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April 2014

FAMU victory over UF goes largely unreported

"You're not playing the University of Florida, you're playing baseball. If you play the game of baseball the way it's supposed to be played, you never know what might happen." - Florida A&M University Baseball Coach Jamey Shouppe (Pregame speech)


Since it seems as though mainstream media, excluding the Tallahassee and Gainesville areas, chose to ignore the historic win of Florida A&M University’s baseball team over #6 ranked University of Florida on Wednesday night, here is more coverage on the victory that still has Rattler fans talking. Thank God for Twitter and Facebook!


As a Florida A&M University alum, I have to tell that I’m proud but in some ways disappointed that the great FAMU Rattler confidence appears to have dissolved over the years until this win over the Gators. In the video, FAMU Coach Shouppe mentioned an expectation of winning. Well, when I was a student at FAMU we always expected to win no matter our competition. Whether it was an athletic field or an academic competition, we came to win.

Let’s pray this latest victory is another tipping point in the right direction for Florida A&M, Lord knows we can use it considering the challenges we have overcome and are still dealing with. Thank you, FAMU Baseball Team, Coach Shouppe and staff for demonstrating that ‘ole Rattler Spirit. 



Va-va sig 75x39


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Photo:   Vaughn Wilson

Related Link:  Historic win: Rattlers stun No. 6 UF baseball






Kappa Alpha Psi Province Meeting in Miami

KAPsi Clipart

More than 500 men of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity from Alabama, Florida, The Bahamas and the U.S. Virgin Islands will gather in Miami starting tomorrow (April 24) through Sunday (April 27) for their 64th Southern Province Council. The Hilton Downtown Miami at 1601 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33132, is headquarters.


Here’s a listing of events:


1) Public Meeting - Thursday, April 24, 2014, 7:00 p.m. ~ Hilton Downtown Miami - 1601 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 


2) Jokes on the Bay - Friday, April 25, 2014, 8:00 p.m. ~ 1601 79th Street Causeway - North Bay Village 


3) Black & White Kappa Kasino Royale- Saturday, April 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m. ~ Hilton Downtown Miami - 1601 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 





The FAMU Strikers Dance Troupe featuring Mahogany Dance Theatre presents Living Legends, Celebrating 25 Years in Dance on Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 8 p.m. hosted at the Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater, South Florida’s oldest performing arts venue.

The Black Archives proudly presents the FAMU Strikers and Mahogany Dance Troupe as part of the organization’s efforts to work with local and national partners to revitalize Overtown through the arts, preservation of culture and by empowering our neighbors through employment opportunities created by events at the Lyric Theater. The famed dance company performs diverse dance styles including Hip-Hop, Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Tap and African works. The group has been featured on television’s “So You Think You Can Dance?” “America’s Best Dance Crew,” “Showtime at the Apollo,” “BET’s Spring Bling” and others.

The Black Archives, sponsored by the Southeast Overtown Park West Community Redevelopment Agency and Miami-Dade County, present the FAMU Strikers and Mahogany Dance Theatre for a one-night only presentation of the dance group’s traveling anniversary performance, “Living Legends, Celebrating 25 Years of Dance.” To purchase tickets, visit

The Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater is located at 819 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami FL 33136 in Historic Overtown. Parking is located in the lot on NW 2nd Avenue on the north side of the Theater.


MDCPS business networking and informational activity 4/25


  Business networking

If you are interested in doing business with Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS), be advised of an upcoming networking and informational activity. The Office of Economic Opportunity will present a Prequalification Workshop and Coffee with the Community on Friday, April 25, 2014 at the School Board Administration Building Auditorium, 1450 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, Florida 33132.

Learn about the MDCPS prequalification process. Find out who needs to be prequalified and the importance and time frame of being prequalified. Coffee and networking begin at 8:30 AM and the workshop begins at 9 AM.

RSVP by April 23, 2014 by emailing or calling 305-995-1307.



Happy Resurrection Day!

