1956 +The Crimson White: Legacy Edition, October 2021




1956 / Tonya Williams



Creating a legacy



There are different interpretations

of the word “legacy.” For the purpose

of this story, legacy refers to the

children of alumni who attend the

same university. If your parents

attended The University of Alabama,

what legacy did they leave behind

for you?

Many alumni are still devoted

fans of UA programs, sports, campus

scenery and so much more. As a

result, alumni are often ecstatic to hear

that their child wants to carry on the

tradition and attend their alma mater.

In fact, the University encourages

the spirit of legacy. Competitve

scholarships are offered to secondgeneration

students and athletes.

Black Americans were not allowed

to attend many predominantly

white universities and schools until

the Supreme Court case Brown v.

Board of Education, which ruled

that segregation in schools was

unconstitutional. Even though schools

were ruled to integrate in 1954, The

University of Alabama did not fully

integrate until 1963.

The opportunity for Black students

to finally attend the University paved

the way for Black parents that have

stories to share.

Pamela Davis is an alumna of the

University. Davis graduated in 1996

with a bachelor's degree in electrical

engineering. Her daughter is currently

a sophomore majoring in accounting.

During her time at the University,

Davis was a resident assistant for two

years. Davis was a member of the

National Society of Black Engineers

and a member of the Divine Nine.

She was also in a co-op program and

worked off campus as a cashier.

Davis originally wanted to attend

a historically Black university. Davis

ultimately decided to attend The

University of Alabama because it was

in state and within her budget.

When it came to her daughter’s

college decision, Davis wanted her to

go somewhere with a great campus life

so that she could thrive.

The pursuit of higher education

was instilled into her family by Davis’

grandmother, who emphasized the

importance of education.

“I am grateful for the legacy

that began with me attending The

University of Alabama, then my

sister Shandrea Sellers, and now my

daughter,” said Davis. “The University

of Alabama is an institution where you

can receive an exceptional education,

have access to wonderful resources

and have a great social life.”

As a family, they are truly excited

about the years of education received

at The University of Alabama, but

even more excited about the Alabama

football memories they can share. Prior

to the pandemic, the Davis’ house was

a hub for Alabama football fans.

This past year, they have added

another momentous occasion to

their legacy. Davis and Sellers both

were able to experience National

Championship wins.

This continued for Davis’ daughter,

who watched the Crimson Tide win a

National Championship last season.

“I am very hopeful that the Tide

will continue to roll for generations to

come in my family,” said Davis. “Roll

Tide, roll!”

Joseph Bryant was the first Black editor of The Crimson White from 2000 to 2001.

Courtesy of Joseph Bryant

His stepson Copeland Johnson is a sophomore at UA.

1956 / Tyler Hogan






the history of


in homecoming



Meet the namesake

behind the

newly renamed

Wade Hall

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religion, marital status, disability, gender, age, or any other protected class as defined by federal and state law, be excluded from participation, denied benefits, or subjected to discrimination under any program, activity, or employment.



The story of the Black

athletes who paved

the way for

future stars



editor-in-chief Tionna Taite

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October 21, 2021


CW File

1956 / Lyric Wisdom



The Crimson White and Nineteen

Fifty-Six Magazine are the oldest and

newest student publications on The

University of Alabama campus. The CW

has a 127-year-long history. Nineteen

Fifty-Six is in its second year. Our

histories differ, but the current staffs of

both publications share the same goals:

to leave a legacy of diversity and antiracism

while advocating for all students.

Under the guidance of some past

editors, The CW has aligned itself with

these values, but these values must be

synonymous with our organization.

Last year’s collaboration with Nineteen

Fifty-Six was a step toward that goal,

and this year’s edition is a continuation

of what we hope will be a long-lasting

and strong relationship with our

sister publication.

Since last year’s collaboration,

The CW has published its first staff

demographics report, which is publicly

available on our website. We’ve hired

our first race and identity reporters on

the culture and news desks — which

are funded through MASTHEAD, an

alumni group supporting diversity

in UA Student Media — and we’ve

introduced systems to track the diversity

of our sources. These are intended to be

permanent fixtures at our organization.

Nineteen Fifty-Six was founded

with these principles in mind, and has

already built a legacy on campus. This

collaboration between our publications

was created to recognize our own

legacies and consider our trajectories.

With consistency and intentionality,

both publications can create a legacy

worth being proud of.


The merging of these two publications

signifies the progress that the University

has made.

This collaboration leaves behind a

legacy for years to come. The notable

Maya Angelou once said, “If you’re

going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark

on the world that can’t be erased.” Maya

Angelou left behind a legacy through her

activism, poems and so much more. She

is a prominent example of the impact

both written and spoken words can have

on society.

This special edition dives into the

numerous ways that alumni, students

and public figures have created legacies

at the University. As you read this special

edition, you will see that there are many

ways to leave behind a legacy.

One way that I strive to do so is

by creating a platform for students,

particularly minority students, to have

their voices heard. Another way that I

strive to leave a legacy is by sharing the

stories of those who may not have had

the opportunity to do so themselves.

Why is creating a legacy so important?

Leaving behind a legacy allows those

who come after you to have guidance

and more opportunities. Some of you

have already begun creating a legacy

and just have not realized it. Some of

you are the products of the legacy that

your ancestors created. Truly, we all have

a legacy to create and share.

I am pleased to present this

collaboration between Nineteen Fifty-

Six and The Crimson White. I am certain

that this special edition will educate and

inspire you to leave behind a legacy of

your own.




By Jay-Z

Legacy” shares Jay-Z’s thoughts on

what legacy he will leave his children.

The lyrics are over an upbeat production,

but they detail the various members of

the Carter family and how they carried

the name.


By The Carters

Starting with advice from an older

and wise woman, Beyoncé and Jay-Z lay

out various aspects of Black history, such

as the Chitlin Circuit and cornrows, to

paint a picture of where Black people

and our culture stand now. As our

culture develops and shifts, it will always

rely on aspects of our history.

“Chaining Day”

By J. Cole

J. Cole explores the culture of people

equating success to materialistic items

such as expensive chains. He continues

by explaining how such chains hinder

individuals and prohibit them from

leaving behind a true legacy that holds


“If I Ruled the World”

By Nas and Lauryn Hill

Nas and Lauryn Hill dive into what

they would do “if they ruled the world.”

This song touches on the type of legacy

The best songs to start your semester

both Nas and Lauryn Hill would like to

leave behind if they had all of the power

to do so in the world. One topic the song

touches on heavily is freeing people

from the constraints of the world and

revealing the power within the African


“What a Wonderful World”

By Louis Armstrong

As Louis Armstrong quaintly reflects

on the aspects of this world and what

makes it wonderful, he settles on the

idea that it is people and the legacies

they leave behind that allow the world to

simply be “wonderful.”


By Beyoncé

Beyoncé’s call to see that our purpose

is bigger than our individual experience

is woven into the lyrics of “BIGGER.”

This song is one to pick you up off the

ground and help you “step in your

essence” and rise to meet your truest

potential so that you may pass on what

you have learned in this life.

“I Am Blessed”

By Nina Simone

With “I Am Blessed,” a track from

her third album, “Broadway-Blues-

Ballads,” Nina Simone is in perfect

form. Her dramatic silky vocals over the

jazzy production have a cinematic “end

credit” quality to them that feels serene.

As she sings about “a love worth more

than gold” her voice mimics the intense

feelings of yearning and peace the lyrics


“Good Golly, Miss Molly”

By Little Richard

Little Richard’s legacy in laying

the foundations of rock ‘n’ roll is

indisputable. With the simple swing

beat and melodic piano work with a toetapping

string bass to match, every aspect

of modern rock music is foreshadowed

in this track. Little Richard was just one

of many Black artists who triumphed in

the face of adversity and racism to create

one of the most world-renowned and

celebrated music genres of all time.

