Friday, January 11, 2008

A Black editor tries to give something back, and is rejected.

A black newspaper editor writes about his ordeal at Stillman College, a historically black college, after he decided to give something back and teach at the school. His experience raises the question of whether such colleges are needed today and if they are, what shold their role be in 21st century America.

"A year before coming to Stillman, I had written a commentary for the St. Petersburg Times arguing that Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs, remain viable. I further argued that given the increasing reliance on standardized tests to determine college admission and given the nation's conservative turn, HBCUs are needed more than ever to provide an opportunity for many young blacks who otherwise never would be able to attend college because of factors such as low standardized test scores and criminal records.....
Yet I still believed in these schools. So in 2004 I resigned from my job as a St. Petersburg Times columnist and editorial writer that paid more than $70, 000 a year to teach at Stillman for $33, 000 a year. I wanted to fulfill a long-ago promise I made with the professors who taught and nurtured me during the 1960s at two historically black colleges, Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, and Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach......
As it turned out, I would last just two years before returning to the Times. I left the campus disheartened and disillusioned, and I regretted leaving behind a handful of dedicated students with real potential. Another graduating class has just left Stillman through the same gates I first entered in 2004, but I no longer feel welcome on campus......."

Mr. Maxwell deserves our praise and sincere thanks as it is commendable to see someone who wants to "give something back" and improve the lives of young people by helping them develop the tools they need to succeed in life. Its a pity that most of his students were too ignorant and stubborn to pay him any heed and were more focused on skipping class and text messaging than trying to get a decent job one day. Of course, one can be sure that they will blame racism for their lack of success in life and how a black person can't get ahead while voting for candidates that promise to give them everything while sticking it to a racist society while others defend their lack of success as proof of racism. My hat is off to you Mr. Maxwell, a true American hero.


gorjus said...

Okay, previously we discussed the definition of "racism" . . . do you really think that ALL of the students will blame "racism"?

I was a terribly lazy (white) student at Mississippi State who could have fit many of these criteria. What I needed was to grow up . . . it's not peculiar to being black or white. It's just kids being kids.

Kingfish said...

You are correct. I was exaggerating to make a point.

I think the failure comes earlier by the teachers not demanding excellence and enforcing the rules. Teachers AND principals. No way at Baton Rouge High or Broadmoor High School I would've gotten away with text messaging in class or blowing off teachers like that.

And at MC and Hinds, none of my professors would've put up with that behavior either.

What was sad to me was the kids were obviously passed along, not taught the right skills, then are shocked when they are told their work is a joke or not acceptable and don't know how to handle it. That was the sad part.

Anonymous said...


I think you do a total disservice here when you try and make a point by lying. This in no way is an indicator that these students will blame racism. You are not in a position to speak for black folk. What you did in Baton Ropuge and what I did at Callaway are two totally different experiences. And what you did at whatever college you attended and what I did at jackson State are also two totally different experiences. I can make claim your posting here is racists..and it is!!!

Kingfish said...


Othor, don't impugn my integrity unless you can prove it and I damn sure am not lying. period. Having said that, I would like to know how exactly I am lying.

If you read what I posted in the comments I stated that I was exagerrating to make a point. Racist? not hardly. Frankly, I thought the editor was someone to be admired by all of us as he sought to improve the lives of students and give something back to a community that he thought had helped him earlier in his life. Frankly it angered me a little when I read about his treatment by those fools.

Having said that, I guarantee you most of them will turn out to not be much in life. First of all, most of them come from poor backgrounds and have lower SAT scores. If there was a lesson that needed to be drummed into their heads it was that they need to work their butts off to get ahead. Yet they blow him off, can't put two words together, text back and forth, and get mad because a Professor dares to hold them accountable.

Now if it is racist to say that then so be it. As I stated, I was exagerrating to make a point. The point being that it will not surprise me if those kids one day when things don't work out for them blame everyone else but themselves. And I'm sure a few, NOT ALL, will say its because of racism.

And don't tell me that some candidates don't make that claim to win votes. Don't even think of saying that because you know as well as I do how true that is. In fact, I can remember Stokes and Armstrong making similar statements. We won't even get around to Ike Brown's racist letter to the Clarion Ledger this summer.

Lying? prove it.

Anonymous said...

your exagerration is a LIE..point proven. You tend to do that alot. How in the hell can you predict a person's outcome in life. You sound like someone else that I know!

But be that as it may..your mind is made up. It's funny how you tend to dump so m any things into one are not GOD, you don't know these kids don't know what will happen to them. Why embellish in the first place to prove a point..that was the LIE!!!

Kingfish said...

like someone else?

and how many posts have I zapped or people have I banned? that alone puts me in a different league than her.

I think it is not racist to say that if you blow off school, insult professors, don't go to class, etc you have probably hurt your chances of being successful down the road.

