Serving Tennessee State University and the Nashville Community Since 1950

Author: Shayla Simmons

Annual Women of Legend and Merit Awards Mar. 21

Annual Women of Legend and Merit Awards Mar. 21

By Leona Dunn, News Editor The 10th annual Women of Legend and Merit Awards ceremony will be held March 21, at 7 pm in the Tennessee State University Gentry Complex. Actress Vivica A. Fox will be the evening’s special guest and entertainment provided by Angela […]

Taylor’s Success Gained by Time at Tennessee State

Taylor’s Success Gained by Time at Tennessee State

By Christina Young Staff Writer Neysa Taylor, former Meter Editor at Tennessee State University and the current  Director of Communications at the Tennessee Department of Corrections, came to visit and discussed her time as a student here at Tennessee State University and how her passion […]

North Nashville History Preserved on the Plaza

North Nashville History Preserved on the Plaza

By Lavenia Chappel
NASHVILLE, TN — Originally a footpath from the Cumberland River to the Hadley Plantation, Jefferson Street was once known as one of America’s best known districts of jazz, rhythm and blues. It served as the home to artists such as Little Richard, Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, Pats Domino and Memphis Slim.
 “This was the only place black folks could find logic and enjoy themselves without being Jim Crowed,” said Dr. Learotha Williams, Professor of African American History at Tennessee State University.
 What was known as the “Golden Era,” ended in the 1960s once the construction of Interstate 40 segregated the community, he said.  “The construction was used in a way to display a poor population; hundreds of businesses were wiped out and tons of families and homes were displaced,” Williams said.
In 2012, Williams assisted in an attempt to restore the origins of the community. His goal was to turn to something new but not forsake the past. “Kwame Lillard gave me a tour of Nashville and that’s when I came up with the idea to create a project that will get the community interacting with each other and also pass on relevant information continuously,” Williams said.
 A celebration on Sept. 28 of that year unveiled his creation, the “Jefferson Street Gateway to Heritage” project, a pedestrian plaza that commemorates the African American history of Nashville and Jefferson Street.
The plaza is divided into five pillars that symbolize education, athletics, music, civil rights and religion and contains around 80 photographs and narratives about people whom have contributed to the rich legacy of Jefferson Street.
According to Sharon Hurt, JUMP’s Executive Director and Metro Council Woman at Large, there were a series of meetings held during that time where names were presented. Those names presented most often were selected for display on the plaza.
 Among those depicted are Ronald Lawson, who was inducted into the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) Hall of Fame; Erica Gilmore who was elected to the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County Council in 2007, re-elected in 2011 and elected to council at large in 2015; Marion Barry who attended Fisk University and was involved in the Civil Rights Movement serving as the first chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and eventually became mayor of Washington, D.C. and Edith Taylor Langster, former member of Nashville Metro Council representing the 21st District. The project was a collaboration between public and private sectors that featured the works of local artists James Threalkill and Michael McBride.
The design of the open-air plaza in the 2500 block of Jefferson Street was to reenergize Nashville’s historic Jefferson Street while making a place that represents community pride and history for current residents and visitors.
Williams said when he thinks of North Nashville, he thinks of how the community transformed from a place of un-accommodation to a place of recreation. “I’m poor at predicting the future but the project bloomed into something bigger than I expected,” said Williams.
The plaza was intended to be phase one of a multi-phase project but it requires more funding and those plans have not yet been met, according to Hurt. The goal has been met to turn a dark, ugly, desolate piece into a beautiful project and today many Nashville tours start at the plaza because it provides the history of the North Nashville community.
 Within five years the plaza has improved the quality of life, stimulated growth and abided by the missions and goals of the organizations that invested time and money into the project, Williams said.
He added that he hopes to hand the project off to students of Tennessee State and Fisk Universities so he can move on to something else while the plaza continues to develop.

A Junior Mass Communications student with a concentration in Marketing, Editor-in-Chief Shayla Simmons is a native Marylander. Shayla self identifies her editorial writing to be her strongsuit with topics ranging from politics to social issues to pop culture commentary.

Great Debate Takes Place Between Two Institutions

Great Debate Takes Place Between Two Institutions

By Ada Taylor, Editor in Chief Tennessee State University was founded in 1912 and Vanderbilt University was founded in 1873. For the past 105 years, these two institutions have educated students less than three miles from each other, and yet the schools’ forensics teams have […]

TSU Graduate Jackson is the New Mr. Clean

TSU Graduate Jackson is the New Mr. Clean

By Raven Ashlee Mosely-Hall Staff Writer Mr. Clean has cleaned himself up and become a new man! TSU graduate Mike Jackson has replaced the iconic cartoon of the tall, handsome man dressed in all white with a single gold hoop earring, after 59 years. Procter […]

