A new scholarship fund has been established at Vanderbilt University to honor James M. Lawson Jr., a leading figure in the civil rights movement and an associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The new scholarship was made possible by a gift from Doug Parker, an alumnus of the Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt, the CEO of American Airlines, and a new trustee of the university, and his wife Gwen.
The new scholarships will be given to students from underrepresented groups who have shown a commitment to civil rights and social justice.
Lawson, enrolled at the Vanderbilt Divinity School in 1958. While a student he helped organize sit-ins at lunch counters in downtown Nashville. In 1960, he was expelled from the university for his participation in civil rights protests.
Lawson completed his divinity studies at Boston University and then served as director of nonviolent education for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. From 1974 to 1999, Rev. Lawson was the pastor of the Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles.
Lawson returned to Vanderbilt as a distinguished visiting professor form 2006 to 2009. An endowed chair at the Divinity School was named in his honor in 2007.
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, recently announced the names of 59 college students from 52 U.S. colleges and universities who have been selected as 2018 Truman Scholars. The Truman Scholarship is the premier graduate scholarship for aspiring public service leaders in the United States.
The Truman Foundation was created by Congress in 1975 as the living memorial to President Truman. The Foundation’s mission is premised on the belief that a better future relies on attracting to public service the commitment and sound judgment of bright, outstanding Americans.
The 59 new Truman Scholars, mostly students who are completing their junior year in college, were selected from among 756 candidates nominated by 312 colleges and universities. They were chosen by sixteen independent selection panels based on the finalists’ academic success and leadership accomplishments, as well as their likelihood of becoming public service leaders.
Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government.
While the Truman Foundation does not provide data on the racial or ethnic make up of its scholars, after an analysis by JBHE, it appears that 10 of the 59 new Truman Scholars are Black.
Justin Edwards is a rising senior at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He is majoring in political science and economics. Edwards is the founder and president of the VISION Foundation in his hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana. He hopes to continue his education in law school.
Lamar Greene is a Gates Millennium Scholar from Richmond, Virginia, majoring in human health with a concentration in health innovation at Emory University in Atlanta. Greene plans to pursue a career in public health focused on community-based initiatives to promote health equity and improve the lives of low-income, Black people.
Michael Lowe is an undergraduate student at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, where he is majoring in political science with a minor in national defense. He serves as a cadet in the university’s ROTC program and as an infantryman in the Alaska Army National Guard. After graduation, Lowe plans to pursue a juris doctorate with a concentration in international law and security.
Anea Moore is a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania in her native Philadelphia. She is majoring in sociology and urban studies, with a concentration in law and a minor in Africana studies. Moore plans to pursue a juris doctorate and graduate degrees in education and public policy.
Taylor Morgan completed her third year at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. Morgan is majoring in sociology/anthropology with minors in Black studies and peace and conflict studies. She intends to pursue a joint J.D./Ph.D. in African American studies and philosophy.
Mohamed Nur, a native of Portland, Maine, is the son of Somali immigrants. He will be a senior at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where he is double majoring in government and Africana studies. Nur plans to pursue a law degree and a master’s degree in international conflict resolution and security policy.
Ella Oppong is a Ghanaian-American student studying bioengineering with a minor in global service at Union College in Schenectady, New York. She is overseeing the construction of a vocational school for orphaned students in Ghana with a Davis Projects for Peace grant. Oppong plans to pursue a medical degree and a master of public health degree.
Shakera Vaughan is a student at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where she is majoring in government and sociology. She spent her junior year studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. She plans to pursue a master of public administration degree, concentrating on local and state government management.
Nicholas Whittaker is studying philosophy at Harvard University. He is an opinion writer for the Harvard Crimson and a member of Harvard’s Black Community and Student Theater. Whittaker will pursue both a law degree and a Ph.D. in philosophy. He plans to work as an educator and activist dedicated on making academia more accessible and relevant to marginalized communities.
Alisa Winchester is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English at Delaware State University, a historically Black university in Dover. Currently enlisted as a soldier in the Delaware Army National Guard and the Reserved Officer Training Corps, her ambitions include earning a Juris Doctorate and serving as an attorney in the United States Army.
NASHVILLE, TN — Just in time for Mother’s Day week, James Shaw Jr. was honored in the presence of his parents Karen and James Sr. with a reception on Monday at Tennessee State University, his alma mater.
Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover, who helped honor Shaw with a scholarship in his name, said in a statement. “The TSU family is extremely proud of alumnus James Shaw, Jr. for his bravery and courage. His actions saved the lives of many others.”
Karen Shaw’s reaction to the public accolades from politicians, community leaders and media at even the national level was one of “amazement.”
“I spent some time just thinking about this in conversations with friends and my husband –what it is about this terrible event that caused this reaction – being in the news nationally and even internationally? My son’s life was spared and for that I am completely grateful. I believe with all of the ugliness going on in the world people just needed something good to hang onto,” said Karen Shaw.
