All posts by Lucas Johnson

TSU professor, students unveil historical marker recognizing victims of Nashville’s slave market

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A historical marker that recognizes victims of the second largest slave port in Tennessee was unveiled downtown Friday thanks to the efforts of a Tennessee State University professor and his students.

Dr. Learotha Williams next to marker. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations).

The marker is located at the corner of 4th Avenue North and Charlotte Avenue.

Preceding the Civil War, the space, which stretched to the city’s Public Square, was the center of slave trade in Nashville.

TSU President Glenda Glover joined state and local officials, historians and members of the community at the unveiling ceremony.

“We gather to honor the memory of hundreds of slaves who helped to build this city and state, laying the foundation for what we have become, one of the nation’s fastest growing metropolitan areas,” said Glover.

Dr. Learotha Williams, an associate professor of history at TSU who spearheaded the erection of the marker, echoed her sentiment when he talked about the slaves and what they endured.

“We acknowledge your pain, we recognize your strength, and we honor your sacrifice,” said Williams.

He said the idea for the marker stemmed from a discussion in one of his classes about the history of Nashville’s slave market, and the trauma inflicted upon countless men, women and children when they were torn from their loved ones.

Williams said his students wanted to know why there wasn’t some type of memorial for the slaves. One student suggested to Williams: “Why don’t you write up a proposal; you can be the one to get it done.”

And so he did, with the help of his students and members of the community. The Tennessee Historical Commission approved the marker in June.

A cross section of city and state officials and residents join TSU President Glenda Glover (8th from left), and TSU history Professor Dr. Learotha Williams (5th from left) for the unveiling of a historic marker honoring the memory of victims of the slave trade. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Patrick McIntyre, executive director and state historic preservation officer for the Tennessee Historical Commission, attended Friday’s ceremony.

“This is the most significant marker to be erected during my years as director,” he said. “It’s a very serious and painful reminder of an everyday fact of life that existed in Nashville.”

The slave traders that lined the thoroughfare provided prospective buyers reliable access to enslaved blacks whom they bought, sold, or traded for their own use or resale in other areas of the Deep South.

“Nashville was the second largest slave port in the state,” said Williams. “So, if you’re looking at a black person from here that has roots in Tennessee, chances are their ancestors came in through that space.”

TSU history student Meshach Adams said the marker unveiling was a proud moment.

“It means a lot, having this recognition of what happened here, especially in remembrance of our ancestors,” said Adams, who is a senior in one of Williams’s classes. “It’s a beautiful moment.”

TSU senior Shayldeon Brownlee, who is also a student of Williams, said the marker will hopefully cause future generations to reflect on what happened there.

“Some people want to forget, especially in this day and age,” said Brownlee. “But it shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s a part of history, it’s a part of us.”

Chakita Patterson is the founder of United Street Tours, which provides African-American history and cultural walking tours in downtown Nashville. She plans to make the marker part of her tour.

“This is so important because a lot of the missing history and the hidden history in Nashville is now being uncovered,” said Patterson. “A lot of people don’t know how significant black history, and black culture is here.”

Dr. Bobby Lovett is a national historian and former TSU history professor. He said African-Americans arrived at Fort Nashborough (a forerunner to the settlement that would become the city of Nashville) in December 1779 with the first European American settlers. Enslaved and free blacks comprised about 26 percent of Nashville’s population by 1860. The sale of slaves ended once the Union occupied Nashville in 1862.

“A historical marker is appropriate for this sacred part of Nashville’s history, which reminds us that lessons of our past can help with understandings of the present, and guide us toward making better decisions in the future,” said Lovett.

To learn about Dr. Learotha Williams’s other endeavors, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/nnhp/index.aspx

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU history professor, students get historical marker erected to remember victims of Nashville’s slave market

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A historical marker that remembers the victims of Nashville’s slave market has been erected downtown due to the efforts of a Tennessee State University professor and his students.

Dr. Learotha Williams

The marker will be unveiled at 12 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, at the corner of 4th Avenue North and Charlotte Avenue.

Preceding the Civil War, the space, which stretches to the city’s Public Square, was the center of slave trade in Nashville. The slave traders that lined the thoroughfare provided prospective buyers reliable access to enslaved blacks whom they bought, sold, or traded for their own use or resale in other areas of the Deep South.

