150 Years of Noteworthy Hamptonians

by Kevin Lamár Peterman 

For 150 years, Black Americans have called Hampton University their home by the sea. A home that has stood as beacon of light, providing hope to an imperfect world through its graduates year after year. Its legacy is rich and it reaches far beyond the soil it was built upon shortly after American emancipation. Hampton University was founded as Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute on April 1, 1868 by Samuel Chapman Armstrong. The school which was later referred to as Hampton Normal school and then Hampton Institute began with a simple purpose following the Civil War; “The thing to be done was clear: to train selected Negro youth who should go out and teach and lead their people first by example, by getting land and homes; to give them not a dollar that they could earn for themselves; to teach respect for labor, to replace stupid drudgery with skilled hands, and in this way to build up an industrial system for the sake not only of self-support and intelligent labor, but also for the sake of character.” Known in its early years for the development of vocational training and practical skills, Hampton has served as a national model for the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities. It is indeed the “standard of excellence” offering a quality education that will last for a lifetime. Under the leadership of Dr. William R. Harvey, who has served as its president for 40 years, Hampton’s growth led to it becoming a full university in 1983. Today, Hampton University has nearly 5,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students enrolled, and offers more than 50 degree programs. Hampton alumni are a shining testament to the institutions rich legacy of producing capable leaders and innovative thinkers. As the university continues to soar to higher heights, its alumni continue to change the world through their respective careers and professions. This week’s MSI Line Up highlights 6 noteworthy Hamptonians who have made an indelible impact on our nation and the world.

1) Booker T. Washington


Booker T. Washington has been regarded as Hampton University’s most distinguished alumnus. Amidst the grueling conditions of slavery, Washington was born in 1856 in Hale’s Ford, Virginia. Following emancipation, Washington walked nearly 500 miles to attend the Hampton Normal School and graduated with the class of 1875. Upon graduation, Washington returned to Hampton as an instructor and later became one of the nation’s most prominent African American intellectual leaders. In 1881, Washington was sent to Alabama to assist with the founding the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute. Under his leadership, Tuskegee became one of the leading institutions of higher learning for African Americans. He also later became a White House advisor to both Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. Washington died in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1915.

2) Wanda Sykes


Wanda Sykes is an award winning writer, actress and comedian who has dominated the entertainment industry for nearly three decades. She was born on March 7, 1964 in Portsmouth, Virginia. Sykes was raised in Washington, DC and later matriculated at Hampton University where she earned a degree in Marketing in 1986. There, she also became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.She has bee seen in her as Daphne on “Blackish,” writer and performer on “The Chris Rock Show,” and as a regular on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” “Wanda has made Hampton University proud with her stellar career,” said Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey.

3) Alberta Williams King

download-2.jpgAlberta Williams King was born on September 23, 1904 in Atlanta, Georgia. She attended high school at Spelman Seminary and obtained a teaching certificate at the Hampton  in 1924. She later married the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., and together led the Ebenezer Baptist Church of Atlanta, GA where her father had been the pastor previously. From their union, came three children; Christine King Farris, Alfred Daniel Williams King, and famed civil rights activist, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Mrs. King was also a talented musician who served as the choir organist and director at Ebenezer and was fatally killed in 1974 while playing during a Sunday morning service.

4) Edna Greene Medford, Ph.D.


Edna Greene Medford, Ph.D. is one of the nation’s most respected and sought after public intellectuals. Dr. Medford received her undergraduate degree from Hampton where she met college sweetheart, Thomas Medford, a practicing legal attorney.  She later studied at the University of Illinois (Urbana), and the University of Maryland, where she received her Ph.D. in United States history. Medford is a trained historian who has transformed the field with her scholarship that centers on on Jacksonian America, Civil War and Reconstruction, nineteenth-century history, and African American history. She is the author of Lincoln and Emancipation  and countless book chapters, reviews and scholarly articles. Dr. Medford is currently a professor at Howard University in the department of History where she chaired the department for many years. Dr. Medford was invited as the resident historian by Vice- President Joe Biden and the United States Congress to speak at the the dedication of the Frederick Douglass statue at the US Capitol.

