Adrian Beltre

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months

article by Jack Markey

Adrian Beltre was born April 7, 1979 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Beltre’s uncle played briefly in the minor leagues for the St. Louis Cardinals. Adrian Beltre’s best two sports when he was young were Tennis and Basketball. It wasn’t until he was about 12 before he finally showed his skills in baseball.

Beltre attended school at Liceo Maximo Gomez High School. There he developed his game skills. When he was fifteen, he was already getting scouted by the pros. In 1994, he was signed by the Dodgers with a $23,000 bonus. In the league, someone has to be at least sixteen to be scouted, while Adrian Beltre was only fifteen when he was first signed. This drew a lot of attention, but Beltre was still signed.

He attended his first year in the minor leagues in 1996. He was apart of the Savannah Sand Gnats. Adrian Beltre was the youngest player on the team and worked incredibly hard on his skills in the game. In 1997, he played a full season for Vero Beach, a Florida League.

Over his first year in the major leagues, the Dodgers made many adjustments to Beltre’s stance and form at the plate and in the field. Adrian Beltre spent most of his first year on the bench and watching from the dugout. He finished his season with a batting average of .215. He had hit 7 homers and 22 RBI’s. He was almost traded to the Seattle Mariners in the offseason, but the trade was canceled.

Adrian ended with a great second season with the Dodgers ending with a .275 batting average, 15 homers, and 67 RBI’s. In the offseason, there was a lot of suspicion on the signing of Adrian Beltre. There was a lot of controversy over the issue, but the Dodgers were just issued a fine and Beltre stayed. Unfortunately, in his 2001 season, he incurred an injury. He didn’t see the field until mid-May. With these health problems, he still had a decent year with a .265 batting average.

In his next few seasons, Adrian Beltre was not performing well.He was batting the worst on the starting roster. Over the next season, things began to change for him. He was at the plate with authority and hitting much better. He was finally a top hitter in the 2004 season and showed his true talent. He led the major league with 48 homers, a .334 batting average, and 121 RBI’s.

Over the upcoming off season, he was traded to the Mariners. He played a few seasons with the Mariners and became a free agent. He was then signed by the Boston Red Sox. Finally, he was traded to the Rangers where he spent the rest of his career and had solid seasons

His Airness!

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months

article by Jacob LeBlanc

In his prime, Michael Jordan was an influential role model for all young Americans. Michael Jordan is considered by many to be the best basketball player of all time (behind Kevin Durant). Michael Jordan’s skill influenced and inspired many young children to play basketball.  

MJ dominated the NBA from the mid-80s through the late-90s, he won the Most Valuable Player award five times and led the Chicago Bulls to six National Basketball Association championships.  Michael Jordan is still a major role model today and will continue to be talked about for decades. Michael Jordan changed the sport of basketball forever.

Michael Jordan’s partnership with Nike started a new wave of athletic merchandising. His fame propelled Nike to become one of the most famous athletic brands in the world. Jordan’s shoe brand is still popular today, and Nike is now the most famous athletic brand worldwide. Although Jordan was one of the greatest basketball players in the world, even he failed to make his high school basketball team as a sophomore.Feeling defeated, he didn’t give up. Michael Jordan kept practicing and made the team the next year. After high school, he went on to play basketball in college at the University of North Carolina. After college, as we all know, Michael Jordan was drafted by the Chicago Bulls and went on to win championships and earned multiple MVP awards throughout his career. In his time, Michael Jordan inspired many and changed the world. Now, Michael Jordan is a partial owner of the Charlotte Hornets and a business owner of the Jordan brand. Michael Jordan still influences children around the world who are aspiring to become basketball players.  

MLK & Malcom X: A Comparative Look

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months

article by Sophie Roussel

Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X. Two names, two very different people with the same goal in life. But their ways of achieving racial equality were contrasted. King believed in peaceful everything, peaceful protests, and not needing violence to achieve the African American goal of social equality. Malcolm on the other hand, had an immediate results mentality, by applying threats and violence to achieve his goal and wanting social change to occur fast.

