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Royal Dynasty Steps Through History p. 8

Senior Shabrisha Huguley-Brooks steps as a member of Royal Dynasty. Stepping evolved from Africa traditions of boot dancing. Photo by Unique Larry.

Vol. I Issue 2 - Prince George H.S. 7801 Laurel Spring Rd - Prince George, VA 23875 - February 10, 2012

Black History Inspires Younger Generation


he time of the year has come where we honor African-Americans for their achievements and impacts that affect us to this day. Every year in February, Black History Month is celebrated all over the U.S. in respect to those who have made various contributions, such as advancements in technology, sports achievements, popular music genres, and Faven butler more. I think it is important we remember how African-Americans began their journey in America. We have already studied African-American heritage specifically in the Civil War, but I believe now is the best time to go into depth about all aspects of their lives when they first arrived in America, the difficulties they faced, and how their fight for freedom has changed our lives today. Even after slavery was abolished with the 13th Amendment in 1865, blacks continued to face discrimination. Schools, restaurants, and water foun-

tains were segregated. The struggle for true freedom has spanned centuries. Although there are incidents today where blacks still deal with racism, I think we can now say that there is finally peace among us all in the country. We no longer live as the North and the South, or as blacks and whites, but as citizens of the U.S. African-Americans have come a long way. People like Nat Turner, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and abolitionists fought for integration, and have in return made life for blacks easier. Two hundred years ago, a black president would have been deemed impossible. Yet the president will be another person in our lives who will go down in history for the progress that has been made. It is our job, as the new generation, to continue to better lives for any race or group that has been discriminated against, and more importantly, make sure history does not repeat itself. Black History Month is a month where we should remember the past, recognize the accomplishments in the present, and change the future.



ur mission as the school newspaper for Prince George High School is to provide a form of media that represents all aspects of student life. The goal is to present factual accounts of newsworthy events in a timely manner. Our publication will be informative, entertaining and reflective of the student body’s opinions. It is the desire of the staff to reach every student and tell as many of their stories as possible. We invite your commentary: The Royal News Opinion page is a forum for public discussion and shall be open to all students. The Royal News will print as many letters as space will allow. The Royal News reserves the right not to print a letter. The Royal News publishes a wide variety of opinions. Send letters to: Letters to the Editor, The Royal News, PGHS, 7801 Laurel Spring Road, Prince George, Virginia 23875, or bring them to room A6, or e-mail them to We reserve the right to edit for clarity, brevity, accuracy, legality, spelling and grammar. Please include your name, address and phone number. Anonymous letters will not be considered for publication. 500 word maximum. Thank you for the support this year. Please continue to communicate on



Malikah Williams-Jessica Marshall-Unique LarryAmanda Majewski-Kim Carneal-Rachel Waymack-Tasia FaulconWayne Epps Jr.-Kevin Harris-Ciara Ward-Emily GrayKimberly Edmonds-Ridhi Patel-Jake McQuiggan-Olivia Tritschler Writers Kristen Schwalm-Chloe Alexander-Courtney Taylor-Chandler Shirer-Leah Holliday- Casey Overton- Korrina Smith- Kierra Lanier- Faven Butler- Carolina Bae- William BonnellWhitney Clements- Christina Buckles-Anthony Fennick- Deborah Gardner- Nathan BrittDanielle Marshall- Conner Stevenson- Adam Blakemore-Aaron Raines - Tiana Kelly Special Edition Editor

Kim Carneal Adviser

Chris Waugaman

Professional affiliations & awards Columbia Scholastic Press Associations Gold Medalist 2008-2011 Columbia Scholastic Press Associations Silver Crown Winner 2010 National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker Finalist 2009 Virginia High School Association Trophy Class 2006-2011 Col. Charles Savedge Award for Sustained Excellence 2010 SIPA All Southern 2008-2012


7801 Laurel Spring Road Prince George, Virginia 23875 804-733-2720 The Royal News is printed at The Progress-Index in Petersburg, Virginia

Special Edition: BLACK history Month

Sophomore Aaron Jackson

Junior Katelyn Moody

Sophomore EJ Lawrence

Sophomore JT Stawarz

Junior Samantha Jennings

Junior Cody Hanshew

Sophomore Kayla Dunn

Senior Ciarra Taylor

Senior Taylor Barquet

Senior Jasmine Barber

Sophomore Nicholas Alexander

Junior Rachel Pugh

Senior Briana Giles

Senior Breyana Vaughan

Senior Kayla Towns

Junior Marshall Dunn

Most Influential Students share their thoughts on which African-Americans they felt had or has the most impact on society.

