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Features by UNCF and Thurgood Marshall College Fund






From Howard to Hollywood:

Taraji P. Henson



Dr. Rosyln Clark Artis THE


For the Culture Features the original wakanda HBCU rising commentary my brother’s keeper



HBCU Times 1 | Spring 2018 Issue

Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training (ARRT) Program at the Langston University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (LU-RRTC) on Research and Capacity Building for Minority Entities PROJECT OVERVIEW:

The Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training (ARRT) Project at the Langston University (historically Black college/university [HBCU]) Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (LU-RRTC) on Research and Capacity Building represents a collaborative effort between the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston ([ICI] Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institution), North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University ([NCA&T] HBCU), South Carolina State University ([SCSU] HBCU), and Jackson State University ([JSU] HBCU). The Project implements a Peer-to-Peer Multiple Mentor Model to help post-doctoral fellows navigate institutional context and cross-fertilize their independent research project and research grant proposal through exchanges with a primary mentor and a scientific panel of mentors comprised of content experts, multicultural specialists, methodologists, and statisticians. The ARRT Program works in concert with the LU-RRTC drawing upon the center’s extensive minority-serving institution research capacity building expertise, collaborative networks, resources, and interventions (e.g., methodology and grant writing web-based trainings, communities of practice, strategic planning, sponsored programs office and institutional review board technical assistance and consultation), offer courses, webinars, and implement peer mentoring as an innovative strategy to holistically address the fellows’ research skill building needs. INVITATION TO APPLY:

We invite individuals who have earned a doctorate from a minority-serving institution (i.e., HBCU, Hispanic serving institution, or American Indian tribal college) or traditionally White institution (TWI) and current doctoral candidates (must graduate before beginning fellowship) at minority-serving institutions or TWIs interested in employment research to apply to participate in the post-doctoral fellowship. Minority-serving institution based faculty members who have earned doctorates are also eligible to apply (i.e., 80% research supplements through subcontract for such faculty in residence at their employing minority-serving institution are optional). We strongly encourage individuals with disabilities to apply. We are particularly interested in recruiting candidates who have a strong desire to obtain an academic faculty position or research position at a minority-serving institution upon completion of the fellowship program. PARTICIPATION INCENTIVES:

• Salary and benefits package- Annual salary with full health benefits • Peer-to-Peer multiple research mentorship opportunity with scientific panel mentors • Financial research agenda start-up package- i.e., study participant honorariums/fellow research travel • Peer reviewed publications • Present research findings at national rehabilitation related conferences If you have any questions regarding the Langston University Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training Program (LU-ARRT), please contact Dr. Corey L. Moore, Principal Investigator/Training Director at HBCU Times | Spring 2018 Issue (405) 530-7531 or

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (LU-RRTC) on Research and Capacity Building for Minority Entities The MISSION of the Langston University RRTC is to improve minority entities’ (e.g., historically Black colleges/universities [HBCUs], Hispanic-serving institutions [HSIs], and American Indian tribal colleges/universities [AITCUs]) disability and rehabilitation research capacity and infrastructure by conducting a programmatic line of research examining experiences and outcomes of persons from traditionally underserved racial and ethnic populations and communities and capacity-building efforts. LU-RRTC TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

The LU-RRTC serves as a national resource center for minority entities (MEs) seeking to develop their research infrastructure (RI), and to enhance their capacity to engage in disability and rehabilitation research. To this end, the RRTC initiates dissemination, training and technical assistance (TA) activities to develop strong RIs within MEs for the conduct of research, preparation, submission, and management of NIDRR funded research grant projects. TA services are provided as a part of LU-RRTC interventions for research project participants and to ME and SVRA requestors around the country. The quality, intensity, and duration of TA vary by system (i.e., ME or SVRA) and the readiness of TA recipients. Minority Entity TA Areas- • Faculty Scholar Role & Function Balance Consultation (e.g., teaching/service/research balance)• Sponsored Programs Office Operations Consultation • Research Infrastructure Strategic Planning • Institutional Review Board (IRB) Operation Consultation • NIDRR Research Proposal Development Mentorship • NIDRR Research Project Management Consultation • Manuscript for Peer Reviewed Publication Development Mentorship • NIDRR Request for Comment (RFC) or Request for Proposal (RFP) Interpretation Consultation • NIDRR Expert Panel Application Development Consultation • Data Management and Analysis Software and Related Technology Support Consultation State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (SVRA) TA Areas- • SVRA Policy Consultation to Improve Outcomes for Persons from Traditionally Underserved Communities • SVRA Rehabilitation Practitioner Consultation or Training to Improve Outcomes for Persons from Traditionally Underserved Communities LU-RRTC PEER-TO-PEER MENTOR RESEARCH TEAM ACADEMY

The LU-RRTC Peer-to-Peer Mentor Research Team Academy represents a collaborative effort between Langston University and the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston. The Academy mentors Fellows to conduct research that addresses the rehabilitation needs of persons with disabilities from traditionally underserved backgrounds and communities. Ultimately, the program builds Fellows’ scholarly self-efficacy and research skills by providing them with state-of-the-science knowledge of scientifically valid measurement strategies and methodologies, and direct hands-on experience in the conduct of research and grant proposal development.







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Shamara Butler 2017 Rust College, Walton-UNCF K-12 Fellow


UNCF has developed almost 200 aspiring African American leaders from HBCUs to build Better Futures in K-12 education. Invest in Better Futures at UNCF.ORG/K-12

Welcome to the Spring 2018 Edition of the HBCU Times Magazine! Once again, we are treating you to uplifting, positive, and inspirational stories about all things related to those one-of-kind institutions we love, HBCU’s. South Carolina State University alumnus and U.S. House Representative, James Clyburn, once referred to HBCU’s as “National Treasures,” and it is no doubt that his analysis was spot on! Although some recognize the great work HBCU’s have generated over the many years, it is imperative that we share the statistical data that proves these institutions have contributed significantly to society. According to the United Negro College Fund, HBCU’s produce 70% of all African American doctors and dentists, as well as, 50% of all African American engineers and public school teachers. Additionally, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s website reports that HBCU’s produce approximately 40% of the African Americans in the United States Congress, 80% of all African American judges, and even 50% of the professors at non-HBCU’s. Ultimately, these “National Treasures” are not just talk, but rather producing real world leaders, impacting the world through their accomplishments. Although HBCU’s are continuously establishing an undeniable presence in every profession imaginable, unfortunately, these success stories are rarely told and published for mass consumption. Thus, the vision that we have for the HBCU Times magazine is to become the premiere source of positive stories related to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s). The mission of HBCU Times is to provide information about HBCU’s that is positive, informative, honest, and most importantly, transformational. We seek, through both digital and print mediums, to provide the world with an abundance of positive success stories of the illustrious history of HBCU’s, as well as place a spotlight on Black Excellence in all aspects. Remaining true to our mission, the Spring 2018 issue of the HBCU Times is filled with exceptional information and updates about HBCU’s. This issue features stories on visionary and transformational leaders, alumni, and supporters of the HBCU community. We had the great honor of interviewing Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, President of Benedict College. She provided us with a glimpse of her vision and plans to take Benedict College to the next plateau of their success. In addition to a fantastic interview, President Artis gave our magazine a special treat, and contributed an article entitled “HBCU’s: The Original Wakanda.” Revealing the positive social and charitable aspects of HBCU’s, this issue also includes an article by Dr. Melita Pope Mitchell that takes a look at some of the positive contributions of Black Greek Life. As a magazine that not only celebrates HBCU’s, but advocates for their importance in higher education, this issue includes a special essay by Bryanta Maxwell, specifically addressing issues related to HBCU funding. Maxwell outlines specific strategies for HBCU supporters to implement in order to improve finances at HBCU’s so they may continue to produce well-rounded leaders in society. Finally, this issue introduces a new section in our magazine entitled, “For the Culture.” This new section will demonstrate the fun, family-like component of these institutions with articles relevant to pop culture and popular HBCU traditions. “For the Culture,” just as each issue of HBCU Times, will prove that HBCU’s are more than schools, but collectively create a community, in which Black excellence, achievement, and identity are recognized and celebrated. Sincerely,

Dr. David Staten

HBCU Times 4 | Spring 2018 Issue

CONTENT 22 If I Knew Then What I Know Now, I Would Have Chosen an HBCU 24 UNCF: K-12 Education Fellowship Program 26 Alumni Spotlight: Tyrus Leach 28 My Brother’s Keeper 30 Alumni Spotlight: Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell 32 Student Spotlight: Sabreen Jolley

8 Black Greek Life:More Than Meets the Eye 10 Cover Story: Dr Roslyn Clark Artis: The Glass Shatterer 14 HBCUs and Politics 16 The Original Wakanda 18 From Howard to Hollywood: Taraji P. Henson

33 Student Spotlight: Omari St Anthony Richards 36 Langston University Ventures Into New Research Area Needed at HBCUs 38 Thurgood Marshall Feature 42 Allen University: One Band, One Sound 44 HBCU Rising Commentary

20 HBCUs and Global Strides

HBCU Times 5 | Spring 2018 Issue

HBCU Times 6 | Spring 2018 Issue

Editor and Co-CEO Dr. David Staten Co-CEO Dr. Bridget Hollis Staten ArtDirector Mia Salley Graphic Designers DeVon Hawthorne Associate Editors Dr. Regina Bush Amori Washington Editorial Consultants Willease N. Williams Shana Robinson Contributing Writers Amori Washington Dr. Melita Pope Mitchell Bryanta Booker Maxwell Dr. Marybeth Gasman Dr. Atiya Strothers Natasha Parker Ashley Elliot Dr.Roslyn Artis Kimberlie Davis Ashley McDonough Craig Brown Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell Omari St.Anthony Richards Dr. Rashad Anderson Dr. Courtney Ward-Sutton Dr. Natalie Williams Gerard Robinson Tyrus Leach Taliah Givens Publisher Georgetown Times

