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First in Freedom How Morgan Students Sparked the U.S. Sit-In Movement






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Alumni and Friends, Those of you who attended the events of my inauguration last fall as president of our great institution may have noticed the zeal with which I celebrated the history of Morgan State University. For most, I am sure this came as no surprise. As an Historically Black University, Morgan has history as a main root, both literally and figuratively. Our past and traditions are living parts of our identity. One hundred forty-four years ago, the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church faced a people devastated by centuries of enslavement and a nation seared by four years of civil war. In these desperate times, they saw the opportunity to move both African Americans and the State of Maryland into a bright future using the power of education. With great courage, even daring, they acted on their vision and built the institution that we now call Morgan State. As the years have passed, Morgan’s role on the local, state and national stages has grown ever larger. From the development of leaders to fight fascism in Europe in the 1940s to the development of new tactics and strategies to gain full citizenship for African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s — indeed, at every juncture of the American epic — Morgan has featured prominently. We need look no farther than the cover of this magazine for proof of this last statement. Today, in this pivotal second decade of the 21st century, it is vital that we look closely at the challenges of the present and find how the lessons of our ancestors apply to our new era. Over the past 25 years, the United States has slipped from number one to number 13 in educational attainment, now surpassed by countries such as South Korea, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. If our nation is to continue to prosper, we simply must educate more of our citizens. Morgan State University is ideally suited to meeting this challenge. I see Morgan’s role in our new era as one characterized by strategic growth: in our student body, in our capital facilities, in our research and academic programs, in our community and international reach, and in state, federal, alumni, private sector and philanthropic investments in the University. Today, as in 1867, bringing about this growth will require hard work, creativity, dedication and, most of all, a collective realization of a shared vision. Now, as in the days when Morgan was founded, educators are in the opportunity business. And business will boom for this institution, and for its precious customers, our students, as long as we remain true to our mission of Growing the Future, Leading the World. I look forward to your help in moving Morgan forward and proudly present you with this issue of Morgan Magazine.


David Wilson President

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Morgan Magazine

Correspondence should be directed to: Morgan Magazine Morgan State University, 1700 E. Cold Spring Lane, 109 Truth Hall, Baltimore, MD 21251 443-885-3022 office • 443-885-8297 fax •

Morgan Magazine is published by the Division of Institutional Advancement of MSU for alumni, parents, faculty, students, prospective students and friends. Morgan Magazine is designed and edited by the Office of Public Relations and Communications. Opinions expressed in Morgan Magazine are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the University. Unsolicited manuscripts and photographs are welcome but will be returned only if accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Letters are also welcome.


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First in Freedom

A group of Morgan students read a newspaper account of the Northwood Theatre demonstrations, in Baltimore City Jail, Feb. 21, 1963. (AP Photo)




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Volume I, 2011

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Dr. David Wilson


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Fair Morgan’s Frontal Attack on Segregation

How Morgan Students Sparked the U.S. Sit-In Movement


2010 Morgan Magazine Vol. 1 Winner of the 2011 Hermes Creative Gold Award for Design



Vice President for Institutional Advancement Cheryl Y. Hitchcock Director of Public Relations and Communications Clinton R. Coleman Associate Director of Public Relations and Communications Jarrett L. Carter Sr.



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Professor Larry S. Gibson Fills in Civil Rights History

The Inauguration of Dr. David Wilson as the University’s 12th President








Gloria Ford Gilmer, Ph.D., ’49


Helena Hicks, ’55 Clarence Logan, ’66 Robert M. Bell, ’66 Douglas B. Sands, Sr., ’56

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Carl and Joyce Turnipseed Endowment Fund for Scholarships

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Memories Revealed, A Pieceful Passion

Judge Joyce M. BaylorThompson, ’78



Publications Manager Ferdinand Mehlinger Contributing Editor Eric Addison Art Director David E. Ricardo Sr. Graphic Designer Andre Barnett

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Boris Cheek, ’83

Assistant Director of Web Communications Henry McEachnie Communications Assistant Melissa Jones Hermes Creative Gold Award

Assistant Director of Marketing Kelvin Jenkins Contributing Writers Debra Newman Ham, Ph.D. Brenda Thompson Henderson Frank McCoy Donna M. Owens




MSU’s Estuarine Center

MSU and LSU Partner in Haiti’s Recovery

Graphic Designer Kirian Villalta Photographer P. A. Greene

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MSU Commencement Celebrates Accomplishment, Remembrance

'0& " ! Dedications to Dr. Earl S. Richardson, Dr. Ruthe T. Sheffey, Judge Robert M. Bell and Dr. Vergial S. Webb MORGAN MAGAZINE V O L U M E I 2 0 11


(below) These four Morgan students were among about 15 black persons attending the Northwood Theatre in Baltimore, Md., for the first time, on Feb. 22, 1963. Flashing a “V” for their integration victory are (left to right): Sandra Upshur, 18; Curtis Smothers, 21; Carolyn Dotson, 19 and Wesley Hairston, 18. Upshur was executive secretary of the Civic Interest Group, an integrationist organization that sponsored demonstrations at the movie theater. (AP Photo/William A. Smith) (above) The former Read’s Drug Store at Howard and Lexington Streets in downtown Baltimore, 1963 The Read’s chain maintained a strict policy of racial segregation at its lunch counters. In 1955, Morgan students helped organize a sit-in at the Read’s store downtown. This activism led to the desegregation of the chain that year and defined a powerful model for the more famous lunch counter sit-in at Greensboro, N.C., in 1960. Photo courtesy of the BGE Collection at The Baltimore Museum of Industry

“...And Homage We Pay As We Sing:” Fair Morgan’s Frontal Attack on Segregation

Two Morgan students arrested during the Northwood Theatre demonstrations sign out of Baltimore City Jail, after a Supreme Bench judge ordered their release on their own recognizance, Feb. 21, 1963. From left are Lt. Robert Parker, Baltimore Police Department, Thomas Byrd, 18, of Philadelphia and Jonnetta Benson, 18, of Chicago. (AP Photo)



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> By the early ’60s, Morgan students had been instrumental in gaining a number of civil rights wins, including the desegregation of Read’s Drug Stores in 1955. By Debra Newman Ham, Ph.D., Professor of History, Morgan State University

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In February 1963, more than 415 students were arrested for trying to desegregate Northwood Theatre, across the street from the campus of Morgan State College, as the University then was named. “The young college men and women of Morgan decided to ‘see a movie at Northwood’ or ‘hang in jail,’ ” according to the Feb. 23, 1963 edition of The Afro-American newspaper. The students were following tactics they had learned well from their predecessors at Morgan. After lining up at the box office, being refused tickets and being informed they were trespassing and engaged in disorderly conduct, male and female student protestors were loaded into police wagons and hauled off to jail. The desegregation battle at Northwood Shopping Center began in the early 1950s, but by then, hundreds of Morgan students had engaged for more than a decade in the cause of equal rights. Their manifold activism included sit-ins at segregated restaurants and other “whites only” businesses in the Baltimore area. These direct actions by Morgan students far predated the famous 1960 sit-in by four A&T College of North Carolina students at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C. However, historians often err by overlooking the Baltimore

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movement and by calling the demonstration by “the Greensboro Four” the birth of the Sit-in Movement. *** Morgan’s roots in Baltimore’s civil rights movement extend to its foundation, much of which was laid by prominent AfricanAmerican families nearly 80 years ago. Juanita Jackson graduated from Baltimore’s Frederick Douglass High School in 1927, at age 13, and began matriculating at Morgan College in the fall of the same year. However, Morgan was not accredited by the state at that time, so her mother facilitated Juanita’s transfer to the University of Pennsylvania. Although her daughter Juanita was gone, Lillie Jackson remained active with students on Morgan’s campus and would later help enroll her son Bowen and her grandson Clarence Mitchell III at Morgan. Today, Lillie Carroll Jackson is known as “the mother of the Civil Rights Movement.” She helped reorganize the Baltimore Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1935, became the group’s official president in 1936 and served in that capacity for the next 35 years. During her long tenure, she found many ways to involve Morgan stuMORGAN MAGAZINE V O L U M E I 2 0 11


dents in NAACP activities and encouraged the establishment of student branches on campus. Juanita Jackson returned from Pennsylvania after graduation in 1931, along with her sister Virginia, who had graduated from the Philadelphia School of Industrial Art. Back at home, Virginia came up with the idea of starting a student interest group, which was eventually called the City Wide Young People’s Forum, to discuss ideas about local, state and national change. The group held its first meeting on Oct. 2, 1931, at the Sharp Street Baptist Church at Dolphin and Etting Streets.

