Tag Archives: NAACP

TSU revives NAACP Chapter to tackle funding disparities, empower students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In a significant move to address funding disparities and empower students, Tennessee State University is reactivating its National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter. Trey Cunningham, a senior majoring in health care administration and planning, serves as the Chapter President of the TSU NAACP chapter. Cunningham reflected on the timeliness of the revival.

“Our TSU NAACP Chapter has been reactivated, and this revival has coincided with TSU pursuing $2.1 billion in funding,” he said.

“With this significant piece to the puzzle and our executive committee now confirmed, we are eager to initiate our work and contribute to the ongoing success and development of TSU.”

The underfunding issue Cunningham refers to stems from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Education, announcement several months ago that 16 governors collectively owe $13 billion to their respective land-grant HBCUs. TSU is facing the largest underfunding amount by a state, which is $2.1 billion.

Cunningham emphasized the importance of direct action through the NAACP chapter rather than using social media as their main platform to bring awareness to the underfunding and other issues that directly impact TSU students.

“Social media is good, but you can’t see people who are putting action behind their words,” he said. “We are going back to the roots and getting in the field to make sure people are registered to vote.”

Cunningham is optimistic about the impact the chapter could have on TSU’s campus and the generations to come.

Tamauri Murray, the Vice President of the TSU chapter, emphasized the significance of mobilizing Black voters. “Getting Black voters out there is more than important. We want to make everyone in our generation aware of voting and spreading the word,” said Murray, who is a computer science major.

“I want to implement a space for us to speak up because we have the power for change. We want students to advocate for their peers.”

One of the first steps in starting the groundwork on campus was to reintroduce the campus branch to the Nashville community. Recently, TSU student leaders attended the NAACP Nashville Branch’s Freedom Fund Banquet. The students participated to gain insight, exposure, and collaborate with local and regional members.

Frank Stevenson, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, commended the student-led initiatives to get their voices heard and their issues seen on a collegiate level chapter and beyond. “There is a very strong NAACP branch here in Nashville, so it was exciting to see them working with the local branch,” Stevenson said.

“I would like to see this age demographic participating in this political process at a higher level.”

Judy Cummings, the administrative branch manager for the Nashville NAACP, expressed excitement about the TSU chapter’s reactivation as well. “It is vitally important that young people understand the history and the significance of the work of the NAACP historically and presently,” she said.

The national agenda of NAACP remains focused on disparities in economics, healthcare, education, voter empowerment, and the criminal justice system. With the youthfulness and enthusiasm of college chapters across Tennessee, Cummings said the NAACP aims to drive voter education and mobilization leading up to the 2024 elections.

“Some people ask if the NAACP is still relevant today. The answer is yes,” Cummings said.

“Every day people call the office because their civil rights have been violated. They know we are going to answer their call because that’s the work that we do.”

The TSU NAACP chapter aims to register at least 25% of the student body population this spring for the upcoming 2024 local and presidential elections, Cunningham said. The chapter initiated its reactivation process this fall and has over 130 members including its executive committee.

TSU Spring Commencement Ceremonies to Feature Two Prominent Speakers

NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock and Memphis Mayor AC Wharton to Inspire Graduates


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The dual spring commencement exercises at Tennessee State University will feature two prominent national figures who will speak to the 1,312 undergraduate and graduate students receiving degrees in various disciplines.

Roslyn M. Brock
Roslyn M. Brock

Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors, and the youngest person to lead the 106-year-old civil rights organization, will give the keynote address at the graduate commencement ceremony in the Gentry Complex at 5 p.m., Friday, May 8.

On Saturday, May 9, at 9 a.m., the Mayor of Memphis, Tennessee, TSU alumnus and renowned lawyer AC Wharton, will address undergraduate students during their commencement in Hale Stadium.

At the graduate commencement, Brock is expected to talk to the graduates about leadership, coping in the workplace, and a vision for the future. Named in Essence magazine’s list of the “40 Fierce and Fabulous Women Who are Changing the World,” Brock is a Diamond Life Member of the NAACP. She has served the organization in various leadership positions starting as a Youth Board Member representing the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

As vice chairman of the NAACP Board Health Committee in 1988, she championed the creation of a standing health committee to advocate for quality, accessible and affordable health care for vulnerable and economically challenged communities.

An expert grant writer, Brock has secured millions of dollars in philanthropic support for the NAACP. From 1999-2010, she chaired the NAACP’s National Convention Planning Committee, in which role she instituted fiscal policies that resulted in the Annual Convention becoming a profit center for the Association.

She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the George Washington University, the American Public Health Association; American College of Health Services Executives; Association of Healthcare Philanthropy; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and The LINKS Inc. Brock holds a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Union University, a master’s degree in health services administration from George Washington University, an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and a Master of Divinity degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University.

She is currently the vice president for Advocacy and Government Relations for Bon Secours Health System, Inc., in Marriottsville, Maryland.

Mayor AC Wharton
Mayor AC Wharton

On Saturday, undergraduate students receiving their degrees will hear words of encouragement and how to cope in the changing word from a man who has achieved many “firsts” in his lifetime, and as mayor of one of America’s thriving and fastest growing cities. A lawyer for nearly 45 years, Wharton is in his second term as mayor of Memphis, having previously served for two terms as the first African-American elected mayor of Shelby County, Tennessee. He is known for initiating a number of programs that have reduced crime, improved city services, enhanced quality of life, and created new good-paying jobs for Memphians. Under Wharton’s leadership, Memphis is part of national conversations about cities, including the Obama White House, U.S. Conference of Mayors, Brookings Institution, CEOs for Cities, and the Mayor’s Institute of Civic Design.

Under Wharton’s leadership Memphis is reinvesting in safe and vibrant neighborhoods, creating jobs and prosperity of all, giving every child a fair start in life through early childhood development, and a high-performing government that fights crime and inefficiency.

For Wharton, speaking at TSU’s spring commencement is a “homecoming.” TSU is where he got his start in higher education, earning a bachelor’s degree with honors in Political Science in 1962. He later entered the University of Mississippi Law School, where he was one of the first African-American students to serve on the Moot Court Board and the first African-American to serve on the Judicial Council.  He graduated with honors in 1971, and three years later, he became the first African-American professor of law at University of Mississippi, a position that he held for 25 years.

At this year’s spring commencements, 925 graduating seniors will receive bachelor’s degrees, while 387 students will receive graduate degrees. Among those receiving advanced degrees are eight Ph.Ds., nine Ed.Ds., and 35 Doctors of Physical Therapy. Eleven others will receive education specialist degrees, and 32 will receive graduate certificates.



Friday, May 8, 5 p.m.
Graduate Commencement
Gentry Complex

Saturday, May 9, 9 a.m.
Undergraduate Commencement
Hale Stadium




Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

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 45 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.