Creative Consultants Dr. Lawrence Drake G.Kenneth Gary Ebony Hillsman Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell Von Judge Dr. Demarcus Bush Dr. Corey Phillips Dr. Carlton Watson Contributing Photographers DVI Photography Maxwell Photography G.Kenneth Gary Thurgood Marshall Langston University Trey Hazlewood William Bradley Patrick Harris Photography Center for Advancing Opportunity Vee Seward of Ohh Snaps Photography James Houston Julian Thomas Kymm Hunter Benedict College Irie Images Dustin Praylow Logo Designer Lionel T. Angevine Advertisement Consultant Melvin Hart


@HBCU Times HBCU Times inspired by Ethel Staten and Jordan Staten 

HBCU Times 7 | Spring 2018 Issue





ince their founding, Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLOs) have been a presence on the campuses of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Although the first BGLOs were not founded on HBCU campuses, they have and continue to hold a special place and purpose in this academic setting. These organizations promote a sense of sisterhood and brotherhood among the tembers and reinforce a commitment to community. This commitment can be seen through the numerous acts of public service local chapters provide across the globe year after year. This is true not only at HBCUs, but internationally through collegiate and alumni/ alumnae chapters. BGLOs often find themselves pigeon holed into the purveyors of party strolls or step competitions. Often, the purpose of the organizations are challenged with the question “What are BGLOs doing to make a difference?” The difficulty comes when individuals look for major contributions from the national offices of these organizations. The reality is there is a tremendous amount of work done in communities around the globe by local chapters. This is no exception on the campuses of HBCUs. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.’s members implement A Voteless People is a Hopeless People®, a national program that was initiated in the 1930’s and continues today. Chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. collect warm clothing and accessories for families in need through the Family Seasonal WrapsSM program. Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.’s Kappa League, under the Guide Right National Service Program, provides guidance and mentoring for male high school students. Established in 1980, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. chapters execute the Assault on Illiteracy Program aimed at eradicating illiteracy through reading tutorial programs. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.’s Financial Fortitude initiative encourages members to provide financial education through creative programming to their local service communities. The men’s health initiative carried out by chapters of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Wellness, addresses five health issues impacting men of color. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.’s Zeta Prematurity Awareness Program, or ZPAP, is the umbrella for many local programs that raise money and community consciousness around prematurity and infant mortality.

While many only see the glitz and the glamour characterized by the social interactions of these organizations, one common theme remains. Each of the Divine Nine have a focus and commitment to service through their local chapters. When the excitement of new initiate presentations, step shows and homecoming reunions fade away, their dedication to uplifting the local and global community remain steadfast. National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) organizations continue to unite students at HBCUs for a common cause and those members provide much needed services to their campuses and surrounding areas. Not only do these young collegians deliver impactful programs and initiatives individually, they often partner with other NPHC organizations or local alumni/ alumnae chapters to extend their service footprint. A presence on HBCU campuses since 1907, BGLOs are more than meets the eye.

Operation BigBookBag is a Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. International Project that supplies children with essential school supplies. Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. chapters fundraise annually for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. These are only a handful of programs and initiatives that are carried out on campuses each year. To see the impact of these organizations, one must look to the local chapter who is the backbone of services provided by these international organizations. Often, these acts of service go unnoticed by the majority but this has never impacted their will to serve.

HBCU Times 8 | Spring 2018 Issue

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Dr. Melita Pope Mitchell

Dr. Melita Pope Mitchell is a veteran educator and advocate for adults and underrepresented populations in higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in African American World Studies from the University of Iowa. In addition, she holds a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Michigan. She completed her Doctor of Education degree in Adult and Community College Education from North Carolina State University in 2015. As a doctoral student, she was inducted into Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key International Honour Society. Her doctoral research addressed the Factors Influencing Prospective African American Doctoral Students’ Selection of For-Profit Institutions and was presented at the 31st Annual International Society for the Scientific Study of Subjectivity Q Conference in Ancona, Italy. Throughout her 19 year career in higher education, she has held positions in both student and academic affairs at the University of Michigan, University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Johnson C. Smith University. She has worked with traditional and non-traditional students in higher education. Dr. Mitchell is currently the Assistant Dean of the Metropolitan College of Professional Studies and Director of Adult Degree Programs at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. In this capacity, she supports adult learners from enrollment through graduation. Dr. Mitchell serves as Metropolitan College of Professional Studies Adult Degree Program Department Chair supporting full time and adjunct faculty. She has also served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Johnson C. Smith University since October 2011. In this capacity, she has instructed traditional and non-traditional students in the face to face and online delivery formats. She previously served as a Board Member of the North Carolina Adult Education Association. A dedicated alumna of the University of Iowa, she has served on the University of Iowa Alumni Association Board of Directors, University of Iowa Foundation Alumni Leadership Council and founded the Iowa Black Alumni Network in 2009. Dr. Mitchell is a Diamond Life Member and the current President of the Union County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

HBCU Times 9 | Spring 2018 Issue


Dr. Rosyln Clark Artis GLASS SHATTERER THE

by ASHLEY ELLIOTT Benedict College’s First Female President talks making history twice and how her HBCU experience helped paved the way

HBCU Times 10 | Spring 2018 Issue


In December of 1870, Benedict College first opened its doors to a small class of just 10 students in downtown Columbia, S.C. Since that time, the 4-year liberal arts college has been instrumental in matriculating thousands of students from across the world. Its rich legacy was built on faith, profound educational opportunities and a unique culture that has transformed young adults into prolific leaders and change agents in their own right. These phenomenal feats have propelled Benedict College into an internationally recognized HBCU (Historically Black College/ University) that sets service-learning and academic excellence at admirably high standards. Today, close to 150 years later since being birthed from the vision, dedication and determination of female founder, Bathsheba Benedict, Benedict College has made history in welcoming its first female president, Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis. A double historymaker herself, Dr. Artis has served as the first female president of two HBCU’s, Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, Florida and now Benedict College. Her list of accomplishments is vast and includes a successful law career, extraordinary achievements in a number of administrative roles within the higher education sector, and the changing of educational landscape at an institution in which she spearheaded a series of new and innovative programs for students while also improving corporate and community relations. Out of all of her personal and professional achievements, there’s one in particular that she’s most proud of. “I am a passionate, committed, and dedicated mom because, while I have been blessed to have my own children, I view my role as president of this college and president of my prior university as really an extension of that. These students are very much my children by virtue of the fact that I have an opportunity to lead an institution and it’s important to me that they be given the very best opportunities just as we all want for our own children so my passion, my dedication, my commitment and my work ethic is born out of a desire to ensure that they have the very same opportunities that the children I’ve had the privilege of given birth to have.” Adding role model to her list of attributes, Dr. Artis says it’s also important for young women, including her 9-year-old daughter to know that they have choices and can become whatever they set out to be. “Of the 300,000 students who attend our nations HBCUs, about two-third are women, so its important that as young women on college campuses they see examples of those that look like they do and they understand they can be whatever they choose to be.” Stepping on Benedict’s campus for the first time as president on Sept. 1st, Dr. Artis says that there were three distinct things that she immediately envisioned for the monumental HBCU –potential, opportunity and promise. “If you have potential, it means that you are not quite living up to your full potential, so you have the potential to be greater,” explains Dr. Artis.

is the opposite of weakness so I see opportunity for growth and development. Also, when you have seen a history that endured as long as ours has for nearly 150 years, there is something guiding that institution. There is a promise that is yet to be kept and fulfilled, so when I got here I saw lots of opportunities to make an impact,” she says. One of those many opportunities is to maximize the use of the college’s very expansive campus infrastructure by improving facilities and utilizing all available green space to generate revenue for the college. Another is to expand the college’s reach in the digital space, something that Dr. Artis has successfully implemented at Florida Memorial University. “Benedict is currently not doing work in the online space,” she noted. “While many people would argue that the hallmark of an HBCU is face-to-face contact, I would argue that in order for us to be efficient as we need to be, we need to utilize technology more effectively. If work is handled using technology, it frees us up to keep the promise – to be what we say we are to our students which is high touch and engaging with them.” Academic engagement is not the only area that’s important to Dr. Artis when it comes to student involvement. She can often be found connecting with students on campus, at various events, and via social media, recently coining the hashtag, #bestofbc, that started trending instantly. “It gives me life as the young people say, to go out and engage with them and talk to them. They have ideas, they have suggestions, and they see opportunities to really move their college forward.” That same energy can be felt throughout the entire Benedict family and community, which has sparked a reawakening of sort during Dr. Artis’ first semester on the job. People are excited about a new energy, she says. “There’s a renewed sense of excitement for teachers at Benedict College. The community is energized and excited. They are reaching out and offering to help. The alumni are fully engaged and on-board and they have let their voice be heard. The students are energized, plugged in and paying attention.”