5) Septima Poinsette Clark


Septima Poinsette Clark was born on May 3, 1898 in Charleston, South Carolina. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Benedict College in 1942 and a master’s degree from Hampton in 1946. She later became a leading civil rights activist who was also widely known for her work in the field of education during the Jim Crow era. Clark  taught hundreds of students throughout the south and created  informal literacy classes for adults. She late became a leader within the  Charleston NAACP, the YWCA and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Clark organized students and community members in an effort to convince the city of Charleston to hire more teachers and principals in Charleston. Clark also trained teachers for citizenship schools and assisted in marches and protests alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who insisted that she be present so that he could acknowledge her when he received his Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

6) Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, Ph.D.


Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, Ph.D. is a  dynamic leader and trailblazer in American higher education. He was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1950. Hrabowski graduated from Hampton with a degree in mathematics, attaining highest honors. He later received his M.A.  and Ph.D. in higher education administration/statistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Hrabowski currently serves as President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and has help this position since 1992. Under his leadership, UMBC has become a model university and one of the nation’s leading sources of African-American Ph.D.s in Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM).   He recently released book entitled, Holding Fast to Dreams: Empowering Youth from the Civil Rights Crusade to STEM Achievement. Hrabowski was named one of America’s 10 Best College Presidents by TIME magazine in 2009, and one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2012.

6 Cheyney University Living Legacies

by Janelle L. Williams

Founded in 1837, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania is the nation’s oldest historically Black institution of higher education. This May, the Class of 2018, will add to the legacy of over 30,000 graduates who represent a wide range of prominent and influential professionals. Recognized globally, Cheyney alumni affectionately known as living legacies are making contributions in business, medicine, education, law and policy. We invite you to meet six of those legacies on today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up.

1) Julbert Abraham, Class of 2008: CEO, Abraham Global Marketing

Image result for Julbert Abraham

Widely known as “The LinkedIn Guy,” Julbert Abraham is CEO of AGM, a New Jersey-
based LinkedIn Training and Marketing firm that works with small and mid-sized
businesses, as well as nonprofits, helping them generate traffic, leads, and sales with  a combination of LinkedIn techniques and strategies. With more than 12 years of sales, marketing and entrepreneurial experience, Abraham has appeared on numerous business podcasts and has been featured in Business Innovators Magazine, Entrepreneur.com and BBC Capital. Originally from Haiti, the tri-lingual entrepreneur has an MBA from Northeastern University and is a Social Media Marketing Professor at Baruch College in New York City.

2) Kanita Benson, Class of 2005: Recording Artist

Image result for Kanita Benson

Kanita Benson is an artist, songwriter, creative visionary, strategist, missionary, mobilizer, global women’s advocate, and speaker. Her career has evolved into full-time ministry, nonprofit advocacy, music, missional work, rooted from a passion for God, marginalized women, the globe’s human rights. In 2013, Benson launched a global refugee women’s initiative (NGO), She Saves A Nation Foundation, operating in Kenya, East Africa. As a recording artist, Benson has toured nationally and has lent background vocals to several veteran gospel artists, including Lonnie Hunter, Structure, Dorinda Clark Cole and Donald Lawrence. Her debut album is set to release spring 2018, with her debut single “Faithful” available now on all digital outlets. Benson has a Masters in Organizational Leadership from Eastern University, with plans to attend Fuller Theological Seminary, pursuing a doctoral degree in Missiology.

3) Dr. Martina Randall, Class of 2009: Foot and Ankle Surgeon

Martina Randall.jpg

Martina Randall is an athlete first, and a surgeon secondif you ask her. It is her love of sports that has led her to a career in Sports Medicine and Foot and Ankle Surgery.  In her first experience as a student athlete (Women’s Basketball), she realized that her love for sports went well beyond the hardwood, as she became more intrigued by the physiology, anatomy, and subsequent surgical correction of injuries that plagued teammates. Randall, a former Keystone Honors student, was awarded a full scholarship to pursue a career in Medicine at Temple University. After the successful completion of medical school, and residency at Palmetto General Hospital in Miami, FL, she was granted acceptance to a Fellowship in Sports Medicine at Virginia Mason in Seattle, WA.  Dr. Randall currently specializes in sports medicine, trauma, limb salvage/reconstruction, arthroscopy, and ankle replacements.