In 1946, Malcolm Little, known as Malcolm X, was sentenced to ten years in jail and converted to the Nation of Islam. To most of society, he was perceived as full of hate and just wanted to cause problems within the communities. Yet to others, he was a redeemer who wanted the same end result as King. Malcom’s violent ways and threats were what he thought would get his results fast and it was the reason why he gained so many followers. His followers wanted equality, by any means. Malcolm presented the people with the promise of “transcending the streets,” the majority of his followers were African Americans who were not well off and looked to the streets for a home. He promised the people hope for a better future. But you can’t escape the inevitable. The same reasons he became such a successful leader among millions of African Americans were the same reasons he was assassinated February 21, 1965. Following his death, fifteen-hundred people attended his funeral in Harlem.

In 1954, Martin Luther King Jr. became a pastor in Montgomery, Alabama. Shortly afterward, he started the first nonviolent protest of contemporary times, boycotting the bus system which lasted 382 days and led to desegregation on buses. King had a larger, more diverse group of followers than Malcom X. In many of the photographs from his speeches, people of different colors unit around his promises of equality and peace. In an eleven year period, King traveled over ten million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times. After his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, he became not only a leader for African Americans but also a worldwide leader for racial justice. Even with all of these things going for him, some people hated him just as much as they hated Malcolm X. King and Malcolm frequently crossed each other’s paths during influential times, such as the passages of Civil Rights Acts in the 1960s.

On the evening of April 4,1968, King was shot from the balcony of his motel room.

Both of these men were influential leaders who brought about a change for racial inequality in our country. Their purposeful action and influence boosted change in America and put America farther along the road to racial equality.

G.O.A.T | Lebron James

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months

article byEmory Templet

Some people might say that Lebron James is the greatest basketball player to ever step on the hardwood. Others might disagree, saying names like Michael Jordan, or Wilt Chamberlain should claim the title of G.O.A.T. But right here, right now: Lebron James is the greatest player in the world. And his impact on society will forever be remembered as one of the most impacting African American athletes in society.

December 30, 1984, in the town of Akron Ohio, Lebron Raymone James was born to 16 year old Gloria James. Lebron’s father, Anthony McClelland, had an extensive criminal record and was never in his life. Growing up, Lebron did not have a lot because his family struggled financially. He used his athletic talents to get him places in his life.

So far in his career, Lebron has made it to the NBA finals nine times, wining three. He has won four regular season MVP awards and also three finals MVP awards. He has influenced both the NBA and the rest of the world with things such as hosting the ESPY awards, Saturday Night Live, and he appeared in the 2015 film Trainwreck.

June 26, 2003 is one of the most important days in Lebron James’s life. He was drafted into the NBA with the number one pick. As a Cleveland boy, it was especially special that he was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers. As soon as the season started, Lebron had an obvious impact. He brought that swagger to the team that they hadn’t had before. Just in his NBA debut, he had 25 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds. This dominance earned him Rookie of the Year, and an immediate star in America.

In 2018, Lebron James opened the I Promise school in Cleveland, Ohio. It is a school designed to cater to the needs of kids with struggling families. Lebron really desired to open this type of school to give back to Cleveland, and because he endured the same conditions growing up.

Overall, Lebron is a positive influence in our society in many different ways. He stars in movies, wins NBA championships, and starts schools. He is a great basketball player, and an even better social figure.

42

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months

article by Jason Kelly

Jackie Robinson was not only an extraordinarily good athlete, but also a great person. Jackie Robinson was a man that put everything on the table to help the future of sports. But twenty-eight years earlier a baby was born to Mallie and Jerry Robinson. He was the fifth and youngest kid. He spent his younger days in Pasadena, California after his dad abandoned his family. His mother took on sundry jobs to sustain her family.

Jackie Robinson went to college at University California Los Angeles where he lettered in four sports: football, basketball, track, and baseball. He left college early due to financial problems and moved to Honolulu, Hawaii. In Hawaii, he played semi-pro football for the Honolulu Bears.

