UWF students pitch in for United Way

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UWF students participate in the United Way’s Day of Caring on Friday at Wayside Park in Pensacola. Anne Delaney/adelaney@pnj.com

Tim Land’s beard was covered with small wood chips.

Land, an employee with the city of Pensacola Parks and Recreation Department, was using a power tool to clear excess branches from trees Friday in Wayside Park.

Other pieces of wood stuck to Land’s sweaty forearms as he was followed by a handful of eager University of West Florida students, who removed the small pile of branches.

Land and the approximately 160 UWF students spent two hours beautifying the park as part of the United Way of Escambia County’s 24th Day of Caring.

More than 1,300 volunteers from different businesses and organizations worked on 89 projects.

“It was 89 projects worth of crazy, which is all very good,” United Way of Escambia County President and CEO Andrea Krieger said.

Krieger said at several sites she visited there were more volunteers than the initial estimate. Krieger said she had a head count of 50 for Wayside Park. The total was more than doubled with two groups of UWF students showing up.

Krieger said 1,000 volunteers is the average for the Day of Caring. She attributed the higher numbers this year to the volunteers meeting in advance with members of the agency or project they were going to serve.

“You get inspired once you know the partner and you realize you can stop what you’re doing at the office and care about the community,” Krieger said.

Land, who is the parks and recreation department’s volunteer outdoor pursuits coordinator, was participating in the Day of Caring for the third time.

“The biggest thing is opening up the park,” he said. “If you’re driving into Pensacola from Gulf Breeze, it’s the first city park they see. It’s an entrance to Pensacola, and it’s a park that needs TLC.

Other UWF students carried garbage bags around to clean up the grounds while others painted the picnic pavilions.

Twenty-one-year-old junior Joshua Darnes and two UWF friends cleaned up sidewalks near the parking lot and loaded the dirt and debris into a wheelbarrow.

Darnes, sophomore Jamarkus Guest and senior DiCarlo Thomas are members of the university’s chapter of Collegiate 100, a break-off group of the service organization 100 Black Men of America.

Darnes was born and raised in Pensacola, he graduated from Pensacola High School in 2013, and he has strong feelings about his hometown.

“I love my city,” Darnes said. “It’s a city to love. A lot of people come here (to Wayside Park) to chill, to let loose. You look at the water and what more could you want?”

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NIH Study Shows Exercise May Lower Risk Of High Blood Pressure In African Americans

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Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Researchers who study cardiovascular health have long known that exercise is one way to keep high blood pressure at bay. But studies confirming this protective effect have mainly focused on white patients, leaving it unclear whether African Americans, the most vulnerable of all populations, have stood to gain in similar ways.

In a new study, researchers are reporting the strongest evidence to date that moderate to vigorous exercise, when done regularly, can help reduce the risk of hypertension in African Americans. The study, which was published in the journal Hypertension, was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). Both are part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Although the protective effect of exercise had been well-documented in white populations, it really had not been clearly demonstrated for African Americans, said study co-author Nicole Redmond, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., a medical officer with the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at NHLBI. This is a wake-up call to African Americans about the need for regular exercise and its importance in preventing high blood pressure.

The good news, she added, is that hypertension is a health problem that is both preventable and treatable.

African Americans have the highest rate of high blood pressure over any other racial or ethnic group in the United States  as much as 50 percent higher than whites and Hispanics. And the fallout is profound: High blood pressure greatly raises the risk for heart attack, stroke and kidney disease, and when uncontrolled, it can lead to death.

Yet, while health care providers have long recommended exercise as one way to keep this potentially debilitating condition at bay, researchers have never closely studied the specific impact of exercise on the population most vulnerable to it. Until now.

For the observational study, Redmond and her fellow researchers followed 1,311 men and women who are participants in the Jackson Heart Study, the largest, community-based study of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors in African Americans. The participants were, on average, in their late 40s when the Jackson, Miss.-based study began in 2000. None of them had hypertension at the time. The participants were then followed for eight years and surveyed about their physical activities throughout.

At the end of the study period, the researchers found that nearly 50 percent of the participants had developed hypertension. But those who reported higher levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity had a significantly lower risk of hypertension, compared to those who did not exercise at all. Specifically, those who reported intermediate levels of physical activity less than the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise based on the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans had a 16 percent lower rate of hypertension, while those who reported ideal levels of physical activity  an average of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise or at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise had a 24 percent lower rate, the study showed.

“We’ve long known that exercise is an important part of controlling blood pressure,” said Redmond. “Now, thanks to this invaluable finding from the Jackson Heart Study, we can say that the same applies to African American men and women. It’s a potentially lifesaving message that everyone needs to follow.”

Redmond acknowledged that getting people to boost their exercise levels weekly can be a challenge. Barriers to establishing an exercise routine include lack of access to parks and streets that are perceived as safe; competing demands for time (such as work, child care responsibilities and commuting time); and for many women, concerns about hair care.