African Jesus Resurrection
The Price Was Paid
by Robert Blankenship
As you go forth into life today
Do not forget what God has done
He sent the lamb a sacrifice
His only begotten Son

To die upon the cross
His blood spilled for you and me
That we from Satan's hold
Might with faith be made free

Jesus is the risen lamb
To the earth He will return
To recieve all who love Him
To claim them as His own


Op-Ed: Analysis of the Pending Legal Battle over the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering Split


Atty. Chuck Hobbs
Chuck Hobbs

As a Florida native, I have always considered it odd when people that I have encountered from other regions of the country have insisted that Florida, while geographically southern, is not similar to its “Bible Belt” southern brethren as far as culture and customs are concerned. Such observations stem from the fact that since the early 70’s, Florida has become a tourist attraction due to Disney World and many of its other theme parks and with the upswing in immigration from Latin America and the Caribbean over the past 50 years, the image of Florida as something other than its Confederate and Jim Crow past is a direct result of savvy marketing.


But make no mistake, Florida is the “south,” and like the more infamous states of Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi, states in which federal troops had to be dispatched to foster integration in the years following the United States Supreme Court’s Brown vs Board of Education decision, Florida, too, was defiant— if not slow as molasses—with respect to complying with the US Supreme Court’s mandate that its schools desegregate “with all deliberate speed.”

In 1885, barely a decade after the Compromise of 1877 led newly minted President Rutherford B. Hayes to pull federal troops from the south after only 11 years of Reconstruction, Florida, like its southern brethren, held a constitutional convention to re-establish control for its former Confederate leaders while also divesting blacks of the political power that they had enjoyed during their first decade of freedom. The new Florida Constitution, by its tenor, served as a legal contradiction when considering its words “We, the people of the State of Florida, grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, in order to secure its blessings and to form a more perfect government, insuring domestic tranquility, maintaining public order, and guaranteeing EQUAL CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS TO ALL, do ordain and establish this Constitution….Article XII—Education: White and colored children shall not be taught in the same school, but impartial provision shall be made for both.”

By inscribing such a constitution, Florida was at the vanguard of what would become known as “separate but equal.” Two years later, in 1887, what would later become known as Florida A&M University was founded in Tallahassee, the state’s capital, to educate black students. By 1896, when the United States Supreme Court held that “separate but equal” was a valid legal concept in its Plessy vs. Ferguson decision, FAMU, for the next seven decades, would be limited to serving black students exclusively and while separate, there clearly was a long and tortured history of disparate funding, sub-standard books and materials and poorly maintained if not cramped facilities.

By the time the US Supreme Court was preparing to decide the Brown case in 1954, Florida had already seen legal challenges to its segregated public college system in the form of Virgil Hawkins’ petition to enter in the law school at the University of Florida (UF), the state’s flagship school that was the incubator of state political and judicial leaders during Jim Crow. Florida’s leaders, like its southern brethren, recognized that while its system was separate, it was far from equal and in a clever attempt to perhaps stave off an outright push for integration, a building flurry ensued across the south, including Florida, and in 1951, the state established a law school at FAMU in hopes of providing an “equal” program to the state’s all-white public law school at UF. Writing a concurring opinion in the Virgil Hawkins case, Florida Supreme Court Justice Glenn Terrell wrote “I might venture to point out …that segregation is not a new philosophy generated by the states that practice it. It is and always has been the unvarying law of the animal kingdom, the dove and the quail, the turkey and the turkey buzzard, it matters not where they are found, are segregated: place the horse, the cow, the sheep, the goat and the pig in the same pasture and they instinctively segregate…and when God created man, he allotted each race to his own continent according to color, Europe to the white man, and Asia to the yellow man, Africa to the black man, and America to the red man, but we are now advised that God’s plan was in error and must be reversed.”

Justice Terrell’s morally vapid words, while not holding greater sway than the Brown mandate, certainly provided insight into how Florida would remain defiant as far as integration through the 1960’s. UF did not graduate its first black student until nearly a decade after the Brown decision; Florida State University (FSU), originally a college for women that became a co-ed school following World War II to accommodate the large numbers of white males returning from war who wished to obtain college degrees per the GI Bill, was similarly racially segregated and graduated its first black students in the late 60’s as well.