“Turning Wheel”

By Spellling

“Turning Wheel” by Spellling, the

Oakland artist otherwise known as

Chrystia Cabrial, is the titular track

of her third studio album. Its upbeat

yet languid production makes for an

ethereal track that resembles the work of

'80s pop artist, Kate Bush.

“Bad Blood”

By Nao

On Apple Music, English singer Nao

describes her work as “wonky funk,” and

with the track “Bad Blood” from her

debut studio album, “For All We Know,”

that definition seems to hold true. With

the track, Nao’s angelic vocals skillfully

dance between vocal registers as the

bouncy funk production offers surprise

after surprise until the track ends.

“The Love I Need”

By Girlhood

In 2017, the London duo Girlhood

was credited with making “some of

London’s best new music” by Complex,

and with their track “The Love I Need”

from their 2020 album “Girlhood,” they

continue to uphold that mantle.

“Just the Two of Us”

By Will Smith

Will Smith dedicates this song to

his first son Trey. It has a sample from

a Bill Whithers song, also named, “Just

the Two of Us” which is about a couple,

but Smith’s rendition is about the love

between father and son.


By Ray BLK

From her debut album, “Empress,”

BLK's single “Mama” is a smooth

R&B track that interpolates 2Pac’s

“Dear Mama." BLK’s poetic lyrics

seem to perfectly match the midtempo

production and the sentiment of love

BLK seems to express in the song.


While many believe that colonization

is something that happened centuries ago,

the effects of colonization still run deep —

and it’s apparent on college campuses.

With almost no places left untouched,

colonization has centered itself in

academia, where it devalues people of

color, ignores the history of colonialism

and centers whiteness in everything that

it does. Though it may be sparse, several

departments and programs around The

University of Alabama are working to

decolonize their classrooms, mindsets and

entire departments.

Holly Horan, an assistant professor

of anthropology and the chair of

the Department of Anthropology’s

Decolonization Committee, said she

learned about the effects of marginalization

on health and well-being early while being

raised in a household with one white and

one Puerto Rican parent.

For her dissertation and her fieldwork

in Puerto Rico, she studied the effect of

perinatal stress on the timing of birth.

“It was my lived experience of

understanding what it’s like to be in a

family with people of color and how

they’re treated differently that has shaped

my perspectives in this work,” Horan

said. “From conversations that I had

with my own mother about the history

of the island, it was very clear to me

the impact of colonization transcends

geopolitical borders, generations and

lived experiences.”

During her research in Puerto Rico,

Horan was deeply embedded in the

country’s health care and perinatal

care systems, which showcased to her

the “explicit and insidious effects of

colonization.” It was clear to her that “we

do not live in a post-colonial world.”

In the summer of 2020, during

the pandemic and after the death of

George Floyd, Horan and some of her

anthropology colleagues at the University

formed the Decolonization Committee

to foster a department-level culture that

emphasized the personal and collective

responsibilities to fight oppression.

“Decolonization is, at


October 21, 2021

‘We do not live in a post-colonial world’:

UA professors talk decolonization in academia



minimum, a twofold process. The first is

intention, and the second is action,” Horan

said. “The intention of decolonization is

to approach our work as anthropologists,

being moral, being ethical and with a sense

of justice, especially given the history of

our discipline. The second piece of that is

action. Decolonization is actively resisting

oppressive systems in research, teaching

and service. Decolonization is decentering

standards and expectations that reinforce

oppressive hierarchies.”

On Friday, Nov. 5, the Decolonization

Committee will hold a panel made up

of students and professors to talk about

decolonization, particularly for people

who are unfamiliar with the topic.

“Decolonization is also turning the

lens inward and saying, ‘How do I, in my

everyday interactions, attempt to decenter

colonial ideologies and all that they

represent?’” Horan said.

Students are encouraged and welcome

to support the decolonization process, but

Horan said it’s important for professors,

rather than students of color, to spearhead

the department’s decolonization work.

“Dismantling white supremacy, which

is part of decolonization, should not

have to be the work of people of color,”

Horan said.

Anthropology is one of the few

departments on campus recognizing

decolonization work, but professors in

other departments are reexamining their

colonial ties.

Cindy Tekobbe, an Indigenous assistant

professor in the Department of English,

said decolonial theory takes a critical look

at all western institutions built upon ceded

land, including universities.

They aim to take the focus away

from the Eurocentrism that dominates

Western academia. Tekobbe said there

will need to be people who understand

the model of Eurocentric knowledge

and what it does to people.

The values of these systems

have created barriers

that Tekobbe herself has been forced

to confront.

“My personal experience is that my

value system is quite different from my

colleagues’, and when we talk, we often

miscommunicate because we’re not

coming from the same place of knowing,”

Tekobbe said. “For example, one of the

things that’s really important is singleauthor

scholarship. You’ve got to do the

research yourself, and write it yourself, and

produce it yourself, and put your name

on it, but no one makes knowledge in

a vacuum."

Tekobbe, along with some of her

colleagues, has attempted to create

an Indigenous student organization.

Indigenous students account for less than

0.5% of the student population, and it is

difficult to locate them because of the way

they are registered.

One of Tekkobbe’s colleagues, Heather

Kopelson, an associate professor of history,

also teaches classes that are informed by

decolonial theory.

Beyond the formation of an Indigenous

student organization, Kopelson would

like to see a Native studies or Indigenous

studies minor added to the University’s

course catalog.

“I’ve been part of a group of faculty

who have been talking about [adding

an Indigenous studies minor], but it’s

really hard to get a new program like that

approved, especially because the question

is always, ‘Well, can you show student

interest?’” Kopelson said. “But I think one

of the issues with indigenous studies in

particular is that a lot of people have never

even thought about it.”

Kopelson said there have been small

improvements in the Department

of History in recent years. Other

professors have incorporated Indigenous

perspectives in their classrooms, and

students have shown a renewed interest in

Indigenous studies.

Kopelson said she and

Mairin Odle, an

assistant professor in American studies

who teaches Native American history,

have full enrollment in their classes.

Currently, Odle’s Native American

studies course has 34 students, while

Kopelson’s Native American history

course has 38. Five years ago, the number

of students in these classes barely reached

double digits.

Kopelson acknowledged the barriers

that marginalized groups face when

entering academic fields, but she wants

students to know that they can ask for help.

While decolonization seeks to eliminate

these barriers, she said it’s important that

students feel comfortable approaching

faculty members for assistance.

“In the history department, and in

many others, the majority of faculty want

students to ask for help and don’t see it

as a weakness. And I think that’s a huge

barrier in that the experiences of many

marginalized groups have taught people

that if they ask for help, that’s weakness,”

Kopelson said.

When colonial problems extend

through the course material, it can be

difficult for students to find help. This was

the case for student Katherine Johnston,

a junior majoring in kinesiology who

identifies as Native American.

“It’s hard to go into a class and hear

somebody lecture to you about your own

people’s history and for it to be completely

inaccurate,” Johnston said. “As a Native

student, I have had to take some history

classes where the lessons taught on Native

people are both very inaccurate and

continue to feed into the ‘savage Indian’

stereotype. It’s not just the teachers that

feed that, but it’s the actual material that is

being taught. It’s like we don’t matter. This

is why the decolonization of education is

so very important.”

By recognizing the inherent effects of

colonization and by

decentering whiteness and

colonial mindsets, students

and faculty members

alike can do their part to

decolonize the Capstone.

“There’s no way we can go back

and fix the past. That is out of the

question, but there’s always something

that can be done to make the future

better,” Horan said.

Trailblazing footsteps

1956 / Ashton Jah



College graduation is

simultaneously the most joyous

and nerve-wracking experience for

college students. Joyous because after

all the hard work and late nights, your

academic achievements have finally

led to this moment. Nerve-wracking

because now you are faced with

the reality of going out to embark

on your career, utilizing all you’ve

learned and putting it into action.

Along with celebrating the

graduates and their accomplishments,

others such as family and friends feel

they are a part of their success. Even

more significance is attached when

an embedded history of exclusion

is now being changed through

each graduate.

