3 months ago


“My theory about

“My theory about success in life, first believe and trust in the good Lord, second one must possess a certain amount of innate ability, third he must like doing what he is doing, fourth one must believe in himself and last but not least he must be willing to work hard and practice every day.” 63 Zimri and Zedekiah both made those choices and thus, their children along with some of their nieces and nephews found their passions and made their life-work in education and music. Zedekiah had a love and talent for both baseball and music. Because of his dad’s advice and the fact that Blacks were not yet allowed to play for major league teams, he chose to fully pursue music from that point forward. Regardless of what he was doing during college, in the US Army, as a secondary school teacher or a college professor, he was all about music. ROAR! “MUSIC IS THE MOVEMENT OF SOUND TO REACH THE SOUL FOR THE EDUCATION OF ITS VIRTUE.” 64 PLATO 65 In 1951 he had the opportunity to leave CII and teach in another part of Virginia. In doing so, he said the following about his exodus: “It was difficult to leave Christiansburg Institute because the students, faculty, and the people in the community were wonderful to me. Sometimes in order to make progress, it is important to make a change.” His next gig was at James Solomon Russell High School in Lawrenceville, VA. From there he moved to Tennessee and taught at Knoxville College which is one of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). He spent many years there and in the HBCU arena fulfilling his musical dreams and teaching students how to master their musical talents. He retired and returned home to Christiansburg, VA, where his life and love of music began. Perhaps, his story may have gone differently had there been an HBCU in his hometown. IVORY TOWERS FOR BLACKS: HBCUS Schools like Knoxville College were the only “ivory towers” for people of color during segregation. According to the US Department of Education, “HBCUs are a source of accomplishment and great pride for the African American community as well as the entire nation.” 66 Two articles in Richmond Magazine highlight the history and relevance of these institutions today, especially the ones in Virginia. The first selection, The Fierce Five: Virginia THE TIGER & THE TORCH Page | 53

HBCUs 67, talks about why HBCUs were created. The second, fittingly titled, “Education for All: How Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Virginia continue to make quality education an attainable dream for all students”, 68 the present-day value of these schools is described as follows: “HBCUs are very relevant, as we would have very few black teachers, doctors, pharmacists, scientists, etc. without them,” according to Dr. Marybeth Gasman, director of the Penn Center for Minority-Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania and a leading authority on historically black colleges. “Given their resources, research shows that they are more successful with low-income, students of color. They have equal gains but use fewer resources.” “While challenging, this determination to do more with less is a testament to the commitment these schools have to their students. And while HBCUs are “historically black,” they are open to all and serve a number of students from across the country and the world.” Virginia Union University Founded in 1865 69 Hampton University Founded in 1868 72 Virginia State University Founded in 1882 70 Virginia University of Lynchburg Founded in 1886 71 Norfolk State University Founded in 1935 73 THE TIGER & THE TORCH Page | 54