Because news traveled slowing in 1863, some 200,000 Texas slaves didn’t find out until 2 ½ years later that President Abraham Lincoln had issued the final version of the Emancipation Proclamation granting freedom to slaves on Jan. 1, 1863. That accident of history is now commemorated as Juneteenth — marking June 19, 1865, as the day that those slaves finally learned that were free. Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19 as the African-American Emancipation Day has spread throughout the United States and beyond. Today Juneteenth commemorates African-American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America join hands to acknowledge history that shaped and continues to influence today’s society.
Click here to see how communities in Winston Salem, N.C. and Greensboro, N.C. commemorated Juneteenth through education, spoken word, theater, poetry, music, children’s activities and more.
Photos by Bonnie Newman Davis, Endowed Professor, N.C. A&T State University
Sources: The Winston Salem Journal http://www.juneteenth.com/
High oil prices throughout the country threaten to weaken economic gains made during the past few months of winter. The result of high oil prices — increased prices at gas pumps– is forcing consumers to re-examine their spending yet again. No where is the pain being felt more forcibly than among college students. JOMC Journal reporter and videographer Jarrell Pittman investigates how N.C. A&T State Unviversity students are dealing with “pain at the pumps.”
Aggie Fest Promoters Say the HYPE is back
By Courtney Young
JOMC Journal Reporter
As the temperature begins to rise on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University, students begin to anticipate the annual event-filled week known as “Aggie Fest.” Each year in mid-April, the Student Government Associate and the Student Activities Union Board plan a week of events that are strictly for students.
The campus is flooded with fliers that read “Believe the Hype,” and regular Twitter posts are anticipated throughout the week. With Aggie Fest being the next best thing to the “Greatest Homecoming On Earth,” SGA and SUAB have a lot of pressure to live up to the hype.
Yet, in recent years students have started to question what the hype is all about. Many incoming students are unaware of Aggie Fest, and most upperclassman are too busy reminiscing on “how it used to be” to actually enjoy the annual event. A&T’s SGA and SUAB decided to address the issue head on and give students what they want.
“Aggie Fest is like a spring homecoming; it is basically a chance for students to have a break from school and have fun while fellowshipping with other students and alumni as well,” says Christopher Wade, SGA vice president of external affairs. SGA and SUAB planned a week of exciting activities that started April 15. While planning Aggie Fest, SGA and SUAB were hoping to bring back a sense of unity on campus and to bring back the strong passion for “Aggie Pride.”
During Aggie Fest, students can look forward to free events that showcase the talents of various students within the campus. Aggie Fest also serves as an opportunity for students to participate in various events that they may not be able to do throughout the GHOE events.
Wade also wants to students to remember that Aggie Fest is not GHOE. “We are not given the same budget to work with. Students must remember that we are giving them the best we can with a much smaller amount of money.”
With Aggie Fest is touted as being for students only, some find it difficult to understand why it does not receive much participation.
LaToria Pittman, an A&T senior, recently shared her thoughts.
“Aggie Fest has changed,” she said. “I remember when we would anticipate for this week right after GHOE ended.” Pittman added that Aggie Fest does not live up to its hype anymore, recalling how “the campus used to be filled with students from other universities who came to see about all the hype.”
Aggie Fest was like a big family reunion. “The activities were fun, everyone was out on the yard, and everyday brought something new and exciting,” says Pittman. One event that really hit home to Pittman was the annual cookout held each year. Pittman recalled how there was so much entertainment, food and activities. As she thought back to that exciting day Pittman simply said “It was a great day to be an Aggie.”
Since the earlier days of Aggie Fest the hype has seemed to go from a forest fire to a small candle light. Sophomore A&T student, Jessica Parran, explains how she too is not exactly jumping for joy when she hears the week is quickly approaching.
“All of my friends that are upperclassman told me so much about how Aggie Fest use to be the event of the spring semester, and now I just do not think it lives up to its hype.” Although Parran is not excited for the event, she does attend the various programs throughout the week to support her fellow Aggies. “My favorite event would have to be the RHA Step Off, it is so interesting to see my peers show off their stepping skills with their perspective Resident Halls,” Parran said.
Freshman A&T student Amber Woodard also expressed her concerns about the “Believe the Hype” campaign for Aggie Fest. Woodard, along with many other students at A&T, are questioning if they should really get “hype” for this event or is it just being “hyped up” to nothing.
“It is hard to get excited about the week when it seems like other students are not too excited either,” Woodard said. Unfortunately, that thought process is the same for many students on the campus of A&T.
It seems as if the hype for Aggie Fest leaves more each year with the graduating class of seniors. The seniors are the ones who can share the glory days of Aggie Fest with new incoming students, but instead they keep the secrets among each other. With the hype dying down each year, Wade is searching for new ways to make Aggie Fest more exciting for the students.
One way he has increased and renewed interest is by combining the annual concert with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. By having a joint concert, Wade hopes to bring in more students and to create a form of unity between both schools. The concert will feature local acts throughout Greensboro, as well as Grammy-award nominated artist J Cole.
