Taraji P. Henson and Pharrell Williams Offer Multiple Free Screenings Of ‘Hidden Figures’

Taraji P. Henson and Pharrell Williams (photo via essence.com)

article by Paula Rogo via essence.com

Taking a cue from Octavia Spencer, both Taraji P. Henson and Pharrell Williams have bought out screenings of Hidden Figures at movie theaters in Virginia, Georgia, Illinois, Texas and Washington D.C. on Sunday.  Spencer paid for a free screening of the critically-acclaimed film earlier this month, saying that her own mother would not have been able to afford to take her and her siblings.

Henson, who plays the lead role as NASA physicist and mathematician Katherine Johnson, was inspired to do the same in Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, and of course, her hometown of Washington D.C. On Instagram, she said she was moved by Spencer and “similar actions taken by so many of YOU across the country.” Anonymous donors have been buying out whole screenings.

To see full article, go to: Taraji and Pharrell Offer Multiple Free Screenings Of ‘Hidden Figures’ | Essence.com

Darlene Pitts, 57-Year-Old Grandmother of 12, Earns Bachelor’s Degree From HBCU Norfolk State University

Grandmother graduate Darlene Pitts (photo via hbcubuzz.com)

article by Tommy G. Meade Jr. via hbcubuzz.com

A 57-year-old grandmother of 12 who admitted that college “was a rough four years” graduated from  Norfolk State University, a historically black college or university, alongside hundreds of students this past Saturday.

Darlene Pitts is a hardworking woman in pursuit of higher education living in Norfolk, Virginia. During her time at college, she was working two jobs. But she had to “Quit her job at a Kroger grocery store and focused on her schoolwork and her job as a special education teaching assistant at a local high school,” after she discovered that she was placed on academic probation.

Pitts told The Virginia-Pilot that “I came to work in tears because I got a letter saying I was on academic probation.” “Some of the classes, they were really rough,” Pitts added. “I was ready to throw in the towel. I just wanted to call it quits, but I just hung in there.”

Pitts will graduate from NSU with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and hopes to become a full-time special education teacher as well as probably continue her career as a student.

To read full article, go to: 57-Year-Old Grandmother Earns Bachelor’s Degree From An HBCU | HBCU Buzz

Civil Rights Pioneer and Activist Julian Bond Honored by University of Virginia With an Endowed Chair

US President Barack Obama shakes hands with former NAACP chairman Julian Bond (L) during the NAACP 100th Anniversary convention in New York, July 16, 2009. (Photo credit SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama shakes hands with former NAACP chairman Julian Bond (L) during the NAACP 100th Anniversary convention in New York, July 16, 2009. (Photo credit SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

article via jbhe.com

The University of Virginia has announced that it is creating an endowed professorship to honor the late Julian Bond. Professor Bond, who was a civil rights pioneer and led the NAACP for 12 years, taught at the University of Virginia for 20 years. As a student at Morehouse College, Bond was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He later served as the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center and was a member of the Georgia State legislature for 20 years.

The Julian Bond Professorship of Civil Rights and Social Justice has been endowed with more than $3 million by 350 alumni and supporters. Ian B. Baucom, the Dean of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia notes that ““Julian Bond worked tirelessly to ensure civil rights were extended to all Americans. The Bond Professorship will help us attract the faculty talent we need to continue the civil rights education work that Julian Bond championed throughout his life.”

Teresa A. Sullivan, president of the University of Virginia, added that “Julian Bond made significant contributions to the University of Virginia, teaching thousands of our students while serving as a mentor and role model for all of us. As a driving force for social change for more than a half-century, he had an extraordinary impact on our University, our community and our nation.”

Nat Turner’s Alleged Skull Returned to Great-Great-Great-Great Granddaughters After 185 Years

Shanna Batton Aguirre, a fourth generation descendant of Nat Turner, holds a box containing what some believe is Turner’s skull. (PHOTOGRAPH BY JED WINER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC)

article by Justin Fornal via news.nationalgeographic.com

PUBLISHED OCTOBER 7, 2016: A small group gathered today in a hotel suite on the outskirts of Gary, Indiana. The nine formally-dressed guests joined hands while standing around a table containing only a white box. Reverend John Jackson of Trinity United Church of Christ started the prayer.  “Eternal God, we are gathered here today to honor you, and to honor the legendary liberator, emancipator of the enslaved, and revolutionary of righteous, the Reverend Nathaniel Turner.”