“Whether your beliefs are spiritually based – that James was covered and protected by God, which is my belief, or that he has a higher calling – this has really brought our community, the state of Tennessee, maybe even the U.S. or globally – where people gather around one message – helping others to survive.”
But as a mother to James, she also has concerns along with her appreciation of the outpouring ofsupport. That outpouring has included $240,000 in donations to a GoFundMe campaign James started to help the families of the victims of the shooting, and appearances on national cable TV news. Shaw was honored at a Nashville Predators game, and, appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show where he met his sports hero Dwyane Wade who donated $20,000 to the GoFundMe Campaign and received another $20,000 from the show’s sponsor Shutterfly. The Steve Harvey Show announced it planned to send him on a trip to Barbados.
In the world of politics, James Shaw Jr. was honored with a resolution at the state capitol by Tennessee legislators the day after the shooting calling him a hero “twice over” and Vice President Pence called him a ‘national hero.’
Still Karen Shaw shows the steady focus of a mother for the long term health and well being of her son after the trauma of the initial event. “We are very appreciative of the attention and the opportunities that have come to James and are being offered to James. But at the end of the day, what I want is for my son’s emotional and mental health to be the same as it was on April 21st [the day before the Waffle House shooting].”
“When I saw him on CNN, I could see that he was re-living the event in his mind as he was talking about it. It is just unfair a stranger can come and ruin the lives of so many people and damage the lives of others who just happen to have been there. Not just for James but for anyone who was present.”
“We have some supports in place and we are doing our best to be sure he has the appropriate means and support. That’s the best Mother’s Day I can have – making sure he comes out of it as a healthy human being mentally and emotionally.”
Malachi Jones, the 17-year-old wunderkind who is heading to Columbia University this fall, has been awarded a Gold Medal Portfolio, the highest honor of the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards presented by the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.
The high school senior, who attends the Charleston County School of the Arts in Charleston, South Carolina, says he greeted the news, which he received by phone, with a “loud silence.”
“I felt like a siren was going off inside my head, but I was speechless,” Malachi is quoted as saying in a Charleston Chronicle article. “I had been submitting work to Scholastic since 7th grade, so it is insane to me to think an audience outside my family and peers wants to read and appreciate my work.”
Malachi has joined a prestigious group of former youth winners, now all household names, including Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Joyce Carol Oates, and Stephen King, according to the Post and Courier website.
None of them, however, have grappled in their writing with the constraints of race in the arresting way Malachi has. According to the Post and Courier, Malachi has rejected the trope of the stereotypical black man and instead chosen to forge his own way of being black in the world.
The article states, “Jones’s award-winning work—a collection of lyric essays and free-verse poems—revolves around his experience as a black teenager struggling with and finally coming to terms with his identity.
“In a poem titled ‘Pantoum for my Mother,’ Jones writes, ‘Stripped of my blackness, / uprooted by judgement. / I was never dark enough for you / or for the ones who called me whitewashed.’
“It’s about the questions and judgment he endures from both his white and black peers for not fitting the stereotypical ‘formula of a black male.’”
The University of Oklahoma has announced that it is recognizing educator and civil rights leader Clara Luper by naming the department of African and African American studies in her honor.
Known as the “Mother of the Oklahoma Civil Rights Movement,” Luper led a sit-in at the segregated lunch counter at the Katz Drug Store in Oklahoma City in 1958. She later led campaigns for equal rights in employment opportunity, banking, open housing, and voting rights.
David L. Boren, president of the University of Oklahoma, said that “we honor Clara Luper as a trailblazer for human rights and as a symbol of the university’s commitment to equal opportunity for all people.”
Clara Luper was born 1923 in rural Okfuskee County, Oklahoma. She graduated from an all-Black high school and then enrolled at historically Black Langston University in Oklahoma. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1944. She later earned a master’s degree in history education at the University of Oklahoma.
Luper taught history in high schools in Spencer, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma City for 41 years. She was the first African American vice president of the Oklahoma City Social Science Teachers Association and the first African American vice president of the Oklahoma County Teachers Association. Luper also hosted her own radio show for 50 years.
A state highway bears her name and the Clara Luper Scholarship Program has been established at Oklahoma City University. More on the life of this civil rights pioneer can be found in her autobiography Behold the Walls(1979).
In 1953 the Marshall Scholarship program was established by an act of the British Parliament. Funded by the British government, the program is a national gesture of thanks to the American people for aid received under the Marshall Plan, the U.S.-financed program that led to the reconstruction of Europe after World War II.
The scholarships provide funds for up to three years of study at a British university, travel, living expenses, and a book allowance. Since the inception of the program, more than 1,900 Americans have studied in the United Kingdom as Marshall Scholars.
This year 43 Marshall Scholarships were given out. While the British government does not publicize the race or ethnicity of Marshall Scholars, it appears that there are four African Americans among the 43 Marshall Scholars. The four African American Marshall Scholars are in sharp contrast to the record of 10 African Americans who were among the 32 American students awarded Rhodes Scholarships this year. (See JBHE post.)