Still, once integration became the “law” in America, such did not mandate the closure of any of the state funded Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) including FAMU. By the 1970’s, students of all races were eligible to enroll at FAMU the same as at UF and FSU, but the issue during this period for many of the public HBCU’s, including FAMU, was whether the individual states should eliminate them all together as a purge of the state’s recent segregationist past. In 1968, Florida’s Board of Control, which provided oversight for the state universities, closed the FAMU Law School and opened a new one at FSU. The law school closing was only the beginning, as it was during the 70’s that FAMU faced relentless calls for its complete merging with FSU. It was only through the indefatigable efforts of former FAMU Presidents Benjamin L. Perry and Dr. Walter Smith, Sr. that the same was averted. Still, during the middle of President Smith’s tenure, the disparate funding aspect of FAMU as opposed to FSU was manifest in a major way during the 1979-80 football seasons when FAMU’s Bragg Stadium was in need of repairs. FAMU was allowed to use FSU’s Doak Campbell Stadium—built and maintained at the time in large measure by public funds—but the football team was not allowed to use FSU’s locker room and was forced to get dressed on the bus and conduct halftime on the side of the field. These and other slights only raised the stakes during the early 1980’s when FAMU President Smith sought to obtain a full engineering school, one that would further its mission as a Land-Grant college under the Morill Act, a designation that it only shared in Florida with UF.

According to a blog written by Smith’s son Walter II this past weekend, FAMU had offered engineering programs since 1949 and was best situated for a new stand-alone school but FSU, seeking the same, made a similar petition. The compromise that was struck was that the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering was developed and for the past 30 years, despite years of mistrust and at times frustrations between the two schools, the same has graduated a large number of talented engineers and been a stalwart program for both schools.

Understanding this background, it was only logical, then, that FAMU graduates and supporters were apoplectic last week when the Florida legislature, under the leadership of would be FSU president (and alum), State Sen. John Thrasher, pushed through legislation that would provide funding for a separate FSU College of Engineering. While such only awaits the signature of Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott, which is all but assured, the reality is that as it currently stands, the primary issue going forward is whether the state should compel FSU to build its new school in a city other than Tallahassee where the now FAMU Engineering School sits. This would be consistent with precedent that where feasible, neither school duplicates professional programs in the same city, a precedent that found the FAMU College of Law, when established again in the early 2000’s, to be located in Orlando so as not to compete with FSU Law School despite the fact that during this time, FAMU was in the midst of a marvelous run as far as academics under the leadership of then President Frederick Humphries, which included designation as Time/Princeton Review’s College of the Year—the only Florida school to receive such designation.

A second issue is that the building which currently houses the joint engineering school that will soon be FAMU’s alone is in desperate need of millions of dollars in repairs. Essentially, FAMU taking sole ownership of the building is no favor, rather, it is an albatross that if not effectively and fully handled by the legislature, will open the state to litigation that could ultimately find multiple millions of dollars pouring into FAMU—period. Over the past two decades, in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Maryland, HBCU’s, following protracted litigation, have found federal courts holding in their favor as far as the funding slights and buildings being in disrepair. The US Supreme Court, in its United States vs. Fordice decision, held that Mississippi’s segregated university system, as late as the 80’s, led to disparate funding and duplication of programs that while seemingly “race neutral on their face, they substantially restrict a person’s choice of which school to enter.” Similar litigation from Maryland in 2012 led United States District Court judge Catherine Blake to rule that “Maryland has violated the constitutional rights of students at Maryland’s four Historically Black Institutions by unnecessarily duplicating their programs at nearby white institutions.”

What does this mean for the current FAMU-FSU issue?

Clearly, there is nothing at this time that will prevent the Florida legislature, through its recently passed budget, from going forth with its plans for a new FSU Engineering School. What must be decided going forth, however, is whether FAMU stakeholders will file suit now in hopes, perhaps, of seeking to enjoin the decision based upon the same’s violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as applied to Florida through he 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. This route would not likely yield fruit, however, because the most clever aspect of attaching the funding through the state’s budget as opposed to some separate bill to create the same is that Florida, as a sovereign state, has a right to pass its budget free from federal interference. That said, the legal attack will likely center upon what happens next from the legislature on two fronts; first, with the engineering building in need of millions of dollars in repairs, and with Florida having a budget surplus, how much money will be allocated to the modernization and upkeep of said building? Similarly, with FSU receiving 13 million dollars to establish its new school, will similar dollars be allocated for the hiring of new faculty that will replace the FSU Engineering professors who will move to the new school? How much money will be allocated to develop the programs that are specific to the FSU side of the current joint school and how much will be needed to hire professors and obtain the necessary equipment to ensure that the stand alone FAMU Engineering School will have the same program offerings? Any balk by the state on any of these funding issues will subject the state to the same litigation as done in Fordice in Mississippi as well as in Maryland.

