24 August 2011

Ill Lyterati Presents: Open Mic Night at Kilgore

Ill-Lyterati, a premier arts collective based in Atlanta, Ga, hosts a weekly Open Mic Night at Kilgore on Morehouse College's campus. From 8-11 every Thursday night, you can hear amazing art and sign-up to share your own- for free! Come check out the poetry, music, comedy sketches, freestyles and raps the AUC and greater Atlanta area have to provide.

The first Open Mic Night will be Thursday, 1 September 2011. Be there!

Read more about Ill Lyterati here.

The Presage

The Presage (an Online Undergraduate Journal) is scheduled to debut on 1 September 2011. The Presage is a quarterly journal that is meant to provide future scholars and leaders with a platform to present their already blooming work. The journal will showcase the theories, analyses, critiques and ongoing research of undergraduates from all over the nation.  Issues will also feature "non-academic" areas of excellence such as poetry and media arts. Not specific to any one discipline, the entries in this journal are united by the skill, foresight and diligence of their authors.

Stop by the website on 1 September to read the featured work of scholars from various institutions including Spelman College, Morehouse College, Emory University, Georgia State University and Claftin University.

For more on The Presage, check out the website.
Meet the co-founder and Co-Editor-In-Chief Whitney Skippings-Dupree.

Young Black Thinkers Society

The Young Black Thinkers Society (YBTS) is a registered student organization at Spelman College. Founded in Fall 2009, this AUC-wide club meets once a week to discuss pressing issues in often heated but ever enlightening discussion. Topics have ranged from the supposed decline in music over the years, to debate over whether ignorance is bliss. Once a month, the group discusses the central ideas of a Black thinker or theory. Other activities include (but are not limited to) movie viewings, debates (within the group and with other AUC registered student organizations) and meetings at the local café

YBTS meets on the 4th floor of the Camille Cosby Academic Center on Spelman's campus on Tuesdays at 6 o'clock pm, starting on 6 September.

Like YBTS on facebook!

Education and the Group: The Case for Individuality

Education and the Group: The Case for Individuality is the title of Chaina's ongoing research project that doubles as her honors senior thesis and her 2-yr research project as a UNCF|Mellon fellow. The research is a three-fold project aimed at exposing the inconsistencies of the American public education system through philosophy, raw data, and personal testament (interviews) of students and educators alike.

First, Chaina plans to use philosophy to prove the necessity of individualism, especially in comparison to over-dependency on group dynamics. Second, she will research the intricacies of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) with the hopes of deciphering what role the Act plays, if any, in the ongoing disservice of the education system. And finally, Chaina will interview students and professors who have operated under NCLB to determine whether the system is, in fact, working, and to discern the role played by NCLB.

Stay tuned for updates about the research and related events.

15 August 2011

The Fair St. Mural

The Fair St. Mural is a project aimed at beautifying a neglected yet historical neighborhood right outside the AUC. The mural can be seen from the local elementary school art classroom, and showcases prolific historical leaders marching toward the school, led by 2 school children. This 5-month project is the brainchild of Shawn Deangelo, a childhood development major and Morehouse College senior with a heart for giving back to the community.

Read more about the man behind the mural and his wonderful project here. And stop by anytime to check out the progress or offer a helping hand as the completion of the mural draws nearer. The mural site is located at 1021 Fair Street Southwest.

08 August 2011

The Frederick Douglass Tutorial Institute

Chaina is a proud member of the Frederick Douglass Tutorial Institute and has been since her freshman year in college. The Frederick Douglass Tutorial Institute (FDTI) is a tutoring program held in Brawley Hall on the Morehouse College campus. It was founded in 1970 by the late Morehouse graduate Carthur Drake. FDTI The Institute welcomes students from all over Atlanta, who come to be tutored by AUC college student volunteers. The students come from grades K-12 seeking aid in a variety of subjects, so there's room for any AUC student seeking a fulfilling opportunity to serve their community. FDTI does count toward community service hours, but tutors are encouraged to make a more long-term commitment.

This urge is in place for several reasons. Many students are regular attendees of FDTI and therefore begin to make bonds with their tutors. FDTI is a student-run organization, so the need for regular tutors is a crucial one. The process proves beneficial to tutors as well, for they are granted a wonderful chance to become a mentor, and also are able to experience the joy of seeing the difference they make as children transition from states of confusion to those of understanding.

FDTI meets Saturday mornings from 9 30 - 11 30 during the academic year.

Shawn Deangelo

Shawn Deangelo Walton was born in Eastpoint and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. And ATL has been his home ever since. A real lover of his community, Shawn feels convicted to use his gifts and talents to aid his immediate neighborhood of the Ashview Heights/Fair Street community. Aside from his time spent volunteering in an art class at the local elementary school (M. Agnes Jones), Shawn has spent countless hours helping to bring a piece of original artwork to the neighborhood via a wall-sized mural that can be seen from the art class window. 