Special Edition: Black history month

Sophomore Caleb Togger

Use the link here to hear the story behind each person.


Yearbook Staff Applications for the 2013 staff are available in A3. Applications and references must be returned to Ms. Heath in A3 by Feb.14.


11 | THE ROYAL NEWS | FRIDAY 2.10.12

Special Edition: Black History Month

Greek Life Enhances Character


here are many different Greek organizations, there is a specific group reserved for African-American students. These African-American fraternities and sororities were started in a time where racial discrimination was still rampant in the world. The first African-American fraternities and sororities make up the “Divine Nine”, which are Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, and the Iota Phi Theta Fraternity. Many teachers have pledged to these organizations and have shared their experiences.

Malikah Williams trn editor

aka aIa Aeo OyI efp kaY zIb IBe “I pledged in 1977. I pledged Kappa because the personality of the fraternity fits my personality, as well as what the fraternity likes to do for the community.”

What does the process entail?

When and why did you pledge?

Why did you pledge?

Why did you pledge?

Joe Mcdaniels

“The process entails a nine week structured course of learning what ‘Brotherhood’ is all about, and learning to work together as a group and not as an individual.”

How does the fraternity affect your life today?

“Immediately, it helps with networking. A lot of the things that you do involve knowing someone, who can assist you with help. You share information with your profession and employment, even educationally. And you still do things as a group to assist the community in several ways.”

What is the purpose of being in a fraternity?

“It depends on the individual. It is not something you have to do. It is something you want to do. If you are thinking long-term, it can be something to assist you in the rest of your life. It is well worth the initiation process.”

What was the experience like becoming part of the group?

“For me, I did not need to be a part of a group, because I am my own individual and secure with myself. I do not need a group to be fulfilled. I did it because it fit my personality and for what the fraternity did on and off campus.”

What was your best/funniest memory about being in the fraternity?

“I guess you could always go back to pledging and getting to know the individuals you pledged with, and some of the things you had to do while pledging the fraternity. There were a lot of laughs and a lot of lessons learned as well.”

Special Edition: Black History Month

“I pledged Omega Psi Phi because I wanted to be a part of an organization of dedicated, strong, spiritual men that I observed doing good in the community and in the church, school and home. I ran into other men from other fraternities, but none of them sparked my spirit like the men of Omega.”

“I pledged Delta Sigma Theta in the fall of 1982. After observing members of this great sorority and learning about all of the service/ community and humanity involvements, I knew this was what I wanted to be a part of.” Jerome Owens

What did that process entail?

“Unfortunately, I cannot divulge too much about the process. So let us just say it was “hard” but it was ‘fair’.”

What did it mean to you to become a part of the organization?

“When I “crossed” into the land of Omega, I literally was in tears for hours. It was one of the greatest achievements in my life. Being a member, however, did not end when I crossed the ‘burning sands’. It only began, and to this date you can find me serving and assisting in schools, churches, special events and of course step shows.”

How does being in the fraternity affect your life today?

And why did you join your specific sorority?

Janie WIlliams

“Delta Sigma Theta does so much for the community on the local level, and society on the national level, that I wanted to become involved and be a part of this great sorority. These ladies carry themselves with such dignity and pride and make a difference.”

What did that process entail?

“For DST, being aware of the ‘Rush’, participating in the selection of candidates, followed by formal training, and then the actual ‘crossing over ceremony’.”

How does being in the sorority affect your life today?

“Being in the fraternity has enhanced my life, my family’s life and my community. When you are a member of this fraternity you meet so many accomplished individuals. I have been in cities all across the United States, and everywhere I went a member of Omega Psi Phi welcomed me.”

“Delta Sigma Theta affords me an opportunity to have a positive impact, not only in my community on the local level, but also a positive impact both nationally and internationally.”

What is the purpose of being in a fraternity?

“Service and the positive effect on the community. To be affiliated and associated with such positiveness is awesome. Not to mention, all that Delta Sigma Theta affords me, such as giving back and networking opportunities.”

“Everyone’s purpose for joining a fraternity is unique and different, and should remain that way. I am honored and humbled to be a part of a fraternity founded by three college students and their faculty adviser, on the campus of an African-American college, during a particularly racist and segregated time in American history. These men ‘persevered’ during the most arduous of times.”

