Tag Archives: Brian Russell

TSU political analysts predict Kamala Harris selection will further galvanize young voters, spark interest in HBCUs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris to be his running mate will not only further energize young voters, but also renew interest in historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

TSU President Glenda Glover

That’s what political analysts at Tennessee State University have to say after Biden made the announcement this week. If he wins in November, Harris would become the nation’s first female vice president, first black vice president and first black female vice president. 

Geraldine Ferraro was the first female vice-presidential candidate on a major party ticket, in 1984. In 2008, Alaska’s then-governor Sarah Palin was Republican John McCain’s running mate.

TSU President Glenda Glover said Biden’s announcement was a great moment for our country, African-Americans, and for women.

“Senator Harris’ selection is a full circle moment for HBCUs and African-American Greek organizations that worked tirelessly to give the black community a voice from the turn of the century, through Jim Crow and the civil rights movement, to present day,” President Glover said.

“As the president of Tennessee State University, a premiere HBCU, and as International President of AKA, in which Sen. Harris is a member, I am doubly proud of this selection. I also commend Vice President Joe Biden for his insight to bring someone of Sen. Harris’ stature to the ticket. She is intelligent, experienced, charismatic and above all qualified for the job.” 

Glover added, “African-American women have been the backbone of this country, and now an African-American woman has the opportunity to ascend to the second highest office in the nation; with the opportunity to create policies that will impact us for generations to come.” 

Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis, a Women’s Studies faculty member and dean of the College of Liberal Arts at TSU, said Harris is “historic on several levels.”

Morgan-Curtis said Harris’ selection is a continuation of the “wave of activism” during the 2018 midterm elections in which there were historic firsts for women of color. To name a few, Democrats Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib became the first Muslim women elected to Congress, and Democrats Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids became the first Native American women elected to Congress.

Junior Tiara Thomas

TSU junior Tiara Thomas said it is inspiring to see someone who looks like her get a step closer to being the second most powerful person in the United States. 

“I think what Kamala Harris is doing for black women is what (former President) Barack Obama did for black men in America,” said Thomas, a political science major from Olive Branch, Mississippi, and the creator of TSU Votes, a social medial platform. “It gives us another crack in the glass ceiling.”

In 1972, Shirley Chisholm became the first Black American and the first woman to seek the Democratic presidential nomination. Now, said Thomas, Harris is standing on her shoulders.

“it’s cool to see history kind of reinvent itself,” said Thomas. “To see a black woman actually be put on the (presidential) ballot, it’s amazing.”

In the four hours after Biden announced Harris as his running mate, ActBlue, the Democrats’ main fundraising platform, reported more than $10.8 million in donations. TSU political analysts predict Harris will have a similar effect on voters.

They say her selection will not only galvanize female voters, but all voters, particularly young ones, disgruntled over continued social injustice, like the deaths of George Floyd and other black men and women due to police brutality.

“I’m always impressed with how worked up our students can get, and how they focus that on things,” said Erik Schmeller, a history professor and director of the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at TSU.

“National organizations are also pushing the message, that this is your opportunity to get engaged and make a difference.”

TSU Political Science Professor Brian Russell predicts Harris, an alumna of Howard University and a member of the prominent black sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., will cause more young people to consider attending HBCUs, especially if Biden is elected president.

“It’s going to energize a lot of younger African-American students to look in the HBCU direction,” said Russell. “That’s going to be exciting.”

To learn more about the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/servicelearning/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Political experts discuss impact of Hillary Clinton’s historic presidential run

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Hillary Clinton’s nomination to become the first female president of the United States is inspiring women to shatter whatever “glass ceilings” they face, political experts say.

Clinton became the first woman nominated for president by a major political party during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July. The former U.S. senator and secretary of state formally accepted the Democratic nomination when she addressed the convention on Thursday, July 28. Two nights before, she appeared on a large screen, remote from New York, and thanked the delegates for helping her put “the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet.”

During her speech on July 28, Clinton said, “when any barrier falls in America, it clears the way for everyone.”

“After all, when there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit,” she said to a roar of applause.

Samantha Morgan-Curtis, an associate professor of English and Women’s Studies at Tennessee State University, said Clinton’s run for the White House has instilled a fresh belief for women of all ages and walks of life that no goal is out of reach.

“It comes down to something we hear a lot, which is representation matters,” Morgan-Curtis said. “Everybody can tell you all day you can do this, women can do this, but until you see someone do it, it’s hypothetical.”

Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover said she can relate to “breaking glass ceilings” and believes Clinton’s nomination – and possible presidency – will impact generations to come. Dr. Glover is the first female president of TSU.

“Just as President Barack Obama inspired young African-American men and boys that becoming president of the United States isn’t just a dream, Hillary Clinton will do the same with young women and girls,” Glover said. “Secretary Clinton stands on the shoulders of the late visionary Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm of New York and several other women seeking the highest office in the land, President of the United States of America. Her nomination continues to prove to all of us that nothing is impossible.”

More than 200 other women have sought the presidency since 1872, but none have come this far. In 1984, the late Geraldine Ferraro was nominated as vice president on the Walter Mondale ticket. Then in 2008, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin became the first Republican woman nominated for the vice presidency when she was selected by Republican presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Regina Davis, president of the Tennessee chapter of the National Association of Professional Women, said Clinton’s run for the presidency gives women “hope to believe that we can do and achieve anything that we set our minds to do.”

“In most businesses, and corporations, it sometimes can be difficult for women to break through those barriers,” Davis said.

TSU graduate student Janetra Gleaves said Clinton is indeed a “positive influence on young women.”

“She gives me a lot of confidence for our future, my future,” said Gleaves, who is seeking a graduate degree in speech pathology. “I’m more optimistic about … what we are able to do and can do.”

If Clinton wins the presidency, TSU political science professor Brian Russell believes the impact will be global.

“Although there have been and are currently important female leaders on the world stage, the U.S. is the dominant world power,” Russell said. “Having a female leader of the most powerful nation will change perceptions about women all over the world.”

Clinton will face Republican nominee Donald Trump in the general election in November.

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, 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.