4) Garvin A. Reid, Class of 2008: Higher Education Professional; Entrepreneur

Image result for Garvin A. Reid

With over 10 years’ experience, Garvin A. Reid has solidified his place as a higher education professional, motivational speaker and career coach. Earning a master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from New York University, Steinhardt, Reid’s areas of interest include global education, college access, the anti-deficit model, and HBCU relevancy. Currently Reid is the Assistant Director/Career Coach at NYU, Abu Dhabi. Additionally, Reid is the co-owner of G.Reid New York, a clothing company specializing in dapper wear for both men and women.

5) Nicholas Roper, Class of 2014: CEO, Destined to Achieve

Image result for Nicholas Roper cheyney

Nicholas Roper is the CEO of Destined to Achieve, a non-profit organization focused on teaching and promoting the importance of higher education and mentorship in urban communities. With his non-profit, Roper has provided necessities for families in times of need in both Philadelphia and Harrisburg, PA. As a former Keystone Honors and Bond Hill scholarship recipient, Roper now funds a scholarship for students within the Pennsylvania Higher Education System. Furthering his education in access and development, Roper pursed an MPA at Pennsylvania State University. After 2 years at Penn State, Roper became the Grant Manager for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania where he administered CDBG and HOME grants. Roper now wishes to pursue a doctoral degree in Health Policy.

6) Layna Ware, Class of 2008: CEO, Why U?, LLC.

Image result for Layna Ware

Layna Ware, M.A. is the Founder and CEO who is known to connect passion with
purpose. As a certified Successful Strengths Coach, Ware has had experience in diverse business environments with an emphasis on training, leadership development, complex problem solving and leadership training. After earning her M.A. in Industrial Organizational Psychology 2012, Layna began to think differently about mental and physical barriers that affect women in leadership. In 2015, Ware sought to change the narrative concerning women and formed her own company that empowers, inspires and engages women.

Are you a Cheyney Alum? Share your story in the comments below!

8 HBCUs Contributing to the Field of Nursing

by Carol Sandoval

As demographics in the United States become increasingly diverse, the demand for culturally-competent nurses is crucial to providing quality healthcare to diverse populations. By 2055, non-whites will be the majority in the United States (Cohn & Camount, 2016). Despite demographic changes, minority nursing students continue to remain disproportionately underrepresented in the nursing profession (McQueen & Zimmerman, 2004), as a survey completed by the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (2009) found that black nurses represent 4.9% of registered nurses in the United States, while Latino/Hispanic account for only 2%. In an effort to address the low representation of underrepresented minorities in the nursing profession, Historically Black Colleges and Universities have worked diligently to create educational opportunities for nursing students. Today’s MSI Line Up highlights eight HBCUs with nursing programs.

1) Bowie State University (HBCU)—Bowie, MD

Image result for bowie state university

Bowie State University offers both a bachelor degree in nursing and a Master of Science in nursing. In addition to taking nursing classes, students are required to complete community-based clinical shifts. Their state-of-the-art nursing simulation lab provides students with hands-on experience. Bowie’s mission further states that the Department of Nursing is “committed to increasing diverse representation in the nursing profession” (bowiestate.edu).

2) Tuskegee University (HBCU)—Tuskegee, AL

Image result for Tuskegee University

Tuskegee University was the first university to create a nursing baccalaureate program in the state of Alabama. Since 1948, Tuskegee have accomplished remarkable achievements. In 2017, Tuskegee had a 94.1 percent graduation rate and a 98 percent employment. The ideal Tuskegee student is “a complex biopsychosocial, cultural, spiritual, being who responds holistically to diverse and changing needs” (tuskegee.edu).

3) Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (HBCU)—Tallahassee, FL 

Image result for Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Established in 1904 as a hospital based program, the School of Nursing at Florida A&M University became the first baccalaureate nursing program at an HBCU in 1936. Currently, the program offers both baccalaureate and master’s degrees in nursing. The FAMU School of Nursing mission statement is “to create a student-centered environment where knowledgeable, innovative, caring nurses can apply high quality, culturally appropriate care to meet the health needs of the residents of the state, the nation, and the global community” (famu.edu).

4) Fayetteville State University (HBCU)—Fayetteville, NC

Image result for Fayetteville State University

Students at Fayetteville State University receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing after the completion of four years of pre-nursing and upper division nursing curriculum. Fayettville hopes to “collaborate with interdisciplinary teams to provide culturally competent, patient centered care to clients throughout the lifecycle” and “to teach their students to “utilize the principles of economics and social justices to enhance accessibility to health care and thereby decreasing health disparities” (uncfsu.edu).