HBCU Times 11 | Spring 2018 Issue

local and regional economies and puts its graduates in position to earn approximately $1.1 million throughout his or her lifetime.

photography by Maxwell Photography Dr. Artis plans to keep this energy going by implementing unique initiatives and strategies to not only keep constituents engaged, but to help move the college forward in ways that ensures student success and continues to create a heightened awareness of who Benedict is and what it provides. “In the next five years, Benedict College will be widely recognized as the premier provider of liberal arts education that trains our students broadly to be critical thinkers and make a contribution to the world in which we live,” she stressed. “We are going to make every effort to ensure that the world knows that it has a gift here in Columbia, South Carolina for young people everywhere to participate in. This will be done by creating a project based learning environment that allows students to apply and practice what they learn versus simply just being taught theory. In turn, students will develop critical thinking skills.” As Dr. Artis sets her vision on the future of Benedict College, she’s reminded of her own transformational experience granted by her Alma Mater, West Virginia State University, and all that she personally gained. This is her motivational factor in assuring that her students have the same life-changing opportunity. “HBCU’s are structured to feed students socially, emotionally, intellectually and academically,” she noted. “I would not be where I am today if it was not for me having attended an HBCU. I was shy, I was socially awkward, I was racially confused growing up in Southern Virginia, a 3 percent minority state. It was not until I wound up on the campus of an HBCU and understood the value of the power of who I am as an individual, as a black female in this country, that I began to plant roots and grow.” Undoubtedly, HBCUs have a significant impact on its graduates, who in turn impacts the world around them. According to the United Negro College Funds’ recent report, “HBCUs Make America Strong: The Positive Economic Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” HBCUs collectively generate $14.8 billion in economic impact annually. More specifically, Benedict College has a $130 million total economic impact for its

HBCU Times 12 | Spring 2018 Issue

This not only demonstrates the value of HBCUs, but as Dr. Artis puts it, the personal value students gain which makes them valuable contributors to society. “Students will gain theoretical knowledge at whatever institution they choose. Accreditation standards are going to make sure academic requirements are roughly equal across the spectrum, so there no question students are going to get the baseline academic, basic intellectual course offerings no matter what school they attend,” notes Dr. Artis. “But imagine being able to do that in a culturally sensitive environment that celebrates students for who they are, that educates them about their place in our country, our world, whether its economically or socially, those students will develop something much more important. Those students develop self-esteem, self-efficacy, resiliency and strategic thinking skills which enables them to go out and compete and enable them to be successful no matter where they go.” As a passionate and prolific leader who has conferred degrees to thousands of students, Dr. Artis realizes that students will have many career paths in life. No matter what they choose to do or where they decide to go, she wants them to embrace the fact that they can do anything they set their mind to. For those aspiring to follow in her footsteps and hope to one-day lead one of the 101 transformative colleges or universities, she has a profound message. “As a graduate of an HBCU and now a two-time president of HBCUs, HBCUs matter a great deal and I know that there are wonderful young scholars out there who have their sights set on a HBCU

presidency who want to lead these illustrious institutions. I was one of them by many respects. If you are a sitting HBCU president or an aspiring HBCU president, never stop learning. This game changes, these schools change, these students change, the world changes, technology changes – we have to be learners, not just leaders. Secondly, be humble. You are not the institution. You have the privilege of leading the institution, but you individually, single-handedly are not the intuition; and despite my plea for humility, be bold. Our institutions deserve bold leadership that will move them forward quickly because we want to ensure our institutions are around for generations to give young people the things they gave me and the things they continue to give others on the campus of Benedict College and beyond.”

Ashley Elliott

HBCU Times 13 | Spring 2018 Issue





olitics have always played a major role in the effectiveness and efficiency of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. It’s no secret that HBCU’s have never enjoyed equal levels of public funding as other institutions. Issues such as this has lead HBCU’s in many areas to sue states to ensure they fund their HBCU’s at the same rate as the primarily white institutions. Many states were successful in these efforts. While others, succumbed to the Republican lead legislatures and are still seeking equal funding. Many black republicans have assumed this relationship would differ under President Trump. In February 2017, President Trump took the time to meet with black republicans to discuss their issues with President Obama and as they say, his “lack” of attention and time to HBCU’s. After this meeting, President Trump issued an Executive Order on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Trump later decided to have a photo op with Presidents from HBCU’s across the country as a way to show his support for the rebuilding of America’s HBCU’s. There has been a long history of republicans and their lack of support for HBCU’s as a mean to pacify the leadership of these institutions.

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Fast forward a few months and President Trump is singing a different tune. Trump decided later in 2017 that funding set for Historically Black Colleges and Universities may be deemed as unconstitutional. HBCU’s have had to seek help from not only democrats but also republicans to stay afloat. All in all, HBCU’s are fighting for significance and relevance due to the politics of education. There are a few ways graduates and supporters of HBCU’s can help to transform our HBCU’s without waiting on state legislatures. One way to help change the narrative is by running for office in their given state and serving in the legislature. A bigger supportive body of HBCU supporters in each state legislature can and will ensure more funding will reach our institutions. People who don’t understand the importance and value of an HBCU, won’t take the time to keep them fully functional. Another way people can help HBCU’s is by running for Board of Trustee positions. Boards need people who have the schools best interest at heart, not another body seeking a title. Boards will be able to help create the institutions that will be viable for incoming students and the economic conditions of a given town. Assist with recruitment efforts. As alumni and supporters, we are the face of the institution. In this aspect, people can encourage young people in their family to attend a given HBCU, speak with admissions to determine events you can set up an admissions table, and speak with young people in your church family.  Lastly, DONATE. Money as well as admissions is the key to keep the doors open. Donating gets us much further than complaining.

Bryanta Booker Maxwell

An award-winning political prodigy from Laurens South Carolina, Bryanta Booker-Maxwell is a rising star in politics and a champion for social justice. Her interest in politics was as much about her competitive spirit as it was her desire to help build her community. She is a 2006 graduate of South Carolina State University where she received her B.A. in Political Science with a pre-law concentration. Upon graduation, Bryanta went on to pursue her master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in public policy from Walden University. She has been featured nationally on CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, NPR, the Washington post, and the Washington times. In the local community of South Carolina, she has been featured on WIS-TV, WLTX, and WACH-Fox. During the 2016 political season, she served as a highly featured political commentator on The Jeffrey Lampkin Show, a local news show in Columbia, SC airing on WACH-Fox 57. South Carolina State University started the birth of her political progression. While a student at South Carolina State, she spent time registering students and people with in the Orangeburg community to vote. Her political work led her to becoming an active member of Young Democrats of America and ultimately ascending to the position of President of Young Democrats of South Carolina. She’s a 2013 graduate of the New Leaders Council which is an organization focused on progressive political entrepreneurship. In 2016, she completed Congressman

James E. Clyburn political fellowship through the South Carolina Democratic Party. In 2016, she founded Girls W.I.S.D.O.M Inc., which is an organization that focuses on the political, educational enhancement of young girls in the state of South Carolina. One of the requirements of the program is for every young girl to register to vote at the age of 18. She serves as a board member for SC Equality, which is a statewide non-partisan coalition of local and state social, religious and political LGBT organizations and allies with a mission to secure civil and human rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender South Carolinians and she serves as an organizer with Every Black Girl, Inc., which is a 501(c) 3 community based organization that focuses on bringing awareness and solutions to issues impacting young black girls. She sits on the Generation Progress #Fight4AFuture Network board. This board consists of organizers and activist across the country who works towards solutions dealing with gun violence and criminal justice reform. In Columbia SC, Bryanta sits on the Talented Tenth Columbia Board of directors; which is a group of young professionals who work to create opportunities for other young professionals within the Columbia SC area. In 2017 she was appointed as the new Chapter Director for New Leaders Council South Carolina, and to the Democratic National Committee Youth Council; which is an extension of the DNC that focuses on issues for the 36 and under voter. Summer of 2017 she completed the Congressional Black Caucus Political Boot Camp; which is a rigorous, political training program. Bryanta currently serves as the President of the Young Democrats of South Carolina, where she continues to grow the organization statewide to nearly a remarkable 200 active members. She was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff of the Young Democrats of America January 2018. While in undergrad at South Carolina State University, she pledged Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc, Psi Alpha Chapter. She was nominated Young Democrat of the Year for the South Carolina Democratic Party and a top 20 under the age of 40 for the South Carolina Black Pages. She currently owns, Bre Maxwell, LLC (www.bremaxwell. com), which is a public speaking and political training organization. Bryanta is the wife to Terrell Maxwell and mother to Julian A. Maxwell.

HBCU Times 15 | Spring 2018 Issue

HBCUs: The original Wakanda by DR. ROSLYN ARTIS

Recently, during my morning commute, I tuned into the Tom Joyner morning show. Shaun King, noted Civil Rights activist and writer, offered a poignant perspective on the historical significance of the blockbuster movie, Black Panther. He correctly acknowledged the movie as one of the pivotal moments in African-American history, to be considered alongside Michael Jackson’s Thriller sales records, the election of Barack Obama and Rosa Parks refusal to give up her seat. The success of the movie, starring an almost entirely black cast, casts women in positions of power, strength and superior intellect. Black men shine as wise, responsible leaders and warriors. I therefore concur with Shaun, Black Panther is sure to go down in history as one of the most powerful examples of Black pride in a generation or more. According to Shaun’s thoughtful commentary, Black Panther, enjoyed staggering, record-breaking sales figures: $400 million in the first weekend, twice the cost to film it!  He further acknowledged that the movie is on track to exceed records and hit a billion dollars in sales overall.  As I listened, I could not help but reflect on the difference $1 billion could make to our nation’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).  What if we supported our nation’s HBCUs with the same gusto that we supported Black Panther? Around the country, people of color are standing tall with their backs a little straighter because of the positive depiction of black people in the movie, Black Panther. I have witnessed students on my HBCU campus greet one another with shouts of “Wakanda forever,” while crossing their arms across their chests in tribal solidarity. It is a beautiful thing to witness!

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The movie Black Panther is set in the fictional African nation of – Wakanda. Founded on a legacy of pride and fueled by futuristic technology, it is a place that many African-Americans long for - a place where their creative genius is recognized and technological and intellectual pursuits are celebrated. Having taken my own family to see the movie and read numerous accounts of the movie’s success at the box office, I can’t help but to ask “What if?” In many respects, HBCUs are our version of Wakanda - they are places where creativity is acknowledged, new knowledge is created and technology is innovated by people of color.  They are places of great pride, where Black people are not excluded or ostracized but embraced and celebrated.  Indeed, HBCUs have always been our Wakanda. However, lack of support for these institutions by both government and even our graduates and other people of color have threatened their very existence.  The recent example of Concordia College in Selma and its decision to close its doors at the end of the academic year, is a painful reminder of this harsh reality. What if we invested $1 Billion dollars in our HBCUs?  What a difference that kind of money could make to our nation’s HBCU!  What medical advancements, artistic achievements engineering fetes and technological innovations might be realized by students of color if the classrooms and laboratories, studios and stages were all equipped with state of the art equipment to stimulate their genius? To put it in perspective, $400 million dollars would support the entire operating budget of my institution, Benedict College, and its 2100 students, for seven and one-half (7.5) years! Imagine

that - the ticket sales for three (3) days would sustain an entire HBCU for more than seven (7) years, during which time, approximately one thousand (1,000) students would earn a degree that would change their lives and the lives of their families and communities forever. To put it another way, $400 million dollars would fully fund a four (4) year degree for over five thousand (5,000) students!

