Humanities Matters lectures focus on racism and transcendentalists

by Mackenzie Border// Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College’s Humanities Matters Lecture series for the spring 2015 semester will focus on the current racial tension in the United States and will take place throughout February.

The next lecture, “James Baldwin’s Another Country, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Politics of Love,” will be Today, from 11:10 a.m. – 12:45 p.m., and will be hosted by Laura Black, chair of the English department.

Black was asked how she decided on the topic of her talk, saying, ìI’ve been planning this presentation since last semester, but it is really a smaller piece of a larger work that I’ve been working on for a lot longer.

“I’ve been studying the literature of James Baldwin for a few years now, specifically his civil rights literature.

“This will be my focus for my Ph.D. dissertation that I hope to complete in the next couple of years,” said Black.

“I believe Baldwin is one the most underappreciated American writer and intellectual of the 20th century. James Baldwin was a unique person in civil rights history.

“He was a talented writer, who happened to be black and gay, and whose books and published articles from the early 1960s focus on race and radical integration.

“He was interested in advancing social justice, racial equality, and civil rights for everyone, and these issues are still important today,î said Black.

Grady Eades, associate professor of History, will be holding a discussion with Nancy Blomgren, associate professor of English, called “Not an Aberration:  Race, Slavery, and American Values.”

The event was cancelled due to weather issues, and has not been rescheduled.

“Professor Nancy Blomgren and I have been tinkering with this idea for several months. “

“We began planning it in the fall term and have begun to work out details a few times since the spring term. This was definitely Professor Blomgren’s idea,î said Eades.

“For me, the idea is interesting to explore because it is potentially a little volatile and runs against conventional wisdom. We’re going to be looking at literature that supported slavery and was against equality; not exactly a walk through the tulips.”

“The point though is not to show support for these ideas, but to demonstrate how far back such ideas go and how critical they have been to American history and culture,î said Eades.

“We’ll be discussing the arguments made in favor of slavery in the decades before the American Civil War.”

“Many people who supported slavery felt that Uncle Tom’s Cabin did not give an accurate picture, so there were several novels written to answer Harriet Beecher Stowe’s arguments.”

“These became known as anti-Tom novels, and they provide some surprising insights into explaining how slavery advocates justified the ownership of other human beings.”

“Our title, “Not an Aberration,” reflects the ways slavery and racism were engrained in American ideology, not a departure from it,” said Blomgren.

“[The topic] is clearly relevant. The title of the presentation is “Not an Aberration” because we both felt that we wanted to get across the idea that racial issues in the United States are not new.

“There is a long history of African Americans being seen and treated as inferior by white Americans and we wanted to look at an often forgotten piece of that history.”

“Given the events in Ferguson, New York, and Cleveland – and that’s just the last six months – it is important to show these ideas have roots that go back a long, long time,î said Eades.

“Transcendentalist Communes in Fiction by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott” was the second lecture planned for the series. This event was also cancelled due to weather, and will be rescheduled.

Shellie Michael, professor of English, will be providing the lecture.

“Venerable American writers Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott both lived at communes in the 1840s, a time of radical reform movements much like the 1960s.”

“Since America’s inception, people have formed utopian communities for a variety of purposes. The communes at which Hawthorne and Alcott lived were attempts to apply Transcendentalist philosophies to everyday living.”

“Both writers wrote fiction about their experiences, giving us rare glimpses into life at 19th century American communes,” said Michael.

Michael discussed how she decided what to talk about and what the main point of the talk will be.

“My talk will be about the dissertation I’ve been researching and writing for the past two years. I’m a PhD student in English at MTSU, and I’m at the level called ABD: All But Dissertation.”

“This means I’ve finished all the program requirements, such as coursework and several major exams in my areas of specialization except the book-length research project, called a dissertation.

“People, especially Americans, have always experimented with communal living.”

“in my talk, I’ll discuss the history of utopianism in America as well as communes in Tennessee, some of which still exist today.

“I would also be glad for people to get a new perspective on Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott, seeing them not as stodgy, old-fashioned writers but people who lived in exciting times and had interesting experiences,” said Michael.

Being snowbound allows you time to take a break and catch up with work as well as make sure priorities are met

by Ann Roberts// Editor-in-Chief

The opportunity for seclusion can be both a blessing and a curse.

Last week all of the members of the Volunteer State Community College community experienced the occasion of having school be closed for three days and early closings on Thursday and Friday due to snow and ice.

