Former NFL quarterback and Lousiana native, Peyton Manning, along with the help of his foundation, has sponsored six endowed scholarships at historically Black colleges and universities.
What We Know:
- Manning’s Peyback Foundation, which was founded in 1999 by Peyton and his wife, Ashley, has endowed six scholarships at four HBCU schools in Manning’s home state of Louisiana and two in Tennessee, where he played college football for the University of Tennessee. The six HBCU’s receiving endowment scholarships are Grambling State University, Southern University, Tennessee State, Fisk University, Xavier University of Louisiana, and Dillard University in New Orleans.
- The award for Grambling State University will bear the name of alumnus Doug Williams, the first Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl in 1987. He was informed by the university that a certain foundation was endowing a scholarship in his name, but when he questioned it, his alma mater shared that the donor wished to remain anonymous. That didn’t stop Williams, a senior vice president for the Washington Football Team, who called around and found out it was Manning’s foundation.
“Ha, you know I have my connections at Grambling. I made a phone call and found out it was Peyton Manning’s foundation and it was endowing a half-dozen scholarships at historically Black colleges and universities [HBCUs]. Peyton is a Louisiana boy. I know he’s given to a lot of wonderful causes without publicity, but this was a most pleasant surprise for me.”
- At Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Harold Carmichael, former Philadelphia Eagles receiver and 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, was named on an identical endowment. Carmicheal shared about his experience at his HBCU alma mater, saying that it was an honor to have his name attached to a scholarship. “An endowed scholarship with my name attached? I am really humbled and blessed,” he said.
- Wilma Rudolph’s name was honored on the endowment scholarship at her alma mater, Tennessee State. Rudolph, who died from cancer in 1994, was a sprinter who became the first woman to ever win three gold medals in the Olympics in 1960.
- The endowment namesakes at the other HBCU’s are not known for athletics, but rather as being pillars in the Black community, known for their historical contributions.
- At Fisk University in Nashville, the scholarship honors the late Dr. Reavis L. Mitchell Jr., a 40-year history professor who was frequently consulted on African American heritage and often cited in publications and documentaries.
- At the Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, Dr. Norman Francis is honored by the scholarship. Francis, the school’s president since 1968, received a presidential medal of freedom in 2006 for his efforts planning the recovery and rebuilding of New Orleans and surrounding areas after Hurricane Katrina.
- At the New Orleans HBCU Dillard University, Dr. Michael Lomax is the namesake. Lomax is a former university president and has been the president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund since 2004.
- When contacted, Manning declined to comment on his personal involvement in the endowments, but he did provide a statement on his foundation. “The Peyback Foundation is honored to partner with these six colleges to honor distinguished Alumni and staff members, and to help college students at these schools now and many years to come. Really, for perpetuity.
Williams said he believes Manning’s cause deserves a spotlight, saying, “I think Peyton needs to be recognized so we can expand the circle of potential donors out there for a great cause.” You can learn more about Manning’s Peyback Foundation here.
George Clooney And Other Stars Launch Public LA Film School
George Clooney is one of many stars co-founding a public high school in the Los Angeles United School District to provide underserved communities an opportunity to break into the film industry.
What We Know:
- Clooney, Kerry Washington, Don Cheadle, Mindy Kaling, and Eva Longoria are just a few listed as the founding members of the Roybal School of Film and Television Production. Housed in the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center in the Westlake District area of LA, the magnet program will provide curriculum, practical training, and internships.
- In a statement, Clooney said, “Our aim is to better reflect the diversity in our country. That means starting early. It means creating high school programs that teach young people about cameras, and editing and visual effects and sound and all the career opportunities this industry has to offer.” LAUSD teachers will be given access to industry professionals in order to achieve these goals.
