Baroness Valerie Amos has been appointed master of University College at Oxford University in England. When she takes office on August 1, she will be the first woman master of University College and the first Black person to lead any college at Oxford University, according to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.
Earlier in her career, Baroness Amos was the first Black woman to sit in the British cabinet as Secretary of State for International Development. She became Leader of the House of Lords and served as the United Kingdom’s High Commissioner to Australia.
Born in Guyana, Amos earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Warwick and a master’s degree in cultural studies from the University of Birmingham. She was given the title of Baroness Amos of Brondesbury in 1997.
A coat of arms created for the Duchess of Sussex that reflects her Californian background has been unveiled. It includes a shield containing the color blue, representing the Pacific Ocean, and rays, symbolising sunshine. The duchess worked closely with the College of Arms in London to create the design, Kensington Palace said. The lion supporting the shield relates to her husband, the Duke of Sussex, and dates back to the House of Stuart’s ascent to the throne in 1603.
The songbird supporting the shield on the right relates to the Duchess of Sussex. Traditionally wives of members of the Royal Family have two – one of their husband’s supporters on the shield and one relating to themselves. Beneath the shield is California’s state flower – the golden poppy – and Wintersweet, a flower that grows at Kensington Palace and was also depicted on the duchess’ wedding veil. The three quills illustrate the power of words and communication.
The duchess has also been assigned a coronet bearing fleurs-de-lys and strawberry leaves.
Garter King of Arms Thomas Woodcock, who is based at the College of Arms said: “The Duchess of Sussex took a great interest in the design. Good heraldic design is nearly always simple and the Arms of The Duchess of Sussex stand well beside the historic beauty of the quartered British Royal Arms.”
“Heraldry as a means of identification has flourished in Europe for almost nine hundred years and is associated with both individual people and great corporate bodies such as cities, universities and, for instance, the livery companies in the City of London.”
Coats of arms date back to 12th Century and were traditionally worn over armour in tournaments so participants could identify their opponents.
The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University has announced the eight winners of this year’s Windham-Campbell Prizes in the fields of fiction, nonfiction, drama, and poetry. Each winner will receive a $165,000 prize at an international literary festival at Yale in September.
Four of the eight winners of this year Windham-Campbell Prizes are Black. Three have ties to academic institutions in the United States.
Lorna Goodison, a winner of a poetry prize, is a professor emerita at the University of Michigan, where she served as the Lemuel A. Johnson Professor of English and African and Afro-American studies. She currently serves as poet laureate of the nation of Jamaica. Professor Goodison has published 13 collections of poetry including Supplying Salt and Light (McClelland & Stewart, 2013).
John Keene, a professor of English at Rutgers University-Newark is the recipient of a Windham-Campbell Prize in the fiction category. He is the author of the short story collection Counternarratives (New Directions, 2015) and the novel Annotations (New Directions, 1995). Professor Keene received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a master of fine arts degree from New York University.
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, a native of Uganda who now lives in England, won a prize in the fiction category. Her debut novelKintu (Transit Books, 2014) tells the parallel stories of the fall of a cursed bloodline—the titular Kintu clan—and the rise of modern Uganda. Dr. Makumbi earned a Ph.D. in African literature from Lancaster University in England. She has taught creative writing at several universities in the United Kingdom.
Suzan-Lori Parks won an award in the drama category. She is a professor of creative writing at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Parks is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. She is a former MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award” winner. Professor Parks was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for her play “Topdog/Underdog.” In addition to her plays, Parks is the author of the novel Getting Mother’s Body(2003).
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.
article via jbhe.com (additional reporting by Peggy Terry)
Recently, the Rhodes Trust announced the 32 American winners of Rhodes Scholarships for graduate study at Oxford University in England. Being named a Rhodes Scholar is considered among the highest honors that can be won by a U.S. college student.
The scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, an industrialist who made a vast fortune in colonial Africa. According to the will of Rhodes, applicants must have “high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor.”
This year, about 2,500 students applied to be Rhodes Scholars. More than 880 students were endorsed by 311 college or university for consideration for a Rhodes Scholarship. Some 230 applicants were named finalists. Then, two Rhodes Scholars were selected from each of 16 districts across the United States. The Rhodes Trust pays all tuition and fees for scholarship winners to study at Oxford. A stipend for living and travel expenses is also provided.
In 1907 Alain LeRoy Locke, later a major philosopher and literary figure of the Harlem Renaissance, was selected as a Rhodes Scholar to study at Oxford University. It would be more than 50 years later, in 1962, until another African American would be named a Rhodes Scholar. Other African Americans who have won Rhodes Scholarships include Randall Kennedy of Harvard Law School, Kurt Schmoke, former mayor of Baltimore, and Franklin D. Raines, former director of the Office of Management and Budget and former CEO of Fannie Mae. In 1978 Karen Stevenson of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the first African-American woman selected as a Rhodes Scholar.
