By Kyle Huneycutt, A&E Editor
The Civil Rights movement has had an incredible impact on virtually every aspect of the entertainment industry including music, movies, books and much more; but one of the best ways to actually see and understand the transition that African Americans experienced throughout this movement is by observing the iconic television series that aired throughout this time period and revolved around the lives of African American families for the first time in history.
The Civil Rights movement generally began in the 1950s, but the first time viewers at home watched a television show with an all African American cast did not occur until the late 1960s. These are shows that, today, any family is familiar with and are simply another aspect of our society’s culture; however, when they originally aired, these shows represented the changing times taking place in America.
Some of television’s earliest examples include the premiere of “Julia” in 1968, which the first show to depict an African American woman in a role other than a servant, or Fred and Lamont Sanford and their dubious money-making schemes in “Sanford and Son,” broadcasted in 1972.
One of the earliest TV series to air that concentrates on the fictional home life of an African American family, also serves as a reflection of the effects the Civil Rights movement. “Good Times” originally aired in 1974, and focuses on the struggles and obstacles of the Evans family as they try to get by while living in the infamous and impoverished projects of Chicago. Despite having a limited income, the Evans represented the eventual benefits that result from determination, perseverance and the importance of sticking together through hard times.
Soon after “Good Times,” a new show premiered in 1975 that would be a turning point for television sitcoms. “The Jeffersons,” which lasted for 11 seasons, holds the record for being the longest running TV show with a predominately black cast. Where the Evans had been a family struggling to make ends meet, the Jeffersons were an upper-middle class family not unlike any other family in America.
The main difference between “Good Times” and “The Jeffersons” is that “Good Times” was about a black family trying to live their lives. “The Jeffersons” was more about a family living their lives.
The progressive pattern continues with the premiere of “The Cosby Show” in 1984. The show is about an affluent family living in Brooklyn. The famous comedian Bill Cosby portrays obstetrician Cliff Huxtable who is married to attorney Clair Huxtable, resulting in a very lucrative lifestyle.
Unlike its predecessors, “The Cosby Show” barely mentions any issues of race, rather focusing on comedic material and some more serious issues including teen pregnancy, dyslexia and the obstacles that come with raising a family. Many more shows have followed “The Cosby Show” into the nineties such as “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Family Matters” and many more continue to surface in the 21 century with no particular emphasis on race such as “Lincoln Heights” and “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.”
Now, the later shows focus more on entertainment, but through the television series like “Good Times” and “The Jeffersons” the bar was set for a brighter future in the entertainment industry.
UPDATE1 (11:18 a.m.) — Added hyperlink to “Julia” from Museum of Broadcast Education.
By Ali Neese, Staff Writer
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, our nation has the chance to reflect on its history in regards to the Civil Rights Movement, as well as the changes that have occurred since then. The same holds true for Young Harris College’s students and faculty members. The Civil Rights Movement was a turbulent time in America and many people had strong opinions on the subject, and YHC students were not an exception.
As a southern state, Georgia had a difficult time dealing with Civil Rights, along with the issue of integration. Several copies of the Enotah Echoes newspaper that were printed during those years reflected this ongoing conflict.
While it is safe to say that Young Harris College has come a long way in terms of diversity and acceptance since the time of Martin Luther King, there was a time in the college’s history when people were not so accepting.
An article of the Enotah Echoes printed on January 16, 1961, entitled “Crisis in the South” by YHC student John Ard talks about his concern on the topic of integration. He mentions the popularity of passive resistance by African Americans in their effort to protest “unjust civil laws” and that Martin Luther King was in favor of this type of resistance. His beliefs were typical of many Southerners in that he was concerned about the changes that were taking place and he even goes so far as to say that integration is one of the “greatest threats that the South has been confronted with since the Civil War.”
In the next issue of the Enotah Echoes the same student wrote an article called “Integration at Georgia” in which he details the chaos that ensued when two African Americans joined the University of Georgia’s student body. He stated that while he did not condone the persecution of the African American race, he was a strong believer in “equal but separate facilities.”
He stated that “their schools, the churches and other organizations should be equal to the whites, but not the same as the whites.”
This narrow view might lead one to believe that there was absolutely no diversity on YHC’s campus during those days, but this simply is not true. In fact, in the ’50s and ’60s Young Harris College had foreign exchange students from different parts of Asia, the Middle East and Cuba. The YHC family welcomed them and celebrated their presence at the college, but unfortunately the drama unfolding in the South blinded many to their opportunity to truly increase the campus’ diversity.
What is probably the most shocking about YHC and the Civil Rights Movement is that literally a week after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, that issue of the Enotah Echoes made absolutely no mention of his death or anything concerning the events leading up to it. Instead, they covered the upcoming classes for summer school, the recent play and who made the Dean’s List.
While YHC, along with the rest of the South, had trouble accepting integration initially, it is evident that this is no longer the case. According to Clint Hobbs, Vice President for Enrollment Management, in 2008 the ethnic percentage at the college was 4.5% and consisted mainly of Hispanic and African American students. Fast forward to this year and the ethnic percentage is at an “all time high” with 15.4% of the students being Hispanic and African American.