But you don’t have to run a marathon, Redmond pointed out. For now, including moderate or intensive exercise as part of a daily routine of good self-care is a great start. For example, brisk walking, stair walking, cycling and recreational tennis all meet standards for moderate activity when done for at least 10 consecutive minutes at a time at a pace that gets you breathing harder and your heart beating faster, Redmond said. You don’t have to do all your exercise at once: Exercising 10 minutes at a time, three times a day adds up to 30 minutes a day. Vigorous exercise, including activities such as jogging, aerobics and swimming, as well as competitive sports such as basketball, volleyball and soccer, meet those standards, too.

“Other exercise options include taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood (or an indoor shopping mall in bad weather), working out to an exercise DVD or joining a fun-filled exercise group, such as a Zumba® or Jazzercise® class or a running group. Do what works best for your lifestyle and budget. If the goal is to help lower blood pressure, exercise that gets the heart rate up is critical,” Redmond said.

So don’t forget to exercise regularly. It could change or even save  your life.

Note to Editors: April Is National Minority Health Month.

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Steeped in Houstry

NEIL Gunn’s river was my starting point for an enjoyable morning among the brochs and standing stones of south-east Caithness. Along the way I discovered roads I’d never cycled on before and managed a quick detour to the coast to watch some puffins on a sea-stack.

Before setting off on the bike from the mill car park, I took a short stroll alongside the Dunbeath Water – setting for Gunn’s much-loved novel Highland River, published 80 years ago – as far as the footbridge to the old Milton inn. Even on an overcast day like this, it’s a beautiful spot.

Then I had a look at the Dunbeath Broch, one of the best-preserved defensive towers of its kind in the county. Wide stone steps lead up to the secluded site, surrounded by trees. From the entrance there’s a fine view back along the strath.

This whole area is steeped in history – nearby is Chapel Hill, or the House of Peace, believed to be site of an early monastery – but this wasn’t a day for lingering. Collecting the bike, I made my way up a short section of the A9 before turning onto the Houstry road, going past an engineering workshop and a scattering of croft houses where I slowed down to allow an unconcerned hen to cross safely.

The landscape opened up nicely, with the Burn of Houstry twisting and turning down to my left and the high hills forming a blue-grey barrier across the southern horizon. Although officially well into spring, there had been some snow earlier in the week and white streaks zigzagged down the slopes of Scaraben.

Near the end of the Houstry road my attention was caught by a mighty standing stone in a corner of a field, so I stopped to take some photos (being careful not to step in the marshy bits). Just beyond here there’s a junction with a dead end ahead so I turned right towards Smerral. I was pleased to be on Caithness roads that were entirely new to me – although I didn’t particularly relish the climb over the northern flank of Cnoc Breac. I’m about as far removed from King of the Mountains as it’s possible to get, and I don’t mind admitting that I got off and pushed on the steepest part. Charging down the other side was a breeze, of course.

Following the road round to the left, I took a sharp left again at the Upper Smerral farm sign. Now I was heading due north, more or less following the course of the Burn of Latheronwheel. There were crofts and bungalows dotted around here are there, but no vehicles whatsoever. Crossing the burn at Den Moss, I veered left for a short and steep final half-mile before joining the Thurso/Latheron section of the A9 – better known as the Causewaymire (“Cassymire”).

I passed the site of the former Latheron poorhouse (there are some sad stories associated with that place) and before long the large expanse of Loch Rangag was looming ahead on my left. It had started drizzling, but all the same I was keen to stop and have a closer look at the grass-covered broch that juts out like a crannog from the lochside. As those enterprising people at the Caithness Broch Project like to point out, there are more broch sites in the county than anywhere else in Scotland and this aspect of our ancient history deserves to be promoted as widely as possible.

I got off the bike, edged through a wooden gate and picked my way down through some boggy ground to the water’s edge. This particular broch has an intriguing pseudonym: Castle Greysteil, named after a knight in a medieval poem, some kind of epic saga involving the black arts and a magic sword.

Just north of Loch Rangag I took a right turn onto the Lybster road (watching out for fast-moving traffic at the junction) and was relieved to be back on the quieter byways. Loch Stemster lay before me, with the Achavanich standing stones just beyond. There are more than 30 stones here, dating back some 4000 years, set out in a horseshoe pattern overlooking the loch. There’s a ruined cairn close by, and the remains of cremated bodies were found beneath the peat. An information board asks whether this whole site was an ancient cemetery – or whether the stones represented human remains being offered to the gods.

After a long, gentle climb the road dipped down to Rumster Forest, conifers towering over me on either side, and I took a right turn onto the Achow road. This brought me to the A99 south of Swiney, so then it was just a matter of heading back down the coast through Latheron and Latheronwheel and having to put up with lorries thundering past.