Preserving Morgan’s “These are Morgan students at Arundel Ice Cream in 1959,” he explains. “They actually began these sit-ins in the early ’50s at Cold Spring Lane and Loch Raven Boulevard. That is where the SitIn Movement of the United States began.”

Juanita became president of the group, which met on Friday evenings and included many Morgan students. Clarence M. Mitchell Jr., Juanita’s husband-to-be, was one of several vice presidents. Mitchell later became known as the nation’s “101st senator,” winner of many legal and legislative battles for civil rights during his long career as chief lobbyist for the NAACP. The forum had five purposes: to discuss problems confronting Baltimoreans, to train young leaders to effect change in the community, to show their elders that the Forum consisted of sane and intelligent young people, to facilitate interracial contacts and to bring the group into closer contact with God’s will. Many prominent persons spoke before the group. The forum’s members demonstrated against lynching and supported antilynching legislation in the early 1930s. Forum members joined a direct-action campaign to secure jobs at A&P grocery stores in West Baltimore in 1933. Some members also supported a boycott of the chain, which led to the hiring of more than 30 African-American employees by the end of the year. Lillie Jackson also partnered with a group named the Housewives’ League to seek employment opportunities at stores in Baltimore’s thriving Pennsylvania Ave. retail area, which was patronized mainly by African Americans. This led to a “Buy Where You Can Work” picketing campaign, which was supported by the Forum and other members of the community. *** 6


Larry S. Gibson By Eric Addison In his office at the University of Maryland School of Law in downtown Baltimore, Professor Larry S. Gibson shows a photo that clicks instantly in the reporter’s memory. It’s a black and white image of “the Greensboro Four,” four young black men sitting side by side at a restaurant counter at a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, N.C. The young men’s flat expressions capture the seriousness of the moment, as they break the law to request service at a place where blacks were not allowed. “This photo got picked up by AP (Associated Press) and appeared in newspapers around the country,” Gibson says. “It sparked a major expansion of the Sit-in Movement. This is in 1960.” “But the picture that ought to have been in those newspapers is this one,” Gibson continues, displaying another black and white image of young black people sitting in a restaurant — men and women this time.

Gibson describes the corner as it was 57 years ago. The Read’s Drug Store there was a popular stop for Morgan students, at the place where the Coldspring Shopping Center and the Northwood Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library now stand. For those traveling by bus — or two or more buses — Loch Raven and Cold Spring was the closest stop to the campus. Many of the students arrived outside of Read’s hungry, facing a long, one-block walk to class through a neighborhood that was often hostile to blacks. But the Read’s chain did not serve blacks at its lunch counters. Morgan students came up with the idea of having sit-ins at Read’s to protest the discriminatory policy. “There was other desegregation activity around the country and in Baltimore that had begun, but not sit-ins. It was mainly pickets and letter-writing,” Gibson says. “There may have been sporadic sit-ins but nothing sustained around the country until the Morgan students began demonstrating at Read’s.” In 1955, Morgan students also began working with the newly formed Baltimore chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality, in demonstrations at the Read’s store downtown at Lexington and Howard Streets. “As a result of those demonstrations near Morgan’s campus and downtown, Read’s desegregated its 37 lunch counters around the city,” Gibson says.

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Civil Rights Record As an undergraduate at Howard University in the early 1960s, Gibson, a Baltimore native, was chair of the group D.C. Students for Civil Rights. He remained active in civil rights causes after he graduated from Howard and earned his law degree from Columbia University, serving as lawyer for members of the Black Panther Party in Baltimore, for instance. His passion for the law and social justice has continued throughout his career as a law school professor — at the University of Virginia and at Maryland — and as a political consultant for high-profile clients such as Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman elected head of state in Africa. Clearly, history is another of Gibson’s passions. He was keynote speaker for Morgan’s Martin Luther King-Malcolm X Convocation in February, on the theme “Morgan Student Pioneers in the Civil Rights Movement.” And his name is now in the news as one of the leaders of the effort to save the long-vacant building that housed the Read’s Drug Store at Howard and Lexington. The building is slated to come down as part of Baltimore’s West Side redevelopment. Gibson explains that, until recently, most Baltimoreans, including historians, were unaware of the significance of the building and Morgan students’ pioneering role in the Sitin Movement. “This history is in the Afro, a few books and doctoral dissertations. The white media did not pay attention to sit-ins until 1960,” he says. Gibson is fighting on other fronts to correct and preserve the history of

the Civil Rights Movement. He’s working with MSU administrators on an exhibition about Morgan students’ involvement in the movement. The exhibition is scheduled to open in November at the University Student Center. He is also seeking the help of Morgan students and alumni to fill in the historical record of the Northwood Theatre demonstration in February 1963 (See page 5). Gibson says this event, like the sit-ins, was a trendsetter for the nation, “setting the model” for later protests that used mass arrests as a tactic, by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “We have arrest records from the (Northwood Theatre) demonstration, and we’re cross-referencing it against the list published in the Afro in 1963,” Gibson says. “We’re trying to locate the demonstrators using search engines and online social networks. We need more young people to help with this process, since they tend to be better at using these Internet tools. “We also need Morgan alumni to help us identify people in old photos of these demonstrations,” he says. Gibson points out that the activism of Morgan students is much broader than the Sit-in Movement and that it stretches back at least into the 1940s. For example, “In 1947, 600 Morgan students went down to Annapolis demonstrating for more money for the school. At Ford’s Theatre (in Baltimore), the first two people arrested demonstrating there were Morgan students,” he says. 

Many Morgan students participated in the six-year fight in the 1940s and 1950s to end discrimination at Ford’s Theater in Baltimore, the only place in the city where major theatrical presentations were offered at the time. African Americans were admitted freely to the theater from 1944 to 1946. After that time, African Americans were only allowed in the second balcony. Crisis magazine reported in its March 1952 issue that the protests, led by the Baltimore Branch of the NAACP, ended in joyous victory on Feb. 1 of that year, when the theater announced it had abandoned its policy of racial segregation. The Baltimore NAACP and its allies — black and white — had not missed picketing a single performance from 1946 to 1952. In the early 1950s, Dr. Herbert Kelman, a visiting professor at The Johns Hopkins University, helped organize a local chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), a civil rights organization that had used sit-ins as a tactic beginning in 1942, according to the group’s website ( CORE enlisted students from Morgan and other Baltimore area schools to picket and sit-in at segregated businesses downtown and elsewhere. The Morgan students began to target Northwood Shopping Center and other retail establishments in the vicinity of the school about the same time. Morgan students worked hand-in-hand not only with CORE but other groups in the movement, among them the NAACP, the Social Order Committee of Friends MORGAN MAGAZINE V O L U M E I 2 0 11


