Tag Archives: Black History Month

‘Let My People Vote,’ TSU Students Host Forum To Address Voter Suppression

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students in the College of Public Service hosted a forum recently to have a candid discussion about voter suppression.

‘Let My People Vote’ Poster (Submitted Photo)

The forum on Feb. 27 at the university’s Avon Williams Campus included a panel discussion, as well as a screening of “Let My People Vote,” an award-winning short documentary about voter suppression.

Keturah Barnett, a student in the Master of Public Administration Program at the university and cofounder of the Know Your Rights Program, said voter suppression is an issue that affects people from all walks of life.

“Voter suppression doesn’t just affect minorities.  It affects young people, students, ex-offenders and others,” she said. “When you think of voter suppression, a lot of people say that happened years ago in the 1960s during the civil rights movement, but it is still happening today.  And with the midterm elections that took place last year in 2018 in November, we saw a lot of that in state’s like Georgia and Florida.”

Keturah Barnett (Submitted Photo)

Barnett, who has worked at the Nashville Juvenile Public Defenders Office since 2016, said she hoped the event would inspire students to engage in the political process by voting, as well as challenging current laws and holding elected officials accountable.

Dr. Michael Harris, dean of the College of Public Service and a nationally-syndicated columnist, was pleased to see members of the larger Nashville community, as well as TSU students and faculty, at the screening.

“It is imperative that the College of Public Service stand at the forefront of engaging on issues related to voter suppression and access.  The history of and current efforts to suppress voters in African-American communities undermines the democratic processes black institutions, including TSU, have fought to improve and revolutionize for centuries,” Harris said. 

Dr. Anthony Campbell, assistant professor of Public Administration in the College of Public Service and the faculty member who worked with students to organize the event, stressed the importance of grappling with this issue.

Dr. Michael Harris (Submitted Photo)

“This filmmaker has developed a documentary that shows how the black vote has been suppressed in Florida for a long time and leading up to this last election, typically felons but more broadly people of color,” he said.

“Let My People Vote,” directed by Gilda Brasch, follows formerly homeless Desmond Meade, now the State Director for Florida Live Free Campaign, as he canvasses the streets of Tampa, Florida, on the last day of early voting before the 2016 presidential election.  At the time of the filming, Meade, who earned a law degree from Florida International University’s College of Law, could not vote or practice law in Florida because he has a felony.

Gilda Brasch (Submitted Photo)

Brasch’s documentary has won many awards, including the 2018 Best Short Documentary at the BronzeLens Film Festival in Atlanta and the 2018 Audience Award For Best Short Film in the Florida Film Festival.  It was also featured at the Meet The Press Film Festival  with The American Film Institute. She said she created the documentary so viewers could see what voter suppression looks like in the current political climate.

“If people are interested in voting rights, followed the recent midterm elections and saw what happened to Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum, then when they watch ‘Let My People Vote’ they will actually get an opportunity to see real people at the polling places having their votes surpressed,” she said.

Brasch said she was shocked by how quickly she found examples of people being turned around at the polls.

“We just got out of the rental van, and turned the camera on, and we got all those testimonies immediately in the space of probably 45 minutes to an hour.  It’s not like we had to go stand out there for hours.  It’s immediate in these districts,” she said.

Martesha Johnson (Submitted Photo)

Immediately following the screening, students hosted a panel to discuss the issue.  Panel members included: Metropolitan Nashville Public Defender Martesha Johnson, Davidson County Election Commisioner A.J. Starling, Project Return Associate Director Elizabeth Hayes and others.

Barnett  said the goal of the event was to provide a forum for a conversation they believe is timely and necessary.

“Voting is a fundamental right for everybody.  It is something that any American should be able to do without being hassled,” she said.  “Going to the polls should be just as easy as going to the grocery store.”


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.

Activist, philanthropist David Banner urges students ‘to give back’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service)Activist and philanthropist David Banner spoke to students at Tennessee State University Thursday night and urged them to give back to their school and community.

TSU President Glenda Glover talks with David Banner before Thursday night event. (Photo by Charles Cook, TSU Media Relations)

Banner, who is also a rapper, Grammy Award-winning producer and business owner, met with TSU President Glenda Glover before speaking to students in Poag Auditorium as part of a lecture series for Black History Month.

Whether they’re in-state or out-of-state, Banner told the students that they have a responsibility to the university and the community, to help pave the way for others.

“What are you doing for your community?” he asked. “Always try to find a way to give something back.”

A veteran rapper with nearly two decades of experience, Banner has made a name for himself as a successful hip-hop producer. Aside from his own work, he’s put his stamp on songs for T.I., Jill Scott, Chris Brown, Maroon 5, Lil Wayne, Ne-Yo and more. His latest album, “The God Box,” was released in 2017.

Banner has also starred in several movies, including “This Christmas,” “The Butler,” and “Ride Along.”