What is your best/funniest memory about being in the group?

“Walking around with a dog bone in my mouth during a probate. I still remember the taste.”

What is the purpose of being in a sorority?

Would you encourage African-Americans to pledge a sorority or fraternity? Why or why not? “Pledging is a personal decision. You just do not pledge because it is something to do. It should be a life-changing commitment.”


Beytown Colony Root Moorish Religion Moorish Science Temple of America Consists of African Tribes Beys, Els, worshiping Allah, studying Koran


Jessica Marshall trn editor

urning onto Centennial Road off of Pole Run Road, drivers soon come across what looks to be an abandoned town. Known as Beytown during the 1930s and still recognized today, the area is inhabited by the Beys and the Els (pronounced eel). This colony belongs to a bigger religious movement called the Moorish Scie n c e Te mp l e of America. In 1913, Katrine Nelson-Bey the first Canaanite Temple in Newark, New Jersey was founded by Prophet Noble Drew Ali. During the 1920s, the movement, with Ali’s guidance, spread to numerous cities across the country including New York, Philadelphia, and Detroit. In 1939, the movement reached this area. “It [the land] was purchased and was an alteration of the organization which was founded in Newark, New Jersey, in 1913. Several years later, this land was purchased, all 240 acres of land and it still exists out there right now,” said Katrine Nelson-Bey, granddaughter of Beytown founder, F. Nelson-Bey. Brother F. Nelson-Bey was the 6 | THE ROYAL NEWS | FRIDAY 2.10.12

grand governor of the colony for fourteen years. According to a Richmond Times Dispatch article dated Feb. 22, 1953, F. Nelson-Bey quoted that this group, along with the others across the nation, were said to be descendants of the ancient Moabites who originated in the northwestern and southwestern shores of Africa. “Bey and Eel are ancient African tribal names and they are attached to our ancestors. Once you are a member of the organization or if you are born into it, you can either choose your family name or you can choose one of the ancestral names,” Katrine Nelson-Bey said. An outsider to the colony would not have been able to distinguish between the two different groups if not for the difference in attire worn. Inside the society, the two tribes’ members identified themselves by different gestures. Being a colony founded on the basis of a religion, some virtues were considered very important. These included love, truth, peace, freedom, and justice. According to Nelson-Bey in the same Richmond Times Dispatch article, the most important virtue was to not mix with any other race. The only profit the colony made was by selling crops and produce. Members held jobs either in a neighboring city or worked one of the eight duties the colony offered. Each month, members had to pay a $.50 due. F. Nelson-Bey was never given any monetary aid from the larger organization for anything that was not considered necessary to better the colony.

A lending and willing hand was never hard to come by. According to the same Richmond Times Dispatch article former neighbor to the colony C.J Williams believed that those who lived in the colony were the finest kind of people and that anyone could go to F. Nelson-Bey and borrow anything they had. Over the years, various factors influenced the number of members living in this colony. “It has been a slow migration. I do not live there anymore but it was not by choice, because if I had a choice, I would be right back there. I had a house fire and I moved, but I’m still in the county,” Katrine Nelson-Bey said. “I am planning to go back but most of the people that were there left because they grew up, got married, found jobs other places, or made careers other places. A lot of them live in Richmond; along with Hopewell, Petersburg, and some still live in the county. We still do have a large membership.” 2009 graduate Desiree Person-Bey, and senior Iesha Goodwyn-Bey are two students who have connections to this community. Both Goodwyn-Bey and Katrine Nelson-Bey grew up in the area. “I remember a lot about growing up. It was farmland, and we had all kinds of cattle, and farm animals like pigs, horses, chickens, and all kinds of fruits and vegetables growing,” Katrine Nelson-Bey said. “We had all kinds of fruit trees but I’m not sure if they were sold for profit or not but we had our own conservation, springs, water supplies, and it’s still there actually.”

