Iron Blade: December 2015

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IRON BLADE Vol. 60, No. 3

SINCE 1955

60 Years of Ferrum College News

December , 2015

Dar He: Speaking For a Murder Victim

By Alexis Witcher On November 8, 2015, Rocky Mount’s Harvester presented a monologue written and performed by Mike Wiley entitled “Dar He: The Story of Emmitt Till.” The monologue portrayed the obstacles Emmitt Till faced and the horrific social injustice that ended his life at only 14 years old. Till was an African-American teenager from Chicago. He traveled to Mississippi in the summer of 1955 to visit his aunt and distant cousins. During an outing with his cousins at the local general store, Emmitt spoke with the wife of the white man who owned the store. Till was simply trying to purchase a pack of gum. A lot of people are not aware that Emmitt struggled with a horrible stuttering problem. His mother always told him to whistle when he could not get the words that he was desperately trying to say out. So when Emmitt was trying to talk to the woman and the words

wouldn’t come out, he whistled. casket funeral to show how badly The wife immediately took this as he was beat, all because of racial disrespectful and lewd. When the tensions. woman’s husband and locals of the Till’s story is a constant reneighborhood heard what Till had minder of the social injustice that done, they set out to find him and put him in his place. Later that night, they drug Till out of his aunt’s home and took him to a tool shed where they brutally beat him and shot him. Till’s killers were never charged with his murder. To let the world know Photo by Alexis Witcher what those men did to her son, Mike Wiley perfoming a 36 character momologue in tribute Emmit Till’s mother Till at the Harvester Center. had an open-

many African-Americans faced in the 1950s and what they continue to face today. The monologue showed how prominent segregation was in the South and the unfair treatment and utter disrespect many AfricanAmericans faced, based solely on the color of their skin. It also showed how miscommunication and racial prejudice can lead to a brutal and inhumane murder. Wiley wrote and performed the monologue because he felt people deserved to know the truth about the speculation around the brutal racially-driven murder “I wanted to write a play that attempted to tell the truth of Emmitt Till,” explained Wiley. Wiley also said he wrote and performed the monologue because he believes Till’s story is withering away and becoming just another lyric in a Kanye West song. In the course of the monologue, Wiley played 36 characters. It took him six months to collect all the facts about Till’s murder and memorize his script.

Affrilachian Poets Bring Their Love of Writing To Ferrum

By Myles T. Francisco On Nov. 9, Frank X Walker and Shauna Morgan visited Ferrum College to share their love for poetry. Morgan, introduced by Kaeyln Williams, a junior here at Ferrum College, was the first speaker. Morgan read her most recent work, “The Freedom of Sunrise” which deals with women’s experiences dealing with trauma, growth, girlhood, and womanhood. She also

Photo Courtesy of Ferrum College

An advertisement for the Frank X Walker and Shauna Morgan's visit.

read some poems from “Anthology of Appalachia” which was based on her experiences working at the University of Virginia. Walker read from some of his older work as well as the new. He read a poem about his brother’s drug addiction and his goal to constantly find that same high. Walker then started talking about the day he would remember for the rest of his life, his mother’s funeral. The last poem presented was a duet by Walker and Morgan. He read the poem in English, while she translated it into Jamaican patois. Frank X Walker, professor of English and African American and Africana studies at the University of Kentucky, is the author of more than five poetry collections, recipient of the Lannan Literary Fellowship in Poetry and the NAACP Image Award for Poetry. Walker is also a former Kentucky Poet Laureate. Before going on stage, Walker and Morgan talked about their careers and their writing. “I have always loved to

write,” Morgan said, especially when she began to read Walker’s book “Affrilachia” in the summer of 2001. “Affrilachia” was Walker’s first published collection of poetry. The word, which Walker coined, represents African American culture in Appalachia. Walker and the other Affrilachian poets bely the notion that Appalachian culture doesn’t include African American culture. Walker and Morgan spoke at their performance of how one of America’s founding fathers denied perhaps the earliest African American poet a place in American culture. Phillis Wheatley was a slave in Boston, but she was also a poet. In his “Notes on the State of Virginia,” Jefferson declared “[t] he compositions published under her name are below the dignity of criticism.” Yet Wheatley and her poetry was celebrated in both America and England. Morgan is from Jamaica then moved to South Florida, “It was a different experience for me, coming from a rural community