Anonymous said...

can these kids change..YES!!!I exhibited had some moderatly bad behavior in school, but I turned out OK. It is just a matter of growing up. Give these kids a break. I'm sure you did some pretty dumb things when you were in school. If this guy can't take classroom experience then it was best for him to get out. In the classroom you are in the business of shaping young minds and helping these kids find there way.

People can change..I'm sure you have. I know I have..why embellish to prove a point? To me that remains the LIE!!!

Kingfish said...

I think you will get a kick out of this Mr. C. She is in her 40's and just now figuring out the basics of renting. Sigh.

Kingfish said...

Yes, they can change. Don't deny that for one second. However, when I was at LSU, Hinds, MC, Millsaps, I never saw wholesale behavior like that from students and I've been around more than a few dumbasses.

By the way, what DID you think of the article?

Anonymous said...

I couldn't finish the article..I am assuming this man is black. I will never sit back and let another black oerson talk negatively about other blacks. This man was clearly in the wrong profession. He has no passion nor patience. I think the article was embellished. Something that you guys have in common. The article was entirely too long and if he was making a point, as a journalist, we are taught that we can make it in the first paragraph. Why all that other mess...I don't buy this at all!!!!

Tom Head said...

I agree that this editor was in the wrong profession. If Stillman College were as bad as he makes it sound, it would have already lost its accreditation.

Re HBCUs in general... I didn't go to the closest state university (JSU) as an undergraduate because I had a fairly debilitating immune deficiency until I hit my late teens; once I got over that, a combination of negative PR and the fact that JSU didn't have exactly what I wanted in terms of graduate programs persuaded me not to go. Since that time, I've visited the campus of JSU many times and kind of wished I had an excuse to attend. I may do a second master's there when I'm done with my Ph.D.

My feeling is that the distinction between white universities and HBCUs is unfortunate. The post-apartheid South African government had the best idea, IMHO: They merged white and black universities. Potchefstroomse Universiteit (white) and the University of Natal (black) merged to become Southwest University. Mississippi never did that. I think Mississippi would be better off if JSU were made the flagship university of the state, and all other universities redesignated as branches of same. But that's never going to happen.

One day, there will be no HBWUs or HBCUs. I feel quite confident about this. One day, the campuses of JSU and Tougaloo will have a more diverse student body. But until we reach that point as a culture, I think HBCUs serve a useful purpose.

For what it's worth, if I were to apply for a college-level teaching position tomorrow, it would be at JSU. The more I've gotten to know that university, the more I've grown to love it--and the more convinced I've become that while students do tend to come from a struggling economic background, with all of the problems that come along with that, it is nowhere near as bad as I was initially led to believe.

One postscript: Instead of going to JSU, I did my master's by distance learning from California State University, Dominguez Hills. While I was enrolled, JSU president James Lyons accepted a position president. His signature is on my diploma.

Kingfish said...

"I will never sit back and let another black oerson talk negatively about other blacks."

You do that every day on your blog, especially when it comes to Melton.

Anonymous said...

different context and you know that...Melton is the epitome of balck on black crime.

This post is different..he is down playing and downgrading young people..don't even try it..and of course you know this isn't a subject that you have any expertise on....

Kingfish said...

I don't blame the kids at all. They are the product of bad leadership. If you read the article you might have some sympathy for him.

I remember a couple of years ago the CL reported that Lanier only had two boys that had GPA's over 3.0 in its senior class. Am I supposed to ignore that? Not criticize that? Just because it might be criticizing black people? I look on those students as victims to some degree. They went to school as a blank slate for the most part and were failed by their teachers and principals.

read the story and you will see that he was dealing with whole classes that did not know how to write sentences, practice basic spelling, or perform other basic language skills you need to perform in society, if it is as bad as he claimed.

If those kids had not been pushed along the way or were merely passed through grammar school, then I'm sure it was a rude surprise when they were told their work was not satisfactory.

You see Othor, I'm weird. I think if you are teaching a student you owe that student your best. If he doesn't want to learn, then its your job to motivate him. If he is not doing well, its on you to point out his mistakes and then correct them and help him to learn from them. If the mistakes are ignored, you are not doing that student any favors and are just making it more difficult for him later on in life. I won't hesitate to criticize bad teachers or school systems. or parents that don't care if their kids can't read, don't push their kids to learn, and raises hell whenever a teacher cares enough about his/her students to actually teach them.
A friend of mine taught chemistry at wingfield. He had a year between college and med school so he taught for one year and taught the honors class. Here came the cheerleader moms complaining that he was pushing their babies too hard as they didn't have time for all the work because of their cheerleading. He just told them they could switch to regular chemistry or find another class because those HONORS students were going to be ready for college chemistry when he was through at the end of the year.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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