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Political Action Committee was dissolved, and an independent Civic Interest Group was formed in 1955, to partner student activists from Morgan with those from Coppin State Teachers College, Goucher College, Hopkins and other Baltimore-area schools. Although Morgan administrators could not officially support the student demonstrations, they agreed that the Morgan students could exercise their citizenship rights. and Maryland Fellowship House. They targeted Hutzler’s department store; Read’s Drug Stores; restaurants such as Bickford’s, Thompson’s, Miller Brothers, China Doll, Hoopers, Oriole, Grants and the Hecht Company’s Rooftop Restaurant; and other segregated businesses serving the public. *** The Rev. Douglas B. Sands Sr. recalls that when he was a freshman at Morgan in 1952, upperclassmen promised they would not haze him harshly if he joined them in protesting against segregation at the Read’s Drug Store near the campus, on the corner of E. Cold Spring Lane and Loch Raven Blvd. Rev. Sands recalls that students protested at the store day and night and that African-American cooks at Read’s lunch counter would sometimes serve them. However, if those cooks were not on site, service was refused. Rev. Sands went on to become the president of the Morgan State Student Government Association and a founder of the school’s Political Action Committee before he graduated in 1956. During the early demonstrations at Northwood Shopping Center and elsewhere in Baltimore, students avoided going to jail by walking away before police officers finished reading them the trespassing law. But Rev. Sands says 1955 saw a major change in tactics, when students began listening to the entire law and allowing themselves to be jailed. Morgan’s administrators had to distance themselves from the protestors: some state legislators were threatening to withhold funds from Morgan to force school leaders away from the movement. So the Morgan



In an Afro article dated Sept. 2, 1961, the Rev. Marion Bascom, pastor of Douglass Memorial Community Church, backed the student demonstrators, saying, “We shall continue to bail out the students so long as their actions are nonviolent.” His comment came after the arrest of eight students charged with trespassing at the Double T Diner at Rolling Rd. and Route 40 West. The arrest resulted from an attempt by the Civic Interest Group to end discrimination policies in businesses along Route 40. Juanita Jackson Mitchell, who by then had become the first AfricanAmerican female lawyer in Maryland, represented the students in court. Students also wrote to President John F. Kennedy asking for help for their cause. The local NAACP provided bail money for students and also paid for buses to take students to sit-ins at restaurants and other establishments along the route and as far away as Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Morgan students formed a protest army, as thousands of them fought against segregation in Baltimore and across the state, long before the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. By the early ’60s, Morgan students had been instrumental in gaining a number of civil rights wins, including the desegregation of Read’s Drug Stores in 1955, Arundel Ice Cream Company in 1959 and the Rooftop Restaurant in Northwood Shopping Center in 1960. However, the movie theater at Northwood remained a galling holdout. ***

The protests at Northwood Theatre reached a high point during several cold days in late February 1963. So many students were arrested inside the establishment that police had to run wagons continuously between Northeastern police station and the shopping center, The Afro-American reported. As the number of arrests mushroomed, more students came to join the picket lines, overwhelming the capacity of the police to transport them.

MSU history and geography lecturer Gloria Marrow was a student at Morgan at the time. She recalls that she was willing to get arrested and go to jail but could not do so: there was no more room in the patrol wagons. Students worked in shifts to replace those who were arrested or had to go to classes. The student demonstrators were always polite and well-dressed; some even occasionally spoke in French because foreigners of color were supposed to be granted admission. More than 343 students were placed in Pine Street Jail, which was designed to house only 140 persons. Of those incarcerated, about 200 were women from Morgan State. Women from Johns Hopkins and Goucher were also among those jailed. The judge asked each student to post $600 bail, a total of about a quarter of a million dollars for all of

F i r s t those charged. But the students refused to pay. Other students formed a crowd inside and outside Northeastern police station during preliminary hearings. When they left the courtroom, many of the students picketed the station. The incarcerated students were not allowed to take a single item into jail with them. The Afro-American noted in its Feb. 26, 1963 edition that many of the young women admitted to being frightened, especially of the possibility of a fire in the close quarters. Baltimore fire officials also voiced concerns.

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were freed, and the theater was desegregated. Jubilation and joy abounded as 343 young people traded cramped cells for freedom. Parking lots and driveways near the jail were packed with cars and buses brought by worried relatives who had waited through the ordeal to take

Morgan also supported the cause through recognition, awarding honorary doctorates to many civil rights leaders, including Lillie Carroll Jackson. President Jenkins presided over Morgan’s 89th Commencement exercises when Jackson was presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree in June 1956.

Dr. Thelma Bando, then Morgan dean of women, visited the students in jail daily to offer them words of encouragement, to relay comforting messages to

the students back to home or school.

and from their parents and teachers, and to ask the students what they needed. The most requested items were toothpaste, toothbrushes, other hygiene items, reading materials and snacks. The women were so unified in their effort that when the parents of one of the white students came to get her out of jail, she refused to go. Another student was on prescription medication that had to be brought to the jail, but she also refused to leave. Six days into the demonstration, the charges were dropped, the students

Maryland and across the U.S. Morgan officials, including Presidents Dwight Holmes and Martin D. Jenkins, and longtime Registrar Edward N. Wilson, as well as alumni, such as Rev. Sands and Civic Interest Group leader Clarence Logan (Morgan Class of 1966), are among many who served on civil rights boards and commissions in the state.

“As Jail Doors Open for 343 Students, Victory Brings Tears of Joy,” screamed the front page banner of the March 2, 1963 Afro-American. The newspaper also published the names of most of the students involved in the demonstration. Reporter George W. Collins, a prominent African-American journalist, wrote that freedom fighters around the nation had been planning to join the protest had the students not been released. Many citizens of Baltimore, although tired of the long fight, celebrated the victory with the students. For their part, hairdressers around the city offered the young women — black and white — free shampoos and hairdos. *** Direct actions by students on the front lines are only part of Morgan’s contribution to the legacy of opportunity African Americans now enjoy. Many Morgan faculty members, staff, administrators and alumni worked behind the scenes with boards, commissions, churches and civic associations to end segregation and discrimination in

At least two Morgan alumni, Judge Robert Mack Bell and Lawrence M. Parker (Class of 1962) were defendants in a U.S. Supreme Court case related to desegregation. Bell v. Maryland was a trespassing case relating to a sit-in at Hooper’s Restaurant. Bell was a high school student when he participated in the protest, which was led by Morgan students. He later was student body president at Morgan, graduated in 1966 and is now chief judge of Maryland’s Court of Appeals. His 1964 case was argued before the Supreme Court by Thurgood Marshall and helped dismantle the legal underpinnings of segregation in Maryland. Many Morgan graduates continued to fight for civil rights after graduation. Some served as officials in local, state or national government, joining alumni in other walks of life in the struggle for equal rights for all Americans. Morgan has produced two U.S. congressmen from Maryland: Parren J. Mitchell, Class of 1950, the first African-American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland, and Kweisi Mfume, Class of 1976, who served as president and CEO of the NAACP after his terms in Congress and is now on Morgan’s Board of Regents. O Morgan, we sing of thee, especially your bravery and persistence in the fight for equal rights for all Americans.  MORGAN MAGAZINE V O L U M E I 2 0 11


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Q u o t e s

Helena Hicks, ’55, Participant in the Read’s Drug Store Sit-ins in Downtown Baltimore, 1955

Clarence Logan, ’66, Leader of Many Civil Rights Direct Actions as Head of the Civic Interest Group

Anita L. Turks-Hunter, ’64, Arrested and Jailed during the Northwood Theatre Demonstration, 1963

Walter Dean, ’62, First Student Arrested in the Northwood Shopping Center Demonstrations

The Rev. Douglas B. Sands Sr., ’56, Participant in the Read’s Drug Store Sit-ins, 1952–55

“The Sorrells, my father’s family, have been a part of Baltimore since the late 1700s. We have had lots of family members who’ve participated in significant political and civil rights activities. So you might say it was part of the family tradition to do that.

“I came back to Morgan from the service. I had been overseas, and I was stationed in the South. And there, I experienced some things that made me question why I was wearing a uniform and going overseas to talk about freedom and justice for all when I didn’t have it when I came back here. And I sort of made a pledge to myself that I was going to try to (find) my freedom in this country.

“I’m proud of what I did. We didn’t do it for publicity. We did it for that cause.

“At the time, I was the editor of the student newspaper, The Spokesman. I remember the explosion of civil rights activities in this nation. We were part of that Movement. Was I afraid of the consequences? No. I believe that is the duty of citizens to participate in activities to enhance society…. I participated in demonstrations at the Ford Theater when I was about 10 years old. I have always been concerned about social and political issues.