close to the mountains.” In Jamaica, Morgan grew up without electricity or running water. Living in South Florida, she said, she never felt “in place.” So when she first read “Affrilachia,” she was amazed to see how relatable the people in the book were. She called it her “first connection to home.” Morgan names Walker the most prolific persona, which means Walker knows how to change the tone of each of his characters voices. Morgan also enjoys how he asserts a black woman’s voice Walker began writing because of his love for books, also because of an absence of television. His being a quiet child growing up also helped his listening skills. Walker said his mother is to be thanked for the person he is, but his high school teachers who told him to fix what he was not good at helped shape the writer he would be. Even now, Walker says, the fiction writer in him is not yet fully formed. “The only reason I would stop writing,” Walker said, “is if I was dead.”

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Ferrum's Student Athletes Players Of the Week

By Micaela Reddick The USA South Athletic Conference has named Sarah Hendrix and Charles George Ferrum’s student athletes Players of the Week. Charles George was named Football Offensive Rookie of the Week, and Sarah Hendrix earned Volleyball Defensive Player of the Week. George, a freshmen coming from Crouse, North Carolina rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns in Ferrum’s homecoming football win victory over Greensboro College. The panthers finished the score to 31-20 October 2 at William Fleming High School in Roanoke, Virginia. George averaging seven yards per carry for the Panther’s, makes Ferrum’s football team is

Huntington is to execute on every play and show great attitudes. “The Panthers host Huntingdon football team who is also 1-0. The game kicks off on Saturday, Oct. 10, at

1-0 in the USA South Conference. George is excited to get out and play against Huntington this Saturday at Bassett. He explains, “We are having really good week of practice. The goal of us beating

By Quentin Mack The Ferrum Panthers Men's basketball team had a close victory against the Eastern Mennonite Royals basketball team on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at the Swartz Gym. Though the Royals managed to tie with the Panthers a few times, especially in the latter half of the game, the Royals fell behind as the final score reached 69-65. The Royals led the first half of the game, with Isaiah HarrisWinn and Maleke Jones keeping their team ahead of the Panthers 27-26 by scoring eight points and nine free throws together. During the second half, the Panthers tied with the Royals 33-33 thanks to Alex Ayers scoring a three-point throw. Near the end of the second half, Rashawn Speas tied the game up for the Panthers 65-65 with 2:27 on the clock; finally, Forward

KeAndre’ Robinson broke the tie and shot eight free throws, giving the Panthers their winning score. The game started to get tense for both teams during the second half, but Robinson did not give in to the pressure. “It made us realize that they’re getting the lead and basically the game is getting down to the wire, where time is running out so we need to act, need to tighten on defense and play harder, much harder than we had been” says Robinson. Panther’s Coach Bill Tharp was pleased with his team’s victory, knowing that this season would be a great start for freshman players like Robinson Photo courtesy to Ferrum College Athletics and a memorable send-off for D'Andre Mullen, Senior Gaurd, number 1 on the Ferrum College Men's Basketball team. the seniors. “I want them to have as much success as they can this season so their senior year is a memorable one.”

Charles George, number 20, Ferrum freshman running back.

Sarah Hendrix, number 7, a Junior Defensive Specialist

Photo by Ferrum College Athletics

Bassett High School at 3 p.m. Hendrix, a junior coming from Summerfield, North Carolina was a huge success on the volleyball court, helping Panthers post a 4-0 record. Hendrix says, “We are having a really good season so far and we working hard as a team to become better than we were the day before.” Panthers have officially won five matches in a row. The volleyball team is 11-9 overall and 5-5 in the USA South. Ferrum will be back in action Tuesday, October 13 in a USA South match at 7 p.m at Ferrum’s Swartz Gym. Hendrix has high hopes for the team and wants everyone to come out and support the volleyball team for their upcoming match!

