[video] Honda Battle of the Bands 2011

Nearly 60,000 fans packed the Georgia Dome this weekend to hear the eight bands taking part in the 9th annual Honda Battle of the Bands.

Campus Life

2009 State Champion commits to play football for Virginia State University

Thomas Dale High School senior and football standout Mike Dudley will still be able to go to his parents’ house to do laundry and enjoy home-cooked meals next year.

Dudley recently committed to play for Virginia State University, less than 10 miles from Dale’s J. Wilson Crump Stadium.

Dudley finished his senior campaign with 13 catches for 264 yards and six touchdowns. He also earned First-Team All State honors. He also played a vital role in the Knights’ dream run to the 2009 Division 6 state championship – a feat not many saw coming before the season.

The Knights knocked off nationally ranked Oscar Smith in the semifinal before defeating Lake Braddock 35-21 in the title match.

“You couldn’t ask for a better senior year,” Dudley said. “It was really surprising – nobody expected it – but it was probably one of the best feelings ever when we won.”

Dudley hopes the feelings of accomplishment and self-confidence will help yield results when he pulls on a Trojan jersey. He says he expects to start at either tight end or fullback as a freshman.

“I definitely don’t want to be the person who goes through college and doesn’t do anything,” Dudley said. “I at least want to start and get my name out there a little bit more than what it is now, especially being close to home.”

Dudley says he will major in criminal justice and hopes to excel as much in his career as he does on the football field. After college, he wants to work for the FBI or Secret Service.

“You should never doubt anybody because anything can happen,” Dudley said. “Especially in the game of football.”


VSU Drumline Performs in The White House

Campus Life

Ouch, they’re going in on twitter #welcometoVSU

Screen shot 2010-02-25 at 10.50.10 AM

This is one of the reasons twitter is so off the chain. Real time commentary on topics of interest across geography, time, age, etc. So the topics are sometimes harsh, sometimes wonderful. Today welcome to Virginia State U, where…

Campus Life

VSU: New vision for Ettrick takes shape

Crossing the Appomattox River on Campbell’s Bridge from Petersburg into Chesterfield County, past old mill smokestacks and towering concrete bridge foundations, is like entering a post-apocalyptic Mayberry.

There, the small village of Ettrick is a study in contrasts, boasting small-town charm alongside urban decay with a scenic, historic college — Virginia State University — atop the hill as its crown jewel and lifeblood.

“It’s got a real character to it,” said Thomas E. Jacobson, Chesterfield’s revitalization director. “But Ettrick — economically and in terms of physical conditions — is one of the areas of the county fighting blight.”

Transforming Ettrick into a vibrant college town will take time, money and imagination.

Along with residents and the help of Virginia State, Jacobson’s office is working to revitalize the village, starting with aesthetic and pedestrian streetscape improvements to the main thoroughfare, Chesterfield Avenue. Landscaping, road and right-of-way enhancements are planned in tandem with a gradual push for student housing, retail shops, restaurants and cafés for students and residents.

“Virginia State should have a college commercial area right on the edge of campus like most universities,” Jacobson said, noting that students now congregate at Southpark Mall in Colonial Heights, miles away.

Janice Johnson — a 30-year Ettrick resident, Virginia State graduate and mother of Cincinnati Bengals running back Rudi Johnson — agrees.

“There’s a lot of tradition here,” said Johnson, who grew up nearby in Chesterfield and now runs the Rudi Johnson Foundation, which helps disadvantaged people in the community. “It’s a pretty easygoing, quiet place where mostly everyone knows each other,” she said.

Johnson said she hopes the developing vision for the area will bring jobs and visitors.

“I guess the idea is that we would be like other college communities. However, everyone realizes Ettrick has some unique qualities that maybe some of those communities don’t have,” she said. “We have different needs and a different flavor.”


Little-known stories of black history in Virginia

Manassas, Va.—A new Manassas Museum exhibit, opening in time for Black History Month, will highlight 27 unique African American stories and events depicted on Virginia highway historical markers.

