First Black Editor of Technician Tells His Story
Chris Hart-Williams | Staff Writer
In 1989, Dwuan June became the first African-American to hold the position of Editor-In-Chief of Technician.
June lead the student paper three years before Nubian Message was founded by Tony Williamson in 1992, a time when racial tensions at N.C. State were heightened.
At Technician June created the column “Like it is,” where he openly expressed his views of N.C. State and student life.
As editor June was actively involved in how Technician covered the Men’s Basketball scandal that ended in the departure of Jim Valvano in 1990. June was also editor during the election and resignation of Brian Nixon, the second African-American Student Body President at State. Nixon left office after he received death threats, physical abuse and even an attack by students while outside his dorm room. June says he remembers the stress put on Nixon leading up to his resignation and said that they were both impacted by the Jimmy Valvano scandal. At the time June made it known that he felt the Men’s basketball program should be dismantled for a while.“Not only did I have to deal with the student body, but I had to deal with alumni and I’m quite sure Brian had to deal with the alumni situations too…that period was very stressful.”
June now works in D.C. as a designer for The Washington Post, one of the top newspapers in the country.
Nubian Message: How did it feel to be the first African-American Editor-in-Chief of Technician?
June: It was just like being any other editor, it just so happened that I was African-American. It started as a normal process and then as the year went on, and I had other people saying ‘you have to take responsibility’ it became more of an issue. For example when we were doing the Black History Month section that’s when it [my race] started to take more emphasis that you know ‘hey you’re this black guy that’s in charge of the newspaper who has to sort of represent the whole black community and how do you handle this’… You really don’t want your color to effect your news coverage, because you have to say would you cover this regardless of your color and that’s when it sort of became an issue, you know being black and trying to cover the news on campus.
NM: What was your relationship with the second African- American Student Body President, Brian Nixon?
June: Brian and I were actually from the same part of North Carolina. Brian and I use to play ball together. I knew Brian since his freshman year. When he was president and I became editor it was kind of like a double whammy. I was like this is my boy here and I’m his boy, you know. So we were pretty ecstatic at that moment.
NM: Do you think that you had to tolerate more because of your race or was your job naturally stressful?
June: Both. I got a letter from a very old alumnus and he made specific mention of my race. He said ‘You should all remember what the basketball program has done for your race.’ So, I think that race had something to do with it. I got a lot of hate when I was editor from old alumni and students on campus. What’s troubling is you’re going to school with students who have not learned anything different. By that, I mean their train of thought on what they think other races do. They use that as a fall back to vent their anger… these are your peers and they haven’t progressed further than their parents, like that guy that sent that hate mail. That’s pretty damning there.
NM: When you left N.C. State had racial tensions changed for the better?
June: Racially, its kind of hard to say. I can’t say the salt that I tasted was from the whole campus because you know, I was a pretty controversial figure on campus. I had written this column ‘Like it is,” so I put a really big target on my back. It was out there, I pretty much went after everybody, sororities, even the black community. It was a very popular column because I took no prisoners but it also made me a target. I used to get dead birds hanging from the door of my dorm room. I had dog excrement mailed to me in the mailbox, those are just some of the things that were sent to me. I had people come to my dorm late at night throwing trash cans up against my door and people saying ‘I’m gonna get you, I’m gonna get you.’ It’s hard to say that my experiences weren’t very typical of N.C. State. Now that being said, N.C. State does have some issues it needs to address.We’re not a very tolerant campus, we could do things better, we could be more open. The Free Expression Tunnel is what is, but it may be time to rethink what it does. It allows people to express what they really think…that’s what that ‘free expression tunnel does. If you look in our magazines we put out, diversity is kind of lacking. Diversity is lacking at State. So in that regard I don’t know if things have changed that much. To answer the question, I think we are the same University we were 20 plus years ago.
Could They Be the Next NBA Stars?