The Rhodes Trust does not publicize the race or ethnicity of scholarship winners. But it appears that this year seven of the 32 Rhodes winners are African Americans. This is the most African American Rhodes Scholars in history.
Following are brief biographies of the African American winners:
Cameron D. Clarke is a senior at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He is the fourth Howard student to win a Rhodes Scholarship. Clarke is majoring in community health education and biology. He is the news editor of the student newspaper at Howard and serves as an intern for the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology at the U.S. House of Representatives. Clarke plans to study for a master’s degree in primary health care at Oxford.
Aryn A. Frazier is a senior at the University of Virginia, where she is double majoring in politics and African American and African studies. Frazier is president of the Black Student Alliance at the university. Frazier, a resident of Laurel, Maryland, plans to study for a master’s degree in comparative politics at Oxford.
Christian E. Nattiel from Madeira Beach, Florida, is a senior at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. At West Point, Nattiel is double-majoring in mathematical sciences and philosophy and is a member of the academy’s handball team. At Oxford, Nattiel will study for master’s degrees in comparative social policy and public policy.
Olivia A. Klevorn is a senior at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. A native of Chicago, Klevorn is majoring in anthropology. At Yale, Klevorn is the director of the Heritage Theatre Ensemble and president of a student-run poetry association. She will study for a Ph.D. in socio-legal studies at Oxford.
Aaron C. Robertson of Redford, Michigan, is a senior at Princeton University in New Jersey. He is majoring in Italian and focuses his research on Afro-Italian literature. At Princeton, he is the co-editor-in-chief of the Nassau Literary Review. Robertson plans to pursue a master’s degree in modern languages at Oxford.
Ahmed M. Ahmed is a biology major at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He is a resident of Rochester, Minnesota. His research is focused on the development of new synthetic strategies for producing polymers. He is the son of immigrants from Somalia. Ahmed will study for a master’s degree in organic and medical chemistry at Oxford.
Caylin L. Moore is a member of the football team at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. A resident of Carson, California, Moore is majoring in economics at TCU. He was raised in poverty and was homeless. His father was convicted to a life sentence for murder. Moore is the founder of an organization of student athletes who encourage children from disadvantaged groups to attend college. He will study public policy as a Rhodes Scholar.
Caylin Moore sat in the rare books room at the Los Angeles Public Library on Saturday evening, his heart beating out of his chiseled chest, awaiting the news that could change his life forever.
Earlier that afternoon, Moore, a senior safety on the Texas Christian University football team, had interviewed for a Rhodes Scholarship, one of the world’s most prestigious academic honors. He was one of 14 finalists competing for two awards in District 16, which covers Southern California, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. The winners — and 30 more honorees from the country’s 15 other districts — would go on to study for two years at Oxford University in England.
And while Moore, a 2011 Children’s Defense Fund Beat the Odds honoree, 2014 Fulbright Summer Institute Scholarship awardee and recent Rangel Scholarship recipient, felt optimistic about his chances, the rest of the room felt at least as good about theirs.“While everyone else is talking and bragging about what they had done, I just sat there quietly,” Moore told FOX Sports this week, recalling the tense three-hour wait between the end of his grueling interview and the announcement of the winners.
“And when they’d ask questions to compare themselves to me, I would just kind of keep it short because I didn’t feel it necessary to do that.“I think half the people that were there, they kind of slept on me,” Moore continued. “They didn’t see me as a threat. They probably just thought I was there for charity.”
If such misguided suspicions did exist among the other finalists, one could understand why.
A child of poverty, Moore is the second of three children, raised in a single-parent home in a gang-ridden neighborhood of Carson, California, and for parts of his life he shared a bed with his mother, Calynn, his big sister, Mi-Calynn, and his younger brother, Chase. His father, Louis Moore, was abusive, Moore’s mother says, both before and after she left him in 2000, when Caylin was 6.
Nine years later, Moore’s dad was arrested for the murder of his then-girlfriend, and in 2012, he was convicted and sentenced to 50 years to life in prison. But there’s far more to Moore’s story than simply using football to escape his own rough neighborhood and hard-luck circumstances. An economics major pursuing minors in mathematics and sociology, Moore carries a 3.9 grade point average and is on track to graduate in May.
While at Marist College, where he played quarterback for three seasons, Moore worked as a janitor. After transferring to TCU, Moore founded an outreach program called S.P.A.R.K. (Strong Players Are Reaching Kids), in which Moore and his Horned Frogs teammates visit elementary schools in disadvantaged Fort Worth neighborhoods, stressing the importance of education.
Paul Beatty’s novel “The Sellout,” a blistering satire about race in America, won the Man Booker Prize on Tuesday, marking the first time an American writer has won the award.
The five Booker judges, who were unanimous in their decision, cited the novel’s inventive comic approach to the thorny issues of racial identity and injustice.
With its outrageous premise and unabashed skewering of racial stereotypes, “The Sellout” is an audacious choice for the judges, who oversee one of the most prestigious awards in literature.