Still, with the current tenor from FSU being one that its Engineering school, too, be located in Tallahassee, litigation along the issue of duplication of services would likely result in a favorable ruling for FAMU supporters in Federal Court as the same would hinge upon the very duplication of offerings that is at issue in the Maryland case.

Now, where this issue becomes fraught with concerns for FAMU stakeholders is in understanding that FAMU’s continuing mission, which includes educating many first in family college types and the enrollment of profile admits or students who desire to enroll in school but who have lower grade point averages and/or test scores, whether any future court may conclude that if the two schools are allowed to exist separately in Tallahassee and at the same funding clip, that the FAMU School of Engineering be held to the same admission standards as the FSU and UF Engineering Schools. By writing this I do not mean to suggest that current FAMU Engineering students do not meet such requirements, nor do I suggest that FSU or UF engineering students all meet or exceed high admission standards. Most of the men and women that I have known over the past three decades who graduated from the FAMU side of the joint Engineering School had their picks of prestigious colleges; but still, FAMU stakeholders should be wary going forward that the next step in this seemingly never ending battle of proving the worth if not viability of our public HBCU’s is in combatting the concept, albeit misguided, that they are not prepared to competitively compete with their traditionally white brethren. I submit that in the past, any competitive disadvantages have been a direct result of overt and covert racism within the system and that when said racism is removed, said school, invariably, will flourish as they always have if not greater once the proverbial racist foot is removed from their proverbial necks.


About the Author: Chuck Hobbs is a trial lawyer and award winning freelance writer. A native of Tallahassee, FL, he is a graduate of Morehouse College, Florida A&M University and the University of Florida College of Law. Hobbs is also a great man of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.


Attorney Patricia Russsell-McCloud in Fort Lauderdale April 27

Pat-in-whiteMt. Hermon AME Church, under the leadership of Pastor Henry F. Green, Jr., First Lady Jennifer Green, and the Mt. Hermon church family, invite you to enjoy one of the nation’s best orators, Patricia Russell-McCloud, during the early morning service of their Sister 2 Sister Conference Day of Restoration, 7:30 a.m., Sunday, April 27, 2014. The church is located at 401 NW 7th Terrace, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33311.

Russell-McCloud is an alumna of Kentucky State University and Howard University School of Law where she earned her Juris Doctorate. She has served as the 11th National President of The Links, Incorporated and the National Parliamentarian to the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Named one of the top five business motivators in the country by Black Enterprise Magazine, you don’t want to miss this dynamic woman.

A resident of Atlanta, Georgia, Russell-McCloud is married to Bishop E. Earl McCloud, Jr., the 127th elected and consecrated Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Ladies are also encouraged to wear their favorite  hat and participate in the Hat-a-tude Strut. 

Grow your business. SBA South Florida District webinars scheduled through next Friday, April 25


Tuesday, April 22, 2:30 PM EST.  Taking Your Business Global?  One hour webinar that covers the basics of exporting.  Isn't it time to find overseas markets for your products. 

Wednesday, April 23, 8:30 AM EST. Improve Your Chances of Obtaining a Government Contract . Contractors miss out on government contracts due to common mistakes made in their SBA Profile. This webinar will address the most common errors.

Wednesday, April 23, 3 PM EST. Getting to Yes - How to Help Your Lender Help You Get a Business Loan.  Seeking a business loan from a bank? Have you been turned down before, or are just unsure of what the bank requires when requesting a business loan ? Learn ow to get closer to getting from "NO" to "YES"!