Hobbs stated that it was a major goal of the college to increase diversity on the campus and it is something that YHC will continue to better itself on. He says that the college embraces all students and does not discriminate against anyone, regardless of its past.
By Annie Hunter, Campus Life Editor
Loving v. Virginia is not a Supreme Court case that many Americans would recognize. It doesn’t necessarily have the same nation-changing significance of Marbury v. Madison or the controversy of Roe v. Wade, but the 1967 ban of state laws restricting interracial marriage forever changed the way Americans pursued their own of happiness.
During the time of Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights activists, interracial dating was taboo to say the least. Some Young Harris College students are included in the generational trend that, when it comes to matters of the heart, Dr. King’s words were not wasted.
Christelle Vereb, a sophomore from Hayesville, NC, is among the minority at YHC who are in an interracial relationship. While the couple sometimes attracts attention, she does not see it as negative or discouraging.
“[My boyfriend] is Cuban, yet he does not look Cuban. He looks Caucasian,” said Vereb. “And my goodness! My skin is as dark as night, so oh yes we do [stand out]! But really we just laugh it off and go on when people look at us.”
Most people, Vereb says, are indifferent to their relationship. Her parents, specifically, only want her to be happy and his feel the same way.
“At the end of the day, you’re with someone whom you care about, and they care about you in return. In the end you have each other, no matter the race or culture,” said Vereb.
With the ban on interracial marriages lifted, the United States began to see an increase in these types of relationships. Stanford University conducted a study in 1970 that showed only two percent of marriages could be classified as interracial. Thirty-five years later, seven percent of America’s 59 million marriages were interracial.
Amanda Massey, a freshman early childhood education major from Snellville, has been in three different interracial relationships. She said that for her it just makes more sense, and each of these relationships have been a better fit than when she has dated someone Caucasian.
“I think [interracially dating] is not necessarily better; but it’s better for me, because I went to a school of primarily black people so I just connect with them better,” said Massey.
Her parents, however, do not feel the same connection and would prefer for her to date within her own race.
“They don’t like it. I have to hide it from them because they don’t approve of it,” said Massey. “Interracial dating is more of a now thing, not really their thing.”
Massey attributes her parents’ disapproval to the generational views of her grandparents. She has noticed that when anyone gives her a ‘look’ while with her African American boyfriend they are usually 50 years or older. Massey predicts that as more diversity is added to the campus, interracial dating will be more prominent. Statistics tend to agree.
A Gallup Poll conducted in June of 2005 showed that 95% of 18-29 year olds approved of African Americans and Caucasians interracially dating. Sixty percent of that same age group stated that they had dated someone outside their race.
While resistance is impossible to eliminate, today’s generation has shown that it can and will love leaps and bounds further than its predecessors. It is a change that Dr. King would be proud of.
By Ethan Burch, Sports Editor
Referred to my many as “the game,” this match-up was thought to have changed college basketball forever. What could be so special about one game that would set it above the rest in the minds of sports fans, though?
The game being referred to is the 1966 NCAA Championship game that took place in College Park, MD between Texas Western University and the University of Kentucky on March 19, 1966. However, the impact of this game goes beyond Texas Western’s National Championship win, though.
Texas Western entered the game with a starting line-up consisting of 5 black players, while the starting line-up of Kentucky featured 5 white players. Between this move, which many considered to be a bold one by Texas Western Men’s Basketball Head Coach Don Haskins, the small size of Texas Western in comparison to Kentucky and the powerhouse of a program that Kentucky had built with 4 NCAA titles by 1966, all odds were against Texas Western.
If you have seen the film Glory Road, which depicts the story of Coach Don Haskins on their journey to the championship game, then you know where this story is going and the implications that were faced by Texas Western for starting 5 black players.
Though this was not the first time that a black player had participated in an NCAA Championship, it was the first time that a squad had an all-black starting line-up.
Not only was this a factor that many held against Texas Western going into the game, but Kentucky was the front runner in all of college basketball with four at the time.
Kentucky was led by Head Coach Adolph Rupp and players such as Pat Riley and Louie Dampier. For those unfamiliar with those names, Adolph Rupp is the coach for which Kentucky’s basketball arena is now named, and Pat Riley would go on to coach in and win an NBA championship with the Miami Heat.
The squad of Texas Western, now known as Texas El-Paso, featured names such as Bobby Joe Hill, David “Big Daddy D” Lattin, Harry Flourney and Nevil Shed. Many stereotypes of black players led fans to believe that all black players were incapable of running an offense correctly; this would eventually lead to a Texas Western meltdown in the championship game. All signs pointed to Kentucky as the pre-game favorite heading into the championship game.
These predictions proved to be untrue, as Texas Western found ways to rotate the ball a number of times to find open looks on the offensive end.
The dramatic journey for the Texas Western squad would end in victorious fashion; and as 5’10 guard Bobby Joe Hill scored 20 points, this paced the Miners to a 72-65 championship victory over Rupp and Kentucky.