“Nashville was the second largest slave port in the state,” says Dr. Learotha Williams, an associate professor of history at TSU who spearheaded the erection of the marker. “So, if you’re looking at a black person from here that has roots in Tennessee, chances are their ancestors came in through that space.”

Dr. Bobby Lovett is a national historian and former TSU history professor. He says African-Americans arrived at Fort Nashborough (a forerunner to the settlement that would become the city of Nashville) in December 1779 with the first European American settlers. Enslaved and free blacks comprised about 26 percent of Nashville’s population by 1860. The sale of slaves ended once the Union occupied Nashville in 1862.

“A historical marker is appropriate for this sacred part of Nashville’s history, which reminds us that lessons of our past can help with understandings of the present, and guide us toward making better decisions in the future,” says Lovett.

Williams says the idea for the marker stemmed from a discussion in one of his classes about the history of Nashville’s slave market, and the trauma inflicted upon countless of men, women and children when they were torn from their loved ones.

Williams says one of his students asked, “Dr. Williams, why don’t we have a marker or something down there for these people?” He says he honestly didn’t know why. Then the student said: “Why don’t you write up a proposal; you can be the one to get it done.”

And so he did, with the help of some of his students. The Tennessee Historical Commission approved the marker in June.

TSU student Shayldeon Brownlee, a senior in one of Williams’ classes, says the marker will hopefully cause future generations to reflect on what happened there.

“Some people want to forget, especially in this day and age,” says Brownlee. “But it shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s a part of history, it’s a part of us.”

To learn about Dr. Learotha Williams’s other endeavors, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/nnhp/index.aspx

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

 

TSU President, Board Chairman and Administrator among Nashville’s 10 Most Powerful African-Americans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Three individuals that have prominent roles with Tennessee State University have made Music City’s power list for African-Americans. President Glenda Glover, the university’s Board of Trustees chairman, Dr. Joseph Walker III and Metro Councilwoman Tanaka Vercher are among Nashville’s 10 most powerful African-Americans in the recent edition of the Nashville Voice, an online publication.

Dr. Glover ranked No. 4, followed by Walker at No. 7 and Councilwoman Vercher at No. 9, respectively. The individuals named span a number of industries, from local government and banking to faith-based leadership and education. Criteria was based on: capacity, responsibility, singularity, respectability and consistency.

“They have made a career out of using their power and influence for the greater good of the urban community in Nashville,” according to the Nashville Voice.

Dr. Glover, who is also the international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, has led TSU since 2013. Under her leadership as the university’s first female president, student enrollment has continuously ranked among the highest amid the nation’s historically black colleges and universities. TSU has also experienced a significant increase in alumni fundraising, research dollars and academic offerings with her at the helm. Since taking over Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, she orchestrated a successful and historic philanthropic campaign for HBCUs by raising over $1.2 million in 24-hours for the institutions.

In addition to being chairman of TSU’s Board of Trustees, Walker is senior pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, which has three locations in Nashville. He is also presiding bishop of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International. Additionally, he serves on the board of directors for Meharry Medical College and Citizens Savings Bank.

Councilwoman Tanaka Vercher, who is also associate director of financial aid at TSU, chair’s the Metro Council’s Budget and Finance Committee. She is arguably the most powerful person on the Council, overseeing the city’s $2.2 billion budget.

To see the Nashville Voice story, visit http://www.thevoicenashville.com/news-politics/nashvilles-10-most-powerful-african-americans-2018/

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

Ag student receives Justin Smith Morrill Scholarship

By Joan Kite

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Alexius Dingle, an agriculture science major expecting to graduate in May, can rest a little easier after completing all those applications for grad school.

Her application fees are covered through her own efforts and a generous scholarship.

Awarded the prestigious Justin Smith Morrill Scholarship, she now has $2,500 to defray the cost of application fees.

“My ultimate goal is to get a Ph.D. in microbiology,” Dingle said. “I want to spend my career researching how we can use microorganisms to make our lives easier.”

The Justin Smith Morrill Scholarship is presented by the 1890 Land-Grant Universities Foundation to 19 graduating seniors — one at each of the 1890 member universities.

