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Mavericks, Money, and Men: The AFL, Black Players, and the Evolution of Modern Football

Posted on: May 3rd, 2016 by erabadie

Mavericks bookBy Charles K. Ross, professor of history and director of African American Studies
Temple University Press, 2016

The American Football League, established in 1960, was innovative both in its commitment to finding talented, overlooked players—particularly those who played for historically black colleges and universities—and in the decision by team owners to share television revenues.

In Mavericks, Money and Men, football historian Charles Ross chronicles the AFL’s key events, including Buck Buchanan becoming the first overall draft pick in 1963, and the 1965 boycott led by black players who refused to play in the AFL-All Star game after experiencing blatant racism. He also recounts how the success of the AFL forced a merger with the NFL in 1969, which arguably facilitated the evolution of modern professional football.

Ross shows how the league, originally created as a challenge to the dominance of the NFL, pressured for and ultimately accelerated the racial integration of pro football and also allowed the sport to adapt to how African Americans were themselves changing the game.

REVIEWS

“Although other writers have explored the history of the American Football League, Mavericks, Money, and Men is the most extensive treatment of the league to date. Linking the history of the AFL with a number of key developments in American society and culture, Ross skillfully synthesizes an array of personal memoirs with a wide range of compelling anecdotes. Archival materials also illuminate the internal workings of the AFL. Mavericks, Money, and Men is a valuable narrative history that captures key moments in the development of the nation’s most popular sport.”
—Gregory Kaliss, author of Men’s College Athletics and the Politics of Racial Equality

“[T]he emergence of the American Football League (AFL) created an excitement unmatched in professional sports…. Ross focuses on the league’s recruitment of black players from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) such as Grambling State, Florida A&M, and North Carolina Central…. [Ross] aptly documents the evolution of the current NFL and how the integration of professional football paralleled the social integration of American life. VERDICT An important chapter in U.S. racial history of the 1960s. Recommended for all collections.”
—Library Journal

Dr. Ross is the author of Outside the Lines: African Americans and the Integration of the National Football League (NYU Press, 2001) and the editor of Race and Sport: The Struggle for Equality On and Off the Field (University Press of Mississippi). 

New Museum Collection Features Poetry and Photos

Posted on: March 3rd, 2016 by erabadie

Reading at gallery to feature contributing poets, photographer

MARCH 2, 2016  |  BY STAFF REPORT

This photograph is among the images in the collection, which will be on display through June 25 at the University Museum.

This photograph is among the images in the collection, which will be on display through June 25 at the University Museum.

The newest exhibit at the University of Mississippi Museum is a collaboration of poetry and photography inspired by Langston Hughes’ award-winning poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” and the museum is hosting a special reading Thursday (March 3) to celebrate it.

“Of Rivers: Photography by Young Suh, Poetry edited by Chiyuma Elliott and Katie Peterson” features 11 poems accompanied by photographs that interpret them. It runs through June 25 in the museum’s Lower Skipwith Gallery.

Derrick A. Harriell, assistant professor of English and African American Studies

Derrick A. Harriell

The museum is partnering with the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and its 23rd Oxford Conference for the Book, for a poetry reading at 3:30 p.m. Thursday (March 3) in the gallery. Many of the poets who contributed to “Of Rivers,” including Jericho Brown, Chiyuma Elliott, Derrick Harriell, assistant professor of English and African American Studies, and Katie Peterson, as well as photographer Young Suh, will participate in the reading, which is free and open to the public.

The reading will be followed by an opening reception from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

“Almost 100 years after it was written, Hughes’ ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers’ still inspires writers to think about how to live and what to do,” said Rebecca Phillips, the museum’s coordinator for membership, exhibits and communication. “‘Of Rivers’ invites the viewer to be part of that conversation. It invites them to discover and contemplate – and hopefully also delight in – some of the new creative work that responds to this famous and important poem.

The exhibit started when organizers asked eight poets of differing styles and sensibilities to write something in response to Hughes’s 1921 poem. The participating poets are F. Douglas Brown, of Los Angeles; Jericho Brown, of Atlanta; Katie Ford, of Los Angeles; Rachel Eliza Griffiths, of Brooklyn, New York; Derrick Harriell, of Oxford; Dong Li, of Nanjing, China and Stuttgart, Germany; Sandra Lim, of Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Michael C. Peterson, of Cincinnati.