Jackie Robinson started his baseball career in the Negro leagues, where there was no base salary and players were underpaid. While in the Negro league, he was noticed by Branch Rickey, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was signed by the Dodgers in 1946. He played in the minor leagues, where his opponents would cancel games because they didn’t want to play against an African American. That year Jackie led the Minor leagues in both batting average and fielding percentage.

Jackie Robinson joined the military in 1942, in a segregated cavalry unit in Kansas. He was transferred shortly after because he refused to give up his seat on the bus. He later was discharged due to false accusations by a prejudiced officer and jury that confirmed his removal from the military.

Jackie played his first Major league game in April 1947. This day was historic! It was the first time any player of color had ever stepped onto a professional baseball field. He faced much adversity throughout the season, but he persevered and became Rookie of The Year.

Oprah

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months, Women’s History Month

article by Gianni Taylor

About Oprah Winfrey

On January 29, 1954, Oprah Gail Winfrey was born to Vernita Lee and Vernon Winfrey in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Both of her parents were unmarried teens and shortly after her birth the two separated leaving Oprah to live with her grandmother. `

Early Life

The years that Oprah lived with her grandmother, she was taught how to recite Bible verses and even began reading at the age of two. At the age of six, she moved with her mother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she was abused and mistreated which led to her rebelling. Her mother sent her to Nashville, Tennessee where she began living with her father. While living with her father she felt like she was in a safer environment, but the bad habits that she picked up from living with her mother were hard to shake off.

Rise to Fame

Image accredited to Variety Magazine

In 1971, Oprah’s first job was at Nashville’s WVOL radio station, while she was still in high school, where she was read afternoon newscast live. In the same year she received the titles as Nashville’s Miss Fire Prevention and Miss Black Tennessee. Later that year she graduated high school with honors and was granted a full scholarship to Tennessee State University. She majored in Speech Communications and Performing arts. In 1973 Oprah starts to set records being the first African American TV correspondent in Nashville and the youngest co- anchor for WTVF-TV. Three years later in 1976, Oprah became co-anchor at WJZ-TV in Baltimore. In 1978, while still working as a co-anchor, she found a talent for hosting talk shows and became co-host of WJZ-TV’s “People Are Talking”. In order to host “A.M. Chicago,” Oprah moved to Chicago in 1984. A year later she started her acting career where she played Sofia in the movie The Color Purple. In 1986 Oprah’s own talk show “The Oprah Winfrey Show” was aired nationally. Two years later she also became the first African American Women in American to own her own studio which she name Harpo Studio. Following her first movie appearance, Oprah played in movies such as The Women of Brewster Place (1989), There are no children here (1993), Before Women had Wings (1997), and many more. In 2004, Oprah released her successful  magazine O, The Oprah. In 1998, she believed in making a difference in people’s live and she found Oprah’s Angel Network which was and still is a charity that raised more than $35 million to non- profit organizations around the world. The network also has provided scholarships and built schools while supporting women’s shelter, building homes, and even youth centers. Oprah was also an impact on child protection. In 1991 she pushed for the Child Protection Act, which set a national database of convicted child abusers, to get passed. This was such a big goal for her to reach that she even when as far as to create Oprah’s Child Predator Watch List where in only 48 hours she captured two alleged child molesters. Today Oprah is worth around 2.6 billion dollars making her the first African American women to become a billionaire. In 2005 Forbes Magazine ranked her as the most powerful celebrity in the world. She also has funded many organizations that are targeted to help improve women’s quality of life and to boost their confidence. Oprah is such a role model for African Americans, women, and girls all around the nation. She has shown that you can succeed in life if you continue to try. She is the change that the African American community and women needed. Oprah has been a light for the people who have been abused. Let’s take a stand with her in improving our nation and world!