Panthers Top the Royals In Home Opener


By Alexis J. Witcher Women’s Volleyball Coming off of a 3-0 win against Mary Baldwin College bishops, Ferrum women’s volleyball has been on a roll. Ferrum ended that game with a (15-13, 9-8 USA South) record. On Oct. 31, the women’s volleyball team traveled to Rocky Mountain, N.C to play at a USA South Athletic Conference volleyball quad, held at North Carolina Wesleyan College. The Panthers opened a 2-0 lead over N.C. Wesleyan, only to have the Bishops make a comeback and take the next two sets. Ferrum rallied to take the fifth and final set to win the game. Set scores were (25-18),


Staff Writers, Photographers, and Other Contributors

Kaitlin Roeper, Hunter Ferguson, Chris Rodgers, Micaela Reddick, (25-13), (23-25), (15-25), and (15Kayla McMillan, Myles Francisco, Alexis Witcher, Mary -Beth 10). Ferrum College’s Cheyenne Worley, Deniz Isik, Quentin Mack, Allison Martin, Kaitlin Owens & Strickland posted a rare tripleMallory Hall. double with 27 assists, 14 kills, and 14 digs. In the Ferrum vs. N.C. Wesleyan game, Hannah Helbert Letters Policy and Publication Details: had 18 kills, 20 digs; Strickland 14 kills, twenty assist, and 14 Opinions expressed in The Iron Blade do not necessarily reflect those of Ferrum College administration, staff, faculty, or students. digs. Emily Danner had 24 assists; The Iron Blade is published every week during the academic year at Ferrum Sarah Hendrix 28 digs; Jessica College, Ferrum, Va. It is designed on Apple computers and printed at JS Printing in Turner eight kills, 17 digs; Ebony Montgomery, Ala. Material may be reprinted with the advisor’s written permission. Crawford six kills; nine blocks. To contact The Iron Blade, call 365-4304 or e-mail Leteashia Clarke had nine kills, and The crest on page one was designed by alumna Sandy Southard (’04) in 2005 and three blocks. updated and colorized in 2009 by Glenn Thompson. The Panthers downed the host Bishops 3-2, then fell to William Peace University 3-1. The Panthers Join the Staff await word on where and when they The Iron Blade is always looking for students who are interested in journalism, will compete in next week’s USA photography, or design. If you desire to contribute to The Iron Blade by being a writer, South Tournament. photographer, editor, or designer please contact Tim Thornton at

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Vanya and Sonia And Masha and Spike

By Deniz Isik The Theater Art Dept. of Ferrum College presented the production of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” November 12 to the 15, at the Schoolfield Hall’s Theater. The play was written by Christopher Durang who borrowed ideas from the original story by Anton Chekhov. Durang used the same character names, theme, and setting, however he switched the background of Vanya and Sonia who were two female siblings of Masha, into Vanya being male, and Sonia being adopted. With Special Permission, Director Wayne Bowman of Ferrum College, put on Durang’s play of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” and received positive feedback from the audience.

The story is about Vanya, (Morgan Julian), and Sonia, (Selestie Cowie) living together in their ancestral home. Masha (Fox Yates), a successful actor, visits her siblings with Spike (Zach Reyes), her trophy husband, threatening to sell the home with the goal of getting Vanya and Sonia to do something more with their lives. As the story progresses, characters such as Cassandra, (Kathleenah Accilien), a housemaid who has visions of predetermined happenings, and Nina, (Sierra Pearson), an aspiring actor who adores Masha, emerges, causing further complications and more arguments among the three siblings. Bowman, the director, was very pleased with the performance, and looks forward to continue the Photo by Deniz Isik production of other plays. A photo of the stage before the Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike play.

Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992

Photo courtesy of Giuseppe Ritorto

A photo of the stage before the Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike play.

By Alexis Witcher The Ferrum College Theatre Arts Department presented Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, Anna Deavere Smith’s work about the devastating human impact of the Los Angeles riots in 1992. The performances were held on Nov. 17th, 18th, and 19th in Schoolfield Hall’s FLEX Theatre. Dramatists Play Service writes about Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, on its website: “Acclaimed as ‘an American masterpiece’ by Newsweek, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 is a stunning new work of ‘documentary theatre’ in which Anna Deavere Smith uses the verbatim words of people who experienced the Los Angeles riots to expose and explore the devastating human impact of that event. From nine months of interviews with more than two hundred people, Smith has chosen the voices that best reflect the diversity and tension of a city in turmoil: a disabled Korean man, a white male Hollywood talent agent,

a Panamanian immigrant mother, a teenage black gang member, a macho Mexican-American artist, Rodney King’s aunt, beaten truck driver Reginald Denny, former Los Angeles police chief Daryl Gates and other witnesses, participants and victims. A work that goes directly to the heart of the issues of race and class, Twilight ruthlessly probes the language and the lives of its subjects, offering stark insight into the complex and pressing social, economic and political issues that fueled the flames in the wake of the Rodney King verdict.” Originallly a onewoman play, this production was presented and performed by the seasoned seniors in the theater arts program: Ta’Jon Olmo, Marybeth Bond, Nathan Odems, Stephanie Mclntyre, and Kelli Morton. For many of them, it was the last play of their college career. “I enjoy theater and acting.,” Bond said. “It is my passion.”