Suh, of Cerrito, California, was asked to visually respond to all the poems.

“What you experience in the gallery is the result of this collaboration: a literary and visual call and response,” Phillips said.

Because the artists featured in the exhibit can take for granted that readers and viewers know the relationship with the Hughes poem exists, some of their work foregoes explicit signals of connection, she said.

“Most of the poems and photographs have some things in common: they are specific, personal and idiosyncratic, not magisterial, or mythic or universal. These creative responses to Hughes focus on the unruly facts of the world. They are shape-shifting – sometimes autobiographical – narratives that begin with a big problem and tend to resist closure.”

The University Museum, at the intersection of University Avenue and Fifth Street, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more information on upcoming exhibitions and events, visit http://museum.olemiss.edu and follow the museum on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

UM Students, Staff Lead Community MLK Day of Service Events

Posted on: January 15th, 2016 by erabadie

Volunteers gathering to conduct food drive and promote wellness

JANUARY 11, 2016  |  BY EDWIN SMITH

Donald Cole will deliver the keynote address. | Photo by Robert Jordan/ Communications

Donald Cole will deliver the keynote address. | Photo by Robert Jordan/ Communications

MLK Day 2016 graphicUniversity of Mississippi students and staff will be spearheading efforts to promote healthy lifestyles in Lafayette County and Oxford during 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Day observances.

The opening ceremony for the Lafayette-Oxford-University MLK Day of Service begins at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 18 at the Oxford Activity Center. Program participants include Oxford Mayor George “Pat” Patterson and Lafayette County Board of Supervisors President Jeff Busby. Donald Cole, assistant provost, special assistant to the UM chancellor for multicultural affairs and associate professor mathematics, will deliver the keynote address.

Afterward, awards will be presented to four outstanding LOU volunteers in two categories. Community member recipients are Patrick Alexander and Jacqueline Certion, both of Oxford; and Judith Thompson of Abbeville. Faith Meyer of Oxford is the student recipient.

“It is exciting that University of Mississippi students and staff are choosing to make a difference in the lives of others,” said Kacey Schaum, assistant dean of students for leadership and involvement. “Volunteering builds communities and strengthens relationships. To have our students take opportunities to participate in endeavors like these is amazing.”

Other activities scheduled are:

Jan. 4-15 – a letter-of-appreciation writing campaign for civil rights leaders John Perkins and Charles Evers. Also, “I Have a Dream” art project. Participating schools include Oxford-University School and Lafayette High School.
Jan. 16 – Delta Service Corps VISTA is sponsoring a canned goods drive for the UM Food Bank, Pantry and Love Packs. Drop-offs may be made between noon and 4 p.m. at CVS, Larson’s Cash Saver and Walgreen’s.
Jan. 18 – Ole Miss athletics/UPD-sponsored “Dream Team” 5-K wellness walk/fun run. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Oxford Activity Center. The first 50 participants to register get free T-shirts.
Jan. 18 – Volunteer projects at the Veterans Home in Oxford.
Jan. 18 – Sorting of food collected during the food drive.

“Learning the larger history surrounding civil rights and MLK is important, but we see a need to educate our students about living leaders who made great movements right here in Mississippi,” said Sara Baker, co-coordinator of the letter-writing campaign. “We hope to give proper gratitude to local leaders. We hope to educate students on the civil rights movement here in Mississippi and give them a local, current perspective about the continuous issue.”

Community participation is crucial to the success of the service observance, said Sarah Ball, Volunteer Oxford director.

“This national day of service honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and commitment to transforming our nation through service to others,” Ball said. “The LOU MLK Day of Service offers community members a chance to engage in a variety of volunteer opportunities that are designed to give back to the community.”

Patrick Elliot Alexander, assistant professor of English and African American Studies.

Patrick Elliot Alexander, assistant professor of English and African American Studies.

An assistant professor of English and African American Studies at UM, Alexander created a Prison-to-College Pipeline Program for inmates at Parchman Penitentiary. He is also volunteers with the Rethinking Mass Incarceration in the South Conference.