But these days, the Southern University graduate spends much of his time running his business, a full service music and production agency, and lecturing to students at high schools and colleges across the country.

TSU student Jeremy Miller was at the event Thursday and said Banner inspired him “to give back.”

“I’m the first male in my family to go to college,” said Miller of Columbia, Tennessee. “So, if someone wants to go that route, I want to help them; I want to help them be successful. By helping just one person, that helps the community as a whole.”

To see more events at TSU during Black History Month, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/pr/documents/bhm2019v2.pdf.


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.

Civil Rights Icon Rev. Jesse Jackson Holds ‘Conversation’ at TSU During Tennessee Tour

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Rev. Jesse Jackson, renowned civil rights and social justice crusader, discussed voter registration, education, poverty and the commemoration of Black History Month during a forum at Tennessee State University on Tuesday.

TSU President Glenda Glover organized the forum, dubbed ‘A conversation with Civil Rights Icon Rev. Jesse Jackson.’

President Glenda Glover and the Rev. Jesse Jackson answer questions from the audience during the gathering. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Jackson is making stops and holding discussions in Tennessee as part of efforts leading to the upcoming commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin King Jr.

Jackson, 76, was at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis when King was shot on April 4.

Before coming to Nashville, Jackson made several stops in Memphis, including a “community town hall forum” at Mt. Pisgah CME Church, followed by “special greetings” at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church. He also toured the Collins Chapel Connectional Hospital, a historic center where African Americans could get treatment during the segregation era.

“It is always a treat to have an iconic figure like Rev. Jackson to come to our campus, especially during Black History Month,” Glover said, in welcoming Jackson. “We are just pleased and honored to have him on our campus.”

Asking students, faculty, staff, administrators and visitors in a packed Forum to chant his famous “keep hope alive” line, Jackson said he was concerned about the direction of the nation.

Rev. Jackson, a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, is greeted by members of the organization with President Glover, Miss TSU Kayla Smith, and Associate Vice President and Chief of Staff, Dr. Curtis Johnson. Jackson also received a portrait of himself, done by TSU student Brandon Van Leer. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

“What are you doing today to extend Dr. King’s legacy, as we celebrate Black History Month,” he asked. “Making education more affordable, breaking the poverty level among our people, and providing them more opportunities seem farther away every day.”

He said too few have too much and too many do not have much.

“Dr. King was about lifting African Americans out of poverty, but I am sorry to say that today 44 percent of all African Americans make less than $15 an hour. Black institutions like TSU have been the bedrock of education for blacks,  but most survive on the whims of politics. That is not fair,” Jackson said.

To even the playing field, he said, the ballot box is the answer.

“You must register to vote,” he said, lamenting that four million blacks in the Deep South are not registered to vote. “Another 2.2 million who are registered did not vote in the last election.”

Jackson’s message on voter registration and Dr. King’s legacy seemed to resonate with Wesley Reed-Walton, of Chicago, an English major.

“It is just great to see someone who actually knew Dr. King,” Reed-Walton said. “I’m 22, so the only thing I know about Dr. King is what I’ve learned. So seeing someone that was this close to Dr. King is a humbling experience.”

Bryan Mack, of Washington, D.C., a junior architectural engineering and interior design major, agreed.

“I’m ecstatic,” Mack said. “I think this is good for us because we need to listen to someone who’s seen and been through it, to give us that motivation. Because right now, we’re really in a generation where we’re coasting. That flame needs to be lit underneath us. And I feel like this is the perfect time for that.”

“Every student should be registered to vote,” Jackson urged the students.

He said President Trump is calling for a military parade when 23,000 soldiers are on food stamps.

“That is disgraceful. You can change that by voting,” Jackson said.

Before leaving, Jackson, a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, was honored by members of the Greek organization. One member, Brandon Van Leer, a senior graphic design major from Nashville, presented Jackson with a portrait of himself.

Later, Dr. Glover hosted a reception at her residence for the civil rights leader.

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, 25 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 Glenda Glover says university focused on student success, no longer a ‘school of last resort’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – TSU President Glenda Glover says the university is focused on student success, and is no longer a “school of last resort.”

logoThe president was part of a panel of educators, community and business leaders that spoke at a Black History Month luncheon on Feb. 8 organized by Cable Nashville, a leadership organization for women’s professional advancement.

The theme of the event was “Leadership Vision in Challenging Times.” Besides Glover, the panel featured the presidents of Nashville’s other historically black higher education institutions: Fisk University, Meharry Medical College, and American Baptist College.

Glover said, as an HBCU, Tennessee State has always opened its doors to all students, even those rejected by other institutions. But she said the university has shifted its focus “exclusively” to student success.

“Excellence remains our top priority, but we can’t be the school of last resort,” Glover said.