The scholarship was established to commemorate Justin Smith Morrill, a Vermont politician who advocated dedicating public lands to create higher education institutions that taught agriculture and other subjects to all. In 1862, President Abe Lincoln signed the Morrill Land Grant Act, a law that ultimately funded 105 institutions, and later on established colleges dedicated to educating African Americans.

Dingle is emblematic of that vital heritage.

She is a USDA/ 1890 National Scholar, a Tennessee State University Dean’s Scholar, and has been on the President’s List for the past three years.

Sustaining a 4.0 GPA, Dingle has also been able to serve as President of the Alpha Chi Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Freshman/Sophomore Class Representative of the Tennessee State University Honors College. She is a member of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS), the Hip’Notyze Dance Troupe, and the African Student Association.

She has taken first place two years in a row in the TSU Research Symposium for Undergraduate Science.

During the past three summers, she has interned at the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in Riverdale, Maryland, where she assisted in implementing regulations for genetically engineered organisms, and at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, where she sought to quantify mixotrophic behavior in dinoflagellates (algaes) indigenous to the Chesapeake Bay.

Dingle anticipates hearing in late winter or early spring from one of the four graduate schools for which she has applied.

A doctorate is on her goals’ list.

Is teaching at a university in her future?

“I’ve thought about becoming a professor,” she said.

Note: In the featured photo, College of Agriculture Dean Chandra Reddy presents Alexius Dingle with the scholarship check (Photo by Joan Kite).

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tree lighting ceremony a festive event for TSU family, community

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Members of the Tennessee State University family, as well as the community, turned out last Tuesday night for the university’s festive tree lighting ceremony.

TSU President Glenda Glover with Miss TSU Kayla Sampson and Mr. TSU Darian McGhee. (Photo by Ramona Whitworth)

“This tree, this TSU tree, symbolizes light, life, and love,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “We light this tree, and pray for a happy and joyful holiday season.”

Before the tree lighting, TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands provided some holiday spirit, and hot chocolate was available to help attendees stay warm. The cold temperature, however, didn’t seem to keep those in attendance from having a good time.

Patricia Milton, who drove from Hendersonville, Tennessee, with her 9-year-old granddaughter, said she looked forward to the event, which also had a visit from Santa Claus.

(Photo by Ramona Whitworth)

“I think it’s a wonderful thing to do in the neighborhood,” Milton said.

TSU freshman Andrea Davis agreed.

“It’s a way to make the university more engaged with the community,” said Davis, who will travel home to Washington, D.C. next week. “It also makes me look forward to Christmas.”

TSU will continue to spread holiday cheer when it hosts the Toys for Tots event on Dec. 15. The event will be held in Kean Hall on the main campus from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Note: Feature photo taken by Charles Cook (TSU Media Relations).

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU prepared to provide strong candidates for new Amazon operations center

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover says the university is poised to provide strong candidates for Amazon’s new executive operations center.

Dr. Glenda Glover

Amazon announced Tuesday that Nashville will be home to its Operations Center of Excellence, as well as the company’s headquarters for its logistics group. It’s expected to bring an estimated 5,000 jobs to the area.

“Excellence is Our Habit is TSU’s motto for a reason,” says Glover. “The university is prepared to provide a diverse group of very talented and workforce-ready students. In addition to TSU establishing a student employment pipeline of business and tech-savvy employees for Amazon, we have an array of accredited and professional development programs to help their current workers enhance their skills and career path within the company.”

Dr. Achintya Ray, an economics professor at TSU, agrees.

“As the only public university in Nashville, Tennessee State University stands uniquely poised to support these corporate giants, their employees, family members of the employees, and the businesses that support them with highly-skilled human capital, workforce training opportunities, research partnerships and more,” says Ray.

TSU’s executive MBA and continuing education offerings are just a few of the tools the university can readily offer Amazon through the corporate employee education program, adds Glover.

According to Amazon, Nashville will serve as the company’s Retail Operations division. The one million square foot office space will house the tech and management functions of the division, including customer fulfillment, customer service, transportation, and supply chain, amongst others.

Currently, Amazon employs about 2,500 people in the Nashville region across five fulfillment and sortation centers.

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Ag researchers work to make sure turkeys safe to eat

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – As people across the country prepare for Thanksgiving, researchers at Tennessee State University are making sure the turkeys consumers eat are safe.