Thursday April 24, 3 PM EST. Como obtener un "Sí" de un Banco.  Si desea escuchar ideas que le pueden ayudar a obtener un préstamo para su negocio, sobre eligibilidad, uso permitido de los dineros, colateral y conocer sobre asistencia técnica, inscribase para tomar este curso.

Most webinars are scheduled for one hour.  Participants can ask questions about the information.  Log-in and connection information can be accessed by clicking on course titles.  Registration is encouraged so instructors can provided last minute log-in instructions or other change information if needed. 


Wednesday, April 23, 11 AM. SAM System Registration and Searching For Contracting/Partnering Opportunities.  Fort Myers Southwest Florida Enterprise Center.  This workshop which will provide information on contracting opportunities within the federal government. What are they? Where to find them? How to get them?

Thursday, April 24, 2 PM.  Export 101: Identifying Overseas Markets.  Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce, Delray Beach.  Finding customers is challenging for every business, but even more so overseas. Whether you are already exporting, or just looking to test the international waters, don't miss out as the SBDC and Enterprise Florida show you how to identify where your product, or service, is in demand!

Save the Date! Wednesday, Apr. 30: Mentor Month Encore Entrepreneur Workshop For Small Business Fort Lauderdale

The U.S. Small Business Administration and AARP are again teaming up to host National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Month targeted at entrepreneurs over the age of 50. This two hour workshop will provide Encore Entrepreneurs with an introduction to small business ownership, the resources available, and professional counseling.  LEARN MORE

Save the Date! Wednesday, Apr. 30: Mentor Month Encore Entrepreneur Workshop For Small Business Miami

The U.S. Small Business Administration and AARP are again teaming up to host National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Month targeted at entrepreneurs over the age of 50. This two hour workshop will provide Encore Entrepreneurs with an introduction to small business ownership, the resources available, and professional counseling.  LEARN MORE

Reserve Now! Limited Seating! Friday, May 2: SBA and Yelp Present: Success With Online Reviews (Miami)

The U.S. Small Business Administration and Yelp are partnering to provide America’s small businesses with the information they need to successfully engage with online reviewers and tips for monitoring their online reputation. SBA and Yelp will walk them through the simple steps they should take to join the conversations that are happening about them on online review sites. During the educational events, business owners will also have an opportunity to learn online marketing insights from a panel of local business owner experts and reviewers from Yelp's Elite squad. In addition to best practices for getting started, SBA and Yelp will share advice for handling critical feedback, responding to reviews, ways to generate more buzz by creating exciting promotions and monitoring customer leads. RESERVE HERE.

FAMU Alumni to meet Sat. 4/19


The Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association will meet on Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 10 AM at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, 6161 NW 22nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33142. Among the important topics to be discussed is the controversial split of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. Other important topics include the upcoming FAMU National Alumni Convention and activities during the FAMU vs. UM football game on September 6.

All former FAMU students and parents or spouses of current or former FAMU students are invited to attend the chapter meeting. 




FAMU BOT Chair’s Statement Regarding the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering

Dr. Solomon Badger
Dr. Solomon Badger

We are aware of an amendment filed on Tuesday evening by Senator John Thrasher that would create a second college of engineering in Tallahassee at Florida State University.  The FAMU Board of Trustees opposes this move and considers this an unplanned act, which has been void of discussion and input from the current leadership of the two universities, the university Boards of Trustees and the Florida Board of Governors. This action sends the wrong message to the citizens of Florida and other interested parties about how the legislature and academic institutions should interact. 

This nation cannot afford to revisit separate, but unequal policies when the collaboration of our two institutions through the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering represents a successful venture for the State of Florida between two research institutions. This long-term collaborative program has received high praise for addressing the underrepresented student populations in engineering disciplines. It is a model program that is an example of the best our higher education entities can produce through partnership.

The Florida Board of Governors has made a concerted effort to reduce duplication of academic programs throughout the State University System. A second engineering school in Tallahassee with competing programs would compromise the integrity of what is an established, successful venture. 

Proposing such an abrupt change without any discussion of the aforementioned factors with all parties involved is alarming and not in the best interest of our State University System or the citizens of Florida.  As an alternative, we request that the legislature provide additional support to the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, which has produced successful graduates for both Florida A&M University and Florida State University since 1982.