Just north of Dunbeath I got off the bike again for a short coastal walk to a stack which is home to a sizeable puffin colony at this time of year (checking first at the nearby farmhouse, as it involves walking over agricultural land). The sky was brightening now and it was good to be on the cliff-tops. I counted half a dozen puffins (last time I was there, in the late evening, there were about 60). They’re quite a distance away – you’d need a super-duper telephoto lens to get a worthwhile picture. But I was happy to gaze for a while through my binoculars, as restless fulmars swooped back and fore in front of me.

I freewheeled most of the way back down to Dunbeath, where Gunn’s river was now sparkling in the sunshine.

Route details

Dunbeath, Loch Rangag and Achavanich

Start/finish: Dunbeath mill car park

Route: A9 (briefly) then minor roads to Houstry, Smerral and Den Moss before joining the A9 Causewaymire; minor roads to Achavanich/Rumster Forest and Achow, returning to Dunbeath on A99 and A9

Distance: 25 miles (40km)

Map: OS Landranger 11 Thurso and Dunbeath

Exploring some of the lesser-known byways of south-east Caithness, taking in some of the county’s ancient sites

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Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture Opens “More Than a Picture” May 5

Selection of Photographs From Collection Is Museum’s First Special Exhibition

More than 150 photographs and related objects will be on display in the exhibition “More Than a Picture: Selections From the Photography Collection at the National Museum of African American History and Culture” opening May 5. This will be the first exhibition opening in the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Special Exhibitions Gallery on the Concourse Level, which will be used to mount temporary, short-term exhibitions in addition to the museum’s permanent inaugural exhibitions.

Complementing the museum’s popular series of photography books, Double Exposure, the exhibition encourages visitors to explore the ways photographs reflect important moments in history and memory and continue to shape the understanding of African American experiences. The photography showcases a striking visual account of key historical events, cultural touchstones and private and communal moments to illuminate African American life. From the eras of slavery and Jim Crow to Black Lives Matter, “More Than a Picture” presents a range of American experiences that look beyond the surface to see the photographs’ significance to history and cultural meaning.

“The power of photographs is not only the ability to depict events but to bring human scale to those experiences,” said Lonnie G. Bunch III, the museum’s director. “Photography plays an important role in constructing memory. Images act not only as repositories of memory but also as stimulants and beacons for remembering.”

Iconic portraits of Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Queen Latifah and Grace Jones will be seen alongside historical and recognizable images from the civil rights movement, Hurricane Katrina and the initial uprisings in Ferguson and Baltimore.

In France, ‘Us and Them’ Amid Elections

Civil Society, Democracy, Europe, Featured, Headlines, Human Rights, Migration & Refugees

A scene from the exhibition in Paris at the Musée de l’Homme: “How do we categorise others?” Credit: A.D. McKenzie/IPS

A scene from the exhibition in Paris at the Musée de l’Homme: “How do we categorise others?” Credit: A.D. McKenzie/IPS

PARIS, May 6 2017 (IPS) – Launched in the run-up to the French presidential elections, a daring exhibition in Paris is sparking dialogue about the origins and nature of racism, both in Europe and elsewhere.

Titled “Nous et les Autres: Des Préjugés aux Racisme” (Us and Them: From Prejudice to Racism), the exhibition’s aim is clear: to have visitors emerge with a changed perspective — especially in a climate of divisive politics that have created tensions ahead of the second and final round of the presidential elections on Sunday, May 7.

“It makes no scientific sense to attribute a moral value to differences among people.” –Evelyne Heyer

“We hope that visitors will leave different from how they entered,” says Bruno David, president of France’s National Museum of Natural History and of its anthropology branch the Musée de l’Homme, which is hosting the exhibition.

“That’s the objective. What we’re doing is in the tradition of the museum, a humanist tradition, asking questions of society,” he adds.

Many residents of France are in fact wondering how the country reached its current stage, with an extreme-right candidate again making it to the second round of French presidential elections.

Marine Le Pen, the former leader of the National Front party (she has temporarily stepped down from leading the party during the elections), won 21.5 percent of the votes in the first round, placing after independent candidate Emmanuel Macron (24 percent), and beating the candidates of the formerly mainstream conservative and socialist parties, François Fillon and Benoît Hamon.

Polls predict that Le Pen will lose in the second round — like her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2002 – and that Macron will be president. But she is still expected to garner around 40 percent of the vote, with her anti-immigration and anti-globalisation platform.

Xenophobia and using cultural differences to promote hatred and discrimination have especially caused concern among institutions with a commitment to human rights and equality, as the museum says it is.

“The first network of the Resistance [during World War II] was born here,” David said in an interview at the museum, which opened in 1937 and is located in the landmark buildings of the Trocadéro area, overlooking the Eiffel Tower. (An infamous visitor to the site was Adolf Hitler in 1940.)