Dr. Sam Nahashon

The researchers in the university’s College of Agriculture are using probiotics (cultivated beneficial microorganisms) to fight pathogens, including salmonella, which is involved in a current outbreak in turkeys.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the outbreak started in November 2017. As of Nov. 5, this year, 164 people have been infected. The agency reminds people to properly cook and handle turkeys this holiday season.

Dr. Sam Nahashon is professor of poultry science at TSU, and chair of the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He said the current Ag research would reduce or exclude pathogens in the intestinal tract of turkeys or chickens by feeding them the cultivated beneficial microorganisms through feed and/or water.

Dr. Fur-Chi Chen

“It just takes a few harmful microorganisms in our body to cause a disease,” said Nahashon. “Our goal is to reduce salmonella and campylobacter in poultry.”

Added research professor Dr. Fur-Chi Chen: “The whole idea is using the beneficial bacteria to feed into the poultry, and during the production, they can prevent the salmonella.”

The CDC recommends handling raw turkey carefully, including washing hands before and after preparing or eating turkey. Cooking raw turkey thoroughly (to an internal temperature of 165°F, measured by placing a thermometer in the thickest part of the bird) will help prevent food poisoning.

TSU Ag professor Elyse Shearer said frozen turkeys should also be fully defrosted, preferably in the refrigerator over several days, and they should not be washed to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Dr. Elyse Shearer

“Also, make sure that no utensils or supplies that came in contact with the raw turkey touch other food items to prevent cross-contamination of harmful pathogens,” said Dr. Shearer, who works in the College of Ag’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.

TSU’s College of Agriculture has received millions of dollars from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to research poultry and promote food safety.

To learn more about the College of Agriculture’s food safety research, visit

http://www.fightbac.org/food-safety-education/dont-wing-it/.

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Choir part of uplifting performance with Carrie Underwood at CMA Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Members of the Tennessee State University Choir joined a Nashville ensemble in an uplifting performance with megastar Carrie Underwood at the 52nd Country Music Association Awards Wednesday night.

Submitted photo.

The choir members and Portara Ensemble sang with Underwood on her timely hit song, “Love Wins,” during the show at Bridgestone Arena.

“It is an absolute honor to sing with an artist the caliber of Carrie Underwood on national television and it was really meaningful for us to sing a song with a text that encourages unity, in this time of incredible division and strife,” said Dr. Susan Kelly, TSU’s choral director.

It was the TSU Choir’s second performance at the CMAs. The group performed on the awards show last year, and students said before last night’s performance that they were excited the university was getting another opportunity.

“I’m really excited,” said choir member Destiny Pennington, a freshman from Detroit. “It’s something that I’ve never done before and have always wanted to do.”

Junior DeMicheal Martin agreed.

“It’s exciting, and it’s also an opportunity to showcase our great university,” said Martin, of Memphis.

Kelly said the opportunity to sing at the CMAs again is a testimony to the hard work of the students and the success they’re having.

“The choir program has grown so much over the past three years and I am delighted that they are beginning to get opportunities and recognition in the Nashville community,” she said.

Dr. Robert Elliott, chair of TSU’s Department of Music, shared similar sentiment.

“The CMAs are a hallmark of excellence in Nashville; so is TSU,” he said. “Dr. Kelly and her students once more do all of us at TSU proud.”

The choir’s performance will be TSU’s second encounter with country music stardom this year. In August, the university’s famed Aristocrat of Bands performed with superstar Keith Urban at Bridgestone Arena during his tour stop in Nashville. The band was featured as a part of Urban’s closing hit song, “Wasted Time.”

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Choir to grace the CMA Awards once again

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Members of the Tennessee State University Choir will once again be performing at the Country Music Association Awards Wednesday night.

The choir performed at the 51st CMA Awards last year, and students and faculty say they are looking forward to doing it again at the show scheduled for 7 p.m. at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

“I’m really excited,” said choir member Destiny Pennington, a freshman from Detroit. “It’s something that I’ve never done before and have always wanted to do.”

Junior DeMicheal Martin agreed.

“It’s exciting, and it’s also an opportunity to showcase our great university,” said Martin, of Memphis.

Last year, the choral students appeared as backup singers to some of the biggest names in country music, including Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Keith Urban, Garth Brooks and Reba McEntire. The students were invited along with the Portara Ensemble, to kick off the awards show, which was broadcast live on national television from the Music City Center.