Dr. Roslyn Artis

While we all celebrate the milestone achievement of the directors, writers. actresses and actors in the blockbuster movie, Black Panther, remember that Wakanda is a fictional place. HBCUs are real.  If we truly desire to see the ideals of Wakanda lived out, i.e. bastions of intellectual exploration, dignity and cultural pride for African-Americans, we must invest in HBCUs. Consider investing even the price of a movie ticket in your local HBCU.  Even if you did not attend one of these venerable institutions, it is likely that one of your ancestors, co-workers or close friends did and your support is needed!   To be clear, I am a Black Panther/Wakanda fan.  The artist that brought Black Panther to life, Sanford Greene, is an alumnus and current faculty member of Benedict College.  Michael Colter, who plays Luke Cage also attended Benedict.  Breakout Nigerian actress, Sope Aluko, is a personal friend.  I could go on and on...we are all connected to this historic production in some way.  The imagery, brilliance and symbolism of this important movie cannot be understated.  However, let’s face it - a small number of deserving African Americans will reap the financial rewards of the blockbuster sales this weekend. To the contrary, generations will reap the benefits of our investment in HBCUs.  The facts are clear - the African American middle class was built on the backs of the students at historically black colleges and universities, who marched and fought for Civil Rights.  The documentary film, “Tell Them We Are Rising,” documents our advocacy and engagement heritage.  Surely, that merits our support.    If our goal is to see Wakanda become a reality, the best way to do that is to invest in a HBCU. Don’t just buy a movie ticket, buy a piece of the future by supporting an HBCU student! The return on that investment is tangible, long lasting and life changing.

photography by Maxwell Photography

HBCU Times 17 | Spring 2018 Issue

From Howard to Hollywood:

Taraji P. Henson


she knew she wasn’t following her passion of acting and her father persuaded her to take that leap to L.A. “You can’t catch fish on dry land” he would say, implying to go where the jobs were, which happened to be in California. Soon after she risked it all with $700 in her pocket and her son by her side and moved to L.A to follow her dreams. Her first few roles as television extras ultimately earned her a SAG card, and soon television credits of Sister Sister and Smart Guy. After years of the constant grind of a being a black actress trying to make it in hollywood, Henson would get her first prominent role not until 2001, in John Singleton’s comedy-drama Baby Boy. Still a legendary character in the African American community till this day, Henson has gone on to play more icons throughout the years. From The Karate Kid, Think Like A Man, Hidden Figures, I Can Do Bad All By Myself or oscar nominated The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button in which she plays Brad Pitt’s mother, Henson has shown us she can portray just about anyone, and her talent as an actress speaks for itself.

Whether you know her as the dysfunctional Cookie Lyon on Fox’s Empire or the loyal and misguided Yvette from Baby Boy, when you hear the name Taraji P. Henson you can’t help but think greatness. Born and raised in Washington D.C, Henson was destined for stardom. Long before the Oscar nominations and iconic movies, Henson was just an ordinary girl with humble beginnings. Raised by her mother, father and grandmother Henson often speaks on the influence they have had on her life and career and on her deep connection to her family. Before she took her talents to California to follow her dreams, Henson attended the illustrious Howard University in which she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. But, that degree came at a cost, a cost of infinite hard work and dedication. Henson worked 2 jobs in order to pay tuition, one as a secretary at the Pentagon in the morning and the other as a singing waitress on a dinner cruise ship at night. But if that wasn’t enough to keep anyone stressed and insanely busy, Henson soon embarked on a new journey into motherhood, once she became pregnant with her only son Marcel, during her junior year. While some would have given up, the resilience of Henson is not one to be questioned. After giving birth to her son, Henson not only graduated college but entered the workforce soon after. Not happy with her everyday life,

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Throughout all her success, a Golden Globe, and NAACP Award, Henson has remained humbled throughout this entire experience and calls her now adult son her greatest joy of it all. Henson is an icon in television and movies to the say the least, and her success is nowhere near over. Henson continues to wow us on our television screens and we should all be prepared for what she has in store. You can catch Taraji P. Henson on Fox’s Empire as Ms. Cookie Lyons and you can also catch Henson on the big screen all 2018, starring in 4 new movies debuting this year. Taraji P. Henson is proof that hard work, dedication and faith creates success and that is not to be debated.

Ashley McDonough

Ashley McDonough is a Howard University graduate, published journalist and producer. With her passion for storytelling McDonough aims to create content that not only resonates with all, but inspires and informs them as well. With experience at top media companies such as EBONY magazine, SiriusXM Radio and Bustle, to name a few, McDonough continues to create quality content in hopes of leaving her mark in the media industry.

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and Global Strides: Internationalizing the Perspectives of Future World Leaders by AMORI WASHINGTON

At the beginning of my undergraduate experience, I clearly remember my university president, Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, saying to a room full of 300 hopeful freshmen, “The world needs visionaries.” I quickly learned that this phrase was, not only the Claflin University tagline, but the language of nearly every professor and faculty member, who were set on ensuring each Claflin student understood its true meaning. As a freshman, although I understood the literal meaning of the phrase, it was not until the summer going into my senior year that I truly felt I was becoming a visionary leader, with a global perspective. Since the American Council on Education’s project, Creating Global Citizens: Exploring Internationalization at HBCUs back in 2010, historically black institutions have been continuously developing ways to generate global awareness and competitive edge within their students. In addition to sitting in a traditional classroom or joining a club on campus, it is now imperative for college students to gain real world experiences. These types of invaluable experiences aid in a student’s professional development, cultural awareness, and overall individual growth. Nearly a decade later, more HBCUs have taken notice to this necessity for global strides within the higher education community, grooming students to seek opportunities which will heighten their awareness of the world around them. Historically, HBCUs have always had a global approach to education as most of them served all members of the black or African diaspora. In the New York Times article, “Black Colleges in U.S. Struggle to Reconnect to World,” author Karin Fischer clarifies, “Tuskegee University in Alabama has worked in Africa for more than a century. Back in 1901, Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee’s founder, sent four of his students to Togo. Tuskegee became the model for Liberia’s Booker Washington Institute, the start of a long relationship between the two.” HBCUs were founded on inclusivity and building a community which expanded far beyond the borders of the United States. Just as they attract scholars seeking quality education from all around

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the globe, American students are now too seeking the fulfilling experience of studying abroad. I was fortunate enough to earn the opportunity to travel to Queensland, Australia with Claflin University English professor and Australian native, Dr. Belinda Wheeler. As a UNCF Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, I was awarded international travel funding to further develop and expand my undergraduate research project. My time in Australia was genuinely a lifechanging experience. As it was my first time out of the country, I desired to take on every challenge, remain receptive to cultural differences and pursue all opportunities for growth. Each day, I learned a new thing; whether it was the standardized testing requirements in the Australian education system or the interesting toppings on Australian pizza, my awareness of the world around me grew rapidly. While in Australia, I was able to accomplish my international research goals and generate some additional findings to my overall project. I examined the presence of the Black Lives Matter Movement in Australia; I was able to do so by simply engaging in conversation with the surrounding community. I spoke with individuals of different ages, ethnicities, genders, and socioeconomic statuses in order to develop an understanding of their knowledge of black identity, black culture, and blackness overall in Australia and America. While in Brisbane, I had the pleasure of visiting the allgirls Catholic secondary school, Lourdes Hill College, where the students shared their knowledge of American history, specifically discussing slavery and segregation. Along with participating in a discussion forum on racial stereotypes and discrimination with the students, I also attended the

Reconciliation Day Ceremony. Aboriginal students not only led the ceremony, but shared their language and culture with everyone in attendance. Although the assembly celebrated Aboriginals and acknowledged the wrongdoings done to them historically, my research proved there still remains issues between white and Aboriginal Australians. Just as in America, lack of government support in relation to Indigenous living situations, police brutality, and overt racism exists in Australia. My trip significantly enhanced my knowledge of the world around me, specifically the ability to connect with others across the globe through various points of relatability. The value of a global experience, cannot be ignored, especially as many HBCUs taking the steps towards internationalization. Savannah State University began a Global Initiatives newsletter back in 2011, which shares information about an exchange program with Jiujiang University in China, the successes of international students at the university, and even global initiatives by SSU faculty and staff. Howard University, another illustrious HBCU, has placed a major focus on encouraging its students to study abroad, as seen on their webpage and accompanied by the hashtag, #STUDYABROADSOBLACK. The webpage includes study abroad informational sessions, eligibility requirements, and top 10 FAQs so every student can get informed and then seek the opportunity for a life-changing experience.

are different from theirs and who can be global leaders.” Never in my life did I imagine myself 10,000 miles away from home, chatting about culture, politics, religion, and even soul food with a bunch of friendly Aussies. As a result of my experience abroad, afforded to me by my illustrious HBCU, my desire to learn more about the people, places, and cultures covering every part of the world has heightened significantly. The major successes of the future will expand beyond the confinement of the United States and it is, without a doubt, accurate that HBCUs are bravely crafting individuals who will be visionary leaders with global perspectives.

Amori Washington

In “HBCUs Looking Abroad in Effort to Remain Competitive” by Lekan Oguntoyinbo in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, Dr. ‘Dimeji Togunde, an associate provost for global education and professor of International studies at Spelman College affirms, “We live in an interconnected global society. We want to ensure we can produce graduates who can live and work in cultures that

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If I Knew Then, What I Know Now... I would have chosen an


Have you ever wanted to go back in time? Have you ever reflected on your decisions and wished you could change a single moment? As a woman of faith, I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and is in divine order. Therefore, I am truly grateful, most appreciative, and proud of my educational background and experiences. However, when it comes to college choice, I do wish I could have made a more informed decision about my undergraduate education.

house. I did not witness my dad boasting about going to a Morgan State homecoming. I was not privy to the extensive accomplishments of HBCUs or the benefits these institutions offer their students, especially first generation, low-income students. This is not to take anything away from my parents (who are phenomenal), but it is to suggest that there was a certain type of social capital that was absent from my backpack as a senior in high school.