“The exhibition is in line with our principles. It is not militant, because we’re a museum and our approach is scientific, but it is fairly courageous, especially during this time,” David told IPS.

Using photos, film, sculptures and installations in an interactive manner, the exhibition highlights how “differences” have been used throughout history to “imprison individuals in readymade representations and to divide them into categories”.

It stresses that “as soon as these ‘differences’ are organized into a hierarchy and essentialized, racism is alive and thrives.”

The curators have organized the display into three parts, focusing on the processes of categorization, on the historical development of institutional racism and on the current political and intellectual environment.

“It is natural to categorize,” says Evelyne Heyer, co-curator of the exhibition and a professor of genetic anthropology. “But it’s the moral value that we give to differences that determine if we’re racist or not. It makes no scientific sense to attribute a moral value to differences among people.”

Heyer says that based on genetic study, humans have fewer differences among them than breeds of dogs, for example, and that the “categorisation of race is inappropriate to describe diversity”.

The exhibition attempts to give scientific answers to questions such as “if there are no races, why does human skin colour vary,” and it presents information tracing the origins of mankind to the African continent.

Apart from the scientific aspect, the curators have put much emphasis on the historical and international facets of “racialization”, focusing for instance on Nazi Germany and the “exaltation of racial purity”; the treatment of the indigenous Ainu people in Japan; the divisions between Tutsi and Hutu in Rwanda; and segregation in South Africa and the United States.

During the opening night, as people crowded in front of a screen showing footage of civil rights struggles in the United States, a Paris-based African American artist commented, “I remember that so well.”

When a French spectator responded, “But you don’t look that old”, the artist stated firmly: “I am. I was there,” and so a conversation began.

The curators are hoping that the exhibition will engender long-term dialogue across political divides, but in the end the conversation might only continue among the already converted, say some skeptics.

Still, for anyone wanting to learn more about the consequences of racism and discrimination, the exhibition presents a range of statistics.

It provides ample information, for instance, about the lack of access to employment for certain “groups” in France (job applicants with Muslim-sounding names often don’t receive responses to letters), as well as figures showing that the population most subjected to racism in the country are the Roma.

“Racism is difficult to measure, but many studies have been done on access to employment and on people’s views of those they consider different,” says historian and co-curator Carole Reynard-Paligot. “We want people to see these statistics and to ask questions.”

She said that she and her colleagues also wished to show the move from individuals’ racism to state racism, to examine how this developed and the part that colonization and slavery have played.

Throughout the exhibition, which runs until Jan. 8, 2018, the museum is organizing lectures, film screenings and other events. From May 10 to July 10, it is presenting works by photographers from French territories, Brazil, Africa and the United States in a show titled “Impressions Mémorielles”. This is to commemorate the French national day (May 10) of remembrance of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.

Meanwhile, other museums are also taking steps to counter the anti-immigration mindset. The Paris-based Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration (National Museum of the History of Immigration) has invited the population to visit its “Ciao Italia!” exhibition, either “before or after” they vote on Sunday.

This museum, which like the Musée de l’Homme has been controversial in the past because of its “colonialist” displays, says the Sunday free access will be an opportunity to learn about the story of Italian immigration to France from 1860 to 1960.

It will also be a chance to “discover … the numerous contributions of immigrants to French society”, the museum adds.

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Health Care Bill Hits Special Ed; Trump Touts D.C. Vouchers Despite Poor Test Scores

President Trump speaks during a school choice event at the White House. Evan Vucci/AP hide caption

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Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump speaks during a school choice event at the White House.

Evan Vucci/AP

The rest of the country may be talking about health care this week, but you must be a die-hard education fan. NPR Ed has just the weekly news roundup you need. And, actually, we do have a health care note.

Health care bill would cut assistance to special education students

The Affordable Care Act repeal that passed the House this week would cut Medicaid by 25 percent, and also cap funding for children specifically. The New York Times reports that public school districts receive $4 billion of Medicaid reimbursements annually, or about 1 percent of the pie. Most of that money goes to professionals such as speech, physical and behavior therapists who help special education students. Under the bill, states would no longer be required to recognize schools as eligible Medicaid providers or pay them for those services, which schools will still be required by law to provide.

Budget deal increases funding for special education and high-poverty schools

We previously reported that President Trump’s “skinny budget” proposal had significant cuts to education. But a bipartisan agreement struck this week is a different story. The interim spending bill to keep the government operating through the end of September includes a fraction-of-a-percent budget cut to the education department, as reported by Education Week. Title I, which provides federal funds to high-poverty schools, gets a bump, as do state grants for special ed. And a new block grant program known as Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act is funded at $400 million. This grant can pay for technology, enriching and broadening school curricula, and programs to make students safer and healthier.