Dr. Susan Kelly, the choir’s director, said the opportunity to sing at the CMAs again is a testimony to the hard work of the students and the success they’re having.

“The choir program has grown so much over the past three years and I am delighted that they are beginning to get opportunities and recognition in the Nashville community,” Kelly said.

Dr. Robert Elliott, chair of TSU’s Department of Music, shared similar sentiment.

“The CMAs are a hallmark of excellence in Nashville; so is TSU,” he said. “Dr. Kelly and her students once more do all of us at TSU proud.”

The choir’s performance will be TSU’s second encounter with country music stardom this year. In August, the university’s famed Aristocrat of Bands performed with megastar Keith Urban at Bridgestone Arena during his tour stop in Nashville. The band was featured as a part of Urban’s closing hit song, “Wasted Time.”

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

TSU honors its Veterans and Tuskegee Airmen alumni

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University recognized members of the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as two Tuskegee Airmen alumni, at a special Veterans Day program on Monday.

TSU President Glenda Glover speaks at Veterans Day program. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Mr. Wade Thomas graduated from then-Tennessee Agricultural & Industrial State College in 1949 and Lt. Joseph White graduated from the institution in 1954. Both men were members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American military aviators in the United States Armed Forces during World War II.

Before the men were posthumously honored, TSU President Glenda Glover greeted those in attendance, and recognized all veterans.

“On this Veterans Day, we recognize the men and women of our Armed Forces for the courage and dedication it takes to maintain our freedom and democracy,” she said. “They are the true heroes, including those who are here with us today.”

In the early forties, Thomas enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and served with the Tuskegee Airmen during WWII. He later attended Tennessee A&I and graduated with a bachelor’s in business administration, with distinction. He went on to become one of the first minority accountants in the state of Tennessee, and later became a certified public accountant.

White joined the Tuskegee cadet program in 1943, becoming one of the famed “Red Tail” fighter pilots. During his service, he flew missions in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany. He later enrolled at Tennessee A&I. He graduated with a bachelor’s in physics, and went on to receive two master’s degrees in science education and administration, as well as a doctorate in physics. He later served as a physicist and teacher, establishing an electronics program at Pearl High School in Nashville.

Dr. Katie Kinnard White stands next to portrait of her late husband, Lt. Joseph White, and the artist, TSU graduate Brandon Van Leer. (Submitted photo)

White’s widow, Dr. Katie Kinnard White, attended Monday’s program with White’s nephew, Thomas Kinnard. She said after the event that her late husband would have been 97 this year.

“I am very pleased that he is being honored,” said Dr. White, who met her husband at Tennessee State, where she taught for 35 years. “I always appreciated the fact that he was a Tuskegee Airman. He was very proud of that fact.”

Three members of Wade’s family attended the program.

“This is a very exciting moment,” said son George Thomas, who attended with brothers, Axel and Karl, and sister, Korda. “He accomplished things that opened the door for a lot of blacks. It’s great to be able to celebrate him.”

Dr. Ivan Mosley, chair of the Department of Aeronautical and Industrial Technology in TSU’s College of Engineering, was the program’s keynote speaker. He said Tuskegee Airmen, like Thomas and White, were able to become successful because someone took a “keen interest” in their abilities.

“When we take a keen interest in someone, it makes a difference,” Mosley said.

Program keynote speaker Dr. Ivan Mosley, chair of TSU’s Department of Aeronautical and Industrial Technology. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

TSU senior Elijah McNutt performed a dramatic reading during the program. He said he enjoyed honoring the two Tuskegee Airmen, and all veterans.

“It’s really a great opportunity to show appreciation, to let them know we haven’t forgotten them,” McNutt said.

In August, TSU, a certified “Vets Campus,” announced it is implementing a new program that will allow veterans to count military training for credit hours when they enroll at the institution. The program is part of the State of Tennessee’s Veteran Reconnect Initiative.

As part of its Veterans Day activities, TSU hosted a performance by the world-renowned USAF Band of Mid-America’s Shades of Blue Jazz Ensemble in Kean Hall Monday evening. The concert was free and open to the public.

Fore more information about veteran services call 615-963-7001, or visit http://www.tnstate.edu/records/veteran/.

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.