Alfred Anderson | Staff Writer
In the 2003 NBA Draft, players like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade were a part of an NBA draft class considered by many to be one of the best of all time. 10 years later, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon and even N.C. State’s own Anthony Barber have drawn comparisons to some of the best players in the league today.
Basketball season is just getting under way, however the hype surrounding the aforementioned talent has been building since these players were in high school. These McDonald’s All-Americans were walking across the stage just a few months ago, and now they’re playing for some of the biggest basketball programs in the country.
At N.C. State, freshman guard Anthony Barber has coach Mark Gottfried and staff excited about his potential. Barber, nicknamed “Cat” was ranked as the best point guard in the state of Virginia and the 7th best point guard in the nation according to ESPN. Barber attended Hampton High School in Hampton, Virginia and was also selected as 2013 McDonald’s All-American.
Through his first three games as a member of the Wolfpack, Barber has averaged 10 points and a couple of assists per game. Barber and fellow Wolfpack freshmen Beejay Anya, Kyle Washington and Lennard Freeman, along with sophomores Tyler Lewis and T.J. Warren, help to form a young team filled with potential and promise for the future.
Andrew Wiggins, a 6’8” small forward from Canada attends the University of Kansas and is expected to be the top pick in next year’s draft. His father, Mitchell Wiggins played for both the Chicago Bulls and the Houston Rockets during the 1980s. His mother, Marita Payne-Wiggins competed for the Canadian team in the 1984 and the 1988 Summer Olympics.
Wiggins attended Vaughan Secondary School in Vaughan, Ontario for two years, and then transferred to Huntington Prep School, in West Virginia. There he averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds and was also named the Naismith Prep Player of the Year and Gatorade National Player of the Year.
Just down the street, on Tobacco Road, Duke Freshman Jabari Parker has taken the Bull City by storm. The 2012 Gatorade Player of the Year attended Simeon Career High School in Chicago, Illinois. He was ESPN High School player of the year as well as state champion during his first three years of high school. Parker was the top player in his recruiting class until a foot injury sidelined him during the beginning of his senior year, in which he averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game.
Texas native, Julius Randle, who was recruited heavily by N.C.State, chose to take his talents to the University of Kentucky. The 6’9” power forward attended Prestonwood Christian Academy, and averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds per game attracting attention from schools all over the country.
Lastly, Aaron Gordon, from San Jose, California is a freshman at the University of Arizona. Gordon won multiple state titles in California and was the MVP of both the 2013 McDonald’s All-American Game and the 2013 FIBA Under-19 World Championship Tournament. As a forward at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Gordon averaged 22 points and 16 rebounds per game. He has been compared to Los Angeles Clipper power forward Blake Griffin because of his talent and athletic ability.
Through their first few collegiate games, these freshmen have lived up to hype surrounding their anticipated debuts. Last week during the nationally televised Champion’s Classic at the United Center in Chicago, Randle and the Kentucky Wildcats lost a heartbreaker to Michigan State. However, Randle’s performance was awe-inspiring, posting 27 points and 13 rebounds against an experienced Michigan State team. Parker and Wiggins went head to head in the second game of the classic, that saw Kansas edge past Duke 94-93. Wiggins went for 22 points and 8 rebounds in the Jayhawks’ victory, while Parker scored 27 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a losing effort. Arizona Wildcats star Gordon has also made noise during his first few games. Three games into the season, he is averaging a solid 14 points and nine rebounds a game, helping push the Wildcats to a 3-0 record.
Omar Tyree to Join Students in Celebration
DeErricka Green | Managing Editor
Wednesday Dec. 4, 2013, the annual Kwanzaa Celebration will be hosted by Multicultural Student Affairs and the African American Cultural Center, featuring traditional African rituals, food and guest speaker Omar Tyree.
Contrary to popular belief, Kwanzaa is not an African holiday, nor is it aimed at providing an alternative to religion or religious holidays.
Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, of African heritage in African-American culture. Many African-Americans who celebrate Kwanzaa do so in addition to observing Christmas. Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga to “give Blacks an opportunity to reconnect with their African cultural and historical heritage by uniting in meditation and study of African traditions, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society,” according to an article in The Root.
For the last 22 years, the N.C. State community has also come together before the end of the Fall semester to honor the rich tradition. Hosted in the Washington Sankofa Room, the celebration will include traditional Kwanzaa rituals, such as the lighting of the kinara (the traditional candle holder symbolic of African ancestral roots), music, the oral tradition of storytelling, as well as a karamu feast.
“The event serves as a great opportunity for people who are unfamiliar with Kwanzaa to learn more about Multicultural Student Affairs. Omorogbe is particularly excited about her first experience with the celebration at N.C. State. “I have received messages from students, faculty and staff expressing their excitement to attend. I am most looking to forward to hearing our students speak about the ‘Nguzo Saba’.”
The Nguzo Saba, or the seven principles of Kwanzaa, consist of what Karenga called “the best of African thought and practice in
constant exchange with the world.” Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility, Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith) comprise the African philosophy of Kawaida. Each day of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the seven principles. At the event, students dressed in traditional African garments will pair up to explain one of the principles and light the candle in the kinara which represents it.
Author Omar Tyree will also be featured as the guest speaker, motivating students to find their passions and skills needed to
create successful futures and celebrate individual and collective history. “He has an amazing personal story. We hope that [Tyree’s] speech will motivate and invigorate the N.C. State community as it relates to celebrating African-American history and honoring our traditions as we move forward into the next semester,” said Omorogbe.
Still a relatively new holiday, it was estimated in 2012 that more than 500,000 African-Americans in the United States observed Kwanzaa, according to The Grio. Kwanzaa is also observed in Canada as well as parts of the Western African Diaspora, helping to spread the rich history of African-Americans and the ancestral heritage of Africa.
Eboni Bryson | Staff Writer
For this upcoming spring semester, N.C. State is offering an Africana Studies course (AFS 497) focusing on the Gullah/Geechee Nation. This course will feature a service trip that allows students to travel to Charleston, SC and St. Helena Island to visit prominent landmarks while participating various service learning opportunities.
Members of the Gullah/Geechee culture are descendants of West and Central Africa. Residing from Wilmington, N.C. to Jacksonville, FL, the Gullah/Geechee people call fishing and farming areas of the Atlantic coast their home. Their ancestors were first brought to the New World in the 1700s and were forced to mainly cultivate rice. According to the National Park Service, “…due to the geographic barriers of the coastal landscape…” the Gullah/Geechee people have been able to maintain their West African heritage and thus create a culture of their own. In these low-country regions, Gullah and Creole are the primary languages. Congressman James E. Clyburn says “The Gullah/Geechee culture is the last vestige of fusion of African and European languages and traditions brought to these coastal areas.”
In 2006, Congress designated The Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. Under the National Heritage Acts of 2006, it was formed to recognize the contributions of the Gullah/Geechee culture and to help preserve its cultural artifacts to better educate the public. Still today, rice is just as big of a staple in the culture as it was in the the 1700’s. Seafood and rice are not only dominant parts of the culture’s diet, but artifacts of their environment and remnants of their ancestral past. Reuters.com reported the first Gullah/Geechee float was featured in President Barack Obama’s inauguration parade in 2013. This year, American Idol Winner, Candice Glover shed a new light on South Carolina’s lowcountry and the Gullah/Geechee culture. TheGrio.com labeled her as an ambassador for the Gullah/Geechee culture following her win. According to the Charleston City Paper, development of real estate and sharp increases in county taxes has left those of the Gullah/Geechee culture scrambling to maintain and preserve the land and culture that has been there for hundreds of years.
The three-credit course will provide opportunities for students to participate in service while learning about a culture that’s not often recognized. To find out more about the course, feel free to contact Dr. Tracey Ray at Tracey_Ray@ncsu.edu.