Concordia University in Chicago, for four years and won a conference championship there. Soon after, he went to Division II Virginia State University, and Division I James Madison University. Hill says he is excited to just be around organizations and work with young men. A quote he uses to uplift the team is, “Continue to win each day.” Hill’s goal for the team is winning consistently, not just as a football team, but in the classroom,

too. He constantly teaches his players that being undisciplined on the football team means being undisciplined in life. Hill says he loves to cook and on his days off he enjoys watching General Hospital.

Ferrum's New Football Coaches

By Micaela Reddick Ferrum had two new football coaches for the 2015 season, Dave Kenny and Patrick Hill. Kenny, from suburban Philadelphia, has coached all levels of football for 28 years. He has coached defensive and offensive squads, and has also been a head coach for a Division II team. A quote he uses daily is “Hard work pays off,” explaining that if everyone on the team keeps

working every day and as a team, if they focus on taking care of the little things, then the big things will take care of themselves. Kenny says he is comfortable at Ferrum and is enjoying his time here. Patrick Hill, from Streetport, Louisiana, has coached football for eight years. He played high school football for four years, and collegiate football one year. He started coaching at 19 years old. Hill has coached at Division III

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Fall 2015's Horse Pulling Contest

By Quentin Mack The 42nd Blue Ridge Folklife Festival began on Saturday, Oct. 24, filling the open field of Ferrum College with numerous attractions. Traffic lined up as newcomers and returning guests came to enjoy the festivities, especially the horse pulling contest at the Blue Ridge Farm Museum. Teams from VA, NC, MD, and PA came to the competition, each with a pair of well-trained horses. Before it became a Ferrum tradition for at least 35 years, horse pulling began before the twentieth century as a rural competition between neighbors. Since the weight can range up to the thousands, some people may believe that such strenuous activity is abuse; but, people who have worked with horses for years know that such activity isn’t new to them. Roddy Moore, Associate Director of the Blue Ridge Institute, has commented on such thoughts, saying, “These horses have been trained, they’ve built up muscles to do this type of work and they’re not abusing these animals. A lot of people might think making them pull a load is abuse but this is what they’ve been doing for hundreds of years.” The contest began at 1:30 p.m. in a fenced area beneath a hill. There were eight light teams and four heavy teams of Belgian horses, a rather popular breed for farm work and competitions. As the tractor filled the sled with blocks, announcer and Ferrum College alumni, Beth Phalen, urged the growing crowd on the hill to withhold any applause when the horses are pulling; otherwise, they

get distracted and begin to pull their handlers instead. The first round started off at 3,000 pounds, with competitor

since the rest of the teams chose to By the fifth round of 7,000 pass, the first round was not very pounds, however, the contest really exciting. The second round began became hard and tense as few teams afterwards, increasing the weight to were able to pass the required distance. Competitors, however, were allowed another chance to pull if they felt their horses could make the attempt. Danny Olinger, with his light team of Mike and Bill, came so close but managed only to reach 27 feet in their third attempt. When asked about how he got into horse pulling, North Carolina competitor, Odel Coley said, “I went to watch one and that got me hooked.” There is a small amount of money to be won in the contest, but that is not the reason why competitors participate. “It’s more about being around friends and Photos by Quentin Mack seeing whose horse can out pull the The Blueridge Folklife Festival has had a Horse Pulling competition during the festival other horses,” said Odel Coley, who for the last 35 years. knows that horse pulling, indeed all

Chuck Nutwell starting first with his two light horses: Bruce and Rex. They started off the contest well with a clean pull past the 27 feet and six inch required distance, followed by Alan West and his horses; but,

4,000 pounds. Both light and heavy teams achieved great pulls in this round, especially Joe Cotterton’s horses, Doc and Digger; in fact, spectators near the fence had to retreat when the pair came too close.

The Folklife Festival has a lot of different and interesting and didn't crafts and art. Some of these are available to buy and others are just to share.

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the events in the Folklife Festival, is about having a good time. The contest lasted eight rounds, ending with Joe Cotterton taking first place for the light teams, while Ira Green won first place for the heavies.

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