Trailblazers such as 2007 graduate

Sonequa Martin-Green, a native of

Russellville, Alabama, have left a

mark at The University of Alabama.

Martin-Green received her degree

in theater. She starred in a UA

production of “Romeo and Juliet”

as a gender-swapped Mercutio

and was a part of the Alabama

Forensics Council.

Martin-Green has since collected

acting credits in film and television.

She had recurring roles on the second

season of “Once Upon a Time” and

as Sasha on the third season of “The

Walking Dead.”

These roles were a stepping stone

to her biggest role to date as the

lead actor in “Star Trek: Discovery”

as First Officer Michael Burnham.

Martin-Green made history as the

first Black woman to lead the “Star

Trek” series. Martin-Green was

awarded for her performance with a

Saturn Award in 2018.

All of Martin-Green’s experiences

at the University helped sharpen

her skills. She credits her professors

with supporting her and believing

in her goals. In fact, she said her

professors’ belief in her changed her

in a prominent way.

“I will always have a connection

to UA. It’s where I come from; it’s

where the seeds were sown,” Martin-

Green said. “I brag about it all the

time. I love it when people ask me

where I’m from, and I love it when

they ask if I went to school, and I

go, ‘Oh yeah, yeah, I went to The

University of Alabama, and I got

my theater degree, and it was just an

excellent education.’”

The same can be said about

Elliot Spillers. Spillers was a

2016 graduate of The University

of Alabama with a bachelor’s

degree in commerce and business

management. He was involved

in various campus organizations

such as First Year Experience, the

Center for Sustainable Service

and Volunteerism, the A-Book

editorial board, and the Sustained

Dialogue program.

Along with this, Spillers was also a

senate assistant and the assistant vice

president of student affairs with the

Student Government Association.

Each of these previous positions

prepared Spillers to become

SGA President.

Spillers’ presidency went beyond

just his role on campus. Spillers was

the second person of color to hold

this position. Cleo Wade was the first

and held the position in 1976. Over

three decades had passed since a

person of color was elected as SGA

president. Spillers’ win was an

example of how inclusive the

University was becoming.

Spillers’ campus work

continued with advocacy

for sexual assault survivors.

He worked alongside

the Women and Gender

Resource Center. Spillers

also campaigned for

the creation of a

Vice President of

Diversity, Equity

and Inclusion

within SGA.


upon a

background of volunteer work and

activism, Spillers is currently the

project manager for the Equal Justice

Initiative based in Montgomery,

Alabama. He has worked on projects

with the Legacy Museum: From

Enslavement to Mass Incarceration.

The museum informs individuals

about the racial history of injustice.

From formative beginnings, both

Martin-Green and Spillers had the

University as their stepping stone to

showcase their talents and passions.

Each step has left an

impression behind

for other students

as guidance and


that their goals

are also possible

to achieve.

Pictured: Elliot Spillers CW File


October 21, 2021





As homecoming takes place at the

University, we are swept with the air

of tradition. Long-standing activities,

competitions, parades and more await

the student body every year in October.

While students look forward to a good

game of football, they also prepare for

a much more charming and, at times,

political tradition. That is the selection

of the homecoming queen.

Competitions of this nature have

long had the stereotype of “all beauty,

no brains,” but this is not the case at the

University. Each hopeful homecoming

queen must have a social platform, a

strong educational standing backed

by a favorable GPA, and time to

serve her campus. The queen is

expected to represent The University

of Alabama and its student body as

campus celebrates another year of

excellence. Yet there is a long history

of underrepresentation within the

competition itself.

I also got a phone call

saying I was ‘too dark’ to




Black students have steadily taken

part in the homecoming queen

elections since Dianne Kirksey became

the first Black member of the court in

1970. Terry Points-Boney became the

first Black homecoming queen in 1973,

with Christa Valencia Hardy being the

most recent Black queen in 1993. In this

28-year gap, a Black student has been

on the court every year representing

causes and spaces that are close to their

hearts. This includes Jordan Watkins,

who ran in 2018.

“I wanted to showcase the

importance of mentorship, unity and

inclusivity by contributing to diverse

avenues of representation at The

University of Alabama. Running for

homecoming presented me

with the phenomenal


Wa t k i n s



a two-time

graduate of

the University

and current doctoral

candidate, centered her platform

around Upward Bound, a communitybased

organization that focuses on

creating resources and providing

support in science, mathematics,

foreign language, college entrance

and more. She has hope for better

representation soon.

“I was not only advocating for

mentorship and the impact I have

personally experienced but the

tremendous impact it had left on

countless amounts of

students at UA, and

because of this, yes,

I felt as

though I

played a hand

in representing

a cause bigger

than myself and the

Black community on The

University of Alabama’s campus,”

Watkins said.

One might ask: How has campus

gone 28 years without a Black

homecoming queen? It certainly isn’t

due to a lack of effort.

Judy Burroughs was a member of the

2016 homecoming court.

“To be honest, I had no intention

Pictured: Christa Hardy CW Archives

of running until my friend suggested I

do it,” Burroughs said. “I was definitely

nervous because I didn’t think I made

that big of an impact on campus, but I

had a lot of support along the way.”

I wanted to showcase

the importance of

mentorship, unity and

inclusivity by contributing

to diverse avenues of

representation at The

University of Alabama.



Burroughs was no stranger to

conflict as an established student

leader on campus. She recalled a tense

incident during her campaign run.

“One instance in particular was

someone getting on my car while they

didn’t notice that I was still in it. They

were trying to erase my ‘Vote for Judy’

sign on my car. I called UAPD, but

that didn’t do much. I also got a phone

call saying I was ‘too dark’ to run,”

Burroughs said.

She didn’t expect the campus to

notice that she was running, but she

talked to campus resources and decided

to keep moving forward.

This year’s homecoming festivities

will be no stranger to representation.

Savanah Lemon and Noelle Fall both

made strong bids for homecoming

queen, both being heavily involved

and representing historically

Black sororities.

Regardless of what the future holds

for Black homecoming queens at the

University, we cannot forget those

who came before. Terry Points-Boney,

Joan Belinda Turner Woodard, Deidra

Chastang, Opal Atonita Bush Butler,

Kim Ashley and Christa Valencia

Hardy created a legacy that will be

remembered. They broke away from

a perceived standard and held their

crowns high.

SPRING Registration


Learn more at sheltonstate.edu/register

It is the policy of the Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees and Shelton State Community College, a postsecondary institution under its control, that no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion,

marital status, disability, gender, age, or any other protected class as defined by federal and state law, be excluded from participation, denied benefits, or subjected to discrimination under any program, activity, or employment.




It’s hard not to notice that The University

of Alabama is growing. Just look at the

endless parade of construction projects

taking place on campus. Or ask one of the

hundreds of students who were supposed

to live on campus this fall, until a largerthan-expected

incoming class of 7,593

freshmen forced them and the University

to make other arrangements.

That record-breaking first-year class

brought total enrollment to more than

38,000 for the fourth time in the University’s

history. The vast majority of UA students

— some 30,700 — are undergraduates

working toward a four-year degree.

In the past 20 years, the number of

degree-seeking undergraduates at the

University has more than doubled. Yet the

number of Black students in this group has

risen by only 47%.

Black students have been

underrepresented at the University since

its founding in 1831. For more than twothirds

of its history, the University did not

admit Black students. It was integrated

less than 60 years ago, in 1963, when Gov.

George Wallace stood at the door of Foster

Auditorium in an unsuccessful last-ditch

effort to block the entry of the University’s

first two Black undergraduates.

The proportion of Black degree-seeking

undergraduates on campus peaked in

2001, at 14.8%. Since then, it has fallen

to 10.5%. Throughout the past 20 years,

African Americans have accounted

CW / Jack Maurer


October 21, 2021

As UA grows, Black enrollment lags

for a little more than a quarter of the

state’s population.

G. Christine Taylor, the University’s

vice president and associate provost for

diversity, equity and inclusion, declined

to speculate on the reasons for this trend.