“THE” Odell Beckham Junior

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months

article by Brennan Hunt

One of the greatest influencers of this generation, one of the most unique pro athletes to ever exist, a legend, in his own right. “THE” Odell Beckham Junior, a legend in the making. Who is this Odell Beckham that I talk about you ask? Odell is one of the best receivers in the NFL.. ever! All while representing our Louisiana State University, graduating from college–after a phenomenal college career–while playing with other legends, such as Jarvis Landry, Zach Mettenberger, Jeremy Hill, and The Honey badger: Tyrann Mathieu.  

Odell, was born in Baton Rouge Louisiana, and attended Isidore Newman High School, and lettermanned in football, basketball, and track. He played wide receiver, running back, quarterback, and cornerback for his high school, and went on to become one of the Legacies of Louisiana.

Odell has become one of the greatest influencers of this young generation from his fashion to his dancing to his hair. Everything he does is noticed and copied. From the moment he walked on the field, you could tell that he would be special and influence a lot of youth! Every time he scores a touchdown, there’s a new celebration that you can see everyone mimicking the next day. Whatever he was wearing before game, you can often see people wearing not long after.

Odell is an encouraging person and influencer. He is becoming one of the most recognized household names in the last few years.

Virgil Abloh

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months

Virgil Abloh was born on September 30th, 1980, to his Ghanaian immigrant parents and grew up in Rockford, Illinois. He was an only child and his mother was a seamstress, while his father was a manager for a paint company. Virgil attended Boylan Catholic High School, and graduated in 1998, he then went on to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which he graduated from in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. He then went on to get his Master of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2006.

Abloh’s first step into fashion was when he interned at Fendi in 2009, in the same class as the rapper Kanye West. He was placed in the company’s Rome office, where he offered his own taste to help design merch for Kanye, which he took up. Virgil then started his first individual brand named Pyrex. He started off by buying deadstock Ralph Lauren shirts that were discounted at $40 dollars, he then printed the words PYREX in all capitals on the shirt. He priced the shirts at a steep $500 dollar price tag, which he later stated was a sort of social experiment. He wanted to see the state of the consumer market, observing that people will pay a whole lot more for brands that are labeled as “designer” or premium. Abloh ended this project in December of 2013, replacing the former brand with his brand new idea OFF WHITE.

OFF WHITE’s first introduction into the fashion world came in the form of a showing of their Spring/Summer 14 collection at the Paris Fashion Week in 2014. The brand’s motto is a saying from Abloh describing the brand in saying, “the gray area between black and white as the color off-white” The line that he presented at the show received nominations for LVMH Prize, which is an award given out for top designers under 40 that have released at least two collections of clothing.OFF WHITE’s popularity kept on rising and rising throughout the coming years up to 2017. In 2017, Abloh and his brand OFF WHITE were contacted by Nike to do a collaboration with clothing and shoes. The collection dropped in November of 2017, causing chaos throughout the internet, retailing at $190 dollars, to reselling for upwards of $2,000 dollars. After his success with his brand OFF WHITE, Virgil Abloh was offered the job title of artistic designer for the prolific and notorious brand Louis Vuitton.

Virgil Abloh is an icon for the African American community because he shows what you can do with hard work and a great work ethic. Abloh worked his way through college and all the way up to an internship with a heavily established brand, through which found a major connection to help boost his projects. Abloh is officially the first African American to be named artistic director in Louis Vuitton history, showing that with hard work you can achieve some of your biggest goals that you set for yourself.

The Story of Ruby Bridges

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months, Women’s History Month

article by Michael Burnett

In 1960, an African American attending school with white American children was unheard of, much less an African american girl, but Ruby Bridges did.

In 1954 the Supreme Court decided to allow whites and African Americans to attend school together. Ruby was six years old in 1960, her parents responded to a call from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and volunteered their child to participate in the integration of the New Orleans School system. She is remembered as the first African-American child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South. She went to William Frantz Elementary school. In her first year, many outraged white parents made her feel unwelcome by doing demeaning acts such as shouting racial slurs–one parent even held up a black doll in a coffin. Ruby was frightened by the way these people treated her, but she did not turn back. She spent her first day of school in the principal’s office because of all of the hatred directed toward her. Sadly, even most of the school staff rejected Ruby. Barbara Henry, a white teacher, was the only one willing to accept Ruby. For Ruby’s first year at the school, she had no other students in her class. Ruby had to eat lunch alone and only had the teacher to play with during recess.