Graduation rate grows, but gaps persist

The nation’s high school graduation rate has hit a new high, 83 percent, says a new report by Johns Hopkins University. But black and Latino students from low-incomes families are still the least likely to graduate. The dropout rate is nearly 30 percent for low-income African-Americans and nearly 20 percent for low-income Latinos. English language learners and students with disabilities continue to lag as well. State by state, New Mexico has the lowest graduation rate, at 68.6 percent, and Iowa tops the list at 90 percent. The report’s authors also called out rising skepticism about graduation rates, with discrepancies in record-keeping and the growth of alternative high schools that may not have the same academic standards. As NPR Ed’s previous reporting has shown, there are a lot of paths to increasing a state’s graduation rate: good, bad and ambiguous.

Purdue acquires for-profit Kaplan University

Indiana’s flagship public university has acquired the for-profit Kaplan University for $1, in the largest-ever deal of its kind. As we reported,

Kaplan U’s 32,000 students will transition to a new entity, nicknamed “New U” for now, that will be part of the public Purdue system, yet financially self-sustaining.

Steven Schultz, Purdue legal counsel, told NPR Ed: “Purdue views this opportunity as an extension of its land-grant mission to address an unmet need.” While Robert Shireman, a critic of for-profit education with The Century Foundation, called the move “an existential threat to public education.” Purdue’s Faculty Senate may hold the latter view; on Thursday they voted to ask the university’s board of trustees to rescind the deal.

School voucher defeat in Texas

Call it the Friday Night Lights effect. As the Associated Press reported, Texas has rejected a school voucher plan yet again, with conservative lawmakers speaking out in favor of public schools as the anchors especially of small rural communities. It’s one of seven Republican states that have blocked vouchers.

Hidden scourge of sexual assaults in K-12

A yearlong investigation by the AP uncovered widespread reports of sexual assaults of students by other students over a four-year period: 17,000 from fall 2011 to spring 2015. The attacks were concentrated in high schools and junior highs, but nearly every grade was affected, including elementary schools.

The AP’s investigative report shows that, contrary to many media depictions, assaults by schoolmates outnumber those by teachers.

That figure comes from state education and federal crime data, which may be incomplete. Some states simply don’t track sexual assaults, “and those that do vary widely in how they classify and catalog sexual violence. A number of academic estimates range sharply higher.”

As we’ve reported, a handful of districts are pushing for intervention and prevention of sexual violence much earlier than college.

Trump, DeVos, Pence tout struggling D.C. voucher program

President Trump, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Vice President Mike Pence appeared alongside students at the White House this week to praise the school voucher program in Washington, D.C. The only federal voucher program pays for 1,200 students to attend private schools.

Just days earlier, a federal study of the program found negative effects on student performance. Recent evaluations of voucher programs in Louisiana and Indiana have found the same. The one positive finding in the DC evaluation was that families thought the private schools were safer.

“This is what winning for young children and kids from all over the country looks like,” Trump said.

Brown Women Speak: Oral histories illuminate lives of Pembroke, Brown women

As the University honors the milestone of 125 years of women on campus, the Pembroke Center’s Brown Women Speak archive celebrates 35 years of collecting their oral histories.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — In 1916, when Anna Hass Morgan was a student at the Women’s College in Brown University, her English professor told her that Eugene Debs would be speaking in Providence. Her professor had read Morgan’s politically themed essays and thought she might be interested in hearing the socialist candidate for U.S. president speak.

Morgan, who lived in nearby Rehoboth, Massachusetts, and commuted to Brown, decided to attend — even though she knew her mother wouldn’t approve. When she arrived, she was surprised to see her father there, too.

“I went up to my father and I said, ‘Hello… I told Ma I went to a movie.’ And he looked very embarrassed, and he said, ‘I told your mother I was working overtime.’”

In the subsequent years, Morgan became a political activist, raising money to buy ambulances for the rebels during the Spanish Civil War and organizing laborers for the Workers Alliance during the Great Depression. She was an early supporter of civil rights and protested the Vietnam War. She became involved with the Communist Party, and in 1952, because of her open support for leftist causes, she was called before the Ohio Un-American Activities Committee. She refused to testify and was charged with contempt. Morgan’s first husband left her because of her politics.

“He told me that I could choose him or the Communist Party,” she said. “I chose the Communist Party.”

Morgan’s story, peppered with anecdotes like these, is housed in the Brown Women Speak oral history collection, part of the Christine Dunlap Farnham Archive on the history of women at Brown University. It comprises nearly 200 oral interviews of Pembroke/Brown alumnae who graduated between 1911 and 1993. During that time, the College for Women in Brown College was renamed Pembroke College in Brown Univeristy in 1928 and eventually merged with the men’s college in 1971. The stories they tell offer an intimate peek into what life was like for women at Brown over the course of those 82 years — they also shed light on the many paths they took after graduation.