Many HBCU students are connected to their institutions because of their familial lineage or personal connection. This is also the case for students choosing Historically White Institutions (HWIs). We are most comfortable with what is familiar, especially in our formative teenage years. But what happens when HBCUs are not a part of your bloodline? As a first generation college student, I did not grow up seeing my mom wear a Spelman t-shirt around the

In addition to familial connection or personal affinity, research also suggests that financial aid is a very important factor in choosing an undergraduate institution. This was the case for me. I grew up in a single parent household in the inner city of Philadelphia. As a lowincome first gen student, financial aid and student loans were my only options for pursuing higher education. Due to a lack of personal funding, I applied to only two

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institutions, one HBCU and one HWI. I was fortunate enough to visit each school and was highly attracted to the HBCU. However, the HWI was more proactive in their recruitment strategies. I was the valedictorian of my primary schools and in the top ten percent of my high school. Interested in recruiting me, the HWI regularly called, mailed brochures, and followed up with my parents. I received an acceptance letter from the HBCU, but never received a phone call or additional mailings. The follow-through was absent. Moreover, I received many grants and scholarships from the HWI. The HBCU offered a one-time scholarship for the first year. As someone from a low-income household, finances played a huge role in my college selection process. As you can already guess, I chose to attend the HWI. I had a great experience at my undergraduate institution, but the development of my identity as a Black woman was not

fostered and embraced by the institution as a whole. Instead, the development of my identity existed and expounded in trusted silos. Contrary to my peers who attended HBCUs, their identity was fostered by the whole institution. Their confidence in their intellectual ability was garnished at an early stage and developed over the years to pursue and produce excellence. Their moral incubator was nurtured differently than mine at a historically white institution. If I had the chance to go back in time, I would have pushed myself to explore the many benefits associated with attending an HBCU. Many of these benefits were lost on me as my White college counselor in high school did not share them or simply did not know. More information would have helped to combat the misconceptions that were shared with me about HBCUs, fallacies that are associated with the negative dialogue and discourse around these

Atiya S. Strothers, PhD

institutions. The narrative that labels all of these institutions as party schools. The narrative that they are academically inferior and are not a true depiction of what you will experience in the “real world.” These narratives, often shared with18 year-olds, who are making one of the most important decisions of their lives, do not paint a full picture. The narrative shared with me failed to tell about the cultural affinities that are gained from attending HBCUs. It did not boast about HBCUs producing a large percentage of future Black PhDs. It did not magnify the history of these institutions and the shoulders upon which their graduates stand. It did not share the psychosocial benefits necessary to the development of identity for their students. The deficit narrative shared with me painted an incomplete and inaccurate depiction, allowing for the shortcomings of a few HBCUs to be the narrative of all HBCUs. It is often said that a picture is

worth a thousand words, but how can one see the full image if only given five hundred words? A complete narrative of the institution is necessary when selecting which college to attend. I am grateful for the experience of my undergraduate institution because it prepared me intellectually. It is because of my undergraduate experience that I found lifelong friendships and have had life changing experiences. These have all created a sense of resilience in me. However, knowing what I know now, I would have made sure I sought out the larger picture about HBCUs and not just the one that was painted for me by others. These institutions matter. The students they produce matter. And the narrative that is shared about them matters. They are not monolithic and they are in fact yielding great results. And while I may not be an HBCU alumnus, I am certainly an advocate.

Atiya S. Strothers, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Fellow for Academic Diversity through the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a Senior Research Associate at the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions under the guidance of Marybeth Gasman. As a servant and social justice advocate, Dr. Strothers is passionate about education, spirituality, and civic engagement. She uses history and qualitative inquiry to address the social, political, and institutional influences on educational equity and access for underserved populations. Dr. Strothers is a research scholar who studies relevant issues from a “real” perspective. All of her work is interwoven through the connection of resilience, empowerment, affinity, and leadership. She has presented her work relating to this research at national conferences including AERA, ASHE, and

AABHE. She has published her work in Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Peabody Journal of Education, and various book chapters. She has also been an invited panelist and presenter discussing topics relating to her work. Dr. Strothers has previous experience as an administrator in student affairs at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Rutgers University, and the University of Delaware. She received her Ph.D. and Ed.M. in education from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. Atiya is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., alumna of Education Pioneers, and actively involved in her church. She enjoys investing in others and being an agent of change. Dr. Strothers does all things in love and leads from a moral compass. She prioritizes the development of the next generation of leaders and particularly young girls and women.

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Walton K-12-Education Fellowship Program by TALIAH GIVENS


onathon Pulliam never had a Black, male teacher prior to enrolling at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, AL. And he didn’t want another young boy to be able to say the same—so he decided to become a teacher. He loves the feeling.

“Standing in front of a group of ambitious fifth graders who saw me as ‘Mr. Pulliam,’ brought the weight of this profession fully into view,” Pulliam said. “As a teacher, I accept the responsibility of giving my students the tools they need to be successful. However, as a black male teacher, there is so much more work to be done.”   Pulliam is a participant in the Walton-UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship Program, a leadership and talent development initiative aimed at building a robust pipeline of high-achieving African Americans engaged in education reform in America. It includes an internship, a student leadership conference in Washington, D.C., an education case competition, career coaching and access to additional professional development as they continue their studies or move into the job market.    The initiative selects juniors from HBCUs to participate in a paid intern placement program. In cultivating and supporting students like Jonathon Pulliam, the Walton-UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship is poised to produce the nation’s top African American leaders in education reform.    “Through this fellowship, we are exposing undergraduates to how they can use their degrees to support education reform and use their voices on behalf of all students,” said Taliah Givens, Senior Director of Student and Professional Development for UNCF. “The Fellowship is a critical bridge for future educators and reformers.”   She’s thinking of students like Najma Calhoun, a junior majoring in Social Work at Oakwood University in Huntsville, AL. Calhoun always envisioned her life being one of service, particularly after taking mission trips across the United States and abroad. She saw firsthand the educational inequality that many students face in disenfranchised and economically depressed communities.   Through her travels and education, she became convinced that delivering a quality education is dependent on a school system’s ability to attract and retain compassionate educators, employ the latest in technology and partner with forward-thinking social service agents.  

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“I want the children I’m able to help, now and in the future, to be something in life,” she said. “The key to that is a good education. I believe every child, rich or poor, should receive an education that’s rich in critical thinking, best practices and cultural diversity.”

Taliah Givens

Taliah Givens the Senior Director of UNCF Student Professional Development Programs has worked extensively over 10-years connecting segmented public and private service systems and agencies into integrated systems to better serve the needs of their customers with equity and efficacy. In her current role she leads the strategic direction and management of UNCF internship programs designed to provide students with valuable career experience and professional training for effective transition from college to career. Before coming to UNCF, Taliah served as the Program Coordinator for Envision EMI’s summer program in medicine at UCLA, Berkeley, and Depaul University coleading experiential learning programs for high achieving high-school and middle-school students across the country. Prior to this, she led as Program Director, Innovation Lab Network for the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). In this role, she functioned as the subject matter expert for expanded learning opportunities and led the programs and initiatives for this education policy area within and across CCSSO’s strategic initiatives including their Innovation Lab Network to ensure its effective integration into education reform strategy. This work included providing support and expertise to chief state school officers, state education agency leaders, as well as

the statewide afterschool network leaders through direct technical assistance, project management, conference development, and workshop or webinar facilitation. She also co-led the national Supporting Student Success state grant program with leaders from the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Governors Association. Givens oversaw the composition and completion of initiative reports covering major topics in education including systems innovations, reform strategy, and education supports for student achievement. Her article, “Building Mastery of the Common Core State Standards by Expanding Learning with Community Stakeholder Partnerships,” was recently published in February 2013 among notable thought leaders in a compendium titled “Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and

Summer Learning for Student Success.” Prior to working at CCSSO, Givens served as program manager for Jobs for America’s Graduates-DC Inc. (JAG-DC) where she cultivated a rich background in youth development services, stakeholder engagement, and policy development. During her tenure at JAG-DC, she led a district team of specialists and oversaw program operations, quality standards, data monitoring, staff professional development, and evaluation for its research based career development programs. She built effective external partnerships with local school leaders, the District of Columbia’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education and the District of Columbia Public Schools on the Double the Numbers for College Success initiative, the DC Consortium for Career and Technical Education, and the Young Women’s Conference on Non-traditional Careers Committee.

Her public sector career in education, youth development, and association management began at Georgia State University with the Association for Information Systems as their international membership coordinator. This was preceded by her experience in the telecommunications industry as an optical and systems engineer with AT&T and Nortel. This work encompassed not only assessing customers’ technical needs and configuring products to build sustainable high-speed networks but also ensuring these specifications were delivered and engineered accurately, on time, and within budget. Givens is originally from Paterson, NJ. She completed a master’s in public administration from Baruch College, CUNY as a 2006 National Urban Fellow (NUF) to the Xcel Energy Foundation and was a recent 2012 graduate of the NUF America’s Leaders of Change Executive Leadership program. In addition, Ms. Givens completed bachelor’s degrees in both computer engineering and electrical engineering technology from Georgia Tech and Alabama A&M University respectively through national academic scholarship awards from Alabama A&M University (Presidential Scholar), the US Department of Energy/ NAACP, Duracell/National Urban League, AAUW, and the Armstrong Foundation.