When passing through the once prosperous colony, run-down, crumbling buildings are all one might see. But keeping hope alive and the desire to rebuild the colony is common in all members. “Not many people live there anymore and we have had our detriment and our problems but we’re trying to recover and reorganize and revitalize the area, we really are,” Nelson-Bey said. “It is a big effort and it takes money to do anything nowadays so we’re brainstorming ways to come up with money and different things to make the area as nice as it can be.” One building that remains standing and in good condition is the temple by which the colony centered their lives around. “We do still have our temple there on the colony and we still use it. We utilize it every Friday night for our services and Sunday for our Sunday schools,” Nelson-Bey said. “There is still a livelihood there. We do have activities and we have our services still and have various functions.” Though views and opinions of the colony vary, Person-Bey believes that everyone should appreciate Beytown and what it has to offer. “I believe that people should be aware of it [Beytown] because there is so much to learn. It is good to research different religious areas because of so much of the historical background that comes with it,” Person-Bey said. “I do not think it should be forgotten because our ancestors and forefathers made Beytown into what it is today.”

Special Edition: Black history month

ted Deep In Historic

Buildings made from stone and stucco were constructed during the 1930s for the colony. (Top) The Moorish Temple served as the center of activities and services common to the community. (Middle Left) Bey’s Service Station offered auto help to colony members. (Bottom Left) The Recreational Center holds annual events such as New Year’s on Jan. 15 and the celebration of the Temple on Jan. 8. (Above) Stars, crescents, and circled sevens embellished the walls of buildings throughout the colony. Photos by Jessica Marshall.

Special Edition: black history month

Friday 2.10.12| THE ROYAL NEWS | 7

Step Team Expresses Tradition Unique Larry trn editor


rowd hushed and intently listening to the intricate sounds made by the hands of a step team whose heart pounding can only be matched by their feet against the ground. Stepping, also known as stomping is a form of percussive dance using your body to create a rhythmic mixture of unique sounds. The energetic steppers team choreographer senior Anthony Jackson, junior Melanie Crutchfield and 46 other members are all part of the first step team. Thanks to the help of the president of the step team senior Denisha Black and the advisor/ sponsor Cinnamon Brown. After Black had enjoyed the bonding experience of stepping at her old school in Georgia she wanted to share this feeling with her fellow students. Students were so determined to relish that bond that they wanted to do as much as possible to get their team the Royal Dynasty together. “I am very glad and proud of the students that petitioned for the Step Team to be here today. I think it is a great thing that students wanted this and did what they had to do to get the school board to approve it,” Brown said. The loose movements and rhythmic poundings against the dancer’s body are indigenous to African culture. “Stepping finds its roots in Africa foot or boot dancing, which originally came from tribal dances. It is a way that people express themselves through dance. It includes movements also attributed to military close order drills. Stepping is largely attributed to traditionally black fraternities and sororities,” Brown said. Inspiration for the new development in Stepping comes from many places like break dancing, tap dancing, gymnastics and cheerleading. Jackson however searches no further than his own pocket and team members. “I just put in my headphones and begin to freestyle to the music,” Jackson


said. “It all just comes to me naturally The 48 students that decided to join the team have appreciated the efforts given by both the students and the sponsor. The Royal Dynasty has practices at least twice a week and when the team is aware of an upcoming performance they increase the number of practices held. “The best thing about the step team is being able to learn new routines and then teaching them to everyone at practice,” Jackson said. The benefits of stepping now will only help the members in the future. “Stepping has influenced me in a positive way I absolutely love it and I plan on joining a sorority in college and pledge for them as well,” Crutchfield said. One of the main principles behind stepping is the concept of unity which has not changed. Each step member represents a form of unity when they come to the vigorous meetings and make new routines together. “Sometimes there is tension between us individually because we are dealing with different personalities but when we focus on practicing and come together as one Royal Dynasty we are able to put on a great show,” Crutchfield said. “It lets me know it is worth it.” In the future, the step team hopes to open up its horizons. The team wishes to participate in competitions and have even more members and increasing their performances. “I hope that we will be able to become even more culturally diverse,” Jackson said. “As for improvement, you are only as strong as your weakest member and I want to make every individual even stronger.” Being the first step team creates a lasting impression on the members. “I feel honored and wonderful [to be the first step team] because it is an experience that you will always remember and I hope it continues,” Crutchfield said.

Junior Melanie Crutchfield performs at the basketball game. Royal Dynasty began to form during the 2010-2011 school year. Photo by Unique Larry.