Ivy Chain, 1921. Ivy Day was a June tradition introduced to the Women’s College in 1897. Ivy Day programs included the ivy chain procession, invited speakers, singing and the Ivy Night Dance, which was the last of the year.

This year, as Brown celebrates the 125th anniversary of women first enrolling at the University — a major conference begins on Friday, May 5, bringing more than 700 alumnae and prominent guest speakers to campus — the Brown Women Speak collection is marking its own 35th anniversary.

Initiated in 1982 by the Pembroke Center Associates — a group of alumnae, parents and friends who support the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women — and Pembroke Center founding director Joan Scott, the oral history project was created to document the daily experiences of the women who went to Pembroke and Brown and the effect those experiences had on their lives.

The personal conversations and moments captured in these stories, like those of Morgan’s, make them an integral part of the historical record, says Mary Murphy, the Nancy L. Buc ’65, ’94 LLD hon. Pembroke Center Archivist.

“Oral histories give you the close read of history as opposed to a historical text that gives you a more distanced read,” Murphy said. “Some of the things that women bring up in these interviews, they can be such tiny details of the conversation or something they say in passing. But in aggregate, when 20 or 30 women mention one thing in passing, you begin to see this picture emerge about events or people that might have been missed in the official history.”

Brown women’s athletics, 1936.

Several examples in the archive illustrate this point, Murphy says: memories of the “parietal rules” that strictly governed the behavior of Pembroke women in ways far different than those governing Brown men; mentions of Arlene Gorton, the beloved Pembroke College director of physical education and athletics from 1961 to 1971, who later became the assistant athletic director when Pembroke and Brown merged; and references across the decades about struggles to access birth control and reproductive health care.

The archive additionally details major historical events, both on campus and off, including the Depression, both world wars, the merger of Brown and Pembroke, and campus activism and protest in the 1960 and ’70s.

But the histories are also filled with happy recollections of day-to-day life at Brown: parties, friendships, theater productions, classes, professors and careers that are clearly cherished memories.

“There’s a great joy in a lot of the interviews, too, a deep devotion to Pembroke and Brown,” Murphy said. “These interviews are really heartfelt, and that’s also just something you can’t get from a book.”

In 2012, the Pembroke Center launched an ambitious effort to digitize the entire collection and make it publicly accessible. This spring, the project was completed. Nearly all of the recorded histories are available online, each accompanied by a full transcript and a photo of the alumna interviewed. Each history is tagged with the topics covered within it to make searching for specific themes easier.

Elizabeth Mushinsky, president of Metcalf Hall, and Ann Richards, president of Miller Hall, 1957. Miller Hall was built in 1910 as the first on-campus women’s dormitory. Metcalf was built directly across from Miller in 1919, and in 1947, both dorms were joined to Andrews Hall.

Throughout the years, alumnae have contributed to the archive, serving as both interviewees and interviewers. Mimi Pichey, a founding member of the feminist activist group Women of Brown United and a 1971 graduate, has been involved since the archive’s formation. In her oral history, she describes the campus atmosphere of gendered social rules and the struggle for equal representation after the Pembroke-Brown merger, as well as the broader political environment of student activism during the Vietnam War and civil rights movement. 

Over the years, Pichey has also interviewed a broad range of alumnae, including a psychologist, a romance author, a union organizer, a rabbi, a dramaturge and a teacher. As a longtime feminist activist, Pichey says that Brown Women Speak has provided her with important perspective.

“Despite the fact that progress has been slower than many of us would have liked, when you listen to the archives you see how women today do have many more opportunities than they did in the past,” she said. “For Brown, I think the archives are important for understanding the institution itself and how it’s grown and developed… It helps you understand how institutional and personal decisions that are made today could possibly impact the people of the future.” 

Women’s Speakout, 1985. In the spring of 1985, women students gathered to protest sexism, harassment and rape at Brown. A silent march across campus was followed by a rally and speakout. This photograph depicts Toby Simon, director of health education, with her son, Ben. The students, from right to left, are Lisa Krackow, Dana Rae Warren, Melissa Walker, Rinku Sen. 

Murphy, the archivist, hopes that now that the archive is more accessible, it will begin to serve as a valuable resource for scholars, both within the academy and the community. One downside to having the archive publicly accessible online, she says, is that there is no way to tell exactly who is using it. But the demand is there. This past April, the archive received more than 2,500 unique views, a good monthly result, Murphy says, for a project that is 35 years old and with such a specific niche.

Last year, the Hearthside House Museum in Lincoln, Rhode Island, used the archive for a multimedia exhibit on Rhode Island in the 1920s, and both Loyola University and the Library of Congress have contacted University archivists looking for advice on best practices for this kind of long-term oral history archive.