- Under the direction of principal Blanca Crus, the school’s curriculum will be developed to meet the standards of the State of California. Austin Beutner, LAUSD Superintendent, expressed his approval, “Physics is involved in the choice of lens by a cinematographer, math is part of the foundation for a musical score…critical thinking skills are needed to design a set, screenwriters need a foundation in literacy, and a make-up artist needs to know chemistry of the different materials they might use — all of this will be tied into the curriculum at the school.”
- The Roybal School of Film and Television is expected to launch in the fall of 2022. The plan is to enroll underclassmen to begin and expand to upperclassmen in the following two years. There will then be an opportunity to expand the pilot program to more schools in LA.
Initiatives like these spearheaded by actors in the industry show the desire for the film world to better capture the American experience in all capacities.
Michael Jordan Donates $1 Million to Morehouse College, Allocated to Enrich the School’s Journalism and Sports Program
Michael Jordan and Nike’s Jordan Brand’s donation will enrich Morehouse College’s Journalism and Sports Program founded by actor and director Spike Lee and late sports columnist Ralph Wiley.
What We Know:
- The contribution comes from Jordan and Jordan Brand’s Black Community Commitment, which grants monetary gifts to associations that preserve Black culture. Previously, the Black Community Commitment assisted the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Ida B. Wells Society.
“We want to help people understand the truth of our past and help tell the stories that will shape our future,” said Jordan about the endowment.
- Morehouse College wrote in a news release that the donation would make scholarships, technology, and educational programming more available to students. Monique Dozier, Morehouse’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement, expressed gratitude for the charity. Dozier declared the funds would ensure “equity, balance, and truth in the way sports stories are framed and the way the Black experience is contextualized within American history.”
- The program, which Morehouse provides as a minor, focuses on the absence of Black leadership in sports journalism and athletics. So far, more than 80 students have added Journalism and Sports to their undergraduate studies.
- Lee and Wiley came up with the idea after discussing the fact that sports journalism lacks minority reporters, despite many athletes being people of color. This motivated the two friends to find a way to fix this disparity. Eventually, officials from Lee’s alma mater entered the discussion, and they added a Journalism and Sports concentration to Morehouse’s curriculum in 2007. After some time, the university upgraded it to a minor.
- Morehouse prepares their pupils with four core courses on reporting, interviewing, ethical fundamentals, online writing, social media, and sports coverage while using photography and videography as storytelling tools. Undergraduates may also partake in internships and register in elective courses that teach them topics such as African-American politics, history, psychology, and economics.
Moreover, Lee has stated that Jordan’s donation will create “a rich legacy of storytellers” to influence the representation of Black people on television and Hollywood. “We’ve got to tell our story,” Lee declared.
The Bodies of 215 Children Discovered at Former Canadian School for Indigenous People
Using ground-penetrating radar, officials were able to identify a mass gravesite with 215 bodies at the former Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia, Canada.
What We Know:
- The Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia, was established by the Roman Catholic Church in 1890 and closed in 1978. Residential schools were a part of a nationwide Canadian initiative to assimilate indigenous children forcibly. Children between the ages of 4 and 15 were taken from their families and prohibited to practice any aspect of native culture.
- The Tk’emlups te Secwépemc people announced the discovery. Chief Rosanne Casimir says some of the victims were as young as three years old. The causes and timing of their deaths are unknown.
- Kamloops was one of the largest Residential Schools in Canada. In total, 150,000 children attended the institution. Former students recall unsanitary conditions and exposure to numerous contagious diseases.
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission calculates a minimum of 3,201 residential school deaths. This number is uncertain because of unaccounted deaths and destroyed files. In the case of Kamloops, a local museum archivist is working with the Royal British Columbia Museum to find a paper trail documenting the victims.
Mass graves at residential schools have long been an urban legend in indigenous communities across Canada. This discovery at Kamloops proves these suspicions to be true. “This is the reality of the genocide that was, and is, inflicted upon us as Indigenous peoples by the colonial state. Today we honor the lives of those children and hold prayers that they, and their families, may finally be at peace,” said Grand Chief Stewart Philip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs.
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