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My Brother’s Keeper by DR. RASHAAD ANDERSON


C State University, through the sponsorship of 1890 Research and Extension program, recently hosted over 1,000 students for the annual Brothers’ Keeper Leadership Summit on February 22-23, 2018. For the past five years, SC State University, has collaborated with local school districts in hosting a leadership summit geared towards K-12 school aged male students. The theme for this year was, “One Man Can Change the World, are YOU Ready to Be That Change!?” The facilitators for the summit consisted of the cohorts of Call Me Mister (a SC based program to recruit, train, and place more men of color in elementary classrooms) from both SC State University and Claflin University and the student based organization 101 Black Men Society served as facilitators for the highschool summit. Several other notable Black male speakers and educators also participated in the summit such as Kyle A. Greene, Dr. Anthony Broughton, and Tim Bowers. Though summits of this type are certainly not new in concept, SC State Universities are among the very few Universities that has a summit that involves elementary-middle age male students. Typically summits of this types focuses on engaging highschool or college age students. In U.S. public schools, males, particularly African American, are least likely to read on grade level, most likely to be suspended or expelled, most likely to be referred to special education, least likely to be enrolled in gifted and talented programs, and the most likely to drop out of school (Lewis, Uzzell, Horwitz & Cassely, 2010;Kunjufu, 2004; Milner,

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2006; Noguera, 2002, Schott, 2010; U.S. Dept. of Education, 2012). Prominent educator and author Kunjufu (2004) even argues there is evidence that somewhere early in the fourth grade, motivation and intense excitement about school learning dwindles markedly for Black boys in what has come to be called the “fourth grade-syndrome.” This is the point at which African American males appear to begin to disidentify with school and to look for other sources for self-validation (Ferguson, 2001). Ladson-Billings (2005) asserts that feelings of discontentment in school at an early age can ultimately lead to an increase in discipline referrals, and a decrease in academic achievement and/or influence decisions to dropout of school. Thus this Summit serves to introduce/reinforce positive and powerful messages of wisdom, from brother to brother with an intentional preventative purpose to engage young males of color in the earlier primary years. The coordinator of the annual BK Leadership Summit, Dr. Rashad Anderson, noted, “What a powerful testament to see so many well dressed, intelligent, and dynamic young Black males gathered outside the Smith Hammond Middleton Memorial Center on the 50th year of the Orangeburg Massacre. To say we had a great time at the 5th Annual Brothers’ Keeper Leadership Summit is an understatement, I believe this year was particularly transformative and special!”

Dr. Rashad Anderson Dr. Rashad Anderson serves as an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education, Campus Director of the Call Me MiSTER Program, and a teaching appointment in the Honors College at SC State University. Dr. Anderson’s research focuses on critical approaches and dialogue of social justice and equity issues in education including racial, gender, religious, sexual, and class oppression. Central to his work is engaging students, scholars, practitioners, and community members to find and implement effective means to better propel Black male youth through K-12 and higher education settings. As a former K-12 Music Education Specialist, Dr. Anderson also brings to his research a deep experiential understanding and passion for arts education. Dr. Anderson has extensive training in choral methods, student centered approaches in music classrooms, and arts based advocacy. Dr. Anderson received his B.S. in Music Education from SC State University and a Master’s in Music Education Administration & Curriculum from the University of South Carolina. He completed further study with Richard Grunow (Eastman School of Music) and holds certificates in instrumental music from the Gordon Institute of Music Learning and Kodaly, Level 2 certification. Dr. Anderson received his Ph.D. in Educational Foundations and Inquiry at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Anderson is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity Inc., Call Me MiSTER, and advisor for 101 Black Men Society.

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Alumni Spotlight

TyrusLeach As an intelligent, dedicated and admirable individual, Mr. Tyrus Leach is undoubtedly, the prime example of HBCUs producing successful, groundbreaking leaders. As a 2012, South Carolina State University graduate, the influence of Leach’s HBCU permeates through his many notable accomplishments, and most importantly, his commendable character.    Leach completed his undergraduate degree in Business Management, and began working for the Department of Defense in Washington, D.C. Demonstrating his ability to conquer difficult tasks regardless of the circumstances, Leach excelled within the mission-critical fast paced work environment. Passionate about protecting his country and having a direct impact on security decisions, Leach worked specifically in counterintelligence and cyber security roles. His strong work ethic and desire to serve enabled him to perform exceptionally, while maintaining a unique aura of professionalism. Leach bravely took on the challenge of pursuing a psychophysiology deception of detection program from NCCA at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Having recently graduated from the program, Leach is now officially a certified federal polygraph examiner. Tyrus was recently selected to become a Special Agent, and will attend training with the Department of Defense starting in September of 2018. Continuing his efforts to exercise his academic capabilities and expand his impact, Leach is currently continuing his education, pursuing a MS degree from the University of Wisconsin. Along with being a hardworking student and businessman, Leach still finds time to prioritize health and wellness, specifically participating in organized boxing. Finally, it is no surprise that this HBCU graduate is actively philanthropic, giving back to the community through various mentoring and service projects with his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Mr. Tyrus Leach is most definitely an HBCU success story, continuously inspiring others while making a difference.

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Alumni Spotlight of the Board of Directors - the Jewell Jackson McCabe Emerging Leaders Institute, Inc. (ELI); and in 2008, the National Association of Women Bar Associations awarded its Community Project of the Year award to the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys’ Civil Pro Bono Wills Project that Lynita designed and implemented in 2007, and also served as its first chair.


Mitchell-Blackwell Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell, Esq., CPA, CCLC, is a LEADERSHIP CHAMPION! As the CEO of the Leading Through Living Community, Lynita manages a multi-faceted enterprise that includes an award winning media group, book and magazine publishing, television and radio production, public relations, success coaching, and training.  All of these components are focused to empower people to be Certified 3PA Leaders: people of purpose, passion, and power ready to take BOLD and decisive action! She is also the founder and CEO of BOLD Favor Media Group which publishes the PassKey Choice 2016 “ATL’s Hottest Entertainment Magazine” BOLD Favor Magazine, BOLD Plus Magazine, and BOLD Ageless Beauty Magazine; and producer of local television and radio shows, and event and awards programs.  With the assistance of its advertising and community partners, BOLD Favor has established three libraries on the African continent - two in rural Kenya and one in Swaziland, and one in progress in Botswana – through the African Library Project since 2016. Based on her work and service professionally and in the community, Lynita has been honored to be admitted to

the Forbes® Coaches Council in 2017, recognized as a 2017 “Ones to Watch in US Finance” by Acquisition International Magazine, honored with the 2018 Daily Point of Light Award founded by President George HW Bush, the 2017 Outstanding Georgia Citizen Award by Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the 2017 Yellow Rose Community Service Award presented by the Georgia Women’s Legislative Caucus, to be invited into the 2017 and 2016 National Black Lawyers Top 100, serve as a delegate to the 2018 and 2014 Art of Living Foundation’s International Women’s Conferences in Bangalore, India, be included in Who’s Who in Black Atlanta each year since 2014, receive the 2012 President’s Call to Service Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation under the Obama Administration, and be a 2011 Black Enterprise Magazine Young & Bold Business Leader “BE Next 35”. Lynita’s community work has been recognized with the following honors:  in 2011, the My Sister’s Keeper Foundation for Women awarded its Community Empowerment Award to the non-profit organization that Lynita co-founded in 2007, served as its first President, and currently serves a member

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Lynita currently serves as the National Chair of the Board of Directors of the Leadership Innovation Transformation (LIT) College Tour, Counsel for NurseHer, Inc., and is a member of the founding board of the Universal Womanhood Collective. She has served as President of the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Attorney-CPA’s, President of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys Foundation, and President of the Stone Mountain-Lithonia Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.  Lynita particularly credits the mentorship of the latter organization’s national founder, Ms. Jewell Jackson McCabe, as a driving force in her career path.  Lynita has also served in several political leadership positions that include a two year appointment to the Douglas County Board of Elections & Registration and President of the Democratic Women’s Council of Douglas County.

Lynita earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Florida A&M University School of Business & Industry, Juris Doctor degree from the Georgia State University College of Law, Certificate in International Comparative Law/Commercial Arbitration from Johannes Kepler Universitat of Linz, Austria, and is a Certified Christian Life Coach under the International Coaching Science Research Foundation. Lynita is licensed to practice law in Georgia, and is a CPA licensed in Florida. Lynita is married to Rev. Brian K. Blackwell, pastor of Saint Paul AME Church – Smithfield, and they are the proud parents of one daughter.

Celebrating Diversity in Education

Charleston County School District,

the second largest school district in South Carolina, serves approximately 50,000 students. CCSD includes 86 urban, suburban, and rural schools along the coast. The district features a diverse, expanding portfolio of options including neighborhood, charter programs, and magnet schools. With a staff of over 5,000, CCSD is Charleston County’s fourth largest employer.

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STUDENT SPOTLIGHT Clark Atlanta’s Sabreen Jolley: Surviving and Thriving Against All Odds by CRAIG ALLEN BROWN For many, life’s hardships can often be enough to stagnate anyone’s personal growth. This is especially true of young African-American women, whose plight often begins with navigating the difficulties of being a double-minority. Clark Atlanta University senior Sabreen Jolley is one of those exceptional young women who have not only transcended those hardships, but has committed to share her story as a testimony to other young, Black women: your blessed existence is so much bigger than the problems you face. Jolley has just published her first volume of poetry, a collection of poems aimed at reinforcing self-love, particularly to those who may not know, or have forgotten, how special they truly are. Jolley’s new book, Same Sky, Different Light, was inspired by a series of difficult times that she experienced during high school and her first year of college. Her father passed away, which is often a crushing blow for so many young people. Another tragic experience occurred when Jolley was sexually assaulted. Along with the physical and mental trauma that occurs when someone is violated in this manner, were the very real, although misplaced, feelings of guilt and shame. Victims of rape often fault themselves for the conditions that led to their assault. It took years for her to finally make her mother and stepfather aware of what happened, as sexual assault can often be so difficult to revisit and discuss, even with parents. Instead of allowing these moments to defeat her, she used them as tools of empowerment. Jolley will graduate in May with honors. She will receive a bachelor’s degree in Mass Media Arts, and has already committed to studying for a Master’s degree. Along with her academic success, she has written for Clark Atlanta University’s newspaper, and served as a panelist during discussions by many women’s empowerment groups on campus. She has also had the privilege of interning with Susan Taylor,

former editor of Essence Magazine, and serving as a speaker at a host of memorable events, most recently, at the 50th Anniversary Memorial of Dr. Martin Luther King in Memphis, Tennessee. Despite an extremely demanding senior year in college, Jolley does not second guess the timing of putting the book out now. “I felt like God put me in this position,” she said. “I experienced so many things, and these things were necessary for this moment. Plus, I also wanted to encourage myself. There’s no deadline, there’s no time limit on when you can accomplish your dreams and your goals. Just do it.” Jolley strives to not only inspire, but to connect with her readers. Her poems specifically target authentic events and moments, in the hopes that her work will resonate intellectually and emotionally with her audience. Her favorite poem is called “Sunshine”, which focuses on selfless love, and the expectation of true love in the lives of young women. Like her other poems, it was directly influenced by a relationship she had, in hopes that she will share what an all-encompassing love should entail. Same Sky, Different Light is a celebration of the kind of strength, love, compassion, and honesty that Black women embody. Jolley’s poetry, and life, is proof-positive that we are always much bigger than our struggles. Same Sky, Different Light can be purchased on, or at