Special Edition: Black History Month

Voluntary Integration Impacts Life Rachel Waymack trn editor


he 1960s are often seen as a period of social unrest in America, with events such as sit-ins and demonstrations advocating equal rights for all occurring across the nation. While Prince George County did not see these kind of high profile events during this time period, the issue of racial equality was still present. By 1965, Prince George County had instituted the Freedom of Choice option, which allowed students to choose whether they wanted to attend the traditional white school or the traditional African-American school serving their location. Assistant superintendent Renee Williams was one of a group of less then twenty African-American students who enrolled in the previously allwhite high school in 1964. “The Freedom of Choice option was to remain at JEJ Moore, which was the all black high school, or to go to Prince George High School,” Williams said. “That is why it was called freedom of choice, because they still maintained two separate high schools.”

Deciding to Integrate

Williams integrated into the white high school at the beginning of her junior year of high school. It was Williams’ parents who actually made the decision to enroll Williams and her siblings in the white schools. “During that time with the Civil Rights movement, some people were involved in sit-ins, demonstrations, those kinds of efforts,” Williams said. “My parents decided that one way for us to contribute to the civil rights movement was to take the freedom of choice option.” Linda Jones was also one of the first African-Americans to integrate into the high school and experienced many of the same situations and challenges Williams did. “I had been active in civil rights partially because my dad had been active in civil rights,” Jones said. “I had worked for it [integration], it was a part of what we had worked for.” Before entering the white high school, Williams, Jones and the other students who participated in the Freedom of Choice option had attended the all black high school

that was housed in the old JEJ Moore building. Although the students’ integration was voluntary it did not come without an abundance of different emotions. “As I reflect back, I cannot remember what happened as much as I can remember the emotions of that time, being apprehensive, afraid, sad to leave your friends, those kinds of emotions,” Williams said.

Realities of Integration

When Williams and the other AfricanAmerican students entered the white high school they received mixed reactions and welcomes from the students and faculty. “There were some white students who were comfortable because they were at Fort Lee and the army was integrated and then you had some kids who had never before interacted with black stu- Assistant Superintendent dents or who Renee Williams were very critical of what was happening and then you had some who just ignored the whole situation, they did not recognize that black students were there, almost like you were invisible,” Williams said. “There were teachers who I can remember, like my home economics teacher, being very caring and concerned about the welfare of the school and I can remember some teachers who completely ignored you in class so I experienced both of those when we integrated.” Although Williams does not recall any kind of physical violence or threats taken against her or the other African-American students beyond some rude comments, her transition into the white high school was still not easy. In all of her classes except English, Williams was the only AfricanAmerican student. “I was left feeling isolated; I did not talk to anybody, did not share homework with anybody so you really felt isolated,” Williams said. “When I think about the time back then it was almost like you were invisible; no one actually saw you and when you are invisible people do not talk to you.” In response to the isolation they often felt in class, Williams and the other African-American students who integrated the high school stood by each other and offered one another support.

Special Edition: BLack history Month

“We sort of formed our own group; we would get together some times and most of us had the same lunch block so we would sit together,” Williams said. “We also maintained the friendships of our classmates at school who were still at JEJ Moore.”

Caught in between

Williams and the other African-American students who integrated the high school have been caught in limbo between their relationships from their new and old schools. “You are sort of stuck in the middle because you went to school with your peers up until the end of grade ten, but you did not graduate with them at JEJ Moore, you entered Prince George high school and graduated, but the friendships were at Moore,” Williams said. “When you have class reunions the people at Moore invite you, but I am really not a part of that class, but you do not have the friendships to feel comfortable going the to the ones at Prince George so you end up not going to any of them.”

Lasting Impacts

Although Williams’ integration experience was not without hardships, she has been able to walk away from it with valuable lessons and experience. “You got confidence and being able to deal with all kinds of people, you had to do that, but also the realization that during that time there were lots of sit ins, demonstrations, and the issues with race and dogs and fire hoses and burnings and that all of that did not happen in Prince George and because of that you realized that not everybody who was white felt that way,” Williams said. Her role in the desegregation of the high school also had a lasting impact on Jones. “It helped me to understand how important it is to appreciate everyone for who they are for both their strengths and their weaknesses,” Jones said. “It also helped me to develop a strong positive attitude about myself and my own capabilities.” Williams knew long before her role in the integration of Prince George schools that she wanted to eventually be an educator, but her experience in integration has affected how she has performed that role. “I think also by working in education I am sensitive to make sure we do everything we can for all students,” Williams said. “When there is a program in a school division coming up, you look at is it benefi-