“The truth is rarely pretty, and this is a book that nails the reader to the cross with cheerful abandon,” Amanda Foreman, the head of the judging panel, said at a press briefing in London before the winner was announced. “It plunges into the heart of contemporary American society.”
At a ceremony in London, Mr. Beatty said that writing “The Sellout” had taken an emotional toll.
“It was a hard book for me to write; I know it’s hard to read,” he said. “I’m just trying to create space for myself. And hopefully that can create space for others.”
A raucous tragicomedy that explores the legacy of slavery and racial and economic inequality in America, the novel felt deeply resonant at a moment when police violence against African-Americans has incited protests around the country and forced Americans to confront the country’s history of racism.
In a review in The New York Times, Dwight Garner wrote that the novel’s first 100 pages read like “the most concussive monologues and interviews of Chris Rock, Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle wrapped in a satirical yet surprisingly delicate literary and historical sensibility.”
Venus Williams was all smiles, and even giggled a little as she defied expectations and earned a spot in the Wimbledon semifinals in London today, beating unseeded 28-year-old Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6 (5), 6-2.
Immediately after her match on Court No. 1, her sister Serena Williams ran through Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight-sets 6-4, 6-4 to book her 10th Wimbledon semifinal.
As the announcers have mentioned at every turn, Venus is the eldest player in the tournament at age 36. Advancing to the Wimbledon semis at this age and with her health history is an accomplishment she also acknowledges as special.
“You can’t always have this big moment. If you’re Serena Williams, then I guess that happens a lot, but as Venus Williams this is an awesome day,” Venus said in her post-match interview.
Venus’s next opponent will be No. 4 Angelique Kerber, also a straight-sets winner today over No. 5 Simona Halep 7-5, 7-6 (2).
Before Venus could take her victory walk off the court, mom Oracene and the family were hustling over to Centre Court to catch the beginning of Serena’s match. It stayed fairly even through the first eight games, with no break points earned. Then Williams broke Pavlyuchenkova at 4-4 in the 2nd, and served out the match with ease.
“It’s good, I’m excited to get through. It felt really good,” she said after the match. Asked when she learned during warmups that Venus had won, Serena said: “I knew Venus was up, and then they showed the [final] score, and I was like: yay!”
On possibly facing Venus in the finals, Serena says they’re not even discussing that scenario. “We’re actually playing doubles today, and regardless, we’re just happy to play in the semi-finals. Obviously I want her to win so bad. I desperately want her to win if I’m not there [in the final].”
Serena moves one step closer to step closer to tying Steffi Graf’s open era record of 22 grand slam titles. Her next opponent will be Russia’s Elena Vesnin.
As Stevie Wonder so aptly put it in his 1976 tribute to the 20th-century pioneers of sound, “Sir Duke”: “Music is a world within itself / With a language we all understand / With an equal opportunity / For all to sing, dance and clap their hands.”
Sir David Robert Jones, aka “Ziggy Stardust”, aka “The Thin White Duke”, but most commonly known around the world as David Bowie, fully understood and embodied the language of this universality, and connected with audiences around the world, no matter what genre he chose to explore. Some of his greatest commercial success came from his exploration of R&B music (“Young Americans”, “Fame”, “Golden Years”, “Under Pressure,” “Let’s Dance”), but his musical life was one of constant change and innovation, which made this unique singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, arranger, painter and actor a prominent, global figure in popular music for over four decades.
According to the New York Times, Bowie’s last album, “Blackstar,” a collaboration with a jazz quartet that was typically enigmatic and exploratory, was released on Friday — his birthday. He had also collaborated on an Off Broadway musical, “Lazarus,” which was a surreal sequel to the 1976 film that featured his definitive screen role, “The Man Who Fell to Earth.”
Bowie wrote songs, above all, about being an outsider: an alien, a misfit, a sexual adventurer, a faraway astronaut. His music was always a mutable blend — rock, cabaret, jazz and what he called “plastic soul” — but it was suffused with genuine soul. Bowie, in turn, influenced many of today’s prominent R&B, soul, pop/rock and hip-hop artists, (remember Queen Latifah’s collab on the “Fame ’90” redux?) many of whom are already honoring him:
Last month, GBN published a post via jbhe.com on four African-American women who won Rhodes Scholarships to study at the University of Oxford in England. But in addition to the 32 Americans who are awarded Rhodes Scholarships each year, students from other countries that were part of the British Commonwealth are also awarded the prestigious scholarships.
Prince Abudu, a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, was awarded one of the Rhodes Scholarships given to students from Zimbabwe. Abudu is the fourth student from Morehouse College to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship.
Abudu grew up on a rural farm in Zimbabwe. He is majoring in computer science at Morehouse. When he travels to Oxford next fall, Abudu will pursue a master’s degree in computer science and an MBA.
Abudu said that “I’m blessed and excited. This would not have been possible without the support of my family in Zimbabwe and the new family I have been favored with at Morehouse College. This is an opportunity that I have dreamed of all my life.”