Craig Allen Brown Craig Allen Brown was born in Landstuhl, Germany. After completing high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a human resources specialist. He served for 22 years; his time in service included four tours in Germany, two in Israel, and tours in South Korea, Macedonia, Iraq, and Kuwait. Upon retiring from the Army, he enrolled in Clark Atlanta University, and majored in Mass Media Arts. He is currently the Editor-inChief of CAU’s newspaper, The Panther. He will graduate with honors in May.

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From Internship to Job with Goldman Sachs

St. Anthony Richards


mari St. Anthony Richards is a senior Business Management major from Kingston Jamaica attending South Carolina State University. He is a member of The Honors College and has a cumulative GPA of 3.9, serves as the 2017-2018 White House HBCU All-Star, and President of the Kappa Upsilon chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity Incorporated. Omari works as a financial analyst in the Department of Finance and Management at South Carolina State University. He has most recently interned at PNC Bank, in Louisville Kentucky as a Treasury Management Intern in the Corporate and Institutional Banking Division. In his spare time, he loves to travel, exercise, and partake in charitable causes, particularly those geared towards the benefit of special needs children. Upon graduation, Omari will be heading to Salt Lake City, Utah to work as an Analyst with Goldman Sachs.

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Alumni Valuation: How Millennials View Their University’s Value by NATASHA CARTER

ABC’s Shark Tank is by far one of the most popular and innovative reality shows on television. This show is highly popular with Millennials (ages 18-34 in 2015) also known as the “entrepreneurial generation.” The hit show gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch to investors and sometimes walk away with deals that catapult their businesses into success they never dreamt. However, many of the show’s investors are often caught off guard by the valuations that some of the entrepreneurs put on their company.   A valuation is the monetary worth of something, especially as estimated by an appraiser. What if we treated our Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) like a business? What would our valuation be? Alumni are ultimately the University’s appraisers.  A 2015 Gallup study revealed that black graduates of HBCUs are more likely than black graduates of other institutions to be thriving –– strong, consistent and progressing in a number of areas of their lives, particularly in their financial and purpose well-being.   However, giving among the millennial population could make the results of the Gallup study a bit more skewed. The 2015 Case Foundation’s Millennial Impact Report reported that 75% of Millennials would prefer to give to cause-based non-profits over their University. Millennials are less interested in sending their money to their University because they view them as corporations who don’t actually need their money.    A barometer for the love and loyalty to one’s alma mater is usually measured by the extent to which one is willing to support it financially. Here are four factors that influence Millennial alumni’s University appraisal value:    ALUMNI NETWORK Creating an engaged, supportive alumni network typically in the form of an alumni association or club is important to a University’s alumni giving success. While fundraising is a part of the overall existence, the need for engaged alumni is also critical. Alumni are more engaged when relationships are established with fellow alumni of all age demographics. After graduation, alumni often move to various cities in search of employment. They also seek a network of likeminded individuals. Millennials specifically may look to young professional organizations before seeking an alumni association or club, but would likely participate in their alma mater’s alumni association if networking events and opportunities exist.

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TECHNOLOGY Universities that showcase to alumni that they are technologically savvy may also see increases in alumni giving. Using technology advances to connect with young alumni, especially mobile marketing prove to alumni that you’ve considered the best ways to connect with them. Young alumni often equate their University’s use of technology with a concerted effort to connect. According to The Millennial Impact Report, most millennials find out about volunteer or giving opportunities through organizations’ websites or social media. Additionally, young alumni like to see that technology is also being used in their alumni clubs and associations.    TRANSPARENCY When it comes to determining value, all alumni like transparency. Essentially, alumni are stakeholders and want to know the details of their giving efforts. Providing details about giving campaigns, initiatives and preferably in the planning stages show alumni that you value their support and want to keep them connected. Millennials specifically like to know what impact their money will have. Social media is just one of the ways to be transparent with alumni –– excluding sensitive information. This keeps alumni connected, informed and feeling like true partners.    ALUMNI PERKS Being a member of clubs and organizations often come with perks, alumni clubs and organizations shouldn’t be any different. When it comes to millennials, the benefits provided for membership are of the utmost importance.  If an alumni association or club is collecting dues, alumni often expect some benefits to be passed on as a condition of membership. Millennials love exclusive members-only perks like discounted concert tickets, hotel stays, restaurants and tour experiences. These types of extras usually equate to a robust network.    Overall, 70 percent of millennials spend at least an hour volunteering their time to a cause they care about. Millennials appear to be more connected to causes and purpose. So, maybe the next opportunity a University or alumni association has to pitch a millennial on giving –– the donation of choice should be time.

Natasha N. Carter

Natasha N. Carter is a freelance Communications professional with over 12 years experience. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Claflin University and a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from the University of Central Florida. Her career experience includes television, print journalism, and public relations. Natasha is an advocate for higher education and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). She’s the co-host and producer of The HBCU Podcast –– a weekly podcast dedicated to discussing Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as spotlighting alumni through news, colorful commentary, and interviews. She also serves as President of the Claflin University International Alumni Association (CUIAA), making her the youngest alumni to hold the position. She is currently serving her second term as CUIAA President and has previously served as 2nd Vice President of the CUIAA making her the first alumnus to hold the position. Her organizational affiliations include the Claflin University International Alumni Association, Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) Alumni Chapter of Claflin University, UNCF National Alumni Council, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Augusta, Augusta Mini Theatre, Inc. Board of Directors, TEDxTelfairStreet and TEDxAugusta Leadership Team.

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Langston University Ventures Into New Research Area Needed at HBCUs Disability and Rehabilitation Advanced Research Training

Langston University, a historically Black college/university (HBCU), secured a $750,000 grant award (across five years) in 2016 from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDLIRR) to establish a new Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training Post-Doctoral Program. The Post-Doctoral Training Program implements a Peer-to-Peer Multiple Mentor Model to help Post-Doctoral Research Fellows based at HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions navigate institutional context, and cross-fertilize their independent research projects and research grant proposals through exchanges with a primary mentor and a scientific panel of mentors comprised of context experts, multicultural specialists, methodologists, and statisticians. The Program works in concert with the Langston University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (LU-RRTC) on Research and Capacity Building for Minority Entities drawing upon the center’s extensive research capacity building expertise, collaborative networks, resources, and interventions as an innovative strategy to holistically address the Post-Doctoral Research Fellow’s research skill building needs. Dr. Courtney Ward-Sutton and Dr. Natalie Williams serve as the Inaugural Post-Doctoral Fellows.

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Dr. Courtney Ward-Sutton is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Advanced Rehabilitation Research and Training (ARRT) Program, situated within the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Research and Capacity Building for Minority Entities at Langston University. She received her Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Counseling and Rehabilitation Counselor Education at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a focus on African American Males in Graduate Rehabilitation Counselor Education Programs, her M.A. in Psychology from North Carolina Central University, and her B.A. in Psychology from Bennett College for Women. Her research interests include African American males in higher education, behavioral addictions, assistive technology, multicultural and global issues in counseling. Future goals of Dr. WardSutton include grant and manuscript writing, rehabilitation research on capacity building for minority-serving institutions and becoming an assistant professor at a minority-serving institution.

Dr. Natalie Williams is currently a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Advanced Rehabilitation Research and Training (ARRT) Program, situated within the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Research and Capacity Building for Minority Entities at Langston University. Originally from Oklahoma City, Dr. Williams hold a B.A. in Psychology from The University of Oklahoma, M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling from Langston University, and Ph.D. in Counselor Education from Ohio University. Although her clinical experiences are diverse, her primary interests include sexuality education and abuse prevention for children and adults with disabilities. Her research interests include multicultural counseling, assistive technology, and mental health. Dr. Williams is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and has broad experience providing Applied Behavior Analysis services to children and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in Oklahoma, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Her future goals include securing a research faculty position at an HBCU.

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Thurgood Marshall Feature:

HBCUs Are Chan the Narrative A

Fragile Commun by GERARD ROBINSON

On February 5-6, 2018, more than 250 professors—114 from 42 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) — reformers, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, employers, and others committed to the principles of human dignity for people living in fragile communities gathered in Washington, D.C. for the inaugural Center for Advancing Opportunity (CAO) State of Opportunity in America Summit . CAO is a Washington, D.C.-based research and education initiative created by a partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Charles Koch Foundation, and Koch Industries. Our mission is to develop evidence-based solutions to the most pressing education, criminal justice, and economic mobility issues in fragile communities throughout the United States by working with faculty and students at HBCUs and other postsecondary institutions.