(Top) Linda Jones’1966 high school photo.(Bottom)ReneeWilliam’ssenior highschoolphotofrom1966.Williams andJonesweresomeofthefirstAfricanAmericanstudentstointegrateintothe previously all white high school. cial for everybody, not just certain groups of students.” Although at the time it was happening, Williams did not agree with or appreciate her parents’ decision to have her integrate the high school, she now recognizes it as a defining event in her life. “I think that the experiences you have in life prepare you for life and so that what happened to me, that experience, has impacted my life so that I am a better person for it,” Williams said. “At the time it was happening you thought they [Williams’ parents] were crazy but you could not say that you had to just pack your books and go to school.” FRIDAY 2.10.12 | THE ROYAL NEWS | 9



in hip-hop

Music provides positive form of expression Olivia Tritschler trn editor


ap music blasts through iPod headphones or from car speakers. While individuals sing along, they may not realize that the true origins of their favorite song trace back to ancient African traditions. Rap music has evolved from the hip-hop culture over the years, but hip-hop involves more than just music. It has become a lifestyle and a very profitable business. “I know that hip-hop originated in the Bronx, New York,” junior Doug Davis said. “I think rap has become popular because it is very marketable.” According to, hip-hop culture began in the 1970s. Four elements that make up the popular music include emceeing, deejaying, break dancing, and graffiti. A mixture of culture created hip-hop with beginnings starting in the Bronx with a 10 | THE ROYAL NEWS | FRIDAY 2.10.12

DJ named Kool Herc. Soon similar deejaying styles shifted to Manhattan . “I enjoy rap music because I can express myself and entertain people at the same time,” Davis said. Just like other music, rap has continued to change. There have been more influences derived from soul and jazz. Some common names that are associated with hip-hop today are The Beastie Boys, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, and Missy Elliott. “In the hip-hop world I look up to Kanye West for his originality and swagger, Wiz Khalifa because he is one of the biggest new rappers out and his flow is so mellow. I like to listen to his music when I drive. Tyga because he has great party music, Lil B because he is so based, and Big Pun because he is the first breakout Hispanic rapper,” Davis said. Emceeing gets its name from Master of Ceremonies, or M.C. An emcee raps to inspire the crowd with the lyrics that they create. Emceeing originated in Africa from poets who told rhythmic stories with instruments such as drums. It has evolved to require deliverance, rhyme scheme, and word play. Graffiti may be considered a crime today,

but it has a major connection to hip-hop as one of the key elements to the culture. According to, the original graffiti comes from writing on walls in ancient Rome. The modern conception of graffiti began in New York City in the mid-1900s. “Whenever I see it, it’s usually on railroad cars, and I become mesmerized. It’s just beautiful to me,” senior Kelly Soloe said. “If I could draw, I’d probably graffiti everything.” Taki 183 first wrote his name on subway cars and in the stations. Then in 1971, he was interviewed by the New York Times and the trend caught on with teens starting to tag themselves on trains. “I don’t see it as a nuisance,” Soloe said. “There is nothing wrong with expressing ourselves in this way. It’s better than turning to drugs and alcohol to deal with problems.” Break dancing, or b-boying is the last element of hip-hop. According to www.uic. edu, break dancing started to appear in clubs in the early 1970s and since then the dancing

Seniors Gerald Jackson, Xavier Jones, and J’mani Townsend (left to right) demonstrate break dancing. Break dancing developed in the 1970s becoming one of the elements of hip-hop. Photo by Emily Gray. style has grown. An infamous dance move associated with break dancing is Michael Jackson’s moonwalk. Senior Gerald Jackson enjoys dancing because it lets him be himself. “It’s my passion,” Jackson said. “I love to do it and it’s when I can be myself. It is something I’ve been doing since I could walk.” Whether one is a fan of hip-hop or not, the culture has made numerous impacts throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. The four elements have continued to be popular over the years and are still known today. “Music is the biggest impact on my life, especially hip-hop,” Davis said. “When I hear a song I can imagine the things that the rapper is talking about in my head. Hip-hop inspires my attitude, the way I dress, and my own music.”