“It was a life-defining experience, and that’s one of the things I’m grateful for today…. At Morgan I was in a community of people who had a desire to do a certain thing, and it became our objective to do it together. And when I look back at it, I see the kinds of things that we have lost because the Civil Rights Movement does not exist today as it did then.

“(My activism) turned me into the kind of person that since that time has never been afraid of challenging the status quo…. I want today’s students to know that they are able to do whatever they need to do to make the world a better place. They don’t need any organization. They don’t need anybody else’s sanction or permission. They can do it. It only takes one person to step out there.”



“I want students today to know that, in a way, the struggle continues not just for African Americans but for many minority people. And they should take a look at the Civil Rights Movement and the kinds of tactics it employed. (Those tactics) still may be relevant to the changes that need to be made today.”

“I was thinking not too long ago that the college students of today would have a hard time appreciating what that felt like. What I would want them to know is all of us had to have someone to pave the way for some of the freedoms they have. There have been some very small steps taken in the area of civil rights. Racism is still alive and well, no question. But we had to stand on the shoulders of those who went before us. And I would ask that they learn some things, not so much how to go to jail but how to maintain their dignity while trying to capture the freedoms that the constitution allows.”

“(Morgan has) a very rich history, some of which has not been recorded. I want all students, from the elementary school to the university, to study our history. It is vital. Those who do not know their history are bound to repeat it.”

“One of the problems with the Civil Rights Movement as it affects black people now is the loss of the sense of community, and the other is the loss of the appreciation of direct action. We now believe that elected officials will do things for us. Back then, if you wanted something, you had to do it yourself, and we had to do it together.”

A Special Event and Exhibition for Morgan Students and Alumni

Presented by Morgan State University’s Robert M. Bell Center for Civil Rights in Education To honor the former Morgan students whose unfettered activism dismantled racial segregation in public accommodations in Maryland and set a model for activists nationwide To hear the voices of current Morgan students addressing civil rights issues of today

Speaking Event

Exhibit Unveiling

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011

Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011

• Panel Discussion – (9:00 a.m., Student Center Theater) Morgan alumni veterans of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s

• Keynote Speaker – (11:00 a.m., Gilliam Concert Hall, Murphy Fine Arts Center) Congressman John Lewis of Georgia

• Keynote Speaker – (11:00 a.m.) Robert M. Bell, Chief Judge, Maryland Court of Appeals • Panel Discussion – (2:00 p.m.) Current Morgan students address major civil rights issues of today: • Equal Educational Opportunity • Racial Profiling • Employment Discrimination • Voting Rights • Building Multi-ethnic Coalitions • Criminal Justice For more information, contact: MSU, Robert M. Bell Center for Civil Rights in Education (443) 885-3957

• Unveiling of the MSU Student Civil Rights Movement Exhibit – (1:00 p.m., University Student Center) • Reception – Immediately Following

For more information, contact: MSU, Division of Institutional Advancement (443) 885-3535

A New Era Begins The inauguration of Dr. David Wilson as the University’s 12th president By Eric Addison Homecoming Week is always an exciting time at Morgan State University, and during Homecoming 2010, the inauguration of Dr. David Wilson as the University’s 12th president lifted emotions to a new high. The celebration of the start of Dr. Wilson’s tenure at Morgan ran from Oct. 17 through Oct. 24 and included numerous activities and events designed to showcase Morgan’s power and potential. The agenda included: three national symposia discussing science, technology, engineering and math issues critical to the nation’s future and to Morgan’s; a research symposium for undergraduate and graduate students at MSU; a citywide reading series focusing on the book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”; an essay contest on ethics, values and minorities in science, medicine, research and public health; a creative writing contest; a performing arts convocation featuring the MSU Choir, MSU Dance Troupe, MSU Jazz Ensemble and Theatre Morgan; and several broadcasts on Morgan’s public radio station WEAA-88.9 FM.

Tradition shared the spotlight with bold ambition for Morgan at the inauguration ceremony itself, which took place on Thursday, Oct. 21 in the Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center’s Gilliam Concert Hall. Dozens of special guests took the stage with Dr. Wilson, including national, state and local government officials, and administration and faculty representatives of Morgan and other academic institutions. Nearly 20 of the guests gave remarks, among them, U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Dr. Wilson’s son, Nyere Lucas Brown-Wilson. After taking the Presidential Oath of Office from MSU Board of Regents Chairman Dallas R. Evans, Dr. Wilson outlined his vision for Morgan’s new era. The new president opened his heart to the audience, revealing his childhood hardships that are the source of his passion for education. And he invited the MSU family to partner with him in making his vision real.






Donor Profile

Helping ‘Diamonds in the Rough’ CARL AND JOYCE TURNIPSEED The Turnipseeds’ endowment fund provides scholarships for promising students from East Baltimore. By Brenda Thompson Henderson, ’65



Nearly a decade ago, Carl W. Turnipseed, ’69, and his wife, Joyce Hill Turnipseed, ’70, established the Alice and Willis Turnipseed Scholarship Endowment Fund in honor of Carl’s parents, to provide scholarships to Morgan for students from their native East Baltimore. The scholarship fund targets students who are “diamonds in the rough like I was,” says Carl, “and who have qualified financial needs.”

lies who made sacrifices for us, and they had high expectations of us to excel,” Carl says. “When you have a loving family and others who believe in you, you are inspired not only to do good but also to help others reach their potential.” “Of those to whom much is given, much is required,” Joyce chimes in. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York Carl W. Turnipseed is executive vice president in charge of the Financial Services Group of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He is the most senior African-American official at the NY Fed and is a member of the Bank’s executive committee. Carl credits a great deal of his career success to the educational foundation he received at Morgan. He earned a B.S. in business administration at MSU, while his future wife, Joyce, was earning her B.S. at Morgan in sociology. “Who would have thought that a guy from Darley Avenue (in East Baltimore) could rise to one of the highest position at the New York Fed, the most important of the nation’s 12 regional reserve banks,” Carl says. He remembers “the highly competent, caring and demanding instructors at Morgan, many of whom had been denied job opportunities in mainstream industry. Our instructors challenged, nurtured and prepared us, and they expected us to be leaders and succeed in life.” In a Bloomberg article published on Nov. 8, 2010, Carl conveyed the importance of his Morgan State education to his successful, 40-year career at the NY Fed. Carl and Joyce were so grateful for the opportunities they had had to receive a quality education, and for the important roles their family and professors had played in their lives, that they decided to support the excellent work being done at Morgan. “We both came from hard-working fami-

The Turnipseeds are both members of the Morgan State University Alumni Association and the 1867 Club, whose members contribute $10,000 or more to the University. In addition, the Turnipseeds have made a generous donation to MSU President Dr. David Wilson’s $5 Endowed Scholarship Fund, named for the sum that Dr. Wilson’s father, an Alabama sharecropper, was able to give his son to start college. Both Carl and Joyce have donated to the Class of 1969 Scholarship Endowment Fund, of which Carl has been a strong supporter. To date, the Class of 1969 has raised $82,000 and plans to add $25,000 annually leading up to its 45th anniversary in 2014. Joyce has contributed to the $134,000 in pledges made for her Class of 1970 Scholarship Endowment Fund. The Turnipseeds, who reside in New York, say they look forward to connecting with family and friends at Morgan’s annual Homecoming activities, especially the Morgan Gala. “But we also look forward to attending the University’s Annual Scholarship Luncheon each spring “to show our interest in and support of the recipients of our scholarship,” notes Joyce. She adds that it is very encouraging to see the bright and talented scholarship recipients and the other donors each year. Carl is a member of the Morgan State University Hall of Fame and serves on the board of the Morgan State University Foundation. He also enjoys being active in organizations that address the needs of young people and the community, such as the boards of directors of NY/NJ INROADS and Classroom Inc., a

program designed to teach middle school and high school students critical thinking skills using personal computer-based business simulations. Although the Turnipseeds are very modest about their philanthropic efforts, they are clearly strong supporters of Morgan and its mission to make educational opportunities available to urban youth. Toward that end, they devote considerable time mentoring young people. “We speak to high school students about the college experience and the challenges of competing in today’s global environment. We tell them that with the right preparation, drive and determination, they too can achieve their aspirations,” Joyce says. “Chance favors the prepared mind” is one of Carl’s favorite quotes, says Joyce. “More importantly, there’s a role that all alumni can play,” Carl says, “whether it is giving their time, donating their money or utilizing their talent(s).” The Turnipseeds have been married 41 years. They attended school together at Dunbar High School in East Baltimore, then at Morgan, then at New York University, where both earned their M.B.A. degrees: hers in finance and his in management and finance. Carl is also a graduate of senior executive programs at Columbia University and Harvard Business School. Joyce worked for Moody’s Investors Service after earning her M.B.A. and continues to use her financial expertise in a number of consultancies and board positions. Carl and Joyce are the proud parents of Danielle Turnipseed, a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law, the University of Michigan Graduate School of Public Policy, and Duke University. “For sure, I wouldn’t be where I am today had it not been for the strong support of my family and mentors — those who paved the way for all of us — and my educational preparation at Morgan,” says Carl.  MORGAN MAGAZINE V O L U M E I 2 0 11