More recently, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who graduated in 1967, asked for examples from the archive that illustrated women’s economic experience over time, stories she may call upon in her keynote speech at this weekend’s 125 Years of Women at Brown Conference.

Murphy says that part of the archive’s value, besides its accessibility, is that it provides a window not just into the history of women at Brown, but — in its breadth and depth — into the history of women in the United States more broadly. She also sees it as an important resource for current Brown students both as a tool for conducting primary research and as a way to deepen their own understanding of women’s, and Brown’s, history.

Brown junior Isabel Martin began work on the Brown Women Speak project as a sophomore, editing and reviewing transcriptions of individual oral histories. Recently, she used four oral interviews, including Pichey’s, for a paper she wrote that touched on the Pembroke-Brown merger. Martin, who is concentrating in comparative literature and gender and sexuality studies, says that working with the archive has been a formative part of her time at Brown.

“As Brown students, and as people who identify as women on campus, we have a whole legacy of alumnae who have come before us and changed the institution of Brown and changed the world with their voices and their scholarship,” Martin said. “It is a very empowering thing to have so many voices and experiences and lives that really do support you and your education and your passions and have even made them possible. The archives are a way of connecting with history and your scholarship and a world around you that just stretches everything out and expands your perspective in a really powerful way.”

Black Student Walkout, 1968. In December 1968, women from Pembroke College led a walk-out in which 65 of the 85 African American students then enrolled at Brown University marched down College Hill to the Congdon Street Baptist Church, where they stayed for three days. 

The archive project is not finished. It might never be. Thanks to the ongoing support and dedication of Pembroke alumnae, Murphy says, she expects to continually add at least five interviews each year, focusing on alumnae of color and more recent graduates to expand the diversity of voices represented in the archive.

“This is the priority right now,” Murphy said. “In order to get the entire story of American history, you need to collect everyone’s history.”

This essential need of today fits in with what has always been the archive’s goal, Murphy says: to give a more complete picture of history by offering generations of University alumnae the chance to reflect on their lives in a way that emphasizes their story as a whole person, not just as a woman or a mother or a wife.

There’s a bittersweet glimpse of this in Morgan’s oral history. Right before the tape of her 1987 interview ends, Morgan — 92 at the time — offers one last thought to interviewer Joyce Tavon (Class of 1984):

“I had it in my mind that, to be honest, I’ll tell you who I am and what I’ve done. And that’s my own life… it doesn’t involve my children and my grandchildren. They all think, everybody thinks… I’m just the great-grandmother. Who agitated in [her] spare time.”

LSU board votes to rename African American Cultural Center to honor Clarence L. Barney Jr.

Clarence L. Barney Jr. (Source: LSU)Clarence L. Barney Jr. (Source: LSU)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

During a Board of Supervisors meeting Friday, a motion was adopted to rename the African American cultural center at LSU.  

The center will be renamed to the Clarence L. Barney Jr. African American Cultural Center.  

“The African American Cultural Center exists today because of Clarence Barney,” said LSU Board of Supervisors member James Williams. 

In the 1980s, Barney helped champion the students’ request to have a center on campus. The center was then developed in 1993. 

“This will give us another naming opportunity where people from all walks will be able to see with pride the commitment that this institution has for its diversity,” said Dereck Rovaris Sr., LSU vice provost for diversity and chief diversity officer. “Now you see more African American students at this university than over 70 historically black colleges and universities … This institution is committed to all of its students, and all those who come through its halls.” 

In addition to his work at LSU, Barney served as the president of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans for more than 30 years.  

Barney died in 2005 at the age of 70.  

The university plans to hold a rededication ceremony for the Clarence L. Barney Jr. African American Cultural Center later this year.  

WAFB’s Carmen Farrish was at the meeting and will have more on this story during our 6 p.m. broadcast.  

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.

theMaven, Inc. (MVEN: OTCQB) | Boyce Watkins, Leading Voice on African American Economic Empowerment, Brings His Entire Digital Media Network and Facebook Pages to Maven

May 05, 2017

OTC Disclosure & News Service

Dr. Boyce Watkins, the highly acclaimed author and scholar focused on economic empowerment and education in the African American community, is re-launching his digital empire of more than 50 properties to the Maven Network (MVEN), the Seattle-based startup launching in beta this month.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170505005776/en/

Dr. Boyce Watkins, leading voice on African American economic empowerment (Photo: Business Wire)

Dr. Boyce Watkins, leading voice on African American economic empowerment (Photo: Business Wire)

Watkins is considered one of the founding fathers in the field of financial activism – with the objective of creating social change through the use of conscientious capitalism – and has written numerous books and articles on finance, education and black social justice. He is a regular guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, BET, NPR and other national networks.

Between social media and subscribers to his numerous websites, Watkins built a regular following of more than four million people.