During her four years at the University,

the percentage of Black degree-seeking

undergraduates has risen by about half a

percentage point.

“I just came and said, ‘Wow, we need to

do better,’” Taylor said.

In 2017, the University hired Taylor

to lead its newly established Division of

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which

was created in part to “recruit, retain and

graduate more diverse students,” according

to the division’s website. The following

year, the share of Black degree-seeking

undergraduates at the University hit a 28-

year low. It has increased modestly each

year since then.

Gabby Kirk, a freshman majoring

in secondary education, said she wasn’t

surprised to hear that the share of Black

students at the University had gone

down in recent decades. She said she

has seen Black students gravitate to

historically Black colleges and universities

as stigmas surrounding these institutions

have eroded.

“We were told that HBCUs weren’t

as professional and they won’t be seen

as serious in the professional world or

whatever. So a lot of people went to PWIs

[predominantly white institutions], but

now I think ... people realize, ‘Hey, Howard

can have the same credentials as Yale,’”

Kirk said.

She said Black students can sometimes

feel unsafe at schools like The University

of Alabama because of their fraught racial

history and relative absence of Black

faculty members and administrators. As

of last year, 7.6% of faculty members at the

University were Black.

“Sometimes the student body has a

racist history of behaving this way toward

Black students,” Kirk said. “Why would I

put myself in this position?”

Matthew McLendon, who has served

as the University’s associate vice president

and executive director of enrollment

management since October 2019, said the

question of lagging Black enrollment is a

complicated one.

“I think that that’s one of those questions

that researchers themselves are looking at,

because I think there’s national trends that

play into that,” McLendon said.

A 2020 report from the Education

Trust, a nonprofit focused on improving

equity in education, found that between

2000 and 2017, the share of Black students

declined at 58% of selective public

colleges, including The University of

Alabama. According to the report, Black

students remain underrepresented at

more than 90% of selective public colleges

compared to the states where these colleges

are located.

To alleviate such disparities, the report’s

authors recommend that institutions

take a number of steps, including

changing recruitment strategies, offering

more financial aid to students from

underrepresented minorities, improving

campus racial climates, and deemphasizing

or ignoring standardized test scores in

admission decisions.

On the recruitment front, McLendon

said his office has collaborated with the

Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

to organize events such as the Multicultural

Visitation Program, which took place

Oct. 10, and Our Bama, an annual event

for admitted minority students and their

parents. He said the University plans to

hire an assistant director for multicultural

recruitment this year.

McLendon said financial aid also

plays a role in the University’s strategy

for diversity, equity and inclusion. He

pointed to the University’s participation in

the College Board National Recognition

Programs, which provide academic honors

to underrepresented students based on

their scores on the PSAT or Advanced

Placement exams.

Students who receive these honors

qualify for a scholarship package from

the University that includes four years of

tuition, one year of on-campus housing

and $4,000 in supplemental scholarships.

As for standardized testing, the

University stopped requiring SAT and

ACT scores for undergraduate admission

last year in response to the COVID-19

pandemic, which made it difficult for

many students to take either test.

Sometimes the student

body has a racist history

of behaving this way

toward Black students.

Why would I put myself in

this position?


The Education Trust report advocates

“a holistic admissions process that

incorporates race as a significant factor

in [admission] decisions.” The University

currently does not consider race or

ethnicity in its admission decisions.

Taylor said the University’s diversity

initiatives are driven by the idea that

everyone benefits from a diverse

student body.

“[Diversity] makes for a better

educational experience,” Taylor said. “You

tend to be more civic-minded. You tend to

be more critical thinkers. You tend to be

more engaged in your communities.”

According to a 2017 working paper

from the Harvard-based research group

Opportunity Insights, a UA student whose

parents are in the bottom fifth of incomes

has a 25% chance of entering the top fifth

as an adult. That puts The University

of Alabama at 600th out of 2,137

U.S. colleges.

Taylor said that, in general, the minority

students the University hopes to attract

don’t suffer from a lack of options.

“Diverse students are going to college.

They just may not be choosing to come

to Alabama. ... It is not as if, if they’re not

coming to Alabama, they’re on the side of

the road,” she said. “Their choices are not

us or a two-year [community college];

their choices are us or Georgia Tech, us or

UGA, us or Vanderbilt.”


October 21, 2021

Getting to know the namesake of



Archie Wade standing in front of Wade Hall, a campus building recently renamed after him. CW / David Gray



In 1964, a young Archie Wade left

an Alabama football game at halftime

because of targeted racial harassment in

the student section.

In 1970, he was asked to help recruit

Black athletes to play for the Alabama

football team, where they would spend

their Saturdays in the same stadium

that left Wade feeling unwelcome six

years prior.

Last month, Wade, age 82, was

recognized as the new namesake of the

former Moore Hall by the UA Board of


President pro tempore of the Board

of Trustees W. Stancil Starnes formed a

working group last summer to conduct

a “comprehensive review of all named

buildings, structures, and spaces on our

campuses relative to the University of

Alabama System’s shared values: integrity,

leadership, accountability, diversity,

inclusion, and respect.”

When the working group determined

that Albert Burton Moore’s legacy was

“inconsistent” with the current views of

the University, it was time for the building

on the corner of University Boulevard and

Sixth Avenue to receive a new name.

Trustee Emeritus John England Jr.,

chair of the building names working

group, led the search.

“As we began our review of buildings

and spaces on the System campuses, we

started considering alternatives in the

event we decided to recommend to the

full Board of Trustees that a name be

removed,” England said. “We also began

receiving information from faculty

and students suggesting names, which

included Dr. Wade.”

We had to leave at

halftime because people

were throwing things and

ice and cups and all that.

I just thought it was best

for us to leave. That was

kind of a low point.


Friends, colleagues and students

advocated for Wade from the start

of the process and created a petition

shared across social media to encourage

his selection.

When the news got to Wade that he

had been chosen, he was “elated.”

“I had a visitation from the chairman

of the committee, and one other member

of the committee, earlier in the summer,”

Wade said. “They just had mentioned

that there was a possibility and they had

submitted my name to the board, but

I hadn’t heard anything else until that

actually happened a couple weeks ago. I

was happy.”

On Sept. 17, the Board officially passed

the resolution. Wade’s name is now be

engraved into the campus he owes his best

and worst days to.

“It is my hope that students, faculty,

staff, parents and visitors will want

to inquire about Dr. Wade and learn

about him and his contributions to The

University of Alabama and the state of

Alabama,” England said. “His is truly a

Jackie Robinson story in the history of

The University of Alabama.”

Wade’s story may resemble Robinson’s

in more ways than one. Sparking his

interest in kinesiology and physical

education was his own experience as

a college baseball player. At Stillman

College, a historically Black liberal arts

college, Wade played four years, having

never once participated in high school.

“That was a blessing in itself,”

Wade said.

After graduating from Stillman, Wade

was offered a professional contract,

and played three years for the St. Louis

Cardinals’ minor-league affiliate team.

Following his time in the pros, Wade

returned to what he felt was his true

calling: education. After receiving his

master’s degree at the University of West

Virginia, he returned to Tuscaloosa and

began both his doctorate studies and his

teaching career.

As professor of what was then

the Health, Physical Education and

Recreation Department, now known as

the Department of Kinesiology, Wade

cherished his time with students and

enjoys staying in contact with them now.

“I’ve always enjoyed the students there

my whole 30 years,” Wade said. “The most

enjoyable time I have now is hearing from

some of those students who were in classes

in 1974 and 1975. Just to hear from them.

I mean I had someone visit me about two

months ago that was in a class in 1974.”

Wade also found his place among

colleagues at a school that did not always

accept him as a young Black man.

“I worked with some wonderful people

in our department and in the college,”

Wade said. “I enjoyed all the people that

treated me as well as I ever thought they

would have. They accepted me. I thought

at first I was being tolerated. But after five

or six years, I felt like they at least accepted

me for what I was and what I was trying

to do and realized some things that I was

going through.”