Getting Rid of the Stigma of HIV/AIDS to Find a Cure

Getting Rid of the Stigma of HIV/AIDS to Find a Cure

By Leona Dunn
News Editor
“What person goes to Kroger’s, gets stuck and starves to death? That is exactly what we are doing; we are in a world where we have everything we need to survive. So let’s eat,” T. K. Hampton told over 200 people at a recent luncheon at TSU.
Hampton created the luncheon and a play to explore how HIV/AIDS is affecting the African American community. He also wanted to look at solutions to get the number of HIV transmissions from over 5,000 a year to zero.
Stigma was labeled the leading cause of why research was being negatively impacted, making it harder for scientists to reach their goal.
President of Meharry Medical College Dr. James E.K. Hildreth said one of the biggest disappointments is that many vaccine trials have failed and the last couple of tests have actually made people more susceptible to the disease. That is the opposite of what they would hope it would do. Part of the reason is because scientists still do not understand how sexually transmitted diseases are transmitted on a molecular level.  Yet there is also a bright side to this previously fatal disease.
“There are now more than 25 medicines and a single pill regimen available that people can take in order to never make that transition from HIV to AIDS. There is also a pill called P.R.E.P which stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis pill which is 99% effective towards preventing the spread of H.I.V for people who practice risky behavior,” Dr. Hildreth said, “now if I know that there is a pill out there that I can take daily that will prevent me from contracting this lifetime disease, I would take it! But now the regular man will not because if I am seen taking this pill I am admitting to myself and others that I indulge in risky behavior and it is that stigma keeping us from being where we need to be.”
Dr. Hildreth said if nothing else is done, people need to be ambassadors against stigma. Eliminating the stigma, he said, would solve more than the problem of the virus.
“Even in African American churches I see the stigma of associating HIV with sin.  HIV is a virus; it is not a sin, it is a biological entity,” Dr. Hildreth said.
In America if the rate continues to affect as many people as it is, then one out of two black, one out of four Latino, and 1 out of 11 Caucasian men that sleep with men will contract this disease.
 It is more widely spread in the African American community because out of all demographics people of African descent are. A total of 70 percent are more likely to sleep with people that look like them. Meaning African Americans keep things such as diseases and genes within their race because they are less likely to partner with someone else outside of the race.
“What better place to talk about black love than in the month of February where there is African American history month and the celebration of Valentine’s day, and what better place to spread this knowledge than at an HBCU?” T.K. Hampton exclaimed.
Hampton introduced the acronym C.A.R. which stands for Conversation, Action and Reservation. The first step is to have the conversation about the issue to make others aware.
The second step is to take action. Finally, retention would be the result of the action. The hope is bring the transmission and retention rate eventually down to zero.
Speaker Marvell L. Terry II, HIV/AIDS Project Manager, Human Rights Campaign in Washington D.C  also talked about the stigma associated withHIV/AIDS.
“A lack of education, a lack of access to healthcare, increased risk of substance abuse and homelessness and an increased livelihood of engaging in sex work as a source of income,” all contribute to the problem, he said.
“When an individual becomes HIV positive, their priorities don’t change their concerns on a day to day basis.  Finding and maintaining income, keeping food to eat and ensuring a place to sleep at night. . . simply surviving,” become all important, Terry said.
 “Black Churches were a huge asset to the civil rights movement, being places to gather and organize to train and inspire.  Yet the response to the HIV epidemic has been slow to non-existent.
“ The reality is that bisexual, gay, and transgender women are in a crisis, yet they don’t have the full support of where they tithe, participate in ministry and were they call home, there is homophobia in the church also known as stigma,” Terry said.
Terry encouraged youth to run for public office to influence public policy. “We need to be building more Oprah Winfrey’s, more Wilma Rudolph’s and on this campus we can build more Barack Obama’s, he told the audience.

A Junior Mass Communications student with a concentration in Marketing, Editor-in-Chief Shayla Simmons is a native Marylander. Shayla self identifies her editorial writing to be her strongsuit with topics ranging from politics to social issues to pop culture commentary.

‘Why We Laugh’ Shown During Black History Month

‘Why We Laugh’ Shown During Black History Month

By Knija Kendrick Staff Writer The showing of “Why We Laugh” that was released back in 2009, directed by Robert Townsend and Quincy Newell, was shown on Friday, February 17th in the Student Success Center, where students can learn about the history behind black entertainment […]

President Trump’s Travel Ban and How it Affects TSU

President Trump’s Travel Ban and How it Affects TSU

By Shayla Simmons Copy Editor There are so many current events plaguing news stations that sometimes it may seem hard to keep track. However one to be aware of, of all of the latest executive orders passed by President Trump, is the nationwide travel ban. […]

Women of Empowerment Host Blanket Drive

Women of Empowerment Host Blanket Drive

By Leona Dunn
Women of Empowerment, the Tennessee State University chapter of the National association of colored women’s club, held a blanket drive to bring in the new year giving back.
“It was a thought that our president, Imari Scott-Cheatham, our paraphernalia chair Kelli Harris, and Residence Director, Mr. Cribbs all had together, which we decided to put into action,” says WOE member Kiara Davis.
It is not annual, but they might decide to make it annual depending on how successful this year’s drive is.
“The blankets and other warm items will go to both men’s and women’s shelters right here in Nashville. It hasn’t been challenging, besides the weather being wishy washy, but we may extend the drive’s deadline so that we can get more donations,” Davis said.
WOE will also continue servicing their campus and community with their annual Black Business Expo coming up in late February. The Black Business Expo is a showcase of local African-American entrepreneurs and business from the greater Nashville area. This is open to Fashion Designers, Hair Stylist, Photographers, Artist, Authors, Chefs, Bloggers, Nail Technicians and more. It is something to look forward to.

A Junior Mass Communications student with a concentration in Marketing, Editor-in-Chief Shayla Simmons is a native Marylander. Shayla self identifies her editorial writing to be her strongsuit with topics ranging from politics to social issues to pop culture commentary.

Nonprofit Group Supports Women on the Rise

Nonprofit Group Supports Women on the Rise

By Lavenia Chappel Shannon Lee in 2015 founded the Nashville nonprofit Ladies Who Strive “to motivate, inspire and educate” young women to accomplish their entrepreneurial and career goals. The organization is designed to be a support system for striving young women, something Lee felt was […]