Josephine Cook is a senior neuroscience and psychology double-major at Queens College of the City University of New York. She plans to complete a Ph.D. at either Imperial College London or Brunel University, focusing on how dance therapy can be used to rehabilitate neurological disorders. Upon completing the degree and returning to the United States, she hopes to open a clinic dedicated to arts therapy and neurorehabilitation.
Kobi Felton is a senior at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where he is majoring in chemical engineering and minoring in Spanish. He will pursue a master’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Cambridge beginning in fall 2018 and then a master’s degree in nanomaterials at Imperial College London in the second year of his Marshall Scholarship.
Aasha Jackson is a 2015 graduate of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. While at Brown, Jackson served as senior editor for the Brown Human Rights Report, a student-run online publication, and co-founded the university’s chapter of She’s the First, a national nonprofit that supports girls who will be the first in their families to graduate from high school. She is now serving as a policy associate in the Office of Population and Reproductive Health at the United States Agency for International Development. Jackson plans to use her Marshall Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in public policy at the University of Cambridge and a master’s degree in reproductive and sexual health research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Craig Stevens graduated from American University in Washington, D.C., this December with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. Currently, Stevens is an archaeological technician at AECOM, a civil engineering firm that employs archaeologists to assess construction sites prior to breaking ground. As a Marshall Scholar at University College London, he will study advanced techniques for analyzing ceramics and conducting mixed-methods research relevant to archaeological practice.
The latest group of U.S. Rhodes scholars includes 10 African Americans — the most ever in a single Rhodes class — as well as a transgender man and four students from colleges that had never had received the honor before.
The Rhodes Trust on Sunday announced the 32 men and women chosen for post-graduate studies at Oxford University in England. Among them: the first black woman to lead the Corps of Cadets at West Point; a wrestler at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who’s helping develop a prosthetic knee for use in the developing world; and a Portland, Oregon, man who has studied gaps in his hometown’s “sanctuary city” policy protecting immigrants in the country illegally from deportation.
“This year’s selections — independently elected by 16 committees around the country meeting simultaneously — reflects the rich diversity of America,” Elliot F. Gerson, American secretary of the Rhodes Trust, said in a news release announcing the winners Sunday. “They plan to study a wide range of fields across the social sciences, biological and medical sciences, physical sciences and mathematics, and the humanities.”The scholarships, considered by many to be the most prestigious available to American students, cover all expenses for two or three years of study starting next October. In some cases, the scholarships may allow funding for four years. The winners came from a group of 866 applicants who were endorsed by 299 colleges and universities. Four of the institutions had winners for the first time: Hunter College at the City University of New York; Temple University in Philadelphia; the University of Alaska in Anchorage; and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
The 10 African Americans in the class include Simone Askew, of Fairfax, Virginia, who made headlines in August when she became the first black woman to serve as first captain of the 4,400-member Corps of Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy — the highest position in the cadet chain of command at West Point. Askew, a senior, is majoring in international history, focused her undergraduate thesis on the use of rape as a tool of genocide and plans to study evidence-based social intervention at Oxford.
Cornelius Adewale, a doctoral student in the School of the Environment at Washington State University, has been selected to received the Bullitt Environmental Prize from the Bullitt Foundation. The prize, which comes with a $100,000 grant for continued research, is awarded to individuals who have “extraordinary potential to come powerful and effective leaders in the environmental movement.”
A native of Nigeria, Adewale’s research focuses on improving the environmental impact of agriculture. He hopes to develop methods to reduce chemical fertilizers but produce more food.
“Without food in their bellies, people have no time for anything else,” said Denis Hayes, CEO of the Bullitt Foundation. “Cornelius is working at the leading edge of research to find ways to produce more food, even as we fight climate change and dramatically reduce the use of pesticides.”
“I am trying to change the way we farm,” said Adewale.
The death of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson of Miami Gardens, FL, one of four soldiers killed Oct. 4 by ambush in Niger, wasn’t just another tragedy involving a constituent to U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson. So, she and her 5,000 Role Models of Excellence program decided to do something for Johnson’s survivors.
Wilson knew Johnson, his parents, his two kids and wife Myeshia Johnson, who is pregnant with their third child. Johnson hadn’t just gone through the 5,000 Role Models of Excellence program Wilson founded in 1993, he’d been a leader among leaders. Johnson’s cousins went into the program also, saying they were followed his example. Wilson couldn’t help but recognize the numeric parallel of Johnson being killed at 25 early in the program’s 25th school year. “He was a true role model,” Wilson said of the young man known as Wheelie King for his bicycle tricks before he enrolled in the Army.
While part of an advisory group in Niger, Johnson didn’t make it out of an attack the Department of Defense blames on The Islamic State. ISIS increasingly teams up with fellow extremist Islamic group Boko Haram, the terrorists in Wilson’s prime international cause, the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria. So, the 5,000 Role Models of Excllence program has established Role Model Army Sgt. La David Johnson Scholarship to ensure Johnson’s three children will have money for college.
A gofundme page has been set up for those who wish to contribute.