Donor Profile

Giving Back by the Numbers

Dr. Gloria Gilmer is an international expert in math education and ethnomathematics.

Gloria Ford Gilmer, Ph.D., ’49 By Eric Addison

Throughout her long professional career, Gloria F. Gilmer, Ph.D. has been recognized and honored for her pioneering work in mathematics, mathematics education and social justice. But at her core, the Morgan graduate and William Proctor Mathematics Award winner, Class of 1949, has always been a problem-solver, she says. “I am very interested in accomplishing things, really solving problems,” she says. “They can be mathematical problems, racial problems, people problems.” While an undergrad at Morgan majoring in mathematics, Dr. Gilmer coauthored the first two non-Ph.D.thesis, peer-reviewed articles published by an African-American woman in her field. After graduating from Morgan, she completed the Master of Arts program in math at the University of Pennsylvania and took that degree to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, where she worked for a short time as an exterior ballistics mathematician. Dr. Gilmer decided to return to academia, this time as a professor at Hampton Institute. But she says she wasn’t much of a teacher until two years later when she came back to Morgan State. “My people said they would bring me back to Morgan and teach me how to teach,” Dr. Gilmer says. “Dr. Clarence Stephens, my most influential mentor, was still there. When I was a student at Morgan, he told me his major conjecture was to prove that anybody who really wanted to learn mathematics 16


could do so if the environment was suitable. He really worked with me so I would know how to work with students…. I owe my passion for teaching to Stephens.” Dr. Gilmer later married, had two children, held numerous jobs in education and earned a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Marquette University. She believes educators often overlook the importance of making emotional connections between students and the subject matter. “Teachers must spend some time trying to find out where the students’ interests lie. Then begin to plug in the value of mathematics,” she says. Her 1998 article “Mathematical Patterns in African American Hairstyles” is an example of how she incorporates this principle into her approach to education. Born and raised in Baltimore and a longtime resident of Milwaukee, Wis., Dr. Gilmer has a well-earned, international reputation as an expert in math education and ethnomathematics, the mathematical practices of identifiable cultural groups. Among the many highlights of her resume, she was the founding president of the International Study Group on Ethnomathematics, in 1985, and served as president for a decade. The group will have its next meeting in 2013 in Mozambique. She was also the first black female member of the Board of Governors of the Mathematical Association of America and president and CEO of the educational research and development firm MathTech, Inc.

Today, she often serves as a remote mentor for young women aspiring to math careers, strives to save brilliant black men by reforming the criminal justice system in Milwaukee and does other volunteer work to solve problems and improve society. Lately, she has been very active with the NAACP, striving to keep the organization’s work relevant to the problems of today. She has always been an active Morgan alumnus and plans to be more so since meeting MSU President Dr. David Wilson, Dr. Gilmer says. “Another Morgan alumnus and I had dinner with him in Madison last year before he came to Morgan, and we each donated $25,000 to Morgan,” she says. “One of my early students has cancer of the spine,” Dr. Gilmer relates. “I was talking to her one day, and she said to me, ‘You are a figure almost larger than life.’ She said I protected her and my other students, that I really spoke out for them and encouraged them to work together. “Well, that’s the way I feel about my mentor Dr. Stephens,” she says. “And that’s the mark Morgan left on me.” 

Arts at Morgan

E.J. Montgomery, Memories Revealed

By Eric Addison

Following a 39-year tradition of welcoming new Morgan State University presidents to office with a major exhibition, the James E. Lewis Museum of Art presented the current works of artist Evangeline Juliet (“E.J.”) Montgomery last fall, in “Memories Revealed.” The exhibition opened with a reception on Sunday, Oct. 17, the first day of a week of festivities celebrating the inauguration of David Wilson, Ed.D. as the 12th president of Morgan. The colorful abstract prints and paintings of Montgomery’s “Memories Revealed” represent the latest phase of a career that has broken new ground and inspired other artists for more than 40 years. Born in New York City in 1930, Montgomery studied art at California State University, Los Angeles and at the University of California, Berkeley. Her early work was with textiles and jewelry.

But as her mind expanded with life experiences — such as living in Nigeria and getting involved with the Black Art Movement — so did her artistic genre and expression, as well as her fame. Montgomery served as the art commissioner for the City of San Francisco from 1975 to 1979 and as program officer for the U.S. Department of State’s Arts American Program from 1980 until recently. About her work, she once noted that, “Within its cavernous recesses, the mind processes innumerable data by inscribing and scrawling on highly sensitive memory templates…. [My] artistic explorations dramatically portray the configurations and coding processes of memory.” “Memories Revealed” was presented through Dec. 10, 2010. 

A Pieceful Passion The African American Quilters of Baltimore (AAQB) chose Morgan State University as the site of its 20th anniversary show, “Twenty Years of a Pieceful Passion,” last year. The show ran at the James E. Lewis Museum of Art from Aug. 7 through Sept. 30 and included numerous workshops, gallery talks and events for all ages. AAQB was founded in 1989 by three African-American quilters seeking the community of other African-American practitioners of their craft. The group’s primary goal was “to offer support and information for African-American quilters in an environment of acceptance and welcome. Since that time, we have

20th anniversary show

grown in number and diversity and now include quilters of all skill levels, from beginners to professionals,” according to the organization’s website, The group’s philosophy is “Each One, Teach One.” AAQB embraces community service, by conducting projects that include providing baby quilts for a local pediatric unit, crib throws and quilts for preschool and abused children, and hats and comfort cushions for patients recovering from breast cancer. The group also makes annual contributions to the American Cancer Society and other causes. 





Caring Justice

Judge Joyce M. Baylor-Thompson, ’78 As a student at Morgan State in the late ’70s, Joyce M. BaylorThompson was bright and idealistic. The West Baltimore native majored in social work, believing the profession would enable her to uplift people in need. “I grew up one of 10 children, and we didn’t know we were poor ’til we were grown,” she chuckles. “But we had everything we needed, and I saw that my mother was always helping people.” Inspired by her older brother, Charles, who’d attended Morgan in the ’60s and later earned a Ph.D. in chemistry, BaylorThompson worked hard and graduated magna cum laude in 1978. Soon after, she joined a group of Morgan graduates who received fellowships to the University of Illinois. Baylor-Thompson earned a master’s in social work administration a year later, despite dealing with bigotry, threats and suggestions from some white students that blacks didn’t have the right to be there. “Thankfully, Morgan was a nurturing institution, and we’d been well-prepared academically,” she says. Armed with two degrees, Baylor-Thompson set out to change the world as a social worker. It was while counseling families, children and implementing programs for the elderly that she began contemplating law school. “I saw that the laws were not written for those who needed them,” says Baylor-Thompson, who kept her day job while putting herself through the University of Maryland School of Law at night. Her diligence paid off when she received a Juris Doctorate in 1986. Her father — who worked two jobs, including one as a janitor — and her mother, who did day’s work, lived long enough to witness their daughter’s major achievement. “For me, becoming a lawyer was never about making money,” she explains. “I wanted to make a difference. I can remember