Ruby graduated from a desegregated high school, and was later reunited with her first teacher, Henry, in the 1990s. The two did a serie of speaking engagements together. A lifelong activist for racial equality, in 1999, Ruby established The Ruby Bridges Foundation to promote tolerance and to foster change through education.

Ruby was and still is a role model for both women and all African Americans. She paved the way for both African American and white alike to have the same educational opportunities.

Ruby Bridges

The One, The Only, Michael Jackson!

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months

Michael Jackson needs no introduction, but for a grade he technically does. Michael Jackson’s story begins August 29, 1958. As a child, he was in a family band called the Jackson 5. They wrote songs such as their first release Ben. They grew into something international! And became the outlet for Michael Jackson to grow as a solo artist.

His first solo song “Got To Be There” set him on his way to becoming a legend! From songs like Man In The Mirror, Billie Jean, and Thriller. His music career blew up, making history for his authenticity.

One particular song that stands out They Don’t Care About Us wasn’t directed straight towards police brutality or racism. It was targeted towards the people with power and their effects on those who don’t have power. Yes, this included African American people who were victims of police brutality, but it also includes how politicians affect society and how, in general, any authority can be corrupt.

Another impactful song, Black or White speaks for itself. The song lets you know that no matter what the world says, YOUR SKIN DOESN’T DEFINE YOU!! And it shouldn’t alter what people think of you either. The way that Michael had that music video portrayed couldn’t have been any better. If you watch it yourself, it has a black baby and a white baby sitting next to each other, just enjoying each others company. Powerful!

So, when you think of the infamous late Michael Jackson, think of all the positivity he gave to the world through his music. The messages in his songs that most likely got someone through a bad day. Or even the songs you will have on replay at a party. His passion got out to the world, and he did all he could do in the short life that he lived.

R.I.P Michael Jackson

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysics icon. Flip through any science magazine or physics article and you’re bound to find a page on the works of Tyson or at least a reference to his research. He’s known for his work on star formation, supernovas, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of the Milkyway.

Early Academic Career

Neil deGrasse Tyson was raised in New York City, he graduated from Bronx High School of Science in 1976, and attended Harvard for his Bachelors in physics, and attended Columbia for his Ph.D. in 1991. Since then, he has become a professor and is a director at the Hayden Planetarium.

The Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry

In 2001, Neil was invited by President George Bush to serve on a twelve member comity to study the future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry. The report was published in 2002 and included many recommendations for Congress and several government agencies about space transportation, exploration, and national security.

Moon, Mars, and Beyond…

In 2004, Neil was appointed again by Bush to join a 9 member comity on the newly introduced United States Space Exploration Policy, titled “Moon, Mars, and Beyond”. The comity established a path for a new vision of space exploration that would be a successful part of the American Agenda.

Stories for the Nerds

Tyson has published many professional publications, as well as many famed works for the public. From 1995 to 2005, Neil was an essayist for the Natural History magazine under the alias “Universe”. Included in Neil’s 13 books is the memoir “The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist” and “Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution”

Two more recent books written by Tyson are the playful “Death by Black Hole and other Cosmic Quandaries” and “The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet” which revolves around his involvement in the controversy of Pluto’s planetary status.

That’s a lot of Doctorates

Tyson received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, as well as 20 honorary doctorates. The International Astronomical Union recognized Tyson’s work by officially naming an asteroid “131123 Tyson”.

If you want to learn more about Tyson you can check out this article by Hayden Planetarium.

SHAQ: Larger Than Life

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months

article by Isaiah Halker

Shaquille O’Neal was born in Newark, New Jersey, March 6, 1972. Shaquille O’Neal is considered one of the most dominant basketball players in NBA history.  He is seven feet and one inch, and maintained around 325 pounds throughout his career. His larger-than-life personality and powerful athleticism have resulted in worldwide honor and one of the most passionate fan bases in sports and entertainment.