The Fair St. Mural, a 5-month project, is showcased on a 15x40' wall aside the facing corner store's wall. It features the likeness of 22 prolific proponents of civil rights (including President Barack Obama, Angela Davis, Marcus Garvey, President John F. Kennedy, Louis Armstrong and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) all led in march by two young children headed to school. The mural also highlights some of the area's historical hotspots, such as the Atlanta University Center, the Bronner Brothers building and the Georgia Dome. The artist has been ralying up volunteers to aid him in his endeavor for the past several months, and the painted mural is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

Shawn hopes that the mural brings the community hope for the future of their neighborhood. He is encouraged, he says, by the daily words of encouragement and gratitude from members in the community, who feel their once treasured region has been neglected. He has a true passion for the enlightenment of his people and the uplifting of the children. He hopes this mural can inspire someone in the community to do what they may have thought impossible.

Thanks for your service, Shawn, and congratulations on a job well done.

Want to hear more from Shawn?
Shawn Deangelo Fan Page
Shawn Deangelo on Twitter
Shawn Deangelo Website

Morgan Leanne House and Daryl Patrice

Morgan House and Daryl Patrice are like sisters joined at the artistic hip. Neither is a stranger to the art scene and both have had nearly identical artistic journeys while in the AUC.

Painter by hobby Morgan is a theater technician at Spelman. She ran sound for the 2009 and 2010 productions of the Vagina Monologues. She also served as 2nd attendant to Miss Phi Mu Alpha for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Likewise, Daryl will be continuing her run with the Spelman Drama Department, where she hopes to send her artistic chops to the stage. Daryl also served as the 2nd attendant to Miss Phi Mu Alpha herself during the 2009-2010 school year. 

In May of 2011, Morgan was named president of Ill Lyterati, an arts collective based in Atlanta, Georgia. So was Daryl. For the first time in the organization's history, 2 presidents were chosen, and who better fit than these two artistic twins.
Be on the lookout for this potential Miss Senior candidate. We're rooting for you, Daryl!

Since its conception as a spoken word group, the organization has grown immensely and is now home to a family of artists that includes poets, DJs, B-boys, rappers, visual artists and musicians- many of whom do several of these. Ill Lyterati hosts writing workshops on Monday evenings from 5 - 7 and Open Mic Nights on Thursday nights from 8-11 in Kilgore.

Join the Ill Lyterati Group Page on facebook!

Whitney Skippings-Dupree

Whitney Skippings-Dupree is a senior International Studies and Philosophy double major at Spelman College (based in Atlanta, Georgia). Whitney has a long history of interest in international conflict resolution, and she plans to continue cultivating said passions as she ventures into the next leg of her professional career. Having spent a semester studying abroad in Uganda and Rwanda, her current independent research seeks to bridge her dual academic interests in its concern for peace philosophies. 

As an extension of her academic aspirations, Whitney has been a crucial member of several academic extracurricular organizations and a pioneer of 2 of her own. Whitney has been a member of Model UN since her freshman year, a member of student government, and, as of last year, a member of LEADS, a program for present and future leaders.

As for her original projects, Whitney teamed up with friend and colleague Chaina Dobbins to birth two separate but special projects. The first, created in 2009 when they were sophomores, is the AUC philosophy club, pointedly named the Young Black Thinkers Society. The organization meets once a week to discuss challenging and pressing issues of varying subject matter and dedicates at least one meeting per month to a Black thinker or theory. The second of the ladies' projects originated in the early winter of 2011 and is set to debut 1 September of the same year. This time, the ladies are working on an online undergraduate journal entitled The Presage. The journal will showcase the current work and ongoing research of undergraduates in various fields of study.

As if her academic pursuits aren't enough, Whitney is a talented artist and avid activist as well. Her graphic design portfolio is stellar and her response to civil responsibility is unceasing. 
Keep it up, Whitney!

YBTS meets Tuesday evenings from 6-7 in Cosby. For more of Whitney see any of her pages:

Young Black Thinkers Society
The Presage

06 August 2011

new things a-brewin'

howdy folks!

So, as my senior year approaches at the most rapid of paces, I am met with an unsettling yet exciting truth: my life is beginning. My real, independent, ADULT life. It's crazy, but I'm so excited. I think I'm more excited than nervous because of all the promise that is ahead. Wanted to share some of my upcoming projects and endeavors to outline what I think is a very good start to an awesome life.

On the academic tip

-I'm a SENIOR!! 'Nough said.
-I am co-founder and acting overseer of the Young Black Thinker's Society in the AUC.
-I am co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of The Presage (An Undergraduate Journal) which debuts 1 September 2011.
-As graduate school desires become actualities, I'll be doing my most to go to Emory for graduate school.

On the extra-curricular tip

-I am the new co-host of Open Mic Nights at Morehouse College's Kilgore Cafe in the AUC
-I am an active member of Ill-Lyterati (Arts Collective based in Atlanta, Georgia)
-I am a lead in Sista Speak Up (Sister's Chapel Spoken Word Ministry at Spelman College)
-I've been requisitioned to help on several artistic projects both here in Atlanta and elsewhere in the U.S.