By Donna M. Owens

my parents calling us inside to watch TV when Dr. King was on…. They stressed education and reaching back.” Today, the Honorable Joyce Baylor-Thompson is impacting lives as chief judge of the Orphans’ Court for Baltimore City. She holds the distinction of being the first African-American woman to serve on the three-member court. Tapped in 1993 by then-Gov. William Donald Schaefer to be an associate judge, Baylor-Thompson was sworn in formally in 1994, was later elected and became the court’s first female judge in more than three decades. In 2000, Baylor-Thompson was elevated to chief judge, also the first woman in that role. She oversees everything from the budget to establishing policies and procedures. The specialized Orphans’ Court has jurisdiction over matters ranging from estate administration to guardianship of minors. The court adjudicates thousands of cases each year, more than 80 percent involving family disputes. Baylor-Thompson maintains a small family law practice and is actively engaged in the legal profession. She is president of the Conference of Orphans’ Court Judges, whose members are all appointed by Chief Judge Robert Bell of the Court of Appeals of Maryland, and she has served on various judicial committees. When she’s not working, she volunteers at her church, and mentors and speaks at schools. Her honors include the Kathleen Kennedy Townsend Women in Government Service Award in 1997. She’s proud of her achievements and credits Morgan with setting her on the right path. The devoted alumnus gives praise and financial support to the institution. “Morgan gave me confidence,” she says. “When I went out into the world, I knew I had been given what was needed to survive.” 

Judgment Calls Boris Cheek, ’83 By Frank McCoy Fans don’t go wild when #41, Boris Cheek, takes his position at a National Football League game. But Morgan State University alumni and personnel who know him smile. Cheek is one of the seven on-field officials who administer each NFL game. He is also one of 30 blacks on the NFL’s current roster of 120 officials, including referees, linesmen and field judges. Cheek was graduated from Morgan in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. At the time, the former guard on Morgan’s basketball team did not foresee an NFL future. The part-time career that has taken Cheek across North America and Europe, and to the Super Bowl, began as a fluke. Hard work plus a Morgan connection transformed happenstance into a calling. In 1985, a friend, who thought Cheek had people skills, asked him to officiate sandlot games. Five years later, Cheek met Johnny Grier, the NFL’s first black referee (The first black NFL official, Burl Toler, joined the league in 1965.). Grier told Cheek to dedicate himself to becoming the best official he could be. Soon, the native Washingtonian was refereeing high school and semi-pro games. As they were scouting these contests, some Canadian Football League (CFL) representatives saw Cheek and called to ask him to join their league. “I thought it was a practical joke and hung up,” he says. Cheek started officiating CFL games in 1994, and his visibility grew. In 1995, the late Leo Miles, a Howard University grad and ex-NFL supervisor of officials, and Ron DeSouza, a Morgan alumnus, asked Cheek to join the NFL’s developmental league in Europe.

He spent two seasons refereeing games in England and on the continent, including the NFL Europe World Bowl. During that league’s off-season, Cheek worked in the CFL and was there when the Canadian league decided to shutter its U.S. franchises. “I was out of work,” he says. Soon after, the NFL hired Cheek as a field judge. This official makes sideline calls and watches receivers on his side, the tight end and the backs for infractions by defensive players. In 1996, he officiated his first preseason game, between the St. Louis Rams and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Fifteen years later, Cheek has a sixfigure NFL salary and has officiated between 300 and 400 NFL games. He is also a mentor to new officials. During the week, Cheek teaches business at a North Carolina high school. NFL officials work four or five preseason games and up to 16 regular season games per year. The league chooses officials to work in the playoffs based on their performance in every play during the season — an average of 160 plays per game. “I like making the high-pressure calls in the big games, and I like running,” says Cheek, who at 6’2” and 235 pounds is bigger than many NFL defensive backs. The loyal Morgan alumnus belongs to the Circle of Love, composed of 1980s graduates. He says MSU showed him how to succeed by exposing him to black people who were persistent and prepared. “I love the school,” he says. 



Sustainable Change

MSU and LSU Partner in Haiti’s Recovery

By Ferdinand Mehlinger

On Jan. 12, 2010, the most devastating earthquake in Haiti’s history leveled its capital, killed more than 230,000 people and made more than a million homeless. Last October, just nine months after the disaster, a landscape architectural planning team composed of 25 students and professors from Morgan State University and Louisiana State University touched down at Toussaint L’Ouverture Airport in Port-au-Prince. Their mission: with limited time, and an austere budget, become catalysts for self-sustainable change in Jacmel, Haiti, during Haiti’s reconstruction. What greeted the team was one thing to read about but quite another to experience on the ground. Most people in Portau-Prince were back to living and were attempting to rebuild. But the disaster had displaced many residents from the city of 2.3 million, and there was still a tremendous amount of rubble where buildings had been.

The team leaders, professor Diane Jones of Morgan and professor Austin Allen of LSU’s Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture, have strong ties to New Orleans: Jones is a former and Allen is a current resident of the city. For them, and others, the lessons from New Orleans’ painful recovery from Katrina still offered fresh clues about how best to approach the situation in Haiti. The cross-disciplinary team of scholars set out to apply lessons learned from the hurricane and build a bridge between academic theory and the real world. “We are teaching processes here on how to relate to a project and the needs of the people and the specifics of the culture,” says Jones. “We are not here just to get involved and leave. We want these projects to become sustainable to the people that are here.” Joining the team leaders were MSU’s Dale Green, lecturer in the School of Architecture and Planning; Debra

Proposed Promenade Paving Scheme



Newman Ham, Ph.D., professor of History and Geography, and Robin Howard, associate director of the Office of Museums. Four students from Morgan’s graduate landscape architectural program — Amie West (’11), Molly Garrett (’11), A. Zevi Thomas (’11) and Jayne Mauric (’12) — and 15 fifth-year students at LSU’s Reich School made up the bulk of the team. “Morgan not only represented another point of view from another part of the country, but as an HBCU it also offered a chance for partnership,” says Allen of LSU. “I think that is the future of higher education: …knowing how to work in integrative fashion where you have interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary work in an integrative approach of disciplines, institutions, individuals bringing their expertise to the table. And that is something where landscape architects have had a history of being great.”

MSU graduate landscape architecture students A. Zevi Thomas (back to camera) and Jayne Mauric (far right) discuss design options for Simon Bolivar Plaza in Haiti. Four LSU students join them in preparation for a meeting on the plan options.

From the Ground Up After leaving the capital, the group traveled south toward the historic port city of Jacmel, founded in 1698. One of the city’s districts that suffered great damage, Du Centre-Ville Historique de Jacmel, was an important architectural and cultural historic hub for the Caribbean region. There, the MSU/LSU team got to work on their project, “Sustainable Planning, Landscape Recovery and Urban Design for Du Centre-Ville Historique de Jacmel.” The project’s goals were to restore and design public spaces to restart tourism in Jacmel; to address the problems caused by a makeshift landfill that was polluting a beach and fishing area; to connect the community through the creation of a mural for public display and to present the team’s work to various funding organizations for further development. Jones says the improvised landfill in Jacmel shows the kinds of problems that

can be caused by well-intentioned outsiders. Nongovernmental organizations that came to help after the earthquake brought cargo loads of disposable aid items. Many of those items ended up in an area called “the ravine.”