Thus far, Wade has received positive feedback about the concert and many students are excited to see J Cole.
“I am so excited about seeing J Cole,” said Parran. He is from my hometown and I love him as an artist.” Just like Parran many students are buzzing about the concert line up because a crowd favorite, J Cole, will be performing for the students.
Along with the concert, students can look forward to a lineup of the RHA Dorm Step Off, Iota Phi Theta, Inc. Zulu Chapter Greek Stroll Off, RHA Roll Bounce, Aggies and Poets, and the Aggie Yard Fest. All the events, excluding the Stroll Off and the concert, are free of charge for students and majority of the events will be held on campus.
Various media outlets such Twitter, Facebook, and fliers will be used to advertise for the week and to also keep students informed on any changes. The goal for SGA and SUAB is to bring back the excitement for Aggie Fest, and so far this year’s line-up seems to be doing just that.
When Wade was asked what he wants students to remember most about Aggie Fest, he simply replied, “Believe the Hype.”
Nearly six weeks after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was gunned down and murdered in Sanford, Fla., George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman who admitted to killing the unarmed youth, was arrested. Zimmerman was charged by a special prosecutor last night with second-degree murder. Martin’s family praised the arrest but, according to The New York Times, called it long overdue.
The arrest followed weeks of activism and protests throughout the country with critics noting the shooting’s undeniable racial elements. Martin was black, Zimmerman is Hispanic. Zimmerman claimed that, under Florida’s expansive self-defense laws, he was acting in self defense and within his rights when Martin was shot and killed. If he is convicted of second-degree murder, Zimmerman, 28, could face life in prison.
Days before Zimmerman’s arrest, students at North Carolina A&T State University, a historically black institution widely known for its civil rights activism, expressed their support of Martin’s family and showed solidarity in their quest for justice.
Photo Editor: Nife Paina
Paula Williams Madison Talks Straight to Short Course Journalists
By Sylvia Obell
JOMC Journal Reporter
Paula Madison, CEO of Madison Media Management who is the former (and first) diversity officer for NBC Universal, didn’t become a journalist for the money.
Rather, she entered journalism more than three decades ago because there were too many stories going untold in the black community, particularly in her native Harlem.
During the NABJ’s 20th anniversary dinner and gala on March 24 at N.C. A&T State University, Madison, a cofounder of the four-day event that brings dozens of student journalists to N.C.A&T for broadcast training, described how she, as a teenager, narrowly missed being killed when law enforcement unleashed bullets in a Harlem Temple, just blocks from her home in Harlem.
She arrived home, expecting to see the event on the evening news or in the newspaper. The story never aired or ran, she told the audience of students, professional journalists and journalism faculty.
It was then that Madison, a child of welfare who started reading newspapers at age 3, decided to become a journalist. The decision proved positive, allowing the Vassar graduate to work in several broadcast news positions over several decades, including president and general manager of KNBC. In that position, Madison was the first African-American woman appointed general manager of a network-owned station in a top 5 market.
Madison, along with former NABJ President Sidmel Estes Sumpter and Buryl Sumpter, is also one of the people responsible for bringing the short course to A&T, where it is hosted by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication.
During her speech, Madison shared several anecdotes, ranging from the siege in Harlem to being racially profiled, despite being a multimillionaire.
Madison also shared a few jewels of wisdom with the crowd. She encouraged students to spend their money wisely
“Be able to pay of your mortgage, that’s sexy,” she said.
She advised the students to have multiple incomes so that they don’t have to depend on one person/company for financial survival.
“Want to fire me? Fine. I won’t go homeless, the house is already paid for,” is a refrain that stayed with Madison through each career move.
Madison had the audience spellbound as she continued to divulge her secrets about investing, owning businesses, and not being afraid to start over if need be. “I’m not above any job,” she said. “I will work at McDonald’s tomorrow and time how long it will take for me to own it.”
She concluded by demanding excellence from the next generation of journalists.
“I implore you to be committed journalists. If you want to be mediocre you can take that somewhere else,” she said. “We want excellence in NABJ, and we want it on behalf of black people.”
The crowd gave Madison a standing ovation.
Following Madison’s remarks, three dozen student participants who produced broadcast and multimedia news events over four days received awards. Prior to the gala, many students provided testimonials about their experiences, noting that the bar had been raised and they would take what they’d learned by to their classrooms and professors to demand more and expect more. Such thinking has paid off, as many short course alumni have landed lucrative employment in journalism broadcast industries throughout the country.
Activities and Event On the Yard and Around Town
Compiled By Shawn Jackson
JOMC Journal Producer
North Carolina A&T State University
- On Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 7pm, The International Civil Rights Center and Museum will host “The Annual Gibbs Lecture,” in commemoration of the birthday of NC A&T State University’s Fourth President, Warmouth T. Gibbs. The lecture will be presented by NC A&T Department of History Major, Collis Crews, who also participated in the reenactment of the Freedom Riders. For more info on attending, call (336)-274-9199.