Thompson is a UM assistant professor of teacher education. A lifelong volunteer, she has been involved with the Boys and Girls Club, CREATE Foundation, Leap Frog, Lafayette County School Board and other groups. She is chair of the LOU Excel by 5 Steering Committee, a community-based project that strives to improve the quality of life for children ages 5 and younger.

Jacqueline Certion, FASTrack academic advisor

Jacqueline Certion,
FASTrack academic advisor

A senior academic adviser for the UM FASTrack Program, Certion started a free summer program for tutoring students in math and reading. She is also involved in the Boys and Girls Club, Sigma Gamma Rho sorority and other organizations.

A sophomore from Austin, Texas, Meyer is involved in Kappa Delta sorority at UM. She chaired its Personal presence, Attitude, Communications skills and Enlarging our world committee and worked with Prevent Child Abuse America and the Girl Scouts.

For more information about LOU MLK Day of Service events, contact Ball at volunteer@oxfordms.net or Schaum at krschaum@olemiss.edu.

Historian’s Grant Preserves Rare Documents

Posted on: December 10th, 2015 by erabadie
Salau

Bashir Salau, associate professor of history

BY EDWIN SMITH

When carefully studied, historic discoveries sometimes can yield useful insights into modern societal problems. But without access to the artifacts from past eras and cultures, the valuable lessons they teach may be lost.

In efforts to preserve archival holdings related to northern Nigeria, a University of Mississippi historian is leading a service project that will both promote further academic research and provide the public with access to rare documents from the region’s pre-colonial era.

Bashir Salau, associate professor of history, heads the Northern Nigeria: Pre-colonial documents preservation scheme. Using a grant awarded by the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme and sponsored by the Arcadia fund, Salau has spent time in the region copying the materials, which will be kept secure in National Archives Kaduna as well as the British Library and other suitable repositories.

“The documents targeted by this project are stored in the National Archives Kaduna,” Salau said. “I visited this archive for the first time in the late 1980s while working on my B.A research essay on the history of the textile industry in the Kaduna region of northern Nigeria. I noticed that many records in the archive in question are in deplorable conditions.”

Since completing his essay, Salau has returned to Kaduna several times and understands that most of the materials are in such bad state because of wear and tear from repeated use and other factors. Targeted antiquities to be photographed include Arabic and Hausa materials from the late 18th century to the British colonial conquest, 1897-1903. Early colonial papers ranging from 1897 to around 1920 are also included.

“The materials are subject to exceptional vulnerability because of their considerable overuse by students and researchers,” Salau said. “This project seeks to digitally copy the materials in line with the standards endorsed by the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme so as to enhance public access to these remarkable documents.”

The approximately $15,500 awarded for the three-month project covers the costs of Salau’s travels, laptops and digital cameras for use by his team, compensation for five research assistants/consultants engaged in copying materials and other miscellaneous expenses.

UM administrators expressed great enthusiasm over Salau’s work.

“The award of a prestigious British Library Endangered Archives Programme grant for Dr. Salau’s international scholarship is another validation of his important work,” said Glenn Hopkins, dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

BashirSalaubook

Palgrave/MacMillan Press (2011)

Joseph Ward, associate professor and chair of history, is particularly supportive of his colleague’s endeavors.

“Given our state’s strong historical connection to West Africa, this is a wonderful opportunity for us to partner with Nigeria through Dr. Salau’s preservation efforts,” Ward said. “In so doing, we will help Nigerians reconnect with their past as well as assist American students in learning more about African history.”

The materials form an important part of human culture and heritage, and are of value to anyone interested in the unique culture and history of the African past.

“The unique documents in Hausa and Arabic are important because they document the social, economic and political history of the Sokoto Calipate, which was the largest 19th century Islamic empire in West Africa,” Salau said. “Also contained within these materials are the early years of British colonial rule in northern Nigeria, when many features of Caliphate economy and society were researched by colonial officials.”

The materials are also valuable because they detail colonial policy formation and demonstrate the extent to which officials understood Islam, slavery and unfree labor in what had been the Sokoto Caliphate, he said. The British colonists tried to shape colonial northern Nigeria through reform of Caliphate institutions, a technique used successfully during slavery in the pre-Civil War United States.