When one is basically forced to stay at home and is unable to go to work or school, it gives them the opportunity to do some of the things they would like to do when those afore said things are in the way.

After a while though, some begin to experience cabin fever and become stir crazy.

Those fortunate enough to not have had their electricity and wifi go out were able to keep warm; have full function of their refrigerators, ovens and televisions; and keep in contact with their friends and family.

The situation of having multiple snow days gave everyone an early spring break of sorts.

Classes could still communicate via the eLearn site and most instructors were accessible through e-mail.

Most, if not all, of the Vol State community could take a break and enjoy spending time with their family and friends.

Many students, who may have felt like they were falling behind with their homework, had the opportunity to catch up with their studies.

The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up, said Author Unknown.

One could catch up on their latest viewing pleasures or reading material, spend time with their family, catch up on house chores and get ready for the hectic-ness of life when the snow and ice have detained us no more.

“Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isnít the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment,” said Robert Benchley, American humorist and newspaper columnist.

One thing that is always welcome from the regular bustling of everyday activities is a breather.

But one must know when the breather has become an excuse to not do oneís duties.

“Nobody’s life is ever all balanced. It’s a conscious decision to choose your priorities every day,” said Elizabeth Hasselbeck, American television personality.

It is hard to do schoolwork, housework and work-from-home work when all of your loves ones are also there and restless.

“Every duty which is bidden to wait returns with seven fresh duties at its back,” said

Charles Kingsley, English clergyman and historian.

It is much easier to goof off and push off one’s responsibilities for another time when there are not so many people around who want to have fun and enjoy your company.

“Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work,” said H. L. Hunt, American political activist and entrepreneur.

Unfortunately, too often we procrastinate too much and regret our decisions later.

Too many things are due at too much of the same time and it”s difficult to try and accomplish anything when you feel rushed and lost for time.

Time management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives.

“Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time we have,” said John C. Maxwell, American author and speaker.

One can balance between the fun of a snow day and taking a chunk of time here and there to make sure you are on top of your responsibilities.

ìSuccess is only another form of failure if we forget what our priorities should be,î said Harry Lloyd, English actor.

Please take the time to get your priorities strait.

It is tricky sometimes to always know what is more important when some deadlines conflict with other plans and engagements.

There will be time for fun and games and there are times when working is a necessity.

ìWise are those who learn that the bottom line doesn’t always have to be their top priority,î said William Arthur Ward, American author.

I have severe problems with procrastination and prioritizing what I do and when I do it.

But I have resolved to change my ways and make an effort to get my act together and keep up with my workload.

Thrift Tips

by Gabrielle Staton// Staff Writer

Ever wondered how some people bag great finds at thrift shops?

Here’s a guide that will equip you with the skills you need to succeed!

Step 1 is to be prepared. Before heading out to thrift, be sure to plan.

Evaluate what items would count as a total score before leaving the store.

Three tools you need before you leave are a limit list, a budget, and a bonus buy.

A limit list is the same as a shopping list, but is limited to the thrift trip necessities.

A great cap for beginner thrift shoppers is between $20-$50, and if you receive every item on your limit list, and haven’t reached your budget, you can have a bonus buy. This would be something that doesn’t take you over budget once the limit list is secured.

Without going into any store with some sort of plan, it’s easy to leave with more than what you came for, and none of what you need!

The goal is to gain valuable items at an affordable price.

Step 2 is to stay informed. Even thrift stores have sales! Thrift stores, like Goodwill, host sales often.

Sometimes there are even top name brand items for less than $1.

Step 3 is to stay ahead. Upon entering the store, head to department with the items that lead the limit list.

Bring headphones to help stay in the zone.

Thrift shopping is a task. A little entertainment wouldn’t hurt.

Make a playlist that helps with focus. Remember you are in a store. Be careful not to get carried away when your favorite tune plays, wouldn’t want you having a free concert in Goodwill.

Step 4 is to stick to the list. In a store with such variety, it is easy to get sidetracked.

Stores such as Goodwill and Plato’s Closet receive clothing on a daily basis.

Don’t beat yourself up if you bypass a top find. There will be better items in the thrifting future!

If done properly, thrift shopping can be very rewarding and therapeutic.

Be sure to check future issues for the key to the 99 cents item and a few different looks for under $5.