Special Edition: black history month

Collins Strived to Help Players Wayne Epps, Jr. trn editor


ormer girls varsity basketball coach Shea Collins worked to perform the expected roles of a coach during her seven seasons in the position, from trying to make the members of her teams better players to trying to make them better people. However, there was one thing that separated Collins from other head coaches: she is African-American. Collins stepped into the head coaching position for the varsity girls team in 1999. She had previously been the head coach of the JV girls team for the 1998 season, her first season as a coach. Collins has been the only African-American varsity head coach for the high school during the past 12 years. As a player at Windsor High-School in Windsor, VA, Collins scored over 1,200 points. However, because her high school coach did not help her continue her basketball career, she set a goal to try to help other basketball players. “My coach didn’t help me pursue my basketball dreams, so I actually ran track in college instead,” Collins said in a phone interview. “So, I said, even going through college, that if I got an opportunity to coach, that I would help as many girls as I could.” As Collins began as the head coach, she heard some criticism. The criticism was not necessarily racially motivated, but directed at Collins’ lack of experience as a coach. “The belief factor wasn’t there in the beginning,” Collins said. “And I know for a fact, because I remember comments being made, as to ‘She’s too young’ or ‘She has no experience’.” However, Collins does feel that she might have been watched more closely because of the fact that she was AfricanAmerican, and because of the fact that she feels she could relate to her players more than other coaches might have been able to.

“I felt the eyes were always on me and the young ladies, because I was an African-American coach or maybe because I was young,” Collins said. “… I think that I was always watched, as to how I was going to handle them, and if they got in trouble, how issues would be handled. But, I was very firm with them at all times, whether it was on the basketball court, or whether it was classroom. Because, to me, you are a student-athlete, not an athlete student.” Despite some of the ways that Collins believes she was viewed by others, she felt that her being given the opportunity to coach was something that the players at the time could benefit from. “I think sometimes young ladies need that - need another person, or another woman as a coach to help them to understand the issues that girls and women go through,” Collins said. “However, I’m not saying that men can’t make that difference. But, I think that it was very timely for me to be a head coach in Prince George at that time, because more of the young ladies that played were AfricanAmericans. They could relate and I could relate to them in their various situations.” Collins was able to achieve multiple goals during her seven-year tenure, even if she had to bear the burden of always being watched. The team won the Central District tournament in both 2005 and 2006, and they won the regular season district championship in 2005 as well. Collins was named coach of the year in that same season. The team won the Fort Lee Holiday Tournament in 2004. Collins also was given the opportunity to coach the now defunct Tri-Cities girls basketball all star game twice before leaving the head coaching position in 2006. In addition, Collins sent ten girls on to play college basketball in Division I, II, and III. All but one of those former players went on to graduate from college, and the one that did not entered the military. Unequal opportunity is a factor that Collins believes plays a part in the lack of African-American head coaches in the sports world. Sometimes, African-American coaching candidates may not have the same professional connections as other candidates. “I think (African-Americans) have to prove that we can be better more than the next candidate sometimes has to be,” Col-

Special Edition: Black history month

Former varsity girls basketball coach Shea Collins instructs players during a basketball game in 2005. Collins has been the only African-American varsity head coach for the high school since 2000. Photo by Melissa McCue. lins said. “Because, a lot of times, a job is not always on what you know, or what you can provide — it’s who you know.” In the NFL, there is a provision called the “Rooney Rule” to try to make sure that head coaching and front office candidates of all races get an equal opportunity. The rule requires that all teams interview at least one minority candidate in their search for a head coach or front office executive. Collins agrees with the rule. “I think it has been a great opportunity and a great door-opener for a lot of African-American men to become coaches in the NFL,” she said. “Where 20 years ago, that probably would not have happened, having that equal opportunity.” At the end of the day, Collins feels fortunate for the opportunity that she was given to coach the Lady Royals and fulfill her goal of helping others. “I thank Prince George for giving me the opportunity to coach and to make a difference in the lives of those young ladies I did coach,” she said. “They were successful, and did go on to graduate from college and move on in their lives. I just thank them for that opportunity, so that I could actually help somebody else.”

African-American Coaching History Fritz Pollard became the first African-American head coach in NFL history in 1921. Bill Russell became the first African-American head coach in NBA history in 1966. Frank Robinson became the first African-American manager in MLB history in 1975. Cito Gaston became the first African-American manager to win a World Series in 1992. Tony Dungy became the first African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl in 2007. Source: news/story?id=2124304 FRIDAY 2.10.12 | THE ROYAL NEWS | 11

12 | THE ROYAL NEWS | FRIDAY 2.10.12

Special Edition: Black History Month

Special Issue: Black History  

This is the second special edition for the Royal News this year. It focuses on Black History.

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