The key point is that HBCUs will be on the cutting edge of providing much-needed scholarship that professors, policy makers, and program managers will use to address a host of challenges in American cities and rural areas. Why HBCUs? Many of them have for more than 100 years worked directly with these communities because of their location, historical mission, and interests of faculty and students. Too often, however, investments in HBCUs, to create more research-based solutions, or to replicate what works in education, criminal justice, and entrepreneurship, have been spare. With a $26 million investment from our partners, CAO is in a position to support HBCUs in a real way. Here are two examples. CAO awarded Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) a $3 million grant in September 2017 to launch the Center for the Study of Economic

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Mobility (CSEM) to study the barriers to economic mobility in East Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. Why those areas? Children from lowincome families in Forsyth County, for instance, are less likely to move up the income ladder as adults compared to children almost anywhere else in the United States. Given WSSU’s location in this part of North Carolina, coupled with a group of scholars committed to using social science tools to addresses issues of poverty and jobs, made it a good place for CAO’s first investment. CAO awarded Texas Southern University (TSU) a $2.7 million grant in January 2018 to launch The Center for Justice Research (CJR) to produce innovative solutions to criminal justice reform and address challenges in America’s criminal justice system. TSU scholars are currently producing scholarship in this area so

CAO believes the grant will help the Center develop and disseminate interdisciplinary research to dismantle barriers faced by people living in fragile communities. What exactly are fragile communities? They are places where residents — no matter their race or ethnicity — face significant barriers to advancement due to the lack of quality educational options, high crime rates, and severely limited access to economic and social mobility. It is worth noting that CAO does not believe that people are fragile or, as was discussed at the Summit, too fragile to doing anything to overcome their circumstances. Nothing is further from the truth. Millions of people are overcoming barriers every day with resiliency, which CAO supports. Millions more are not. Resiliency matters. Nonetheless, resiliency without resources, networks,

Changing ve About


and research-based solutions to create a pathway from fragility to prosperity is merely rhetoric. The people want a plan of action. “Therefore, TMCF and Koch partnered with Gallup, Inc. to give people living in fragile communities an opportunity to tell us their hopes and fears as well as their ideas about what is essential to create a pathway to a better life. Responses from 6,230 residents living in 49 states and the District of Columbia are published in State of Opportunity in America Report, which CAO released at the Summit. Here are a few highlights from the report: A majority of fragilecommunity residents (54%) say they would like the police to spend more time in their community, while just 5% say they would like the police to spend less time there. Nonetheless, by a wide margin,

residents say they would prefer to spend more money and resources on attacking the root causes of crime through education and training (84%) than on improving law enforcement with more police, prisons and judges (16%). A majority of fragilecommunity residents — 59% — say they would like to relocate permanently given the opportunity. Among this group, three-fourths cite crime as a major reason (51%) or minor reason (25%) for wanting to do so. Fragile-community residents recognize the importance of a good education —particularly a college education. However, just 19% agree that everyone in the U.S. has access to an affordable college education. Overall, 12% of fragilecommunity residents aged 25 and older have a four-year bachelor’s degree or more, versus 34% among the total

U.S. population. Ten percent of fragilecommunity residents are not employed and say they have been actively looking for employment in the past four weeks, despite national unemployment figures of 4.3% to 4.4% during the survey’s field period. Further, while 9% of fragile-community residents say they have plans to start a business in the next year, many more, 33%, say they have thought about starting

a business in the past but decided not to do so. The report provides CAO a foundation to begin a national conversational about the perceived barriers to opportunity, to empower organizations that serve these communities to create evidence-based solutions, and the role HBCUs will play.

Gerard Robinson Gerard Robinson is executive director of the Center for Advancing Opportunity (CAO). He is the former commissioner of education for the state of Florida and secretary of education for the commonwealth of Virginia. Follow him on Twitter at @gerard_924

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Allen University:



usic for some is an art, a melody. For Eddie Ellis, music is not just notes on a sheet of paper, but rather a rhythmic intricacy woven throughout all areas of life. If you ask him when he first fell in love with music? He’d recall the moment distinctly with laughter as if it just occurred. It was while sitting in the classroom of the late Paul Mitchell at Lena Jean Campbell Elementary School; a young Ellis was the first to raise his hand when asked who wanted to be a member of his school’s first band. “Boy, what do you want to play?” Mitchell, quipped. With outstretched grandioso style, mimicking what the fifth grader thought was a trumpet, Mitchell told Ellis, “Boy, that’s a trombone.” Ellis credits Mitchell, a longtime fixture at Atlanta’s ‘Donte’s Down The Hatch’ for fostering early discipline and the knowledge that nothing comes easy. However, the accomplished music aficionado many know for directing the band at his alma mater Morris College and most recently South Carolina State University, almost never was. There’s a grimace in his voice when he says it, “Oooh, he would use his baton to pop students across the hand, he was a fantastic teacher, but I wanted to quit many times.” Ellis said his mother Jessie would encourage him that despite the little that they had, greater opportunities awaited him if he put his best foot forward. Now at the helm of Allen University’s revived band program, Ellis thanked “President Ernest McNealey for understanding that having a band is one of the best recruitment tools in addition to sports that a school can have.” In early January, in what the institution described as “it’s steady resurgence,” it was announced that football and the band would return to the school founded by ministers of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1870. In a press release, the university said the band will be historic, both in degree and size. It will be the first marching band program at Allen in over a half century.  Tasked with recruiting 100 students to Columbia, South Carolina to be a member of the Allen “Band of Gold” by the fall, Ellis is going to apply the tried and trued teachings of his mother. Just as she would ask, “What’s wrong baby,” when he would come home with bruised knuckles from being “popped” by Mitchell for playing the wrong note, Ellis said his mother would follow it up with, “Never quit, despite obstacles, just don’t quit.”

Growing up in Southwest Atlanta, Ellis went on to teach and direct bands in the DeKalb County school system. It was through DeKalb’s “Majority-toMinority” (M-to-M) program which allowed students who were members of the majority racial group at their home school to transfer to a school in which their group was in the minority that Ellis said he saw many of his students reach their full potential. The M-to-M program had been the primary tool for school desegregation since it was implemented in 1972. Offering this advice to committed and potential band students Ellis said, “Had it not been for some difficulties in my life, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Don’t run from challenges and be afraid of starting something new, there is great reward.”

It is because of my experiences as a poor black male that I could relate to mostly all of my band students,” Ellis said. “Since 1975, my philosophy has never wavered. I want students to have the same opportunities that I’ve be educated, to travel and to experience a top notch band program comparable to other schools and universities.

As band director at Morris Brown College (Atlanta) for more than a decade, Ellis conducted the symphonic band and the Marching Wolverines, leading the band to a featured role in the (2002) film Drumline. At South Carolina State University, he conducted the Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble and the Marching 101 Band. His honors include three appearances in the Honda Battle of the Bands competition. Ellis holds a Bachelor of Arts in music from Morris Brown College and a Master of Music in Education from Georgia State University, Atlanta, Ga. He has also studied at Florida State University, the Cincinnati Conservatory and The University of Texas at Austin.

Kimberlei Davis Kimberlei Davis is an author, brand strategist and an accomplished journalist currently working in print, digital and broadcast media. She is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University and is the founder of The Leap Foundation, a non-profit organization aimed at assisting with the academic outcome and morale of foster children. Kimberlei is the mother of one son, Benjamin. Connect with the writer @ KimberleiDavis

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Rising Commentary by MARYBETH GASMAN

I grew up in a rural part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where there was little interaction with the outside world and no African Americans. Having little access to television until high school, I had scarcely an understanding of the world outside of my surroundings. I remember a time when someone told me there was a television show called Soap, and I thought they were joking. Although the television show A Different World brought the culture and story of HBCUs to the nation in 1986, I didn’t see the show until the 2000s (in reruns) as I was in college without a television or access to one. I’m literally missing years of popular television that aired while I was in college. Once I graduated, I pursed a master’s degree and Ph.D., again, without a television. I first learned about HBCUs when I was 24 years old. I was given the book The Education of Blacks in the South, by James D. Anderson, during my Ph.D. program. If you have not read Anderson’s work, you should as it provides a rich, nuanced history of Black education during the post-Civil War period through 1930 and helps one to understand the complex nature of HBCUs and their early development. In addition, Anderson demonstrates the agency and activism of African Americans in shaping their own lives and education. Shortly after reading Anderson’s book, I decided to pursue research pertaining to the history of HBCUs. To me, it seemed important for more people, Whites, in particular, to understand their value and contributions in terms of community, education, intellect, activism, and strength.

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On February 19, 2018, Stanley Nelson’s new documentary about Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) – Tell Them We Are Rising – aired on PBS. I had the privilege of serving as an advisor for the documentary and was also interviewed on camera by Nelson for the film. I’m excited about Tell Them We Are Rising airing as it will bring the HBCU story to a much wider audience. All too often, people are unfamiliar with the history of HBCUs, which leads them to ask, what I think are frustrating questions – such as “Are HBCUs still relevant?” or “Are HBCUs segregated institutions?” Perhaps after watching the film, more people will realize the importance of HBCUs, understanding the role that they have played, and continue to play, in building the Black middle class and Black communities as well as the economic and intellectual contributions they make to society overall. What I respect most about Stanley Nelson’s film is the way that he contextualized HBCUs in the larger history of the nation, using archival documents and the voices of those who were present. He leaves no doubt about the ills and sins of slavery, and the role that starving Blacks of education played in maintaining White power in the United States. He calls upon a cadre of historians and leaders to shed light on key issues in HBCU history, providing nuance, addressing disagreements, and demonstrating how instrumental HBCUs have been and still are to African American identity, fighting against White supremacy, and shaping our society in positive ways overall.

Dr. Marybeth Gasman

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At the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), we specialize in identifying exceptionally talented students from the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions. We match students with our partners for full-time jobs or internship opportunities. These scholars are equipped with the tools to recognize their strengths and actualize their talents. We believe that no matter what happens in life, empowering a student to use his or her talents will open doors to opportunity.

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HBCU Times Spring 2018 Issue  

The mission of the HBCU Times is to provide information about HBCU’s that is positive, informative, honest, and transformational. We seek, t...

HBCU Times Spring 2018 Issue  

The mission of the HBCU Times is to provide information about HBCU’s that is positive, informative, honest, and transformational. We seek, t...