Remember to shop responsibly. If you or someone you know has a hoarding problem, get help by calling 1-800-HOARDERS or 1-800-462-7337.

Soul Food Luncheon honors African American writers and brings people together

by Brian Ferrell// Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College’s African American Student Union (AASU) hosted a Soul Food Luncheon in the Mary Cole Nichols Carpeted Dining Room on Feb. 11, to celebrate Black History Month.

This event was planned as a way for students of every race to come together to not only celebrate Black History Month but to also celebrate people of all race, gender and sexuality and to spread the message that no matter what color of race you are and who you are that you are special and unique in your own way.

This event was also to recognize great African American writers who helped pave the way for young African Americans today.
The Soul Food Luncheon had the Vol State faculty and students read poetry from African American Authors.

Gabrielle Staton, Student Government Association (SGA) representative for the Association of Campus Events (ACE), started the luncheon by giving an introduction.

“[Black History month is] a reminder of how far we’ve come as a race and to take a moment to be thankful for who we are,” said Staton.

Next, was the poetry reading by faculty and students of Vol State Community College.

The reading started with Cindy Chanin, associate professor of English, who read “Mother to son” by Langston Hughes and “The Mother” by Gwendolyn Brooks.
Deb Moore was next and she chose to recite, “How it feels to be Colored Me” by Zora Neale Hurston.
Next was Shavonya Washington with “Life is Fine” by Langston Hughes.
Jacobi Calloway with “I rise” by Maya Angelou.
Melva Black read “I have come into the city” by Sonia Sanchez, and lastly, Jasmine Reed with “poem variety.”

“Black History is a celebration of people who have overcome and still striving to become,” said Black.

After the poetry reading, Ashlyn Challenger, AASU president, got up to the podium and spoke.

“You are not black, white, yellow, pink, purple, red, gay, lesbian, straight or what society has put you into. But you are black, white, yellow, pink, purple, red, gay, lesbian, straight, forever, so take pride in being who you are,” said Challenger.

The Soul Food Luncheon ended with conversation and some “soul food” including chicken, mash potatoes, collar greens, macaroni and cheese, and more.

Last Wednesday’s basketball games against Southwest Tenn. Saluqis

by Jason Crownover// Contributing Writer

On Wednesday, Feb. 11, the Volunteer State Community College Pioneers men and women basketball teams hosted the Southwest Tennessee Saluqis on their home court in Gallatin.

The women’s game ended with a score of 70-61, with Vol State picking up the victory, while the men’s game was won by Southwest Tennessee, with a final of 100-75.

Tip off for the women’s game was at 5:30 p. m.

The Lady Pioneers scored 42 points going into half time and a 14 point lead over Southwest Tennessee.

Down by 14 points at halftime; Andrea Matre, the Lady Salaqis head coach, said her team played “lead footed” in the first half and needed to “try to get stops” in the second half.

Sophomore Guard Ta’Keyha Flowers, sophomore guard, led the Lady Pioneers with 18 points at the break.

Otis Key, Vol State head women’s basketball coach, said he wanted to “maintain defensive pressure and move the ball around” when going into the second half.

Throughout the second half, the Lady Saluqis began to make a run at the Lady Pioneers. Southwest Tennessee outscored the Lady Pioneers by five points in the second half, and started running the fast break more efficiently late in the game.

The Lady Saluqis also tallied 10 points from the free throw line in the second half, and were led by LaKyesha Stennis, a freshman guard, who acquired 18 points in the second half.

In the end, the Lady Pioneers prevailed with a final score of 70-61.
The men’s game began at 7:30 p. m.

In the first half, Rasheed Brooks, Southwest Tennessee sophomore guard, and Jalen McGaughy, forward, scored 24 points from the three point line combined.

Vol State’s pair of sophomore wingmen, Jason Stone and Steven Nicks, combined for 18 points in the first half.

Throughout the game, the Saluqis played full court defense on the Pioneers.

Southwest Tennessee maintained constant pressure, forced turnovers and forced bad shots to be taken.

The Saluqis defense was getting stops and producing consistent offense from good defense.

Jerry Nichols, Southwest head coach, said his team wanted to “speed (Vol State) up, keep pressure up.”

The contest was won by high field goal percentage and good shooting from the free throw line. The Saluqis shot a total of 23 for 29 from the charity stripe as well as 50 percent from the three-point line, converting on 11 of their 22 tries.

The game ended with a score of 100 to 75, with the Saluqis getting the win.