Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Hidden Post

so this post never published and has hidden in cyber space for months..... ooooohhhh
So I've not survived an appartment move and got my internet hooked up and ready to go. So here goes what I've missed (or my best attempt at recollecting relevant info).

Dean of Students Ed Willis has decided to leave U of M. I am not sure 100% if his resignation will be a big blow to students, but he has been known sometimes to really support students of color. However, it should be noted that Willis' resignation comes behind Rackham's Dean Earl Lewis' exit. Both Lewis and Willis are African-American men and U of M's recent loss of deans (Education, Public Health, etc.) have occured among mainly women and faculty of color. The U will have some serious scrutiny if those positions are filled like President Coleman's VP cabinet (chock full of White males). Food for thought.

The Emmett Till case is being re-opened. If you don't know Emmett Till's name beyond the Kanye West Song- Through the Wire, "scared as hell that her guy look like Emmett Till," you should read this article which discusses some of the allegations against Till and the trial where two White men were found not guilty. The re-opening of the Till case will likely do more for the moral conscious of race relations in the US than actually administer justice. Till's mother, before her passing, was an strong advocate for civil rights and against the death penalty. So is justice delayed justice at all?

Okay, it's 2004 and allegedly TN Rep. Frank Buck didn't know wetback was a racial epithat, come on! Sadly, other folks in TN also think that Buck made an accurate assessment of things.

We are now literally right around the 50 year annniversary of the Brown v. Board of Ed decision. Here are a number of resources on understanding the case and it's ramification. Brown is credited with the legal end to "separate but equal" doctorine solidified by Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). The first is a book list published by Africana. The second resource is a conversation between Cornel West and Henry Louis Gates from the NY Times (you'll need to log into the Times to see it). The third is an interview with Derrick Bell on the anniversary of the Brown Decision. The fourth is a newsweek article that lays out the lineage of the case and the contemporary reality of things.

In closing, we lost a tremendous author in Gloria Anzaldua at the age of 61. I remember her for her book of collected poetry which featured "The Bridge Poem" by Donna Kate Rushin. I encountered Anzaldua's writing in high school and learned what a pen could really be used for. RIP.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Marcus Dixon case overturned

The Marcus Dixon ruling of aggravated child molestation, which he was convicted for after having consensual sex with another white female high school student, was overturned this morning. The Dixon case has captured national attention, rightfully so, and displays the nature of institutional racism in the US court system. The overturning of the decision is a good beginning.
It's been a long time.... since I've last left you: there have been no new wars (that's actually a surprise), a failed Black Scholar House, my dissertation idea blasted out of water, packing for a move and the graduating of a tremendous group of seniors. So I'll tell you about the stuff that you probably care about, you know the Black stuff happening at Michigan ;)

The Black Scholar House was conceived by Dhani Jones, a U of M Alum and current Philadelphia Eagle. While at U of M (1996-2000) Dhani was a member of the Alphas and one of the co-founders of HEADS. Upon my arrival, immediately after Dhani's departure, I was told about the "Scholar House." The Scholar House was to be a place of residence and academic excellence. A place where Black students, as it was told to me- Black males, who were serious about erudition would be located, an unprecedented occurrence at U of M. We all know the Trotter House is certainly less than what it needs to be- to say the least. I remember this was one of the things that I looked forward to as a new member of HEADS and a new member of the Black Community. Over the years, the discussion of the house faded from conversation, but I always waited to hear anything about it. Having never met Dhani, I gathered info second and third hand. During the month of March, word came down that Dhani was looking to close on a house near campus for this Black Scholar House. I immediately went over to take a look at it, didn't get to go in, but it was really nice from the outside. The day that was talked about for all details to be finalized was May 1. Well somewhere between the end of March and May 1, a lot of issues arose.

To be as objective as possible, the interests of a number of folks came into play: campus organizations, teams, personal interests, and Dhani's interests as a landlord. The end result is best summarized in the letter below that Dhani recently sent to be distributed to the Black Community at U of M. One day Dhani, we will carpe diem...

Dear Students:
I appreciate you all attending the mass meeting last Monday April 19,
2004 about the Black Scholar House. Taking time to understand the
dynamic of the campus, the students, the community and after pondering
over the discussions and some of the issues that were brought to light
at this meeting I have decided to postpone my purchase of the property of the
Black Scholar House, and put my efforts and energy into laying a solid
foundation for my vision for the house. Your suggestions have
prompted me to put together a student, faculty and staff advisory panel that
will help to shape and sustain my vision for the house. Also, I am researching
the house's relationship to the University with respect to resources and
facility management issues. In addition, I will be pursuing outside financial
resources in order to have an endowment set up for the house so that
it will be able to be maintained throughout the years.

I really want to take the time now and just let you know how much I
appreciate your feedback. This is a growing process for both you and
I, and I am looking forward to giving back to a campus community that
I love. It is important that this process is done right and I will not
cut corners, because I want this house to endure. I will be
contacting students in the future in order to get your input on
different ideas that we might want to see come into fruition in the
Black Scholar House.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me
at ########## Thank you again in advance for your understanding and
support of the Black Scholar House. I know that a dream such as this
needs students to believe, but what it also needs is direction and
support which takes time.

Warm regards,

Dhani Jones

Carpe Diem...

Carpe Diem...

Besides the Scholar House, the Black Community also held the annual Black Celeb. For all who do not know, this is not the Black graduation, this is a celebration of U of M's Black graduates. Graduation happens earlier in the day, simple idea...okay, let's move on. While graduates were having their names called, Philip Morgan did something that has never been done, he proposed marriage to his girlfriend on stage. Congratulations.