February 2011

February 2011

PAWs - Promoting Awareness and Wellness

Ashford University is proud to show you our PAWs. That is, our Promoting Awareness and Wellness initiative! Every month, we'll highlight different causes and opportunities that reflect the values of the University. You'll also learn ways that you can participate or be more involved.

February 2011 – Black History Month

The Past is Alive in the Present: Black History in Stories
Black History Month was born out of Negro History Week and grew to the annual celebration of African American history and individual contributions that we recognize today. Dr. Carter Woodson, who is known as the father of black history, founded this celebration in 1926 as a week-long observance. In 1976, the observance was expanded to a month and became known as Black History Month.

In celebration of Black History Month this year, Ashford University will focus on living history. In this article, you will find the inspiring stories of African Americans in the military; President Barack Hussein Obama, 44th President of the United States and first African American President; author, poet, and renaissance woman Maya Angelou; and Ashford University student success story Lisa Marie Webb.

African Americans in the Military
The Veteran's History Project of the Library of Congress has sponsored a series entitled, African Americans at War: Fighting Two Battles. This series is a collection of the personal stories of African American veteran servicemen and women; these individuals share their experiences of serving in wars from World War II to Vietnam and beyond. The project does not consider itself an official history, but a "treasure trove of individual feelings and personal recollections."

Visit the Library of Congress Veteran's History Project and experience the bitter irony of the veterans of World War II who fought in a war against the myth of racial superiority while serving in racially segregated units. Or, listen to the Vietnam veteran whose personal experience caused him to closely identify with local citizens and turned him into an advocate for civilian protection in-country. At the Library of Congress' website, you will find these stories and many others, all of which reveal the heroics of African Americans in the military. (Experiencing War, Library of Congress website)

President Barack Hussein Obama
"What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow." — Barack Obama, Philadelphia, March 18, 2008

On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama took the oath of office and became the first African American president of the United States of America. Leveraging the simple slogan, "Yes, we can," President Obama made history. His campaign and election were built on the American people's hope for change. In a testament to the power of the collective, his presidential campaign raised a record $650 million, most of which came in the form of small donations. (Notable Biography: Barack Obama, biography.com)

To read a biography of Barack Obama, click here, or, to view a video about his life, click here.

Maya Angelou

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." 
— Maya Angelou

A master wordsmith, poet, and novelist, Maya Angelou has inspired people around the world through her writing and spoken word. Her memoirs span five volumes, beginning with her acclaimed autobiography, "I know why the caged bird sings." In her work, Angelou tells her own stories of trauma, resilience, and activism. Her poetry has won countless awards, including a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image award and two Grammys for Best Spoken Word Album. (Notable Biography: Maya Angelou, biography.com)

To view a video posted on history.com in which Maya Angelou discusses the impact of the civil rights movement, click here.

Ashford University Student Success Story: Lisa Marie Webb
Lisa Marie Webb, 40, is an active duty Air Force member. In her time with the military, she has traveled extensively and has held roles as a Wideband Communications Maintenance Technician, an Equal Opportunity Advisor, a Professional Military Education Instructor, and, currently, a Department of Defense Instructor. She credits her professional success, and, specifically, her most recent position, to the fact that she graduated with a Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning with Technology online from Ashford University in May 2010.

Lisa Marie was serving overseas when she enrolled at Ashford, but she made time for her studies, and quickly found herself excelling both academically and professionally. "An opportunity to compete for a special duty job came my way, and I believe my degree program was a favorable factor in my getting selected for the position - a coveted military teaching job at the only school of its kind in the Federal sector." The selection also meant she would be returning to the United States. "In a bittersweet turn of events, the timing of my move back to the United States allowed me to see my father just weeks before he unexpectedly passed away, an opportunity I would have missed if I had still been overseas."

For Lisa Marie, finishing her degree was one of the most important accomplishments of her life. "It has taken what seemed like forever to get here, and it feels good to have finished. The cool thing is that it is not just 'paper on the wall' - it opens doors. Who knew a quiet little campus in small town Iowa could have such a large footprint in the world?"

Lisa Marie was able to visit that small town in May 2010, when she proudly walked across the stage and received her diploma. Graduation day also happened to coincide with her 22nd anniversary in the Air Force and with Mother's Day. "I had been overseas for a long time, so, needless to say, I didn't get to see Mom too frequently. She flew from Ohio and I flew from Florida and we met in Iowa for the graduation. Neither of us had ever been to Iowa, so it was a nice little adventure. Mom kept stopping people in the hotel and asking if they were Ashford graduates – she found several, and one actually turned out to be a professor! I got quite a laugh and found Iowa to be a refreshing reprieve from my normal hustle and bustle. I'm grateful to say I'm among the Ashford Alumni!"

Resources for Further Research:

  • Biography.com - This page offers several biographies of influential African Americans, including Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, and Ella Fitzgerald.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities - The National Endowment for the Humanities hosts an engaging article about the contributions of African Americans to "the history and cultural development of the United States."
  • The History Channel - The History Channel has compiled an excellent group of videos, photos, and articles in recognition of Black History Month.

Barack Hussein Obama, 44th President of the Unites States (2009 to present). (n.d.) Image retrieved January 6, 2011 from National Endowment for the Humanities website, http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/election-barack-obama-44th-president-united-states#sect-resources

Celebrated American poet Maya Angelou makes extensive use of metaphors in her poetry. (n.d.) Image retrieved January 6, 2011 from National Endowment for the Humanities website, http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/introducing-metaphors-through-poetry#sect-resources

Experiencing War. (January 25, 2006). Retrieved January 6, 2011 from Library of Congress website, http://www.loc.gov/vets/stories/ex-war-afam.html
Maya Angelou: Impact of Civil Rights Movement. (2010). Video retrieved January 6, 2011 from History.com website, http://www.history.com/videos/maya-angelou-impact-of-civil-rights-movement

Maya Angelou: "I'm So Proud." (n.d.) YouTube. Video Retrieved January 6, 2011 from http://www.youtube.com/v/VIQPxBUDu8s?fs=1&hl=en_US
Notable Biography: Barack Obama. (2011). Retrieved January 6, 2011 from Biography.com website, http://www.biography.com/blackhistory/featured-biography/barack-obama.jsp

Notable Biography: Maya Angelou. (2011). Retrieved January 6, 2011 from Biography.com website, http://www.biography.com/blackhistory/featured-biography/maya-angelou.jsp

PAWs — Promoting Awareness and Wellness. (February 2010). Retrieved January 6, 2011 from Ashford University website, http://ashford.edu/student_services/5279.htm