Shaq played for six teams throughout his 19 year NBA career. He was also a nominee Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. After graduating from Louisiana State University, he was drafted by Orlando Magic with first overall pick. He won Rookie of the Year in for the 1992-93 season and then lead his team to the NBA finals in 1995. After playing with the Magic for four years, Shaq signed with the Los Angeles Lakers where he won three consecutive championships in 2000 through 2002. In 2004, he moved to the Miami Heat and won another championship in 2006. Between 2007 and 2011, Shaq took his talents to Phoenix, Cleveland and finally Boston, where he finished out his illustrious basketball career.His individual awards include the 1999–2000 MVP award, the 1992–93 NBA Rookie of the Year award, 15 All-Star game selections, three All-Star Game MVP awards, three Finals MVP awards, two scoring titles, 14 All-NBA team selections, and three NBA All-Defensive Team selections. He is one of only three players to win NBA MVP, All-Star game MVP and Finals MVP awards in the same year. He ranks 7th all-time in points scored, 5th in field goals, 13th in rebounds, and 7th in blocks.

Largely due to his ability to dunk the basketball, O’Neal also ranks 3rd all-time in field goal percentage 58.2%.Shaq’s off-court awards rival his athletic accomplishments when he found success in music, television, acting, and gaming. As of April 2017, Shaquille O’Neal’s net worth was $400 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Shaq is still considered to be one of the greatest basketball players in the NBA. Shaq has consistently been a mentor and example for young American growing up with aspiration to excel in sports and life.

Langston Hughes: Crisis and Jazz

Black History Month, Feature, Heritage Months

article by Dillon Summers

Langston Hughes’ genre-bending Jazz poetry shook the 1940s literary world. Born February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri to parents Carrie M. Langston and James N. Hughes, the family later moved to Lawrence, Kansas, which is where he spent his early childhood. Though throughout his life, he also lived in Illinois, Ohio, and Mexico. His parents separated soon after his birth. He was mostly raised by his mother, grandmother and a couple named the Reeds.

As a young child, he had a natural talent for poetry and composed the best poetry in his school. Years after finishing high school in Mexico and living with his father, his father had no admiration for his talent so he encouraged him to stop writing. Despite his father’s disapproval, Langston’s poetry found publication in The Brownies children’s books. In 1921, Langston attempted to make a wider appeal to adult readers. He wrote “A Negro Speaks of River” which appeared in Crisis magazine that same year. Crisis expanded publication of his poem. Soon after, he moved to New York and enrolled at Columbia State University. He left the college after only a year because they didn’t treat him as well as he thought they would.

After college, Langston worked in different jobs even working on a freighter. In 1924, he moved back home with his mother in Washington D.C.  Langston desired to return to his education so he worked as a hotel busboy which paid very little. He returned to college in 1925 to finish his education. That same year he won the a prestigious literary competition. The following summer, he wrote an essay for the National Urban League. He graduated from Missouri’s Lincoln University in 1929 and published his first novel “Not Without Laughter.”Years later, he wrote for the Chicago Defender, publishing “Simple.” After its publication, he became known as “the most eloquent spokesman” for African Americans.

Throughout the 1950s, he received fellowships, honorary degrees, and awards including the Anisfield- Wolf Award. By the end of his career, 47 literary publications included volumes by Langston Hughes–an astonishing career! Langston died in New York City May 22, 1967, leaving behind a career and example for upcoming African Americans to follow and emulate.

You can learn more about his extraordinary career and role in African America history here.

I could take the Harlem night
and wrap around you,
Take the neon lights and make a crown,
Take the Lenox Avenue busses,
Taxis, subways,
And for your love song tone their rumble down.
Take Harlem’s heartbeat,
Make a drumbeat,
Put it on a record, let it whirl,
And while we listen to it play,
Dance with you till day—
Dance with you, my sweet brown Harlem girl.

Excerpt from “Juke Box Love Song” by Langston Hughes