“The materials are of value to historians of Africa in general, because such resources deal with labor, culture, intellectual history and inter-group relations in the African pre-colonial era. Such documentation is relatively scarce,” Salau said.

A graduate of York University in Canada, Salau specializes in African and African diaspora history. He teaches “Introduction to African history,” “The history of Africa since 1800,” courses on Islam in Africa and the history of slavery in Africa. His research explores the history of slavery in 19th and early 20th century West Africa, specifically the use of slaves on plantations.

VIDEO: Dr. Salau discusses his latest book, The West African Slave Plantation

Adam Gussow Finds Many Ways to Teach Blues Culture

Posted on: December 10th, 2015 by erabadie

Professor, music scholar and professional musician blends life experience with academic expertise

BY DENNIS IRWIN

Adam Gussow

Adam Gussow

In the mastering room at the Dial Back Sound Recording Studio, the struggles of creation reverberate from the egg crate walls.

Those walls were engineered to deliver pure sounds to inspire musicians and remind them of reasons they came together and wrote songs, or why guitar riffs invoke emotions or why, for a solitary moment, the blues could be understood from the whistle of a harmonica.

Grooving through that mastering room was the duo Satan and Adam’s first studio session in 1990. It featured melodies developed on the streets of Harlem from two different cultures that combined to create a unified sound. The blues duo Satan and Adam still exists, although in a lesser capacity than the late 1980s and early ’90s.

More than 20 years later, Adam, or Adam Gussow, is an associate professor of English and Southern studies at the University of Mississippi.

His unusual blend of expertise as professional blues musician and scholar of blues culture is why he is such a natural fit at UM. The New York native is not a blues discographer; rather, a scholar of blues culture and a scholar of blues literature.

“I’m fascinated by the way the blues is about the tension between old times and modernity,” Gussow said. “My own approach to the blues was shaped by the fact that I played with an unusual musician (Sterling Magee, aka Mr. Satan).”

His life experience has made him comfortable in any environment. His self-appointed charge, to maintain an honest dialogue about things such as race, encourages students to explore culture and differences with the hope they take something more out of it.

“I think college classrooms are one of the few places in our society where we can come together as a group of people and explore the more challenging aspects of what it means to be who we are,” Gussow said.

One of his current teaching ventures is a class called “Freedom Summer 1964: Mississippi’s Civil Rights Watershed.” The course explores Mississippi’s Freedom Summer experience and the civil rights movement through text, histories, memoirs, fiction, film and song.

Opening the minds of students in a university classroom is not the only place to hear one of Gussow’s lessons. He remains a blues musician. He has many YouTube videos, in which he not only teaches blues harmonica to anyone in the world via the Internet, but he also teaches the culture behind the music. Gussow acts as a professor to all who know his name and want to share in his vast knowledge.

“If you are willing to be uncomfortable and authentic, you might end up, at the end of the process, less afraid and have more clarity about how you actually fit into the world, and how people around you are seeing themselves,” Gussow said.

Furthermore, his solo album, “Kick and Stomp,” released in 2010 and produced in Oxford, was recently picked up by United Kingdom recording studio Right Recordings. The label plans to distribute it throughout the UK and Europe.

So Gussow may get another chance to tour, and at 55 years old, he could become Britain’s latest “American Invasion.”

Professor Betty Crouther Receives IHL Award

Posted on: December 10th, 2015 by erabadie

UM art historian named diversity educator

Trustee Shane Hooper, Dr. Betty J. Crouther, Associate Professor of Art, Dr. Morris Stocks, Provost, and Trustee Aubrey Patterson, President of the Board of Trustees.

Trustee Shane Hooper, Dr. Betty J. Crouther, associate professor of art, Dr. Morris Stocks, Provost, and Trustee Aubrey Patterson.

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning held its 2015 Diversity celebration by recognizing campus and community leaders for the impact they have made in advancing diversity and encouraging understanding and respect.

The Board honored faculty from each of Mississippi’s public universities for advancing diversity at their institutions. The honoree at the University of Mississippi is Dr. Betty J. Crouther, associate professor of art.

