Campus Life

Ronald W. Walters, scholar, activist, author and professor at Howard University dies of cancer

Ronald W. Walters, one of the country’s leading scholars of the politics of race, who was a longtime professor at Howard University and the University of Maryland, died Friday of cancer at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda. He was 72.

Dr. Walters was both an academic and an activist, cementing his credentials with his early involvement in the civil rights movement. In 1958, in his home town of Wichita, he led what many historians consider the nation’s first lunch-counter sit-in protest. Later, he became a close adviser to Jesse L. Jackson as one of the principal architects of Jackson’s two failed presidential campaigns.


Spirituality or religion?

A new poll from LifeWay Research found that 72 percent of Millennials — those 18 to 29 years old — call themselves spiritual but not religious. And while 65 percent of those surveyed called themselves Christians, they rarely pray, read the Bible or go to church.


Consuela Lee, Jazz Pianist and Educator, Dies at 83

Consuela Lee, a jazz pianist who fought to establish an arts school for children in rural Alabama on the grounds of the moribund academy founded by her grandfather, died Dec. 26 in Atlanta, where she had lived since 2007. She was 83.

Her death was confirmed by her daughter, Monica Moorehead; her mother had Alzheimer’s disease, she said.

Ms. Lee was a classically trained pianist who recorded distinctive arrangements of compositions by Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin and others, playing in a style influenced by the likes of Mary Lou Williams and Art Tatum. She studied music at Fisk University in Nashville and Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and had a long career teaching theory and composition at historically black colleges including Alabama State University, Hampton Institute (now Hampton University), Talladega College and Norfolk State University.

By the late 1970s Ms. Lee had returned to her hometown, Snow Hill, just south of Selma, Ala., determined to awaken the legacy of her grandfather William J. Edwards.

In 1893, armed with a degree from Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute, Edwards had founded a log-cabin school in one of Alabama’s poorest areas. . By 1918 the school, known as the Snow Hill Institute, owned 24 buildings on more than 1,900 acres and had between 300 and 400 students pursuing both academic subjects and vocational training. Edwards retired a few years later, but the school survived until 1973.

Ms. Lee’s notion was to resurrect the spirit of her grandfather’s enterprise by creating a performing arts school for local black children. For the right to open the school, she negotiated with the Wilcox County Board of Education, which operated the buildings on a 10-acre tract of the former campus that is owned by the state. What became known as the Springtree/Snow Hill Institute for the Performing Arts opened in June 1980, running daily after-school music programs and summer programs for nearly a quarter-century.

Consuela Edmonia Lee was born in Tallahassee, Fla., on Nov. 1, 1926, but grew up mostly in Snow Hill, graduating from the Snow Hill Institute. Her father, Arnold W. Lee, was a cornet player and the band director at Florida A & M University. Her mother, Alberta G. Lee, was a classical pianist and teacher.

“When I got to Fisk, and this was the odd thing about black colleges, they didn’t want us to play jazz, which they thought quite a cut below Bach, Beethoven and Chopin and the boys,” Ms. Lee told The New York Press in 2001. “They wanted us to concentrate on the Europeans. Of course we’d play jazz anyway.”


Fisk and TSU work to save historic HBCU photos

We spotted this on the Fisk University Blog.  Keep up the good work!

As part of the HBCU Library Photograph Preservation Summit, the libraries of Fisk and Tennessee State Universities have gathered to learn and practice techniques in the preservation of archival films and images during the HBCU Photograph Preservation Project Workshop on November 10-12 in the John Hope and Aurelia Elizabeth Franklin Library.

During the workshop, the library staff of both universities have participated in discussions and demonstrations involving surface cleaning, rehousing and handling motion picture film, as well as flattening, constructing and housing panoramas.


[HBCU Sports] Fisk Approved for NAIA Membership

Nashville – Fisk University has confirmed a previous announcement that it has been approved for membership in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Fisk will sponsor men and women’s basketball in 2008-2009 and is immediately eligible for regular and postseason play. The University’s first competition will be with Lemoyne-Owen College in Memphis, Tennessee on November 1.

“Fisk University and the NAIA have a strong commitment to the character development of student athletes though emphasis on the shared values of integrity, service, and leadership,” said Fisk University Director of Athletics Dr. William Head.

The University’s reunion with the NAIA is estimated to save the University nearly $175,000 per year.

Nearly 300 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada have membership in the NAIA. Along with Philander Smith College, Southwestern College and Walla Walla University, Fisk is one of four institutions of higher learning that received NAIA membership this fall.

“These institutions share the NAIA’s commitment to high standards and to the principle that participation in athletics serves as an integral part of the total education process,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “The NAIA looks forward to working with these new members to advance character-driven intercollegiate athletics.”

Fisk’s previous membership in the NAIA occurred from the mid 1950s through 1975.