5) Winston-Salem State University (HBCU)—Winston-Salem, NC

Related image

Before students can apply for admission to the nursing major, they must complete clinical practicums. These classes combine theory and public service experiences. These opportunities teach pre-nursing students about kindness, compassion, cultural competence and sensitivity in the clinic (wssu.edu).

6) North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (HBCU)—Greensboro, NC

Image result for North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Founded in 1953, the College of Health and Human Sciences School of Nursing at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has played a major role in training the next generations of nurses. The nursing school offers bachelors degrees in nursing with three different tracks: traditional, accelerated second degree, and RN completion. With these three paths, NCAT prepares students from a spectrum of educational backgrounds (ncat.edu).

7) North Carolina Central University (HBCU)—Durham, NC

Image result for North Carolina Central University

North Carolina Central University largely contributes to the number of nurse practitioners. The Department of Nursing at NCCU graduates 60-75 nursing students each year. One of NCCU Nursing’s main objectives is to “integrate principles of culturally competent care for individuals, groups, and/or communities within diverse populations” (nccu.edu).

8) Hampton University (HBCU)—Hampton, VA

Related image

With campuses in Hampton, VA and Virginia Beach, VA, the Hampton University School of Nursing offers nursing programs at all levels of higher education. It offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and Ph.D.s in nursing. For all degrees, Hampton pushes its students to understand how “social, cultural, economic, political, and biological environments affect both personal and community health (hamptonu.edu).

Know of other exceptional nursing programs at HBCUs? Share in the comments below!

Historic HBCU Chapels

by Kevin Lamár Peterman

For more than 150 years, chapels at historically black colleges and universities have been vibrant spaces for students to learn, connect and grow. It is here that students develop spiritually and practice their respective faith traditions. HBCU chapels render unique experiences for students who seek to connect their scholarship with their faith. Chapels have also served as the hub for activism and civic learning on HBCU campuses. Many chapels regularly host nationally recognized speakers, clergy members and elected officials. This week’s MSI Line Up highlights a few historic HBCU Chapels.

1) Tougaloo College Woodworth Chapel (HBCU)Tougaloo, Mississippi


The Woodworth Chapel at Tougaloo College sits at the center of the physical campus and is central to the student experience. It was named in honor of Dr. Frank G. Woodworth who served as Tougaloo College president from 1887 to 1912.The Queen Anne style building was constructed in 1901. The Chapel served as a meeting place during the Civil Rights Movement for those who sought to gather as they advanced causes for freedom, justice and equality in Mississippi. The mission of the chapel is supported by the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ. The Rev. Larry Johnson is responsible for the affairs of the chapel as the current College Chaplain.

2. Howard University Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel (HBCU)Washington, D.C.


The Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel at Howard University was constructed in 1896. The chapel is named after the brother of Jeremiah Rankin, the university’s sixth president. At total of 5,000 was donated to the university to build the edifice by the Rankin family in his honor. For more than a century, it has served as an incubator for activism and spiritual life and revered as the “heart of the Mecca”. Howard University became the university in the Unites States to designate a Dean of the Chapel when Dr. Howard Thurman was appointed to lead the university’s spiritual and religious affairs. Today, the chapel is led by the Dr. Bernard L. Richardson. The Office of the Dean of the Chapel host weekly worship services that expose students to some of the world’s most outstanding clergy, scholars and civic leaders.

3) Spelman College Sisters Chapel (HCBU)Atlanta, GA


Sisters Chapel in conjunction with the WISDOM Center is the home of spiritual life at Spelman College. The edifice was officially dedicated in 1927 and has become a transformative space for thinking women of faith who seek to integrate the mind and the spirit as they engage the world and become global leaders. Worship services are held each week under the leadership of the Chapel Staff, Chapel Assistants and Art Ministry Leaders. In 1968, the Chapel welcomed thousands of visitors as it held the remains of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  who laid in state for 48 hours. In 2013, the Lilly Foundation funded the Chapel’s first published anthology entitled, If I Do What Spirit Says Do: Black Women, Vocation, and Community Survival. Dr. Neichelle Guidry was recently appointed Dean of the Chapel and Director of the WISDOM Center.