Wade noticed when he was treated

differently than others on campus. The

University saw its first Black graduates in

the ’60s, but racist attitudes were difficult

to eliminate.

“When I was walking down University

Boulevard, there were some people that

would change sides of the street just to

avoid me,” Wade said. “I could tell that.

But that’s okay. I just said, ‘They have a

problem; I don’t.’ Because I always treat

them the best I could, no matter who

it was.”

Wade said he believes in moving on

from those experiences.

“I guess in any career you’re going to

have ups and downs and highs and lows

and peaks and valleys and all that, but I

just try to remember those things that

were high, and let those things that were

low kind of go away.”

Among the lows was Wade’s first trip

to an Alabama football game: one that

was cut short due to harassment from

other students among the crowd. At the

time, Wade was a Tuscaloosa resident

attending Stillman.

“I was one of the three people who

tried to go to the game at Denny Stadium,”

Wade said. “The President gave us three

tickets. I was one of those three that went

out there, along with Dr. Joffre Whisenton

and Nathaniel Howard. We were the three

from Tuscaloosa who went to, in a way,

integrate the stands. We had to leave at

halftime because people were throwing

things and ice and cups and all that. I just

thought it was best for us to leave. That

was kind of a low point.”

“[The stadium has] been renovated,

refurbished, and all that, but that’s that

place where I was, where they didn’t want

me to do it in 1964,” Wade said.“The year’s

2021, and you see all the players, and you

see their progress. I’m just amazed at it.

And I know we still have a lot more to do

and a lot more things to take care of, but at

least I think we’re making strides towards

our goal where everybody is treated fairly

and equally.”

Wade applauded the University’s efforts

but said there is always room for more.

“I grew up in a segregated [society]. I

know nothing about going to school with

a different race. That didn’t happen to me

until I went to college,” Wade said.

Growing up, Wade was used to playing

with children of other races. He spent

time with his best friend, then had to

watch him go to a school Wade was not

allowed to attend. Instead, he caught a

bus, and was taken seven miles away to

the Black school across town.

While these experiences stick with

Wade, he feels no need to publish them

for others.

“Some people have asked me why I

haven’t written anything down, a book

about things, about what happened and

stuff, and I told them I didn’t really want to

do that,” Wade said. “I’ve talked to people

about it, but there were some bad times

for me. But there were so few, I don’t even

mention them. That’s the way I feel about

it. I look at things and think if they’re

important or not important. Even though

it was important to me, I don’t think it’s

important in the whole scheme of things,

so I don’t mention it.”

According to Wade, this aspect of his

character can be credited to his parents,

who are no longer around but continue to

inspire him.

“I always say I had wonderful parents,”

Wade said. “They supported me; they did

everything else I could ask a parent to

do for their kid. They always told me to

treat people right and do fair and work

hard and stay focused, and it helped.

They’re the ones that told me if things are

important, take care of it; if things are not

important, let it go. I think about it almost

every day.”

Wade is now surrounded by his wife

of 60 years, his five children and nine


Wade smiled as he reflected on his

years at the University, on the field

and since.

“I’ve had a good life. I’ve enjoyed it,”

Wade said. “I had a chance to meet a lot of

great people. People I read about.”

According to the UA Board of Trustees,

the work of the building names working

group is still ongoing in evaluating

current namesakes.

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Farrah Sanders wins Miss Black and Old

Gold. Courtesy of Farrah Sanders

Pageants and homecoming courts

may seem cliché, but there is a message

behind the pursuit for royalty. Former

UA students Tiara Pennington and

E’talia Shakir, along with current student

Farrah Sanders, broke stereotypes when

they pursued the crown.

All three women showcased Black

royalty in unique ways by advocating

for a cause, displaying sisterhood and

sharing an impactful message.

Pennington held the title of Miss

Alabama 2019 and 2020. She said that

her initial interest in pageants was

the possibility of winning scholarship

money. The financial incentive eased

college expenses while also giving

Pennington a chance to showcase her

opera talents.

The year that Pennington won

the title, she also won the overall

talent award, which is her favorite

phase of competition. Not only did

she enjoy competing, but she also

loved the true friendships and bonds

that she made throughout the Miss

America Organization.

“We do our makeup with each other,

we don’t try to sabotage each other,

we really understand that all of us

have worked so hard to get here at this

moment, and so we all should just be

uplifting each other,” Pennington said.

Pennington made history when she

became the first Black woman to win

Miss University of Alabama in 2019.

Pennington wanted to inspire others

who were timid about being involved

with pageantry. The Miss America

Organization provides a crown to the

winner, and the crown can give women

a voice.

Pennington promoted her platform,

Psoriasis Take Action Alabama. She also

advocated for diversity within the Miss

America Organization itself.

“We are more than just beauty queens.

We’re more than just pageant girls,”

Pennington said. “This organization is

filled with some of the most intelligent

young women you will ever meet in your

whole entire life.”

Pennington’s thoughts are echoed by

the current Miss Black and Old Gold,

Farrah Sanders. Sanders won the title

in 2019 and viewed her crowning as an

opportunity bigger than herself.

“Miss Black and Old Gold means

another avenue of advocacy for me, and to

me it offers a space to be able to represent

my student body, my community of

Tuscaloosa, my community of UA, my

state of Alabama,” Sanders said.

Sanders’ involvement in the Miss

Black and Old Gold pageant began

between conversations with friends in

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. who

suggested she compete. She was initially

apprehensive due to personal health

struggles, but still decided to compete.

“That was the first time that I felt

somewhat like myself, and so I looked

at that, and I said ‘Wow. I know I’m not

the only Black woman that feels like that.’

I know I’m not. This isn’t some singular

experience,” Sanders said.

Sanders expanded on her platform of

mental health following her win through

her organization, My Mind Matters.

Focusing on the mental health of women

of color along with societal expectations,

this platform spoke to these challenges

and the importance of mental and

physical health.

Sanders’ personal connection was

strengthened when she considered how

her position as Miss Black and Old Gold

is viewed through the eyes of others,

particularly young girls of color.

“Having them see a physical

embodiment of someone that they

haven’t seen before, and being able

to come up to little girls and be that

inspiration,” Sanders said. “Having

them say ‘I want that. I want that crown

like yours.’ ... And it means being able

to inspire, being able to advocate and

being able to be present for the body

and community of people that I love and

respect so much.”

From the impact on young girls to

the campus community, Sanders’ victory

felt inclusive of everyone. Sanders was

reminded that her title went beyond her

initial pageant win. She felt the pride

and support from the Black community

of the University as a representative

of them and other students across

the nation.

“That in this moment, it was like we

all felt seen, and I think they trusted me

enough to know that I will continue to

help you feel seen even with this crown,”

Sanders said.

E’talia Shakir was on The University

of Alabama’s homecoming court in

2019. Shakir was the only minority

candidate and wanted to be a strong

representative for other minorities. She

represented her sorority, Delta Sigma

Theta, and other historically Black

Greek-letter organizations.

Shakir was pleased with the amount of

love and support she got from Alabama’s

Panhellenic Association. They were able

to support and help her impact others,

regardless of the organization she was a


October 21, 2021

part of. Being a minority, she appreciated

the support she got and she wanted to

give back to others who looked like her.

“I was the only minority on

homecoming court in 2019, and so

I thought of it more [as] I was there

representing people or women that

look like me, and that was a huge thing,”

Shakir said. “I was also in Capstone Men

and Women, so getting questions in

terms of recruiting at Alabama and what

it is like being a minority at Alabama

meant a little bit more when I thought of

it in that way.”

Along with the image she is projecting

to others for encouragement, Shakir

was also receiving her own through

her network of self-described, “Bama

Mamas.” This was a group of women,

composed of her advisor and Kim

Pettway, who offered support in the

midst of stress.

“You’re always leaving the door open

for the people behind you,” Shakir said.

“As you’re accomplishing, knocking

down these new doors, these new

barriers, always make sure you have that

one hand extended behind to kind of

pull the people up with you.”

Through support, sisterhood and

the ability to advocate for a cause, these

women have shown that it is much more

than just a sparkly crown at stake.