“I am very excited about this partnership, and have tremendous respect for James Heckman and his team for creating this brilliant, state-of-the-art business platform for independent media brands,” Watkins said. “From the first conversation, he impressed me as a person who wants to use his resources to better all of humanity through cutting-edge technology. I’ve chosen to be a first-mover and leader in this extraordinary project, as we continue our goal of developing black economic and political strength throughout the world.”

Heckman, Maven CEO, calls Watkins an “intellectual giant and brilliant communicator who will amplify his message through our advanced publishing technology, new community platform and seamless integration with social media.”

“Boyce is authentic, smart and more than anything, courageous,” he added. “We will continue to reserve our technology and resources for hand-picked, inspiring, independent content and community leaders. Boyce is all that and more, tackling real issues with innovative ideas and thoughtful social commentary – we’re honored to be his partner.”

Maven provides a select group of content leaders an end-to-end digital media business platform within a cooperative – sharing technical resources, distribution and monetization. Dozens of award-winning journalists, best-selling authors, top analysts, important global causes, and foundations have already joined the coalition.

Watkins plans to organize his numerous websites into four main channels on Maven: Black Wealth, Black Men United, Black Women United, and Black America.

Among his signature initiatives are The Black Wealth Bootcamp, The Black Business School, and The Black Millionaires Of Tomorrow program which introduces young people to finance and entrepreneurship. He also has produced two critically acclaimed documentaries: “Resurrecting Black Wall Street” and “The Secrets Of Black Financial Intelligence.”

Maven is an expert-driven, group media network, whose state-of-the-art platform serves, by invitation-only, professional, independent channel partners. By providing broader distribution, greater community engagement, and efficient advertising and membership programs. Maven enables partners to focus on the key ingredients to their business: creating, informing, sharing, discovering, leading and interacting with the communities and constituencies they serve.

Based in Seattle, Maven is publicly traded under the ticker symbol MVEN. For more information, visit themaven.net. Key members of the team include:

Founder and CEO James Heckman has extensive experience in digital media, advertising, video and online communities for major public companies and several times as founder. He served as Head of Global Media Strategy for Yahoo!, leading all significant transactions and revenue strategy under Ross Levinsohn’s tenure. As Chief Strategy Officer at Fox Digital, he architected the first programmatic social advertising platform, as part of the market-changing, $900 million ad alliance between Google and Myspace and was instrumental in Hulu’s formation. Prior to Yahoo!, Mr. Heckman was founder/CEO of 5to1.com (sold to Yahoo!), CSO of Zazzle.com, Founder/CEO of Scout.com (sold to Fox), Founder/CEO of Rivals.com and Rivals.net (sold to Yahoo!, post tenure and 365-Sports, respectively) and held the position of President and Publisher of NFL Exclusive, an official NFL publication network. Heckman holds a BA in Communications from the University of Washington.

Co-founder and COO William Sornsin ran MSN’s Core Technology team before joining Rivals as co-founder and CTO in 1999, co-founded Scout.com as CTO/COO; was VP Engineering & Operations at Fox Interactive Media after Scout acquisition. Earlier, Sornsin held a variety of product and program management roles at Microsoft. He holds a BS Electrical/Computer Engineering from the University of Iowa and an MBA from UCLA.

Co-founder and CTO Benjamin Joldersma’s career spans nearly two decades of large-scale platform development, including CTO and chief architect of Scout.com. Ben held the role of Senior Software Engineer, Geo/Imagery at Google, was a Principal Software Engineer at Yahoo!, Chief Architect at 5to1 and held senior engineering roles at aQuantive, Rivals.com and Microsoft. Ben studied Computer Science at University of Puget Sound.

Director Ross Levinsohn is a leading industry figure who has long focused on the convergence of technology and media. He served as CEO at Yahoo in 2012 and prior to that role was Executive Vice President, Americas and Head of Global Media from 2010 to 2012. Levinsohn served as President of Fox Interactive where he helped create one of the largest digital businesses amongst the traditional media companies, and was instrumental in the formation of what is now Hulu. He serves on several public and private media and technology boards, including Tribune Media, mobile advertising marketplace YieldMo, Vubiquity, Zefr, and the National Association of Television Program Executives. He was Executive Chairman and Director of Scout Media, Inc. from 2014-2016, previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of Guggenheim Digital Media and co-founded 5to1 Holding Corp, serving as its Executive Chairman. He co-founded Fuse Capital in 2005 and served as its Managing Director and Managing Partner. He served as General Manager at AltaVista Network and Vice President of Programming and Executive Producer at CBS Sportsline. Mr. Levinsohn received a BA in Broadcast Communications from American University, and is a trustee there.

Copyright © 2017 Businesswire. All Rights Reserved

The above news release has been provided by the above company via the OTC Disclosure and News Service. Issuers of news releases and not OTC Markets Group Inc. are solely responsible for the accuracy of such news releases.