Professor Crouther teaches courses in the history of art covering chronological periods in early modern, African, and American art history.

She has published articles in the International Review of African American Art, SECAC Review, and MUSE that focus primarily on iconography and African American art. She has chaired and co-chaired sessions and presented papers at the Southeastern College Art Association and the College Art Association conferences, James A. Porter Colloquium and American Visions Symposium. Dr. Crouther has attended professional development seminars in India, Ghana, and New York City. In 1994 she received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Southeastern College Art Conference.

Professor Crouther holds a bachelor’s degree in art education from Jackson State University, Mississippi, a Master of Fine Arts degree from The University of Mississippi, and the Ph.D. in art history from the University of Missouri. She has taught at Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Missouri, Jackson State University, Mississippi, and is Associate Professor at the University of Mississippi.

Read about the other 2015 IHL awardees>>

Ethel Young-Minor, Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher

Posted on: December 10th, 2015 by erabadie

April 11, 2012 | By Dane Moreton, The Daily Mississippian

Ethel Young-Minor, associate professor of English and African American studies

Ethel Young-Minor, associate professor of English and African American studies | Photo by Alex Edwards/The Daily Mississippian

Ethel Young-Minor, associate professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Mississippi, was the recipient of the Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a current faculty member.

DM: How did it feel to be named the teacher of the year?
Ethel Young-Minor: Being named the Elsie Hood Teacher of the Year for 2011 was an incredible honor. There are a lot of amazing professors at UM who change students’ lives and make their marks in diverse disciplines. I can’t imagine how the committee can choose to honor one. I am thankful that my students thought enough of me to write letters over the years and more thankful that the committee saw something meaningful and valuable about the work I carry out in the classroom.

DM: What did/does it mean to you?
EYM: As a professor, it was especially nice to feel that my work is honored and respected by my peers. I am still surprised by how much it means to other people. It will always have positive meaning in my life. It is the one award on campus that seems impossible to earn, so I am humbled to be included in the list of prestigious recipients who preceded me.

DM: Are there any perks to receiving the award?
EYM: Yes, I received a monetary award from the university and my name was placed on a plaque in the UM library. I am thankful that my children and grandchildren will be able to walk past that plaque and remember that my life had meaning to people who came through UM.

DM: Why did you begin teaching?
EYM: Teaching is one of the most amazing ways to stay in contact with younger generations. I am passionate about literature and love having the opportunity to help other people see how literature can enhance their lives. I also love teaching writing because it empowers students. They gain skills that can help them advance in many skills when they sharpen their ability to articulate ideas, communicate with diverse audiences and sustain logical arguments.

DM: Will you be speaking during convocation? If so, what is the basic idea you would like to impress upon your audience?
EYM: I am speaking at convocation and would like to remind students that they are gifted with certain skill sets so that they can enhance the lives of other people. I hope to remind them of the importance of servant leadership, community action and continued personal growth.

Celebration of Achievement Honors Minorities, People of Color

Posted on: December 9th, 2015 by erabadie

Annual event begins at 5:30 p.m. May 8 in Tad Smith Coliseum

APRIL 30, 2015  | BY EDWIN SMITH

2014 Celebration of Achievement. Photo by Joe Worthem/Ole Miss Communications

2014 Celebration of Achievement. Photo by Joe Worthem/UM Communications

As part of University of Mississippi’s Commencement activities, the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement is honoring more than 230 minority graduates who have excelled during their tenure as students.

The annual Celebration of Achievement is set for 5:30 p.m. May 8 in Tad Smith Coliseum. The free event is open to the public.

“This event is an opportunity for family, friends and the university community to come together and honor graduating students of color and other underrepresented populations,” said Courtney Pearson, a graduate assistant and program co-coordinator. “Each honoree is invited to have an escort who will have the privilege of presenting them with a medal that honors their achievements here. We would like to increase the number of attendees that come out and support these graduates that are being honored.”

Program participants include Brandi Hephner Labanc, vice-chancellor for student affairs; Valeria Ross, associate dean of students; Charles Ross, associate professor of history and director of the African American Studies program; Donald Cole, special assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs and associate professor of mathematics; and Julia Bussade, instructor in Spanish and Portuguese for the Department of Modern Languages.