The Redesign of Simon Bolivar Plaza

“Trash goes into the ravine because there is no other place to put it,” says Jones. “(Landscape architecture) is a discipline that knows it can’t solve problems alone,” says Allen. “It needs people who understand environment, culture, economics and social-political events, people who know storm water, health issues and how (they are) all related. How do we design waterways that prevent cholera? We have a central sewage system in America. That is not the case in Jacmel, and we have ways of helping them design. And they have ideas on how to do that, too.” The MSU/LSU project was facilitated by the Louisiana/Haiti Sustainable Village Project, a New Orleans-based coalition

MSU Haitian Sustainability Team: (left to right) Robin Howard, Associate Director, MSU Office of Museums; MSU graduate landscape architecture students Molly Garrett (’11), Amie West (’11) and A. Zevi Thomas (’11); Debra Newman Ham, Ph.D., MSU Professor of History; MSU Team Leader Professor Diane Jones and MSU graduate landscape architecture student Jayne Mauric (’12)



Left to Right: Dr. Jean Louis Franco (Christian Haitian Outreach Program), Dr. Andrea Kidd-Taylor, Dr. Ava Joubert, Jason Joubert, Dr. Randy Rowel and Dr. Ivis Forrester-Anderson

Toward a Sustainable Village Morgan’s Nutri-Garden Project in Haiti of more than 40 organizations. LHSVP was created as a resource for information on sustainable building practices, energy efficiency and civic engagement for residents of Haiti. The coalition applies knowledge its members gained in the recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. “There is a very strong tie between the history of Louisiana and the history of Haiti, and that is where the whole idea of the LHSV Project came from,” Allen explains. “One of the dynamics that came out of the LHSV Project, and one that Morgan and LSU picked up, is this desire to work closely with people who have been affected by the catastrophic event, as opposed to imposing design and planning ideas — working from the ground up to bring those ideas to fruition, to be involved rather than imposing ideas.” 

Dr. Austin Allen of LSU and MSU professor Diane Jones 22


In March 2010, Morgan’s Department of Behavioral Health Sciences held a forum to discuss how faculty, students, staff and friends of the University could help with the Haiti relief effort. One product of that meeting was the Morgan School of Community Health and Policy (SCHP) Haiti Relief Task Force, which began work in April 2010. The group was organized by Randy Rowel, Ph.D., assistant professor in Morgan’s Department of Behavioral Health Sciences and director of the University’s Why Culture Matters Disaster Studies Project. During August 23–30, 2010, members of a research team composed of Task Force members and others visited Portau-Prince. There, they met with staff and children of orphanages to solicit their input and support for SCHP’s “NutriGarden Project.” This effort is engaging Haitian children in starting and maintaining a garden, harvesting and marketing their produce and preparing food in surrounding communities. The project is designed to help children and staff of orphanages become more selfsufficient by teaching them how to grow their own food. The project was adapted from a community garden program developed by the SCHP Nutritional Sciences Program. The goals of the research team were to assess public health needs, initiate a Nutri-Garden Project and gain a better understanding of Haiti’s culture and rich history. This unfunded volunteer effort was done in collaboration with Christian Haitian Outreach, Inc., which runs an orphanage that is home to approximately 120 children in Haiti.

During their visit, the research team worked with children to cultivate land for seedlings at the orphanage. The team also identified nutritional needs, and observed and noted health behaviors, environmental and medical care needs and other stressors that weaken Haitian community resilience. The research team consisted of Dr. Rowel; Andrea Kidd-Taylor, Ph.D., assistant professor in Morgan’s Department of Health Policy and Management – Environmental Health Sciences; Ivis Forrester-Anderson, Ph.D., R.D., associate professor and director of Morgan’s Nutritional Sciences Program; Ava Joubert, M.D., Dr.PH, physician and medical missionary; and Jason Joubert, a pre-med student and personal trainer. While in Haiti, the research team was led by Dr. Jean Franco Jean-Louis, a member of the Task Force who grew up in the Christian Haitian Outreach orphanage and later completed medical school. He is now executive director of Generation of Hope, a Haitibased nonprofit organization established to provide care to newly orphaned infants and medical and mental health services to those living in refugee camps. A return trip by the research team is scheduled for November 2011.

Research Spotlight

Saving the Bay By Melissa Jones

Researchers at Morgan State’s Estuarine Center in Saint Leonard, Md., primarily focus on long-term monitoring of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The center, which was acquired by Morgan State in 2004 from the Academy of Natural Sciences, is also a critical data source for the bay’s annual environmental report card.

be interested in the environment,” Dr. Clark says. “However, our research shows us that African Americans are more interested in the environment than (are) Europeans.” The problem, as Dr. Clark identifies it, is that “we don’t have ownership. Ownership comes from experience, exposure and knowledge.”

Kelton Clark, Ph.D., the Estuarine Center’s director, spends most of his days investigating the complex relationships among predator and prey, transportation systems and infrastructure, and the results that these interactions have on aquatic ecosystems. The center maintains a 22,000square-foot laboratory, private dock with access to the Patuxent River, scuba support and dive locker, teaching laboratory, research laboratories, library and a new oyster hatchery.

Kelton Clark, Ph.D. (left), Director of Morgan’s Estuarine Center, and Dick Myers of the Office of U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.)

However, many of its research initiatives are invested in environmental education and entrepreneurship, through diverse partnerships with the Baltimore City Public Schools, faith-based organizations and the Calvert County Waterman’s Association. Recently appointed to an environmental task force by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Dr. Clark has been tasked with studying and reporting on the use of sewage disposal systems in local residential development and the subsequent effects on the state’s ecosystems and waterways. As one of the few African-American marine and estuarine ecologists in the country, Dr. Clark sees value and importance in getting minority students interested and engaged in environmental issues. “African Americans are often said not to

For Morgan students and the surrounding community, the center provides a direct connection between Morgan’s urban campus and the Chesapeake Bay. Before Morgan’s purchase of the center, the roughly 80-mile travel distance posed a tremendous barrier to budding ecologists and marine biologists in area schools. Now, those students have direct access to Maryland’s lifeline and are active participants in the efforts to study, protect and restore the bay. The Estuarine Center’s 10-week internship program provides a host of research prospects for burgeoning scientists, while center partnerships with Baltimore City schools provide children with opportunities to research and explore aspects of the environment often new to them. “If we increase this kind of environmental exposure to this population, they benefit in other learning environments,” says Dr.

Clark, who adds that the city schools partnership also provides teachers with professional training and learning materials they can integrate into their curricula. In another important project, Estuarine Center researchers devised a marketbased solution to replenish the oyster population in the Chesapeake Bay, in partnership with the Calvert County Waterman’s Association. Oysters provide numerous benefits to the bay by filtering water and providing a habitat to sea creatures such as sponges, sea squirts, mussels and small fish. Clark points out that fishermen also depend on oysters for economic stability, as the sale, shucking and shipping of oysters compose one of the largest industries in Maryland. “We needed to create a self-sustaining cycle that is supported by the marketplace,” says Dr. Clark. So in 2006, the center began a hatchery program that has since produced about 85 million larvae. Watermen will place the larvae on the bottom of the bay and harvest them when they are fully developed into oysters that are market-ready. Once the oysters are harvested and sold, the watermen will use a part of their revenue to purchase more larvae for planting in the hatchery, to continue the cycle. “We are focused on helping this small group of watermen as we all work to stabilize the local industry,” Dr. Clark says. After the expected harvest at the end of 2010, the watermen and researchers will begin to see the fruits of their labor. Dr. Clark is confident that this focus on aquaculture, which was initially rebuffed by skeptical watermen, is a step in the right direction for everyone involved.  MORGAN MAGAZINE V O L U M E I 2 0 11


MSU Commencement Celebrates Accomplishment, Remembrance O

Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons, Ph.D. with MSU President David Wilson

