Below is a series of commentaries written by MSR staff writer Charles Hallman exclusively for the MSR Online regarding the George Zimmerman trial. They are being posted several times per week. Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to email@example.com
Zimmerman update #16 (July 23, 2013)
It’s been over a week since the George Zimmerman not-guilty verdict was handed down. Marches, vigils, and other such events have taken place in its aftermath. “There’s going to be a lot of arguments about the legal issues in the case,” admitted President Obama in his unexpected address to the press last week. Continue Reading →
I’ve attended my share of Gopher football games over the years, but those games are mostly anti-climatic and the home school band painfully plays the same tired old songs. I have yet to see in person a Black college football game, but a good friend of mine tells me once you go Black (college football), you don’t go back. “Unlike major college football, Black college football is the African American pastime,” states Mark Gray, who broadcasts HBCU games for the Heritage Sports Radio Network. It “is part cultural, part show. It touches a place in your soul that you didn’t know was there until it gets there.”
Black college bands and their halftime shows are as much an integral part of Black college football as the teams. “I know a lot of people want to see those bands as part of the overall [Black college] experience,” says Gray. “At major college games, people leave [their seats] at halftime to get their refreshments. Continue Reading →
The latest NCAA graduation rates report shows that overall Division I student-athletes graduate at 80 percent, but the oft-overlooked fact is that Black student-athletes graduate at least 20 percent lower than their White counterparts. Even a sport-by-sport breakdown analysis points out that Blacks lag behind Whites in every sport ranging anywhere from 12 percentage points (women’s basketball) to 23 points (men’s basketball). This “significant graduation gap” between University of Minnesota Black and White student-athletes over a five-year period was the focus of a MSRfront-page article this week. Sadly, most of us, especially in the Black community, rather direct our outrage toward who gets voted off reality show islands or dancing shows than publicly demanding an answer to why our Black athletes — most of which aren’t going to the pros after college — are not graduating from predominately White institutions at the same rate, if not better, than White athletes. Seemingly too many Black parents are delusional about getting rich quick off their son or daughter: University of Washington-Vancouver English Professor Thabiti Lewis recently offered such an example. Continue Reading →
Affordable Care Act, HBCU investment top some advocates’ lists
By Charles Hallman
Since Barack Obama took office four years ago as the first Black president in U.S. history, he has been criticized by many Blacks for not doing enough for the Black community. The MSRspoke with an author and political leaders who say the political sound bites that list the president’s accomplishments are not being captured. “I think much of the criticism on the president is unfair, and I think part of my job is that we get the information out there in the community on what the president has done. He doesn’t get enough credit on things he has done, and [for things that] have directly benefited the African American community,” states Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who also is U.S. Conference of Mayors president. “This president has put more money in Historically Black Colleges than other presidents before him have,” says National Congress of Black Women, Inc. President E. Faye Williams on the Obama administration’s investment in HBCUs. Continue Reading →
MLB is trying hard to make it happen
An annual round-robin collegiate baseball tournament featuring Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will take place this weekend in Houston, Texas. Alabama State, Grambling State, Southern University, Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern all will participate February 17-19 in the 2012 Urban Invitational, sponsored by Major League Baseball. University of California, Irvine, an NCAA Division I school, is the sixth tournament team. “We are fortunate to…have the opportunity to play against opponents we rarely see,” admits Cal Irvine Baseball Coach Mike Gillespie. Texas Southern Coach Michael Robertson predicts “a highly competitive weekend.”
Black colleges and universities have produced many top baseball players, including Hall of Famers Lou Brock and Andre Dawson, and current Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks. Continue Reading →
Robert Champion, Jr.’s murder may never be solved. Those who struck the fatal blows may never disclose whether they used the guise of hazing as an accidental homicide to cover up an intended hate crime. Champion was an unusual student to be at one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). He was openly gay, and a drum major slated to be the head drum major next school year. At HBCUs, drum majors are usually heterosexual macho brothers, equivalent to captains of football teams.
On November 19, 2011, Champion, a music major from Atlanta, was one of six drum majors of the famous Florida A&M University (FAMU) Marching ”100” band who traveled to Orlando for the annual Florida Classic football game between FAMU and Bethune-Cookman University. Continue Reading →
It is known as a sophomore slump when a second-year player struggles, but thus far there is no known term when this occurs during a player’s third season. Call it what you want, but this is what U-M junior guard Leah Cotton currently is experiencing.
Cotton averaged nine points in five non-league games, but since she was inserted in the Minnesota starting lineup by Minnesota Coach Pam Borton, the 5-8 guard’s scoring average is only 6.7 points in conference match-ups. Only three games has she shot 50 percent or better as a starter as well. Her seven-point average overall is three points less than the 10.7 points per game Cotton had in her sophomore year last season. Earlier this season, the young lady brimmed with confidence. Continue Reading →