- Craig Cotton, a 1980 graduate of N.C. A&T, will be the keynote speaker for the Richard E. Moore lecture 0n April 11. Cotton is in his 10th year as associate athletics director for external operations at Norfolk State University. He is also in his sixth year as executive director of the NSU Athletics Foundation. Cotton joined the NSU athletics staff after serving as marketing manager at Howard University. The lecture will take place at 5 pm on April 11 in Room 215 Crosby Hall.
- A debate, “Hazing and Bullying” will take place April 20 from 9 a.m.-12 noon in Harrison Auditorium at N.C.A&T State University. The event is free and open to the public. Contact Dr. Vanessa G. Cunningham-Engram, associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication. email@example.com
- On April 25 India Arie will be performing a concert here on A&T’s campus in Harrison Auditorium. Entrance is free with an Aggie One Card for faculty, staff, and students. General Admission for the public is $5. For ticket information, call (336)-334-7852.
“The First Lady will travel to North Carolina to speak at North Carolina A&T, part of the rich legacy of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that have been instrumental in educating generations of African Americans,” a White House spokesperson said in the release.
He continued: “The President and First Lady both have recognized the important contributions of HBCUs across the country and have delivered commencement addresses to highlight their successes.”
“We are honored and delighted that First Lady Michelle Obama will be joining us as the speaker for our spring commencement ceremonies,” said Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr., N.C. A&T Chancellor. “This will be a historic occasion that the graduates and their guests will not soon forget.”
More than 1,000 students are set to graduate from N.C. A&T this year.
- At 8 pm on March 28, The Piedmont Blues Preservation Society will be holding an artist announcement party for the 26th Annual Carolina Blues Festival. There will be live music, a wine tasting, and much more. Admission is free and the event will be taking place at The Summit Station Eatery. 125 Summit Ave Greensboro, NC 27401. For more information, call (336)-580-2341.
- On April 6 Tyler Barham will be singing live at the Green Bean, which is located in downtown Greensboro. If you live in the area, swing by and listen to some of great music by Tyler and other talented artists. Admission is a $3-5 donation. Call (336)-691-9990 for more info.
Program hopes to STEM minority interest in the sciences
By Lauren Everett
Solomon Bililign, a physics professor at North Carolina A&T State University, has seen black males suddenly disappear from his classes more than once.
“We lose students in basic classes such as Physics I because they don’t see real-life application,” Bililign said. “Students go into these STEM majors blind sighted, not knowing that they don’t just have to be a rocket scientists or perhaps get a job designing building structures.”
Such situations must change, Bililign told a group of science, technology, engineering and educators who recently attended a STEM conference at A&T. The 2012 Urban Education Institute, “African-American Males in the STEM Professions: Strategies, Practices, Exemplars,” took place March 23-24 at NCA&T, which is among the top producers of minority engineering majors in the country
“They are completely unaware of forensic, environmental or even teaching opportunities that their degrees could lead to,” Bililign suggested during a luncheon that focused on how to mentor ethnic minority males in STEM disciplines.
However, John Slaughter, a professor at the University of Southern California, believes that the reason for the decline in students graduating with STEM degrees is because young minorities are afraid of a “little hard work. “
“Opportunities may often get overlooked because they come disguised as hard work,” Slaughter explained.
Bililign added to this “fear of hard work” philosophy by saying that it is the mentor’s job to motivate students to stick with STEM majors in that the rewards are far greater than the effort and time it takes to make them happen.
“We all got where we are because someone touched us…students can be pushed as far as you can push them; just nurture them as a parent would so that the push doesn’t feel like a shove,” he said.
The educators added that the best way to reach a failing student is to let them know that you, as a teacher, are human and that you’ve had your failures in life as well. Let them know how you were able to overcome your failures through perseverance and hard work.
Jaalil Hart, an A&T student majoring in education, attended the STEM program. The event was rewarding because it will help him better prepare for his future, Hart said.
Hart’s counterpart, Brandon Morrison, a biology education major at A&T, said the event made him more aware of the dearth of black males in the broad range of STEM professions. Morrison said such knowledge will provide black males more educational rather than recreational outlets that can lead to more viable futures.
By Lauren Everett
JOMC Journal Reporter
Tired of working two or three jobs, but barely making enough money get by, Almena Mayes, a mother of three, returned to college to obtain her associate’s degree in communications from N.C A&T in 2001. After working as a mortgage broker for seven years, Mayes then was hired as a science teacher and counselor at Imani Institute Charter Middle School. She became unemployed when the school closed.
Mayes later found work as a substitute teacher for Western Guilford High School where she was also the cheerleading coach.The job enabled her to return to school and get her bachelor’s degree in English from Guilford College in 2010.
In 2011, she was hired by Warren County High School to teach English. She also resumed her role as the cheerleading coach. Although she enjoys the pace of teaching in a small town, and particularly enjoys the serenity of her backyard that seems as if it were “touched by God,” Mayes remains uncertain about her future in today’s uncertain economic times.