Tag: Macon

Mercer University Seniors Kyle Bligen and Jaz Buckley Make History as 1st African-American Team to Win NPDA National Debate Championship

Jaz Buckley and Kyle Bligen
NPDA Tournament Team Winners Jaz Buckley and Kyle Bligen (photo via news.mercer.edu)

by Kyle Sears via news.mercer.edu

Mercer University seniors Kyle Bligen and Jaz Buckley capped off their collegiate careers as the most decorated debaters in the University’s history on March 26 by winning the 22nd annual National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) National Championship Tournament at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

NPDA is the largest debate organization in the United States, with as many as 250 schools and colleges competing each year. At nationals, Bligen and Buckley defeated more than 45 competing institutions from traditional debate powerhouses such as Notre Dame, Rice and the University of California, Berkeley.

Together, they became the first African-American team to ever win NPDA nationals, nearly three years to the day that Buckley became the first freshman and first African-American to be named top speaker at the tournament.

“Using their own unique brand of debate, Jaz Buckley and Kyle Bligen became the first African-American team to win the NPDA National Championship Tournament. Additionally, Buckley, joining only a handful of women to reach the final round, became the first African-American woman to win this national title,” said Dr. Jeannie Hunt, president of NPDA and assistant professor of communication at Northwest College.

“This is a significant achievement for me, as a woman of color, but also provides much-needed representation for other women in this activity. While both students clearly have strong argumentation skills and implement successful strategies, their ability to frame the debate with a focus on social justice allows them to use their voice for something beyond winning tournaments. I look forward to seeing great things from this team as they move through life,” Dr. Hunt said.

“This is a national victory. This year, Mercer beat Emory, we beat Georgia Tech, we defeated UC Berkeley, we beat Rice and Notre Dame and Stanford, and defeated or outranked hundreds of different colleges and universities across the entire nation. In national parliamentary debate, only one school can be the best in the entire nation – that school is Mercer University,” said Dr. Vasile Stanescu, assistant professor of communication studies and director of debate at Mercer.

“This victory is not only national, it is also historic. In the entire history of the NPDA, among the thousands of debaters who have competed, not a single all African-American team has ever won nationals. This is a ‘first’ in the history of debate, and it is a ‘first’ that will forever belong to Mercer University.”

Individually, Bligen, a politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) major from Peachtree City, was named fourth-place speaker, and Buckley, a political science and women’s and gender studies major from Columbus, was named fifth-place speaker.

Source: https://news.mercer.edu/seniors-kyle-bligen-jaz-buckley-make-history-as-first-african-american-team-to-win-npda-national-championship/

BLACK HISTORY: Sarah Bailey Center in GA Named for Leader Who Organized Black Girl Scout Troops in 1940s

Educator and Missionary Sarah Bailey (photo via blackamericaweb.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Sarah Randolph Bailey, born 1885 in to freed slaves, was a longtime educator and missionary who saw the value in troubled young girls and volunteered her time to provide guidance.

After earning her teaching degree and working at a rehabilitation and detention center for girls in Macon, Georgia, Bailey had the vision to organize young women for the Young Women’s Christian Association’s (YWCA) Girl Reserves group.

In 1935, Bailey gathered informal groups of Black girls and started giving them the opportunity to learn life skills and lessons, much like their white counterparts in the Girl Scouts. After organizing some 15 Girl Reserve troops in Georgia, Girl Scouts, U.S.A. took notice and invited Bailey to organize the first Black Girl Scouts troop in Macon. (The Girl Scouts started integrating troops in 1913 and the first African-American troop formed in 1917.) Bailey’s group was formally introduced as official Scouts in 1948.

“I shall be rewarded on Earth according to the way I’ve lived. To me, a healthy body, sound mind, and equal opportunities mean more than wealth; and happiness and success are the products of our gifts to the world and of our fairness and sincerity to ourselves and others.” — Sarah Randolph Bailey

Bailey was also named the chairwoman for the Macon Girl Scout’s Central Committee and earned the “Thanks” badge, the Scouts’ highest honor given to an adult. In 1961, a permanent campsite was named in her honor. She also worked as a district and council leader before passing in 1972. In 1994, The Macon Girl Scouts Center was renamed the Sarah Bailey Service Center. She was also the subject of a dedicated exhibit at Macon’s Tubman Museum in 2014.

A video about Bailey’s life and service to helping shape and empower young women can be seen here.

Original source: Little Known Black History Fact: Sarah Bailey | Black America Web

Five African-American Museums to Visit in the U.S.

Black culture is found all across the country. Whether you’re in the rolling fields of the Midwest or the quiet back roads of the South, here are five inexpensive (or free) museums that feature art, music, and culture from the African diaspora.

experience.com
California African American Museum (photo via experiencela.com)

WEST 

What: California African American Museum

Where: Los Angeles, CA

How much: Free

This museum is home to some of the most fascinating exhibits of African and African American culture. Check out Toward Freedom: A Photo Exhibition of the Beta Israel Community in Israel and the Ethiopian Community in Los Angeles, photojournalist Irene Fertik’s images of Ethiopian communities establishing themselves in Israel and Los Angeles. Or, view The African American Journey West: Permanent Collection, which features art and artifacts that show the African American journey from the shores of Africa to America’s western frontier. Wherever your interests are, this museum is sure to have something that’ll satisfy your intellectual craving.

wttw.com
DuSable Museum of African American History (Photo: wttw.com)

MIDWEST

What: DuSable Museum of African American History  

Where: Chicago, IL 

How much: $10 

This museum is a crux in Chicago’s black community. Home to several after-school programs, the museum has a history of engaging with the community on current topics. Current popular exhibits include Freedom, Resistance, and the Journey Towards EqualityRed, White, Blue & Black: A History of Blacks in the Armed Services, and The Freedom Now Mural.

wikipedia.com
Buffalo Soldiers Museum (Photo: wikipedia.com)

SOUTHWEST

What: Buffalo Soldiers Museum

Where: Houston, TX

How much: $10 

The Buffalo Soldiers Museum has one of the most highly-curated museum collections of black soldier life. Founded in 2000 by a Vietnam veteran and African-American military historian, it’s currently the only museum primarily dedicated to the African-American veteran experience. Check out the memorabilia, fine arts collection and videos here.

grouptravelleader.com
Tubman African-American Museum (Photo: grouptravelleader.com)

SOUTHEAST

What: Tubman African American Museum

Where: Macon, GA

How much: $10  

This museum, which calls itself an “educational adventure through time,” houses one of the most diverse collections of African-American historical artifacts in the country. Currently, visitors can see areas such as Folk Art, the Inventors Gallery, and a special area for Black Artists of Georgia.

timeinc.net
Museum of African American History (Photo: timeinc.net)

NORTHEAST

What: Museum of African American History

Where: Boston, MA

How much: $3

This museum — which is the 1834 African American Meeting House — has both rotating and permanent exhibits on local African-American history. The Black Books exhibit examines the historical and cultural implications of forbidding enslaved Africans to read or write. It also traces the evolution and recovery of their written voices. You can also see the Abiel Smith School, the first public school built to educate black children.

article by Kayla Stewart via blavity.com