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TSU Moves to Archive 500 Linear Feet of Civil Rights Icon Avon Williams’ Papers

Administrators from Tennessee State University accept a check from Tre Hargett (second from left) Tennessee Secretary of State to help with archiving materials in the special collections at the Brown-Daniel Library. The SNAP grant is seed money to help preserve the papers of civil rights leader Avon Williams. Accepting the grant are (L-R) Fletcher Moon, associate professor and head Reference Librarian; Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs; Dr. Alisha Mosley, associate Vice President for Academic Affairs; and Dr. Murle Kenerson, interim Dean of Libraries. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
Administrators from Tennessee State University accept a check from Tre Hargett (second from left) Tennessee Secretary of State to help with archiving materials in the special collections at the Brown-Daniel Library. The SNAP grant is seed money to help preserve the papers of civil rights leader Avon Williams. Accepting the grant are (L-R) Fletcher Moon, associate professor and head Reference Librarian; Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs; Dr. Alisha Mosley, associate Vice President for Academic Affairs; and Dr. Murle Kenerson, interim Dean of Libraries. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s effort to archive the work of renowned lawyer and civil rights icon, Avon N. Williams Jr., received direct support from the state today.

Accompanied by his staff, Tennessee’s Secretary of State Tre Hargett, stopped by the Brown-Daniel Library on the TSU main campus and presented what he called “seed money” for the preservation effort.

The money, a $2,500 check, was presented to Dr. Murle E. Kenerson, associate professor and interim dean of Libraries and Media Centers, during a ceremony in the Special Collections section. Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs, Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young; and Dr. Alisa Mosley, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, were present for the presentation.

“What we are doing today recognizes what Sen. Avon Williams meant to this state and Tennessee State University,” said Hargett. “We want to preserve his work for not only students but people from all over who can read about his work and contribution to our nation and this world.”

Kenerson thanked the Secretary of State for the check, calling it a big help in “our effort” to identifying funding sources to carry out the work involved.

“We particularly appreciate you taking time off your busy schedule to honor us with not only this money but your presence,” Kenerson said.

He disclosed that the library was in possession of more than 500 linear feet of the late civil rights leader’s papers and collections.

“This library is archiving his papers to make sure his work remains in living form for not only our students but for generations to come,” he added.

Known for his role in the nonviolent movement, fighting against discrimination in the military, in public housing, and for school desegregation, Williams has a special tie to TSU. He represented the plaintiffs in the Grier v. Blanton case, which resulted in the merger of historically black TSU with the University of Tennessee in Nashville.

The downtown TSU campus bears his name as a mark of respect and appreciation.

In a long vocational trajectory spanning several decades, the late Tennessee state senator built up a resume that included a foreign diploma, banker, writer, and chief legal officer of the U.S. Army, a presidential appointment with oversight responsibility of all legal policy and direction of nearly 2,400 military and civilian lawyers.

Dr. Kenerson disclosed that in addition to the state funding delivered by the Secretary of State, which was the result of a grant application, the library was waiting for the outcome of another grant application to the Council on Library Information Resources.

“We have received notice that our application for $250,000 has moved up to the final stage for review,” he added.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 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, 22 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.

TSU Music Student’s Career Sets Sail on Smooth Jazz Cruise

Graduate student Jazmin Ghent wins “Opening Act Competition” and opens for Sirius/XM Hall of Fame concert    

 

Jazmin Ghent
Jazmin Ghent (courtesy photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The musical ship for one Tennessee State University student has set sail and is on course to take her to destinations unknown where she will have the opportunity to be a positive role model for young musicians and help define jazz music for years to come.

Jazmin Ghent, a graduate student studying music education at the University, was recently the winner of the Smooth Jazz Cruise 2014 “Opening Act Competition,” beating out 22 other contestants for the right to perform on the final night of the cruise in front of a packed house, and to interact with some of her musical idols, including jazz icons Brian Culbertson, Boney James and David Sanborn.

“The experience was life changing,” said the Huntsville, Ala., native. “I was able to interact and speak with many artists who I grew up listening to and admire.  I had a lesson with Kirk Whalum, and personally interacted with Peter White, Keiko Matsui, Marcus Miller, Candy Dulfer and Mindi Abair to name a few. It is something I will never forget.”

Born in Heidleberg, Germany and raised in Huntsville, Ghent grew up around music and began taking piano lessons at the age of 5. She became the Sunday school pianist at only 8 years old and often practiced with the adult musicians and church choir members. After being introduced to the saxophone in middle school, she progressed to becoming the church pianist and saxophonist. “Once I was in high school, I discovered my passion for performing and teaching,” she said. “I also began playing professionally in the Huntsville area.”

After high school and a long list of awards including the NAACP’s ACT-SO award, she received a full scholarship to Florida State University where she majored in instrumental music education and jazz studies. After graduation, Ghent’s parents gave her the cruise on the high seas as a gift that would send her competing against other musicians vying for the top spot in an “American Idol” type competition.

“My parents had been on this cruise before and told me about the competition,” Ghent said. “I’ve always loved jazz from a very young age and thought this was a great opportunity.”

Once onboard the “Greatest Party at Sea,” Ghent had to initially compete against 22 other contestants who played everything from saxophone, piano, drums, and trumpet, as well as vocalists. She concedes that it was a bit nerve-racking the first round since the audience was voting on the 12 that would move forward, but even worse during the second round.