The gathering’s 83-year-old host, Richard Gordon Hatcher, who served as Gary’s mayor from 1968 to 1987, planned the event at which a skull alleged to be Turner’s was turned over to his descendants.   The guests of honor, Shannon Batton Aguirre and Shelly Lucas Wood, both great-great-great-great granddaughters of Turner, flew in from Washington D.C. to accept the remains.

In 1831, after receiving what he believed to be prophecies from God, Nat Turner led the bloodiest slave revolt in American history. Accompanied by a small army of his brethren, the group fought their way through the countryside of Southampton County, Virginia, with hopes of ending the scourge of slavery. When the bloodletting ended, more than 55 whites lay dead.

The local militia quelled the uprising within 48 hours, but Turner managed to elude his pursuers. After two months he was captured, tried, and on November 11th, he was hanged from a tree in the town of Jerusalem, now Courtland, Virginia. It is here that the facts surrounding Turner end and speculation and lore begin. (Read about Turner’s complex legacy.)

Many stories have circulated about the fate of Turner’s remains after his hanging. Several versions claim that he was flayed, quartered, and decapitated before his torso was finally buried in the local pauper’s cemetery. His skull and brain were then sent away for study.

During the recent filming of the National Geographic Studios documentary Rise Up: The Legacy of Nat Turnerthere were frequent discussions with descendants and historians about the fate of Turner’s remains. Several had heard reports or read newspaper articles stating that the skull had been donated to former mayor Hatcher at a 2002 charity gala for the Civil Rights Hall of Fame, a museum project Hatcher has long championed.

To read full article, go to: After 185 Years, Nat Turner’s Alleged Skull Returned to Family

Old Dominion University Professor Tim Seibles Named Virginia’s Poet Laureate

Virginia Poet Laureate Tim (photo via mosaicmagazine.com)

Virginia Poet Laureate Tim Seibles (photo via mosaicmagazine.com)

article via jbhe.com

Tim Seibles, professor of English at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, was named poet laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia by Governor Terry McAuliffe. Professor Seibles teaches in the master of fine arts in creative writing program at Old Dominion.

Professor Seibles joined the faculty at Old Dominion University in 1995. He was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2012 for his collection Fast Animal (Etruscan Press, 2012).

Professor Seibles is a graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He taught for 10 years in the Dallas public school system before earning a master of fine arts degree in creative writing at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier.

Official Trailer for “Hidden Figures” Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae Debuts During Olympics

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

The trailer for “Hidden Figures”, the Fox 2000 drama starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst and Jim Parsons, directed by Theodore Melfi, with original music from Pharrell Williams, debuted last night on NBC during the women’s gymnastics individual event finals at the Rio Olympics.  In case you missed it – watch it here and mark your calendars – the movie will go into wide release on January 13, 2017.

The film, based on the upcoming book by Margot Lee Shetterly, is the true story of the black female mathematicians who worked at NASA in the 1960s and helped put John Glenn into orbit.  To learn more about the movie and the history, click here.

Professors Estella Atekwana and Nikki Giovanni Honored With Major Awards

Estella_Atekwana

Estella Atekwana (photo via africanaokstate.edu)

article via jbhe.com

Estella Atekwana, Regents Professor and director of the Boone Pickens School of Geology at Oklahoma State University, received the Outstanding Educator Award from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. Professor Atekwana joined the faculty at Oklahoma State in 2008.

Dr. Atekwana holds bachelor’s and master’s degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She earned a Ph.D. at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Nikki Giovanni (photo via kholioli.org)

Nikki Giovanni (photo via kholioli.com)

 

Nikki Giovanni, University Distinguished Professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been selected to receive the 2016 Literary Lifetime Achievement Award from the Library of Virginia.

She is the author of many collections of poetry, children’s books, and works of nonfiction. Professor Giovanni will be honored at ceremonies in Richmond in October. Past winners of this award include Edgar Allan Poe, Tom Wolfe, Booker T. Washington, and John Grisham.

Professor Giovanni has been teaching at Virginia Tech since 1987.  She is a graduate of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.