Farrah Sanders is the culture

and lifestyle director at Nineteen

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October 21, 2021





When most people hear rock ’n’ roll,

they think of Elvis Presley, clad in his

star-spangled jumpsuit, but they typically

don’t think of the generations of Black

musicians, like Little Richard or Fats

Domino, who laid the foundations of

rock music.

Alexis Davis-Hazell, an assistant

professor of voice and lyric diction said

it is impossible to talk about American

music without talking about the African

American tradition that goes into it.

“They are woven. You cannot talk about

one without the other. It is a foundational

element and it is part of what makes

American music unique from other

national music,” Davis-Hazell said.

The culture of mainstream American

music is closely intertwined with racism

and segregation.

According to the Oakland Public

Library, Black music genres can be traced

back to the days of slavery, when enslaved

people would sing to each other to pass

along messages and share their life stories.

As Christianity gradually made its

way into the culture of slaves in the

United States, the hymns they sang would

eventually be termed spirituals, which

would later evolve into gospel music.

This became the foundation of the blues,

a genre of music that expressed the Black

community’s disappointment in the lack

of freedoms and rights that came in a postslavery,

Jim Crow society.

Eric Weisbard, a professor of American

studies, said the international craze for

American music — most notably, rock

’n’ roll — began with minstrel shows, the

theatrical act of white actors performing

in blackface.

“The phrase ‘Jim Crow’ came from the

beginning of blackface minstrelsy in the

1830s. An artist named Thomas Rice, a

white artist, put tar on his face, pretended

to be a Black person, and gave a songand-dance

routine called Jim Crow,”

Weisbard said.

Weisbard said minstrel shows proved to

be so internationally popular that Rice was

taken to England to perform for royalty.

“Every part of the United States had

its own acts of people doing this kind of

work. Jim Crow names segregation and

names the beginning of commercial

American music as this international

craze,” Weisbard said. “So it’s there. 200

years ago, it’s there practically from

the beginning.”

Davis-Hazell said that the genesis of

rock ’n’ roll is not the first time aspects

of Black culture have been co-opted by

dominant white culture.

“It is a pattern that goes all the way back

to the very first popular music of America

that was a truly American form, which was

blackface minstrelsy,” Davis-Hazell said.

“That lays the foundation for the comfort

and the commoditization of Black culture,

whether it’s authentic or not.”

The overwhelming commercial success,

prestige and recognition white rock ’n’

roll singers received compared to Black

pioneers of the same genre are staggering.

There are many examples of white

artists re-recording Black-owned songs,

such as The Beatles covering “Please Mister

Postman” by the Marvelettes, or Elvis

Presley covering “Hound Dog,” which was

originally written for Big Mama Thornton.

These songs were copied and rearranged

to be more digestible for a white audience.

Davis-Hazell said early rock ’n’ roll’s

popularity with white teenagers allowed

the nomenclature to catch on, going

beyond white artists doing covers and

gradually turning into white artists actually

attempting to emulate the style.

“It’s absolutely the case that the history

of American popular music turns on racial

appropriation,” Weisbard said. “The idea

that the same process of white people often

loving Black music seems to constantly

involve taking it and profiting from it in

ways that many Black performers are not

able to profit from.”

As entertainment executives sought

to make a profit, Black artists like Sister

Rosetta Tharpe, commonly known as the

“Godmother of Rock ’n’ Roll,” and their

contributions to music were forgotten.

Tharpe started playing and singing in

church as a child prodigy at four years old,

touring the South along with her mother’s

evangelistic choir to hone her music skills.

Tharpe skyrocketed during the 1930s

and ’40s, attaining mass popularity with

her gospel songs infused with electric

guitar. These infusions laid the foundation

for the sound of rock ’n’ roll today, as

Tharpe is regarded to be one of the most

dominant inspirations for artists like

Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins,

Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Jerry

Lee Lewis.

Little Richard, a direct product of

Tharpe’s musical inspiration, was one of

the first Black rock ’n’ roll performers who

catered to gay audiences both of which

have become rock ’n’ roll staples.

According to Florida State University,

“Little Richard began garnering fans from

both sides of the civil rights divide” after

the release of his hit track “Tutti Frutti,”

bringing Black and white fans together and

challenging the harsh lines of segregation.

Davis-Hazell said the record industry

was terrible about awarding royalties

to Black singers and songwriters, citing

Little Richard as one of the first examples

of Black artists having their work stolen

by white artists and receiving little to

no credit.

“He was so frustrated with the industry

that he left,” Davis-Hazell said. “He

went back to his church and went into

ministry because he was so frustrated with

Pat Boone.”

Davis-Hazell said Pat Boone was

essentially taking every Little Richard

track and re-recording them as covers

or passing them off as his own, which

generated success that Little Richard had

never seen.

Fats Domino was another Black artist

who helped open the floodgates of rock

’n’ roll through his vigorous piano playing,

which quickly became as crucial to rock ’n’

roll as the guitar.

The original wave of Black rock

artists would pave the way for more

Black excellence in the industry, with

ambidextrous guitar player Jimi Hendrix

fusing electric guitar chords with distorted

rhythmic tone effects, as well as Michael

Jackson and Prince taking pop music by

storm in the 1980s.

Despite its rich and profoundly Black

history, rock ’n’ roll is another facet of

Black culture lost to systemic racism

and oppression.

“Because of segregation and going all

the way back, we have legislated efforts

to keep Black culture separate, but it’s

not possible. You can’t keep it separate.

Inevitably, people like it, people want

to participate, people want to adopt it,”

Davis-Hazell said. “So then what happens

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is because of the power differentials, the

dominant culture can just take it.”

Weisbard said the country finds itself at

a moment where the status-quo structures

once taken for granted are being called

into question. While history is not being

rewritten, the country is reaching a critical

moment in time when the history is being

told by people more central to the story.

“What contemporary Black performers

can accomplish makes for a striking

contrast with the limits faced 65 years

ago,” Weisbard said. “I also think that on

some fundamental level, there’s a sense of

excitement about getting to tell the story

of American popular music over again

and put different figures at the front of

the story.”

Now, with social media, the erasure of

Black creatives has shifted.

“The virtue of social media, especially

with so much being video and timestamp,

it’s documentation, which is fantastic. You

can trace things back to the source, you

can look to see what time someone posts

something on what day, and you can prove

who did it first,” Davis-Hazell said. “But it

also means that things spread faster and

are absorbed by the larger culture faster.”

This has been exemplified on TikTok

as many white TikTok creators have faced

criticism after taking credit for dances

originally performed and choreographed

by Black creators with smaller followings.

As discussions of accurately crediting

Black artists, past and present, occur,

Davis-Hazell encourages people to dive

deeper into these moments of history that

are “painful and uncomfortable” because

of their connection to the present.

People of color have to deal with being

watched in stores or facing backhanded

compliments about their appearance.

These are microaggressions.

According to Merriam-Webster,

the definition of a microaggression is

“a comment or action that subtly and

often unconsciously or unintentionally

expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a

member of a marginalized group.”

There are three different types of

microaggressions: microassaults, which

are verbal and nonverbal racial actions;

microinsults, or subtle actions that can

be viewed as racist or extremely offensive;

and microinvalidations, actions used

to invalidate the experience or feelings

of someone.

Macroaggressions are a more intentional

and direct form of discrimination.

Micro- and macro aggressions are a

CW / Jo Dyess

What are microaggressions?



common experience for people of color

and can occur anywhere.

According to an article from Lean In,

microaggressions are common for women

in the workplace. Since Black women face

both racism and sexism, “they experience

a wider range of microaggressions than

women overall,” the article says.

Kylan Foster is a senior majoring in

management information systems. She

encountered a microaggression at her job

as a desk assistant for being “too quiet.”

She said she often didn’t engage in

conversations with her co-workers

because she didn’t feel welcome. Her coworkers

misinterpreted her silence as

standoffishness. She also noticed a pattern

of other co-workers, who were women of

color, being painted as angry.