“Not only was the audience voting in the second round, but also jazz greats Brian Culbertson, Boney James and Marcus Miller,” she added. “My stress level was extremely high during that round because now I was playing for the very icons I had grown up listening to. The nice thing was that everyone was very supportive and encouraging.”

Ghent won the competition and the right to play the final night for the Sirius/XM Jazz Hall of Fame concert in front of more than 1,900 fans. Nervous, she spoke with Culbertson who told her to have fun and enjoy herself.

“After his encouraging words, I felt more comfortable playing and the nervousness turned into pure excitement,” she said.

After being introduced by both Culbertson and James, she belted our her rendition of “Summertime” composed by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. Receiving a standing ovation, James commented that he predicts Ghent has a big future in the music business. He should know since he has four gold albums, four GRAMMY nominations, two NAACP Image Award nominations, and a Soul Train Music Award to his name, and sales totaling more than three million records.

“Wasn’t that awesome,” James told the audience. “That was very soulful. It is heartwarming to see a young person like that to get up here and play with such passion.”

Culbertson agreed with James, uttering a resounding, “Wow!”

“Jazz is not going away,” he commented. “Seeing people play like that…she is keeping it alive and that is a beautiful thing.”

Dr. Robert Elliott, head of the Music Department, agrees with both, and said that TSU has a history of producing jazz greats.

“Jazz, America’s art form, has been an important part of TSU since President Walter Davis recruited students to form the TSU Collegians,” said Elliott. “That group produced great jazz musicians such as Jimmy Blanton, who became Duke Ellington’s bass player, Hank Crawford, the music director for Ray Charles, and many others who went on to influence America’s music. Jazmin continues the record of excellence in performance that has come to be expected of TSU music students and we couldn’t be more proud of her.”

Now that the competition is over, Ghent plans to focus on completing her master’s degree at TSU, as well as continue to compose, record and perform new material.

“I would like to perform and teach on a collegiate level,” added Ghent. “I am very passionate about the future of music and the future of Jazz. I want to make sure I am a positive role model for young musicians.”

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 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, 22 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.

TSU Alum Wins Golf Championship at Nevada ParaLong Drive Nationals

Chris Osborne, Tennessee State University graduate and former Tiger track standout, recently won first place and the championship in the Above the Knee division of the Paralong Drive Nationals in Mesquite, Nev., hitting a history making 332 yard long drive. Osborne lost his left leg in a 2004 hit-and-run motorcycle accident. (courtesy photos)
Chris Osborne, Tennessee State University graduate and former Tiger track standout, recently won first place and the championship in the Above the Knee division of the Paralong Drive Nationals in Mesquite, Nev., hitting a history making 332 yard long drive. Osborne lost his left leg in a 2004 hit-and-run motorcycle accident. (courtesy photos)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Chris Osborne is not letting anything hold him back…especially not a missing limb.

The Tennessee State University graduate and former Tiger track standout, who lost his left leg in a 2004 hit-and-run motorcycle accident, is a golf national champion.

At the recent ParaLong Drive Nationals in Mesquite, Nev., the Morristown, Tenn., native hit a history-making 332-yard to take first place and the championship in the Above the Knee Division.

“This really came as a big surprise,” said Osborne, adding that his goal was to beat his personal career best of 326 yards. “When the announcer said I had hit 332 yards I was just elated.”

Friend and fellow competitor Dean Jarvis was equally elated and proud.

“Chris put on an amazing performance,” said Jarvis, founder of the Amputee Long Drive Championship. “I appreciate his performance more than anyone else because the Above the Knee Division had not achieved at its highest level until he blasted a 332-yard rocket.“

Warm Up
Chris Osborne tees-off during the long drive competition during the ParaLong Drive Nationals in Mesquite, Nev. Osborne had 2 minutes, 45 seconds to hit six golf balls during each of the three qualifying rounds. He won the Above the Knee Division with a history-making long drive of 332 yards.

Osborne, who describes himself as a “self-taught golfer,” said his victory at the ParaLong Drive was his first win in six tournaments since 2010.

“My game is improving and I am very pleased with how I hit my long ball,” said Osborne.

A resident of Birmingham, Ala., Osborne is a 1995 graduate of TSU, and former president of the Birmingham chapter of the TSU National Alumni Association. As a track star at TSU, Osborne ran the Open 400 indoor/outdoor, the 400 huddles indoor and 55 high hurdle indoor. He also was an honor student and a scholarship athlete, who was awarded the Scholastic Achievement Award for GPA.

His tie to TSU goes deeper than his personal academic and athletics achievements at the institution. His parents, Willie Osborne (’54) and Claire Osborne (’53), are graduates of TSU.

The former news broadcaster, and now PR Director for the Alabama Red Cross, said he hopes to use his talents to help promote amputee golf and “the amazing players who have overcome great obstacles to enjoy the game.”

“Chris is not just a player. He is also an outstanding person and an ambassador for the game of golf and Long Drive,” said Jarvis, about his longtime friend.

At the recent screening in Birmingham of ‘From the Rough,’ a movie inspired by the life of Dr. Catana Starks, who became the first African-American woman to coach an all-men’s golf team at the collegiate level, Osborne said he was inspired by the effort of the TSU coach.

“About a month later I was fortunate to meet Coach Starks in person for the first time, and we had a wonderful conversation,” Osborne said. “I am so inspired by her story, and meeting her was quite a humbling experience for me.”

 

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 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, 22 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.