The first half of the semi- tors of governmental and non-governmental agennar is focused on leadership: Miller, for example, cies. Politicians are invited too. usually uses personal anecdotes to convey les- Angela Cornelius Dawson, the director of the sons in leadership, while Jeffries discusses leader- Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, is a favorite. ship through the lens of The Dawson challenges the Mis-Education of the Negro fellows to overcome their and the African-American fears. social, political, and historical "I look forward to the changes “She’s so dynamic,” experience. Moser said. “I thought that Senator Miller that the graduates of the “Her whole story,” was extremely inspirational,” said. Carter said. “...His lectures Ray Miller Institute will implement E l d r i d g e “Everything stood out.” made me want to change the in the next three to five years. Sometimes fellows world. And I know that we can greatly become their own in“You could be totally right in impact the city of Columbus.” structors. Cycle 8, for the answer you give but Dr. example, frequently Jeffries would ask you, ‘Are engaged in debates you sure about that?’” Moser –Yolanda Moser about social, political said. “I appreciated that. He and cultural issues afwants to make sure that you’re Ray Miller Institute for Change fecting the Black comso sure you don’t have to and Leadership Alumna munity, including a second guess yourself.” lengthy debate about the During the Institute fellows meaning of Blackness are required to write an essay inside the Columbus City about a person “on who shoulders they stand.” Eldridge wrote about a woman in Council chambers. her hometown who operates a drug counseling Moser relished in these debates. Frequently, in center. Jeffries made her rewrite the essay. Her college she felt uncomfortable speaking in her essay was well-written, he said, but she didn't go predominately White agriculture classes. The other students, she said, would assume she was argudeep enough. “That kind of forced me to talk about some things ing a certain point because she was Black. The that I didn’t really want to talk about,” Eldridge Institute’s all-Black environment allowed her to find her voice. And her voice changed minds. said. Guest speakers are invited to the second half of “Yolanda has a real focus on African Americans the seminar, usually African-American business and farming. Farming was never a priority for me,”
Carter said. “Now I see a lot of the different things that go into agriculture and why that should be important to us. Just the exposure to so many different people with so many different professions and so many different priorities was beneficial.” Moser learned something too. “I learned to be critical of black leadership. I learned that it’s OK to be critical of black leadership,” she said. To complete the course, fellows are required to do a group research project. Past fellows were required to develop a proposal for a Black Chamber of Commerce, a Black political action committee and a Black-owned public access channel. According to Miller, the purpose of the group projects is to teach the fellows how to address a pressing community need, how to present effectively in writing and verbally, and how to work together in teams. In addition, Miller said, the purpose of the group projects is to teach the fellows how to develop a product that can and should be implemented. “Overall, I have been very impressed with the quality of work done on the various team projects,” Miller said, then listing a handful that stood out for their originality and content. Here are a few of the team projects that Miller listed: “Engage Interactive Media: Youth Driven Internet Television Media Outlet,” “Jazzy Greens: Vegetarian Soul Food Restaurant,” and “The Ray Miller Institute for Change & Leadership Alumni Association.” The projects are presented on the last day of the course to a group of community leaders, residents, and former fellows, people who often critique the new fellows’ work unrelentingly. “The projects…were intimidating, because we really didn’t know what to expect,” Eldridge said, adding that she thought the project presentations were excellent preparation for important, on-thespot situations in the professional world. “How you act in that situation really defines you as a leader.” Previous fellows have experienced professional growth as a result of graduating from the Institute, but the Institute’s impact on the community at large is difficult to measure. The Institute, however, is still in its infancy and a significant number of its graduates are still in the process of launching their careers. But, that’s not really an excuse for Miller. “RMICL fellows have observed and queried many of our most successful leaders,” Miller said. “It is now time for implementation and bold moves!” Moser agrees. "I look forward to the changes that the graduates of the Ray Miller Institute will implement in the next three to five years,” Moser said. “And I know that we can greatly impact the city of Columbus.” To apply for the Spring 2011 Cycle of The Ray Miller Institute for Change and Leadership, go to http:// aaascec.osu.edu. Applications will be available in February.
Department of African American and African Studies Community Extension Center 905 Mount Vernon Avenue Columbus, Ohio 43203-1413
Phone: (614) 292-3922 Fax: (614) 292-3892 http://aaascec.osu.edu email@example.com
Bishop Gilbert Price 1953-2010
Jerry Hammond 1934-2010
William J. Shepherd 1932-2010
Gilbert Price was a veteran journalist. He worked as a managing editor, writer and columnist for The Call and Post, a newspaper that targeted the AfricanAmerican community in central Ohio. In addition, Mr. Price was an activist. He was also the pastor of Mount Zion Apostolic Holiness Church. The CEC administration and staff would like to honor Mr. Price for his years of service in Columbus, particularly his service on the CECâ€™s advisory board.
Jerry Hammond was the first AfricanAmerican president of Columbus City Council. He was appointed to the council in 1974. In 1984, he became president of the council. He remained on the council until 1990 when he retired from the Columbus Southern Power Company. While serving on the council, Mr. Hammond worked hard to diversify the city workforce. Mr. Hammond was an instrumental force behind the establishment of the King Arts Complex.
William J. Shepherd, known by many as Elder Ajani Akinyele, was a U.S. Army veteran, retired U.S. Postal Service employee, and a devoted community volunteer. He was also an avid golfer. The CEC administration and staff would like to honor Mr. Shepherd for his dedication to the Mount Vernon Avenue community. He was a regular at CEC conferences, lectures, and events. He always kept the discussion lively. He will be missed.
A newsletter from the Department of African American and African Studies Community Extension Center.