“I got written up for not making eye

contact with a person. She could have

possibly not known I made eye contact.

Then she said I was becoming a constant

problem. Me and the other people of color

were disruptive, we were aggressive, and we

made people feel uncomfortable because

we didn’t engage in their conversations,”

Foster said.

Lean In said 54% of Black women

report that they are often the only or one of

the only Black people in their workplaces.

With the scrutiny Black women face, the

workplace can be a harrowing setting.

These issues often leave Black women

afraid to express themselves because of the

fear of being misunderstood. Only 26%

of Black women felt that they had allies

at work, and 36% of Black women faced

consequences when they spoke out against

discrimination at work.

Not only are Black women

discriminated against for their emotions,

but they are also scrutinized over

their hair.

In a research study from Duke

University, Black women with natural

hairstyles were seen as more unprofessional

than Black women with straightened hair.

Also, according to research from Dove,

80% of Black women felt the need to alter

their natural hair in order to fit in at work.

In 2018, a Black news anchor was fired

for wearing her natural hair.

These aggressions have very strong

effects on individuals’ mental and

physical health.

According to Harvard psychiatrists,

microaggressions “can result in everything

from depression, fatigue and anger

to physical ailments such as chronic

infections, thyroid problems and high

blood pressure.” This shows that a small

comment can affect someone negatively in

many ways.

Since microaggressions are subtle, some

people find it hard to express themselves

without feeling that they are overreacting.

“Often the person experiencing the

microaggression will have others state

that ‘you are being overly sensitive’ and

that microaggression ‘didn’t happen or

wasn’t meant in that way.’ The person

experiencing the microaggression is

having their feelings invalidated, and when

people are invalidated, they are left feeling

unheard and as if they don’t belong,” said

Jennifer Turner, UA assistant director of

clinical services.

Microaggressions can affect a person’s

confidence so much that they start to

constantly question themselves, which

eventually causes a downward spiral.

“When a person is experiencing

microaggressions it may become difficult

for a person to engage with others. The

person experiencing a microaggression

may have issues with being late or

calling out from work or class because

of feeling ill,” Turner said. “In reality, the

microaggression that they experience daily

in a particular space may make it difficult

for them to come to work every day.”

However, microaggressions don’t define

a person, and some people find it easier

to let the situation go. This helps them

gain peace so that they can enjoy their

college experience.

“I overcame the feeling by honestly

letting it go. I grew to love myself, and

I do not care what other people think

of me at the end of the day,” said A’Nya

Hester, a junior majoring in the multiple

abilities program.

Hester said she has enjoyed her

college experience despite the constant

microaggressions she has faced.

“I will educate the ones who made me

feel uncomfortable, but for those who

don’t budge? I will not lose sleep over it,”

Hester said.

Microaggressions affect each person

differently, but one comment can affect

someone’s confidence, health and future.


The pride of The University of

Alabama comes from its athletic

programs. Thousands of fans,

students and athletes travel to

Tuscaloosa to experience Alabama

athletic events.

In recent years, some of the top

athletes from Alabama athletic

programs have been Black students.

From former wide receiver DeVonta

Smith to former gymnast Ashley

Miles, the Crimson Tide has been

home to its fair share of Black

superstar athletes.

In order for athletes like Smith and

Miles to shine, someone had to plant

a seed. But, who were the men and

women who paved the way for the

Black athletes at the University?

On May 16, 1963, a federal court

ordered the University to admit

Vivian Malone and James Hood

to Alabama for the summer term.

Four years later, a Black football

player, Wilbur Jackson, walked onto

the field of what was then Denny

Stadium for the first time. This

started the domino effect that led to

the integration and rich history of

Black athletes at Alabama.

In 1967, freshman Dock Rone sat

across from Paul “Bear” Bryant and

announced his intention to walk on

to the Alabama football team.

Bryant told Rone of the

difficulties of making the team

but welcomed Rone to try out if he

passed the physical exam and was

academically eligible.

“I admire your courage, young

man,” Bryant said to Rone.

Four other Black students from

Alabama joined Rone when he

reported for the Tide's first spring

practice on April 1, 1967 — Arthur

Dunning from Mobile, Melvin

Leverett from Prichard, Andrew

Pernell from Bessemer and Jerome

Tucker from Birmingham.

The first step was taken. Rone

became the first Black athlete to

wear an Alabama football uniform.

On May 5, 1967, Rone, Tucker and

Pernell took the field in the annual

Alabama A-Day game.

Although their journeys at

Alabama were cut short, these five

men planted a seed for other Black

athletes to grow from. Three years

later, Alabama signed its first Black


Black athletes who paved the way



Athletes at historically Black colleges

and universities receive less attention

than athletes at predominantly white

institutions despite being just as talented.

The 2021 NFL draft was the ninth time

since 2000 that no players were selected

from an HBCU. In 2020, only one HBCU

player was selected in the NFL draft.

Athletic programs at HBCUs receive

less national media exposure, funding and

support compared to athletic programs

at PWIs.

The Southwestern Athletic Conference

is made up of HBCUs in the Southern

United States. SWAC games are

broadcasted on national TV less than other

collegiate athletic conferences. This limits

the amount of national media coverage

HBCU athletes receive.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback

Cameron Konley has a lot of respect

for HBCUs despite attending the U.S.

Naval Academy.

“I definitely think HBCU athletes

are left out of the media spotlight,”

scholarship athlete, Wendell Hudson.

Hudson is a native of Birmingham,

Alabama. Former Alabama

basketball head coach C.M. Newton

gave the slim, 6-foot-6-inch

teenager the chance to make history

in Tuscaloosa.

Hudson said he “did not really

have a clue what he was really

doing when he came here from a

historical standpoint.”

To Hudson, it was an opportunity

to play the sport he loved. Hudson

let his talent on the court speak for

itself. Hudson was named SEC Most

Valuable Player twice in his collegiate

career — in 1972 and 1973. He also

led the SEC during those years.

This impact was felt for years to

come. By Hudson’s senior year, he

was one of several Black players on

the basketball team. In 1970, Wilbur

Jackson became the first Black

football player on scholarship.

“[Hudson] paved the way for guys

like me,” former Alabama point

guard Kira Lewis Jr. said. “Without

him, maybe I’m probably not here;

maybe I am. More than likely I’m not

here, so with him doing what he did,

that’s a big accomplishment. Hats off

to him.”

The path for Black female athletes

at the University was harder to pave.

Soon after the federal government

passed Title IX in 1972, the floodgates

opened for Black female athletes.

Title IX states that no educational

institution receiving federal financial

assistance can exclude a person from

an educational activity or benefits on

the basis of gender.

That fall, The University

of Alabama had its first

Black cheerleader.

Brenda McCampbell Lyons’

brother was already a student at the

Capstone. She never thought about

the legacy her time at the University

would leave.

“Growing up, I always liked to

follow him and do everything he did,

so I came to Alabama, just like he

did,” Lyons said.

Lyons started cheerleading during

her junior year of high school.

She didn’t consider cheering in

college until she saw a flyer for

freshman tryouts.

A group of Black male students

created a community to support Lyons

and the other Black female students

trying out for the cheerleading team.

The men helped the women practice

ahead of tryouts.

All their hard work paid off. Lyons

was named to the team and became

the first Black woman to set foot on

the field at Denny Stadium.

Like the Black athletes before

her, Lyons dealt with racism. At her

Wilbur Jackson was the first football player to receive a football scholarship. He played

from 1971 to 1973. Courtesy of Paul W. Bryant Museum


October 21, 2021

first game, the security at the gate

wouldn’t let her in.

“The climate of the time, I think

many — especially Black students —

knew that it was kind of what you

signed up for,” Lyons said.

Still, Lyons had a community of

support around her at the University

and at home. Her parents supported

her because they knew how much she

wanted to be a cheerleader.

Similar to those before her, Lyons’

dedication to her sport set the

standard for many who followed.