-I have tons of writing projects in the works, which is what I REALLY wish to share::


I'm excited about some upcoming writing projects. I'm working with a new genre of writing (one that probably exists already, but I am unfamiliar with as such). This genre fuses the short story with poetry. Extended poems (I'm talking pages long) that tell one story. So far, I've got two separate, specific works I wish to produce in the coming months. The first will be entitled 'Introductions' which will showcase my poem The Memo and then have one 'chapter' for each section of the piece that details how that aspect of me was formed. The second, tentatively titled 'Storytelling' will be a compilation of several poetic short stories of varying lengths and themes. A third concept is a more long-term goal which is the completion of a work entitled Genesis and Devotion. An epic poem, co-written with my friend Zach. The first part turned out wonderfully, and I think and extended, several-part tale would be great!

So, ambitious Chaina has arrived. Look out for great things, and as always, and support or critique is well-welcomed and appreciated.


Weep for Me

this poem was inspired by Sam Cooke's rendition of 'Willow Weep for Me'. Its secondary inspiration is Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree.
There once was a man named Mr. Row
Who grew up neglected, shy and alone.
Who liked peanut butter sandwiches and found exploring to be joyous,
And who’s very best friend was the wayward forest.
Life wasn’t easy for Mr. Row
Whom trouble seemed to follow everywhere he’d go.
But he never was taught how to deal with his pain
So when he felt his first sadness, he turned to the rain:

Rain cloud weep for me.
Release your waters upon the trees.
They’ll catch my sadness
In the hollows of their leaves,
Then send them away
To get caught in the breeze.
I’m not one to beg 
And I’m not one to plead.
But I’m imprisoned by heartbreak
nd I need to be freed.
Now the forest was not due for rain for a while.
But the rain cloud knew Row from his days as a child.
And it never had seen the poor boy so distraught.
And against better judgement did what it thought it ought not.
The cloud full of air had no water to spare.
But it squeezed out some rain for the little one there.
The young one said “Thank you” and returned to his play.The rain cloud now wrought by its own troubling pain.

It wasn’t too long before the now grown boy fell again.
But this time the wound was much much deeper in.
His sadness returned, and to nature did he.
Only this time he turned to the willow tree:

Willow, weep for me.
Your branches reach the river naturally.
While you’re down there, release my pain
Just this once; I won’t ask again.
I tried to ignore my broken heartbeat,
But each tear I cry takes more of my peace.
And you’re already bending so low to the earth,
Just grant me this favor and save my self-worth.
The willow listened to his logic and found it to be sound,
So it bent even lower, touched its branches to the ground.
Cracking it’s trunk as it stretched further than it should,
The willow did what no one else would.It lifted the man from his now trembling knees
Then returned to the river, ever bound for the sea.
The willow whispered gently to the waters below
A message of sorrow for his friend Mr. Row.

The river received the message and the gentleman was glad;
It seemed as if by magic he was no longer sad.
So he briefly thanked the willow and went on about his day
Leaving behind a now worn willow tree who gave a broken man his way. 

Oh, but the man had forgotten
That sadness strikes more than twice,
But he would be reminded
A little later on in life.

It didn’t seem long to the man, now old, before he experienced grief once more.
Only this was a hurt much greater than he had ever known before.
While crying he remembered the willow and the message it had delivered,
So he gathered up his heartache a
nd sauntered to the river:

River, weep for me.
My tears and your waters will blend fluidly.
You’re already sending troubled waters away.
So adding mine to yours can’t be too much to pay.
I know I’ve hurt before, but it’s too much this time.
I need you to come ease the strain in my life.
I’ll nevermore ask you to pay for my sins.
Just this once and I can prepare for the next offense.

The river pondered long on the old man’s request.
It was moved my the tale, but wanted to do what was best.
After thinking a while, the river came to halt.
The old man was misled, but it wasn’t his fault.
So it offered him a compromise.It inhaled deeply, then released a sigh.
He looked at the man, down on his luck.
“First,” said the river, “you have to get up”.

Find yourself a boat, and if there isn’t one, build it;
If you want to protect your heart, then first you must shield it.
Enter the boat, and slide onto me.
Then grab your oar and take your own lead.
It’s important you lean to steer life on your own-
You’re name, after all, is Mr. Row.
Now, there will be times when you feel neglected
And things don’t go as you may have expected.
But the next time you’re hurting, don’t beg trees and the weather
Just come to me, and we can cry together

The old man listened intently to the instructions of the river,
And smiled in his heart at what he had been given.
He built his boat and took it to the stream,
But once he returned he no longer had need
For the tears of the river, for he had none of his own-
Only contentment in having what he had been shown.
The man slid on the waters nonetheless,
To weep with the river, released from distress,
Tears of joy for having found a friend
Who had helped him to find the peace within. 

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