This game goes beyond the final score, though. Instead, it cleared a path for African-American players in all of basketball to make a name and find victory. It is a story such as this that can be looked back on as we honor the day of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
By Christelle Vereb, Staff Writer
Young Harris College received eight inches of snow on Jan. 10, and the snow quickly turned to ice. This led to two days of cancelled school, a day of delayed start time for YHC and cancellations and rescheduling of events.
Due to severe weather, welcome back week activities planned by the CAB committee were either delayed or cancelled.
“The weather has affected our activities planned for welcome back week greatly. The weather especially affected those events that were scheduled to take place outside. For example, Martin Luther King Day of Service had to be rescheduled because a main proportion of the event was going to be held outside, but the snow is not permitting,” said Rouseline Emmanuel, Director of Campus Activities at YHC.
Events scheduled for welcome back week included bingo night, chapel service, a dance thrown by Zeta Pi fraternity and Phi Alpha Phi sorority, Martin Luther King Day of Service, basketball games for Jan. 10 and 13 and a concert featuring Heath Mcnease.
Some events that took place despite the weather included chapel service, the dance and the Heath Mcnease concert. The Martin Luther King Day of Service was rescheduled for Jan. 22 weather permitting. The basketball games were cancelled.
Students were affected as well by the change of events due to the snow in that they had to find activities indoors to keep warm.
“When I wake up in the morning and see that it is 3 degrees outside, I just want to hibernate until spring. This cold weather has really forced me to stay inside more than before. Therefore, there will be no outside activities for me,” said freshman Erica Brooks, a native of Athens.
Most mornings, the YHC campus entered the day with 5 degree weather. Students have tried to make the best of the snow, but it has now turned to ice, the ice has made it a challenge for students to attend any activities on campus, even if theses events are not cancelled.
“The first day or two, the snow was magical and so much fun, seeing everyone sledding, building snowmen and acting like little kids again was great. Everyone found their own activities. But once the snow turned to ice, it became a challenge to walk around campus,” said Molly Blaschke, a freshman and native of Athens.
According to Emmanuel more events are to be scheduled for students in the next coming months weather permitting.
By Lauren Robinson, Staff Writer
Young Harris College prides itself on being a college as well as an environment in which students and staff members alike are incorporated in the culture and activities that occur on campus. As a freshman, college in general has been a major adjustment in regards to academics and campus life. When I find free time in my schedule, which is usually in the evening, I enjoy watching my favorite series on television. Engaging in something that I am familiar with away from home allows me to feel that much more comfortable with my surroundings.
Sitcoms, dramas, cartoons, reality shows and the newest star search have been quite an influence on today’s pop culture. You may find yourself perusing through the channels and happen upon a show that interests you. Consequently, you set your DVR and/or TiVo to record that particular show if you cannot be present to view it as it is being aired. Television has evolved into more than a pastime where families spend time together during the evening hours watching a show that pleases everyone. It has become something of which people in society find themselves scheduling their daily lives and/or schedules around.
Now let’s change the dynamic, shall we? It’s 10:00 o’clock at night and the game is on. The channel that I am looking for does not appear to be there. Just to be sure, I check the TV Guide Channel for that particular channel. The network that I watch my favorite television show is not offered. Now what do I do? Immediately, I think to check Hulu online. The show could possibly be available for later viewing. However, it is not. Two strikes and I’m almost out of options. I may just have to wait until I can take a break, go home and catch up on the latest drama.
As a student, there are a multitude of things that are un-constant and changing. While most things are in sync some things have yet to reach equilibrium.
Black Entertainment Television, otherwise known as BET, is a division of Viacom Inc. BET was launched January 20, 1980. As stated on the website, “BET provides contemporary entertainment that speaks to young Black adults from an authentic, unapologetic viewpoint of the Black experience. BET connects with its target audience in a way no other media outlet can providing hit music, entertainment and news programming that is reflective of their experiences such as: 106 & PARK, RAP CITY, MEET THE FAITH, COLLEGE HILL, and AMERICAN GANGSTER. In addition, outstanding mega-specials such as the BET AWARDS (the #1 Awards Show on Cable Television), BET HIP-HOP AWARDS and CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL keep viewers regularly tuned in for the latest and greatest in black entertainment. Reaching more than 84 million homes, BET can be seen in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.”
More often than not, there is a stigma placed on BET and the people that watch it. There is an underlying prejudice towards the network in general. An assumption is made and those who do not care for the content usually judge those who like the channel. In my case, BET is a source of information as well as an outlet that allows for self-expression. BET is an advocate for social justice, on the forefront of political news, first to leak new music from new and old artists and fighting the AIDS epidemic. It is a part of my culture and being without it is difficult. I feel as if I’m not aware of my cultural happenings and lagging behind.
I can easily choose to be pessimistic and play the victim in the situation. However, that would not be in my best interest. I’m pretty sure that I am not alone in this predicament. There are probably more people on campus and in the community that have a preference of channels. The best way to solve a minor issue like this is to bring it to the forefront and verbalize my frustration. What channel are you missing?