Chase Moore, former director of the UM Gospel Choir and associate director of the Student Activities Association, will sing the university alma mater. Student reflections will be given by Camila Versaquez, president of the Latin American Student Organization, and Briana O’Neil, president of the Black Student Union.

Begun by Valeria Ross years ago, the Celebration of Achievement program has become very meaningful to students who have been honored.

“To a first-generation college student coming from a family who thought they would never be able to afford to put their child through college, the Celebration of Achievement ceremony means everything,” said Cedric Garron of Winona, a 2014 recipient. “As a minority student, my decision to attend the University of Mississippi was questioned by my community, my classmates and sometimes by my friends. For an extended period of time I began to doubt my own choice, but I entered in the fall of 2009 with very high hopes.”

Garron said his tenure at UM was never a perfect, stress-free journey.

“I struggled academically and socially during my freshman and sophomore year, but with the help of the amazing faculty and staff members I was able to eventually fill out the first of hopefully many degree applications,” he said.

As graduation approached, Garron found himself thinking of how he wasn’t going to be recognized as an honor graduate or be the person wearing multiple cords from those prestigious honor societies so many of his classmates had joined. What he did have to look forward to was the Celebration of Achievement ceremony.

“Seeing how proud my mother was to escort me to the front of hundreds of my fellow minority graduates and place a medal of achievement around my neck created an indescribable amount of emotion,” he said. “We as a family were able to take a minute to reflect on just how large of an accomplishment my graduation was. Celebration of Achievement was not only a chance to celebrate my success, but the success of hundreds of my brothers and sisters in the Ole Miss family. That is a memory I will cherish forever.”

For more information, contact the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement at 662-915-1689 or inclusion@olemiss.edu.

Faculty Profile: Charles K. Ross, Director of African American Studies

Posted on: December 9th, 2015 by erabadie

February 27, 2011 |  By Rachael Walker, The Daily Mississippian 

Charles Ross, director of the African American Studies and associate professor of history

Charles Ross, director of the African American Studies and associate professor of history | Photo by Rachael Walker

Charles Ross, director of the African American Studies department and associate professor history at the University of Mississippi, never dreamed that football would inspire his thesis.

Raised in Columbus, Ohio, Ross studied history at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Following his undergraduate program, Ross returned to Ohio. Unsure of what he wanted to do, he spent almost two years working for the federal government before returning to academics.

He completed a master’s degree in black studies, a second master’s in history in 1992 and completed his doctorate on African Americans in sports in 1996 at Ohio State University.

“My professor asked me who was the first professional football player,” Ross said. “I didn’t know, and I decided I wanted to find out.”

This led him to the story of Charles Follis, the first black professional football player who played for the Shelby Blues in Ohio from 1902 to 1906.

His study inspired Ross to publish two books in this field.

His first book “Outside the Lines: African-Americans and the Integration of the National Football League” was published in 2001. He followed it with “Race and Sport: The Struggle for Equality On and Off the Field” in 2006.

It is clear that sports are one of his genuine passions, both in and out of the lecture hall.

“Franco Harris was one of the players involved in ‘The Immaculate Reception’ play in the 1972 playoff game, a phenomenal play,” Ross said. “I have been a Steelers fan ever since.”

Sports aside, Ross made a name for himself in the world of academia and became the director of the African-American studies department in 2003.

“I didn’t think that I would end up in an administrative position,” Ross said. “I stumbled into the position, but it has worked out well for me.”

Since his time as director, the African American Studies department has started a B.A. program, recruited new faculty members, and developed new courses. It continues to expand, with ten to twelve students currently majoring in African American Studies.

“As the department grows, there is a strong possibility of a graduate program in the future,” Ross said. “We are the only institution in Mississippi that offers a bachelor’s program in African American Studies, and we hope to expand this.”

Ross said that the South as a region has a lot of potential. While it has a turbulent racial history, Ross feels that people are more open in the South.

“The North is not as honest as the South about racial animosity and problems,” Ross said. “People assume that there are not the same problems as there are in the South.”

While he is aware that it is hard to get away from his identity as a northerner, Ross calls the South his home.