In October, Glover announced that TSU is raising its admission standards and enhancing student success initiatives to increase retention and graduation rates. Beginning this fall, all students must have a 2.5 GPA and a 19 on the ACT for admission to TSU. The previous admission scores were 2.25 or a 19 on the ACT for in-state students, and a 2.5 or 19 ACT for out-of-state students.

“The day is over when you can call and say, ‘I have a good student with a 1.9 GPA and has promise,’” Glover said. “Well, this may not be the time you want to apply to TSU. We are raising standards because I believe that quality attracts quality.”

Janet Rachel, a member of Cable and a 1977 graduate of TSU, attended the luncheon. She said she fully supports Dr. Glover’s “bold” decision on student success and the spike in admission standards.

“I believe that at the core of helping blacks succeed is not just education but quality education,” said Rachel, who is the talent acquisition manager for diversity relocation and career navigation at Vanderbilt University. “I am really glad about what I am hearing from Dr. Glover. I hope the alumni will step up and become more engaged and more involved.”

The other HBCU presidents on the panel were Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, Meharry Medical College; Dr. Forrest E. Harris, Sr., American Baptist College; and Frank Sims, Fisk University.

Susan Allen Huggins, president and CEO of Cable, said it was important to bring the HBCU presidents together because of the partnership and the important role their institutions play in the community in terms of diversity and molding minds.

“We (Cable) were founded because of our strong understanding of and belief in the importance of diversity and inclusion,” Huggins said. “The Nashville community wouldn’t be what it is without these historically black institutions and the tremendous contributions they are making.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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 Announces Black History Month Events

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University announced today a schedule of events for Black History Month beginning in February. Students, staff, faculty, alumni and members of the public are invited to attend all events.

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TSU 2015 Black History Month Schedule of Events
The University will hold a series of compelling activities to celebrate cultural diversity at TSU and recognize the contributions of African-Americans during the month of February as the nation observes Black History Month. This American history is one all can celebrate as we recognize the achievements and significant roles African-Americans, in collaboration with so many others, have played in shaping the country.

Upcoming program and events include lectures, history and culture conference, panel discussions, and musical and theatrical performances. The University will also hold its annual Day on the Capital Feb. 10, and African-American History and Culture conference Feb. 13. Events are free, unless noted, and open to the public.

For more information, call the Office of Media Relations at 615.963.5331 or communications@tnstate.edu.

 

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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.

African-American History and Culture Conference set for February 13 at TSU

LCAAHClogo2NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Room) – The 34th annual Nashville Conference of African-American History and Culture will take place Friday, Feb. 13, at the Tennessee State University Avon Williams campus.

Co-sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts, and the Metropolitan Historical Commission, the conference will focus on the educational and musical legacies of Nashville’s African-American community. For more than 30 years, the award-winning conference has brought together historians, students, educators, community leaders and others interested in African-American history and culture.

The 2015 conference continues the long-standing tradition of focusing on unsung heroes in Tennessee’s cultural history from slavery through the 20th century. Those highlighted at this year’s conference include John McCline, a former slave at Cloverbottom Plantation in Donelson, who escaped from bondage, worked for the Union Army in the Civil War, and eventually found a new life in the American West. Also highlighted during the daylong conference is journalist, author and educator Samuel Yette, an English graduate from Tennessee State University, who became an influential and sometimes incendiary voice on civil rights, and was the first African- American Washington correspondent for Newsweek.

Along with McCline and Yette, the life and work of King Daniel Ganaway will also be explored. Ganaway, an African-American from a Rutherford County family, was an award-winning photographer, working in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Chicago. His portraits were exhibited during the 1920s and 1930s in Los Angeles, Chicago, and as part of the Harmon Foundation’s traveling exhibit of African-American artists.

This year’s speakers include Belmont University professor and noted author, Dr. Sybril Bennett, who will speak to the lessons of the Underground Railroad and how its innovative network can be adapted for networking in the 21st century, and Tennessee State University historian, Dr. Carroll Van West, who will present “Where giants walked: American Baptist College and Selma’s voting rights movement.”

Building on the conference’s long-standing commitment to honoring the contributions of African Americans to city’s cultural scene, the Nashville Public Library’s Wishing Chair Productions will stage “Anasazi the Spider,” in honor of the rich story-telling traditions of the African-American community.

Conference participants will also have the opportunity to view the winning student video documentaries from the 2014 Tennessee History Day competition. Honored for the best projects in African- American history, middle- and high-school students and their teachers will show their documentaries shorts from the 2014 Nashville Conference Committee competition.

The conference takes place Friday, Feb. 13, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Avon Williams Campus of Tennessee State University. Registration is $20, and includes admission to all speakers and performances, additions to the Profiles of African-Americans in Tennessee series, and other publications. Lunch and parking are also included. To register visit www.nashville.gov/mhc, or call 615.862.7970.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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.