William J. “Tipper” Thomas III 24


nce again, nature cooperated with Morgan State University by providing a beautiful day for Commencement. More than 1,200 candidates received bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees during the ceremony, which began at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 21 at MSU’s Hughes Stadium. Ruth J. Simmons, Ph.D., president of Brown University since 2001 and the first black president of an Ivy League school, gave the 135th Commencement address. Dr. Simmons recounted her own upbringing then challenged the soon-to-be graduates to remain true to their roots as they reach toward their goals in new surroundings. Dr. Simmons grew up with 11 siblings in rural Texas, where her father was a farmer and factory worker and her mother was a homemaker. She was the first person in her family to attend college. “You will need those sitting on your shoulder to remind you of who you are as you confront the challenges, frustrations and temptations that can pull you away from your history, encourage erasures of people and things that have made a difference and undermine the integration of your essential being,” Dr. Simmons said. The inspiring story of electrical engineering graduate William J. “Tipper” Thomas III reinforced the unofficial Commencement theme of overcoming hardship. Thomas was paralyzed from the waist down in 2004 while trying to protect a fellow student during a shooting at his high school in Randallstown, Md. The violent incident, in which Thomas was an innocent bystander, ended a promising career in football but began his new dream of

becoming an engineer. He realized that dream on May 21. “Words can’t describe the feeling I have right now. I’m full of mixed emotions. It’s just a great day for me,” Thomas said. “…I grew up across the street from Morgan. My parents met at Morgan. I’ve been to every Homecoming in my 24 years of existence…. Morgan is a very big part of my life, and it will forever be in my heart.” Dallas R. Evans, chairman of Morgan’s Board of Regents, and MSU President Dr. David Wilson presented an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Dr. Simmons and honorary Doctor of Public Service degrees to two other prominent African Americans: philanthropist Eddie C. Brown, founder and president of the investment management firm Brown Capital Management, Inc., and the late Henrietta C. Lacks, a Baltimore County native who died of cancer in 1951. Her cancer cells, used without her knowledge for medical research, have helped scientists and physicians study, treat and bring about cures for numerous diseases. One of Lacks’ sons, David “Sonny” Lacks, accepted his mother’s first honorary degree. In his closing remarks for his first Commencement as Morgan’s president, Dr. Wilson urged the new graduates to be faithful to the University as alumni. “We are proud here at Morgan of each and every one of you,” he said. “And so, as you leave us, don’t forget to come back, because Morgan is indeed your home.”

By Eric Addison

What’s in a Name?

The Earl S. Richardson Library

During his ne arly 26 years as pre Morgan State University, from sident of November 19 through June 84 2010, Earl S. R ichardson, Ed led the institut .D. ion through un precedented growth in man y areas, includ ing credential of faculty; qua ing lity and numb er of academic programs; and construction an d renovation living and lear of ning facilities. In this last cate Morgan’s new go library, which ry, opened in Fe 2008, is the m bruary ost visible ev idence of his work. On Sept. 23, 20 10, the Univers ity recognized Richardson’s in Dr. numerable co ntributions by giving the libra ry his name. Th e fourstory, 222,000square-foot, state-of-the-a rt facility is alm ost twice the size of Soper Libra ry , which it repla ced.

The building contains a mul tistory lobby, computer lab s, a high-tech instruction room private group , study rooms, meeting room and lounges. s The facility is technologically advanced, pro viding wired an d wireless access to rese arch through a variety of databases, an d it is environm entally friend having a “green ly, roof.” The bui lding’s striking design features a large amount of natural light an d create a good glass to let in reading environment for patrons. Maryland Lt. G ov. Anthony G . Brown, Maryl Sen. Joan Carte and r Conway and Baltimore May Stephanie Raw or lings-Blake he adlined the roster of digni taries who atte nded the ceremony and gave remarks.



What’s in a Name?

“Indeed, I am proud of what Morgan has now accomplished and how the School of Education and Urban Studies has expanded, providing quality education for students in the teaching profession and for those in other fields of urban education,” Dr. Webb says.

The Ruthe T. Sheffey Lecture Hall Ruthe Turner Sheffey, Ph.D., ’47, professor of English at Morgan State, has been the standard bearer for the University’s Department of English and Language Arts for more than 50 years. During this period, her name has become synonymous with excellence in teaching, and she has inspired Morgan students such as Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer James Alan McPherson; Robert A. Bell, chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals; MSU associate professor of English Linda M. Carter, Ph.D.; and many others. For these reasons, and in honor of her pacesetting scholarship in fields including feminism, Shakespearian literature and

the work of previously unheralded black writers such as Zora Neale Hurston, the University dedicated the main lecture hall of the Communications Center to Dr. Sheffey in June 2010. “It is fair to say that Dr. Ruthe T. Sheffey has had a greater impact on my professional life and has done more to put me where I am today than any other Morgan professor,” wrote Burney J. Hollis, Ph.D., ’68, who presided over the dedication ceremony. Dr. Hollis, professor of English and former dean of MSU’s College of Liberal Arts, is another of Dr. Sheffey’s distinguished former students. Dr. Sheffey earned her bachelor’s

degree in English from Morgan and went on to earn her master’s in the subject from Howard University and her doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania. “I am humbled by this honor and delighted by it,” Dr. Sheffey says. “But in the final analysis, the naming did not honor me as one person. Rather, by symbolism, it honored the hundreds and hundreds of people who have gone through Morgan, been nurtured and nourished by Morgan and gone on to professions and lives they would not otherwise have had.”

The Robert M. Bell Center for Civil Rights in Education Judge Robert M. Bell, ’66, chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals, is much more comfortable in the role of trailblazing jurist or brilliant scholar than as the center of attention of a group of highpowered guests gathered to honor him. Nonetheless, he rose to the occasion on April 28, 2010, providing words of wisdom and a distinguished presence at the naming ceremony of Morgan’s new Robert M. Bell Center for Civil Rights in Education, on the fourth floor of the MSU Library. The center’s purpose is to unite research, teaching, training and advocacy on civil rights issues in education at the pre-kindergarten, elementary, secondary and postsecondary levels, explained cen-

ter director Pace J. McConkie, Esq. McConkie presented Judge Bell with a resolution from Morgan for the dedication. Bell was also named MSU visiting professor of civil rights during the ceremony. “This is a reminder to be true to the guy in the glass,” said Judge Bell from the lectern, as block letters spelling out his name hung like a caption on the wall behind him. Fifty years earlier, when he was a student at Baltimore’s Dunbar High School, Bell had participated in demonstrations to racially integrate restaurants in Baltimore. He was arrested and charged, and the resulting court case, Bell v. Maryland, which was decided in his favor in the U.S. Supreme Court, helped end de

facto racial segregation in Maryland. Among the many dignitaries on hand for the naming ceremony were attorney William H. Murphy Jr. and Larry S. Gibson, professor of law at the University of Maryland School of Law, who shared their reflections on their longtime colleague. “It is really quite apropos for this center to be at Morgan and to be named after Bob,” said Gibson, who gave a brief talk about Morgan’s leading role in the sit-in demonstrations of the ’60s. “There’s no better place to get our history corrected than at the Robert M. Bell Center for Civil Rights in Education,” Gibson said.

The Vergial S. Webb Center for Professional Development Dr. Vergial Webb served as professor of education at Morgan from 1966 until 1996 and as professor emerita from 1996 until 2010. During that time, she saw and helped initiate significant changes in the institution. “I am just so pleased that Morgan has grown to its present state of notoriety, which came through decades of struggle and sacrifice,” she says. In May of last year, the University’s School of Education and Urban Studies honored Dr. Webb by naming its Center for Professional Development for her. The school’s dean, Patricia L. Welch, Ph.D., welcomed attendees to the ceremony,

and MSU Provost and Vice President T. Joan Robinson, Ph.D., gave remarks. Dr. Earl S. Richardson, then the president of MSU, officially conferred the naming of the center and spoke of Dr. Webb in her honor. Dr. Webb served more than a halfcentury in the teaching profession, beginning as a classroom teacher in the public schools and later becoming an exemplary “teacher of teachers” and administrator in higher education. Having received many honors and awards during her career, she is best known for her commitment to high standards of quality in the preparation of elementary and middle school teachers.

She has served at state and national levels in the evaluation of teacher education programs at colleges and universities across the country. Dr. Webb is a graduate of WinstonSalem State University and earned her master’s degree at Columbia University and her doctorate at Indiana University, Bloomington. Now retired, she engages in informal writing and research in her hometown of Kinston, N.C. She says the dedication of the Center for Professional Development to her was “an overwhelming and gratifying experience.” MORGAN MAGAZINE V O L U M E I 2 0 11


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Morgan Magazine 2011 Issue Vol. 1