The exhibit, “Sites and Stories: African American History in Virginia,” illuminates the often little-known stories told in those familiar silver and black roadside historic markers found throughout the state.

Several biographies of prominent African Americans are included in the exhibit:

John Mercer Langston (1829-1897) was Virginia’s first African American congressman, serving one term for seven months in 1890. Born a free man in Louisa County, Langston graduated from Oberlin Col-lege before he became president of Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute (1885-1887) which is today known as Virginia State University.

William Mack Lee (1835-c.1930) served as Gen. Robert E. Lee’s valet and cook throughout the Civil War. He was with Lee at Appomattox and witnessed the surrender. After the war, Lee used money left to him by Gen. Lee to seek an education and in 1881 was ordained a minister.

James Leonard Farmer (1920-1999) was a major force in the civil rights movement, organizing the Free-dom Rides in 1961. The goal of the rides was to force compliance with court orders to desegregate inter-state transportation.

The exhibit also commemorates events and movements important to African American history:

n In August 1831, Nat Turner, an African American from Southampton County, rebelled against the institu-tion of slavery. He led a group of 70, that killed 60 white men, women and children in two days before armed civilians quelled the insurrection. Turner and about 30 of his followers were hanged after being tried and convicted.

n In 1951, students at the R. R. Moton School in Farmville, named after Tuskegee Institute President Robert Moton, boycotted classes to protest overcrowded conditions and inadequate facilities. The lawsuit, Davis v. Prince Edward County Schools, was one of the five cases decided jointly by the Supreme Court on May 17, 1954, when it held that separate schools for blacks and white were unconstitutional.

Virginia was one of the first states to launch a historical highway marker program. When the initial markers were erected in 1927, patriots, presidents, early homes and Revolutionary and Civil War sites were well represented.

The exhibit hopes to encourage visitors to travel to the physical sites of the markers. The exhibit and open-ing reception are included with admission.

Screen shot 2010-01-31 at 10.52.20 PM


Virginia State hall of famer Raymond “Coach” Crittenden passes away at 83

Screen shot 2010-01-26 at 8.09.16 PM

Raymond Celester Crittenden Jr., one of Virginia State’s most prolific players, died Monday of natural causes. He was 83.

At Virginia State College (now Virginia State University), Crittenden started every football and basketball game and lettered in football, basketball and track. He was also all-CIAA in football and basketball, and held a 10-year record for most points scored in a basketball game.

He was inducted into the Virginia State University Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Hampton Roads African-American Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

After getting his bachelor’s degree from Virginia State, Crittenden went on to a long career as a high school teacher, administrator, football coach and basketball coach from 1954-88.

The grandfather of former New England Patriots Raymond Crittenden IV, he was laid to rest Saturday in Newport News, Virginia.


Campus Life

Activist Angela Davis was Speaker at VSU’s Winter Commencement

PETERSBURG – The link between education and freedom was the thread in the commencement address by prominent civil rights activist Professor Angela Y. Davis at the 2009 Annual Winter Commencement Convocation at Virginia State University yesterday.

“Freedom is the most meaningful to those who have not always been able to enjoy it,” Davis told the 300 new graduates. “Education is the most important ingredient of freedom.”

With Davis as keynote speaker, VSU managed to have one of the most influential and internationally known social activists address the alumni. Davis is mostly known for her contributions to the civil rights and Black Power movements and human rights struggle in the late 1960s and early 1970s. She once made it on the top 10 list of America’s Most Wanted, but all criminal charges were later dropped.

For the past four decades, Davis has been a tireless fighter for racial justice, gender equality and gay rights. VSU President Eddie N. Moore Jr. called her a “living witness to and participant in historical struggles of the contemporary era.”

Davis reminded the audience that currently 2.3 million Americans are behind bars, most of them African-Americans. She offered education as a means to escape a life of crime and desperation. “We have one black man in the White House, but too many to count in the big house,” she said. “How will you use the knowledge acquired here to further the cause of freedom?”

Davis also told the alumni about their fortune to have graduated from VSU. “Think of how you have inherited your histories and how privileged you are to have attended this institution,” she said.