“The positives outweigh the negatives,” Ross said of the adjustments he has made moving from Columbus to Oxford. “There are things I do on a daily basis here, such as leave my car running at the store in the morning, which I would not do in Columbus.”

On a personal level, he hopes to be able to do more teaching and further his research in the future.

“The opportunity to challenge young people and to discuss historical perspectives and issues and how society has evolved — I get a lot of enjoyment from that,” Ross said.

On an institutional level, Ross hopes that the University will continue to makes positive progress in the way it represents itself to black students.

“The University of Mississippi is a state institution,” Ross said. “It has the responsibility to all students, faculty and staff to promote symbols that are not interpreted in a negative way. The University needs to make a positive step because of its past. If it does not, it will restrict potential and growth.”

Faculty, Staff, Students Join MLK Day of Service

Posted on: December 9th, 2015 by erabadie
Marvin King, associate professor of political science and African American Studies

Marvin King, associate professor of political science and African American Studies

University of Mississippi students and staff are leading efforts to improve living conditions in Lafayette County and Oxford during 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Day observances.

The Lafayette-Oxford-University MLK Day of Service opening ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 19 at the Oxford Activity Center. Program participants include UM Dean of Students Melinda Sutton, Oxford Mayor George “Pat” Patterson and Lafayette County Board of Supervisors President Jeff Busby. Marvin P. King Jr., UM associate professor of political science and African American Studies, will deliver the keynote address.

The senior fellow at UM’s Residential College South, King received his doctorate in political science from the University of North Texas after earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He has co-authored or authored publications on racial polarization in the electorate, representation of the black electorate, and the effect of race in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. King teaches undergraduate courses in Introduction to American Politics and African American Politics, and an undergraduate and graduate course in Politics of the American South.

Following King’s speech, three awards will be presented to outstanding LOU volunteers in student and community categories. Honorees include Victoria Burgos of Oxford, a UM student who implemented a pilot composting program on campus; Barbara Wortham of Oxford, GED program instructor at the Oxford School District Learning Center; and Matt Gaw and Mari Susan Massey of Oxford, United Way volunteers.

Other activities scheduled during the day include a service fair featuring representatives from local nonprofits and organizations, a book drive for local correctional facilities, a letter-of-appreciation writing campaign for three area civil rights leaders and activities at five local assisted living facilities.

“It is exciting that University of Mississippi students and staff are choosing to make a difference in the lives of others,” sad Coulter Ward, assistant dean of students for leadership and involvement. “Volunteering builds communities and strengthens relationships. To have our students take opportunities to participate in endeavors like these is awesome.”

UM staff involved in planning of MLK Day of Service events expressed enthusiasm about participating in such a worthy cause.

“Learning the larger history surrounding civil rights and MLK is important, but we see a need to educate our students about living leaders who made great movements right here in Mississippi,” said Haley Kesterson, coordinator of the letter writing campaign. “We hope to give proper gratitude to local leaders. We hope to educate students on the civil rights movement here in Mississippi and give them a local, current perspective about the continuous issue.”
Campus participation is crucial to the success of the observance, said Sarah Ball, director of Volunteer Oxford.

“This national day of service honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and commitment to transforming our nation through service to others,” Ball said. “The LOU MLK Day of Service offers community members a chance to engage in a variety of volunteer opportunities that are designed to give back to the community.”

A recreation administration major, Burgos was awarded a $3,000 grant from the UM Green Fund for the pilot composting project, followed by an additional $5,234 grant to continue and expand it. She has also volunteered at Habitat for Humanity and Camp Lake Stephens, a United Methodist Church facility.

A two-time recipient of the Learning Center Teacher of the Year award, Wortham is the Lafayette County Adult Basic Literacy Education program coordinator. Through her work with the GED Prep course at Burns United Methodist Church, she has helped an estimated 100 people obtain their GEDs.

Working together, Gaw and Massey were the first to assist local non-profits with fundraising, donating equipment and countless hours of volunteer time. Their work has been essential in the building of Lafayette County’s first Born Learning Trail in Avent Park.

For more information about LOU MLK Day of Service, contact Coulter Ward at jcward@olemiss.edu or Sarah Ball at volunteer@oxfordms.net.