4) Tuskegee University Chapel (HBCU)Tuskegee, AL


The Tuskegee University Chapel serves as the center of campus for religious, cultural and intellectual gatherings. The original edifice was designed and constructed by Robert R. Taylor, the first African American graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology between 1896 and 1898. This structure destroyed in a fire in 1957 and the present building was opened to the public in 1969. The present chapel is a work of art and is studied by students of architecture throughout the United States because of its unique and distinguish design, having no right angles. The chapel is known for its vibrant worship services held each Sunday. Dr. Gregory S. Gray presently serves as the Dean of the Chapel.

5) The Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel (HBCU)Atlanta, GA


The Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel was dedicated in 1978. The Chapel is a living memorial to the ministry and prophetic legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who graduated from the college in 1948. Dr. Lawrence Edward Carter has served as the Dean of the Chapel since 1979. He is credited for creating the Morehouse Chapel Assistants Program, a student organization that develops leaders while teaching practical skills needed to develop effective ministries. This program has produced many of the nation’s most effective preachers and clergymen. The Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel aims to teach excellence, ethics, equality and engagement. Each year the chapel honors religious leaders from across the United States at the annual Ministers & Laity Crown Forum and inducts these individuals into the Morehouse College Board of Preachers.

Know of other chapels at HBCUs? Share them in the comments below!

The History Behind 6 HBCU Seals

by Melanie Wolff and Kelly Lewis 

You see these symbols everywhere on campus, but do you know what they represent? Many college and university school seals represent interesting aspects of an institution’s heritage or mission. Today’s Morning MSI Line Up tells the histories of six HBCU seals!

1) Xavier University of Louisiana (HBCU)New Orleans, LA


As the only Catholic HBCU, Xavier’s seal reflects its religious history. The green field represents confidence in God. The lion is a symbol of courage and strength, standing for the Xavier student nourished with the wheat.The wheat can also stand for the founders of the universitythe Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. The Crescent has a double meaninga symbol of the city of New Orleans, as well as the Virgin Mary.

2) Howard University (HBCU)Washington, D.C.


Adopted in 1867, the original Howard seal represented the daring concept of a university open to education for all races, male or female. This is defined further by the different nationalities represented around the globe, and the original motto, “Equal rights and Knowledge for all.” Changed around 1910 to represent school trustee Booker T. Washington’s perspective on industrial education for blacks, the new seal represented a less “radical” approach to education than originally envisioned for the institution. Despite this shift, the school was still seen, as one school dean put it, as “the national university for the colored race.”

3) Spelman College (HBCU)Atlanta, GA


Spelman’s motto, “Our Whole School for Christ,” is embedded in the seal as a testament to the faith of the school’s founders, though the institution itself is non-denominational. The star in the seal is the “Star of Service,” representing the original 6 departments at Spelman – College, Teacher Training, Nurse Training, Music, Academy, and High School.

 4) Clark Atlanta University  (HBCU)Atlanta, GA


The University’s seal combines the emblems of its parent institutions – Clark College and Atlanta University – into one. The open book represents the search for and transmission of knowledge, containing the sword of truth and torch of knowledge. The pages of the book also contain the founding dates of the parent institutions. The lamp is meant to represent the illumination of the mind.

5) Morehouse College (HBCU)Atlanta, GA


Morehouse College might have one of the most recognizable seals in the HBCU community. Often illustrated in the color maroon, the Morehouse’s seal is a visual representation of its motto, Et facta est lux – the truth is light. The truth is represented by the sun emerging from the clouds.

6) Harris-Stowe State University  (HBCU)—St. Louis, MO


Harris-Stowe State was originally two schools, whose namesakes – William Torrey Harris and Harriet Breecher Stowe – appear on the seal. The Harris Teachers College, founded in 1857, only educated white teachers for the city of St. Louis, while Harris Stowe Teachers College was founded in 1890 as a normal school for black teachers in St. Louis. In a step to integrate the St. Louis Public School System, the two teachers colleges were merged into one in 1954. As such, it played a pivotal role in advancing racial equality in the area.

Harris-Stowe’s school motto is “affordable, accessible, diverse,” or, as it is written on the seal in Latin, “not many things, but much.” According to the school’s website, it is the most affordable Baccalaureate program in the metropolitan area, and about 85% of its students receive financial aid – holding true to its motto for its students.

Know of other HBCU official seal histories? Share them in the comments below!