In 1988, Dione “Dee Dee” Foster

Worley was an accomplished elite

gymnast. Foster was set to compete

in the 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials, but

an injury kept her from participating.

The following year, Foster enrolled

at the University and became the first

Black female scholarship athlete.

With the direction of former coaches

Sarah and David Patterson, Foster

became a force in the NCAA circuit.

“Nobody ever showed up here

with more determination to succeed

than Dee,” David Patterson said. “She

set her goals high, and then she went

out and did it.”

Foster was the star athlete in the

all-around competition and a pillar

of the dynasty Sarah Patterson built

at the University.

She set an NCAA record with a

perfect 10 at five consecutive meets,

was named SEC Female Athlete of

the Year and was nominated for

NCAA Female Athlete of the Year.

Each of these athletes contributed

to the winning culture that is

synonymous with Alabama. They

broke down barriers and created a

tradition of stellar Black athletes

at Alabama.

Through their dedication to their

sports, they created a long-lasting

legacy at the University.

It’s time to put HBCU athletes in the spotlight

Pictured: Aniyah Smith Courtesy of Alabama State Athletics



said Kinley. “Games aren’t often

broadcasted on TV, and it is harder to get

national exposure.”

Only one SWAC game is scheduled

to be broadcast on ESPN this year. There

are two SWAC games scheduled to be

broadcast on ESPN2.

The decision to come to

an HBCU over a PWI as

a big-name athlete will

literally affect generations

to come.



Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle

Will Richardson, Jr. said a lack of

media coverage negatively impacts

HBCU athletes.

“Making it to the NFL is about exposure,”

said Richardson. “One way I believe the

media can help is by broadcasting more

HBCU games on national television.”

Despite the challenges HBCU athletes

face, some athletes decide to transfer

from a PWI to an HBCU. Some of these

students have said there is a noticeable

difference in the support that HBCU

athletic programs receive compared

to PWIs.

Former Missouri State basketball player

Dariauna Lewis transferred to Alabama

A&M University to improve her mental

health and connect with her roots. Lewis

is second in the NCAA for rebounds per

game and is a leading player of multiple

categories in the SWAC.

“A narrative that needs to be changed is

that Black kids go to HBCUs because they

can’t get into bigger Power Five schools,”

said Lewis. “I transferred from a big DI

program, so I am a walking example that

we can get into bigger schools.”

Former West Virginia cornerback

Tacorey Turner transferred to Alabama

A&M because he wanted a different

cultural experience.

“Give HBCU athletes more exposure

like athletes received at my previous PWI,”

said Turner. “HBCUs should also get more

credit and attention in the media.”

HBCUs are historically underfunded.

The climate of the time, I

think many — especially

Black students — knew

that it was kind of what

you signed up for.


From 2010 to 2012, 61% of HBCUs

in America did not receive their full

state funding, according to a report

by the Association of Public and

Land-grant Universities.

Underfunding makes it harder for

HBCUs to get resources and attract

top recruits.

Alabama State University baseball

player Jayden Sloan would like to see more

top recruits make the decision to play at


“Top recruits going to HBCUs will

contradict the narrative that athletes only

choose HBCUs because they didn’t have

another option,” said Sloan. “I believe

top recruits deciding to come to HBCUs

will help bring in more funding for

athletic programs.”

Alabama A&M sprinter Nicholas

Powell said he is excited to see top recruits

beginning to choose HBCUs over PWIs.

“It’s sad that athletes have to make the

sacrifice right now to see HBCUs prosper

in the future, but it’s extremely courageous

of them,” said Powell. “The decision to

come to an HBCU over a PWI as a bigname

athlete will literally affect generations

to come.”

Pictured: Kevion Stewart Courtesy of Alabama State Athletics


October 21, 2021

Finding Black communities in Tuscaloosa



More than a century after the

University’s founding, the campus

was integrated. Even after integrating,

Black students had to find community

and resources on campus. Now, there

are at least 16 organizations that

specifically serve Black students at

the University.


Black Student Union

The University’s Black Student

Union was established in 1968 to help

fulfill the needs of Black students

across campus. Its mission is to

establish and build better relationships

and experiences for minority students

on campus. The BSU serves as a

liaison between minority students

and school leaders in order to ensure

equality and uphold the values of the

Capstone Creed.

Capstone Association of

Black Journalists

The Capstone Association of Black

Journalists is a collegiate chapter of

the National Association of Black

Journalists. It was started to assist

Black students as they navigate the

field of journalism, especially after

graduation. It covers a broad number

of topics around the world. This

organization is open to all students,

not just minorities, and anyone who

cares about preserving diversity in

journalism is welcome to join.

Future Black Law Student


The Future Black Law Student

Association was created to support

aspiring Black law students. It shares

resources for students to maximize

their pursuits in the legal profession.

Mentorship and support are priorities

for the organization.

The National Council of

Negro Women

The National Council of Negro

Women has over 300 community- and

campus-based sections that advance

opportunities for African American

women and the communities they

live in. The council accomplishes

this through research, advocacy,

community work and programs in the

U.S. and Africa.


The NAACP’s mission is to

ensure equal rights for all, without

discrimination based on race. The

University’s chapter aims to improve

the quality of life for all people of

color on campus by ensuring inclusion

and equality.

Students Against

Medical Racism

Students Against Medical Racism

educates students going into health

care professions about disparities that

minorities face in the medical field.

Students work together to educate

their peers about the causes and effects

of medical discrimination. They work

in the community and raise money

to educate young students and others

about systemic racial discrimation in

the health care system.

Project Empowerment

Project Empowerment focuses on

educating Black women on politics,

but it aims to give all women of color

a political voice. The project hopes

to encourage high school and college

students to become educated and

promote political awareness.

Women of Excellence

Women of Excellence is an

organization of progressive African

American women who hope to foster a

sense of excellence through education,

politics, volunteer work and civic

engagement in the community. This

organization is dedicated to supporting

young women as they pursue brighter

futures through excellence.

Alabama National

Pan-Hellenic Council

This organization is home to

eight of the nine historically African

American fraternities and sororities.

These fraternities and sororities

are committed to improving the

community and the lives of students

through community service and

academic excellence. These NPHC

organizations also organize programs

and events to encourage the

enrichment of cultural experience at

the University.

Dynamically Reversing

Everything Around Me

D.R.E.A.M. is an organization

pushing for progress in education

amid a climate of racial injustice and

a lack of education on the history of

minorities. The organization focuses

on leadership training for middle

school- to college-aged students,

empowering others to serve their

communities and bring attention to

these issues.


Tuscaloosa Area Black

Chamber of Commerce

The Tuscaloosa Area Black

Chamber of Commerce was created to

assist in the development of African

American communities and Blackowned

businesses. The chamber

hopes to ensure economic growth and

the progression of African

American contributions

and advancements to

society, particularly

in Tuscaloosa.

Birmingham Urban


Birmingham Urban

League is an organization

that assists all racial

and ethnic groups,

particularly African

Americans, in pursuing

and achieving social and

economic equality. Through

education, housing, jobs and health,

they hope to empower communities

and their members to change lives.

Black Voters


Black Voters Matter is

an organization committed

to educating Black Americans

on voting. They advocate for

policies promoting voting

equality and voting rights

for all, as well as for policies

that intersect with race, gender,

economics and other aspects of

promoting equality.


The Knights & Orchids


The Knights & Orchids Society

is an organization fighting for the

rights of LGBTQ African Americans

throughout Alabama and the South.

The society pushes for equality and

justice through community work.

The Black Youth Project

The Black Youth Project is a platform

that highlights the accomplishments of

Black millennials. This organization

focuses on giving a voice to young

Black Americans and shedding light

on diversity across the country.

Black Women’s Blueprint

Black Women’s Blueprint is an

organization dedicated to creating

a safe community for Black women

affected by sexual assault, abuse

and incarceration. Through trauma

healing, truth and reconciliation,

reproductive medicine, and

international programs, they hope to

create a space where these women can


CW / Allie McGillberry



October 21, 2021

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