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Inside Morehouse. ([Atlanta, Georgia]) 2008-????, September 01, 2008, Image 5

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N! W S INSIDE MOREHOUSE, SEPTEMBER 2008 Rubell Family Donates $1 Million Ben Carson Conies to . _ A . Morehouse to Award Purvis Young Art Collection to Morehouse “S; 38 By ADD SEYMOUR JR. E ight years ago, Purvis Young had five days to get his rent money together or he and all of his be longings would be out on the streets. Art collectors Don and Mera Rubell, who had relocated from New York to Miami, could not let that happen, es pecially since Young’s possessions in cluded an extensive collection of his original paintings. “(His paintings) told the story of his life; he told the story of his neighborhood,” said Mera Rubell. “The story he was telling couldn’t be sent to a dump.” The Rubells’ saw the impact and value of Young’s 15 years of work, staved off his eviction, bought his paintings and funded the storage and reconditioning of his work. And they provided Young a finan cial stream that will keep a roof over his head for the rest of his life. Now Young’s expressionist, urban art is featured in more than 50 museums worldwide and he has been called “the Picasso of the Ghetto.” He is also featured in the 44-year-old Rubell Family Collec tion, one of the world’s leading col lections of contemporary art. The Rubells have donated to Morehouse 109 pieces of his origi nal paintings - valued at more than $1 million. It is the largest, single collection of art donated to More house and becomes the world’s largest set of Young’s work outside of Miami. The collection will hang permanendy in the African American Hall of Fame. Northern Trust spon sored the installation of the work. The gift was announced during a press conference in the lobby of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel on Aug. 28. “Not only is Mr. Young a master ful artist, but his work reflects a part of our culture that should be pre served for future generations,” said President Robert M. Franklin Jr. 75. “We are extremely pleased and ex cited to have this modern American collection at Morehouse College and to be able to share this visual art, not only with members of this campus community and the Atlanta University Center community, but with the community at large.” Born in Miami’s Liberty City in 1943, Young became a street artist who used much of what other peo ple considered junk or trash to cre ate art. Self-trained without much formal education, Young began fo cusing on painting during a stint in jail. From his small home/studio, Young, who is recovering from kid ney replacement surgery, has cre ated pieces that chronicle life in his poverty-stricken, crime-infested neighborhood in Miami. “In thinking about what institu tion [should house Young’s work], I thought the perfect institution to take a collection like this would be Morehouse,” said Northern Trust’s Sheldon Anderson who grew up in Miami and admired Young’s work. The collection will be overseen by the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences with artist and instructor Charles Nelson heading up a group that will decide how it will be integrated into educational programming. ■ SKIP MASON ELECTED 33rd National President of Alpha Phi Alpha Incorporated Alpha Phi Alpha Inc., national president Herman "Skip" Mason Jr., interm vice president of Student Services (left), greets Morehouse Alphas. Herman “Skip” Mason Jr., in terim vice president for Student Services and the College’s archivist, will be adding another prestigious title to his resume: general president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Mason was elected to a four- year term as the 33rd national pres ident of the nation’s oldest, African American Greek-lettered organiza tion during the fraternity’s conven tion in Kansas City, Mo., in July 2008. More than 200,000 men have been initiated into Alpha Phi Alpha, including icons such as Martin Luther King Jr. ’48 and Thurgood Marshall. “Having known 10 of the past 12 national presidents...it’s an honor being in the circle,” said Mason. “But more importantly, I understand the tremendous responsibility in helping refocus the fraternity’s goals and objectives on those critical issues affecting African American men, specifically getting young boys interested in education.” Mason plans programs to nurture young men and encourage academic achievement. Morehouse will host Mason’s inaugural the weekend of Jan. 23- 25 in the Martin Luther King Jr. In ternational Chapel. The ceremony will be the fraternity’s first-ever public inauguration. Honorary co chairs of the event include Presi dent Robert M. Franklin Jr. ’75. ■ I'm Home' (Continued from the cover) “Howard Thurman would fasci nate us kids,” Freeman said. “He was such an outstanding individual. John Hope was the president and Samuel Archer was the No. 2 man. I even remember being in the same room with W.E.B. Du Bois.” But America was in the Great Depression, the nation’s worst eco nomic downturn. The College strug gled financially and so did students. The situation forced Freeman to leave Morehouse in 1931. “No money,” he said. “Just didn’t have it. The conditions required that I leave (school). My education had to be disrupted.” He went back to Missouri, even tually becoming a government clerk in 1942 and rising to civil service ex- aminer-in-charge. He retired in 1971 after an acclaimed 29-year career. But he missed Morehouse. Years later, his daughter, Rebecca Freeman-Adams, became a professor at Spelman College. “I bought Daddy on (the Morehouse) campus when he was 90,” she said. “He walked up to Graves Hall, straight up to his old room. It was amazing. That’s how impression able Morehouse was to Daddy.” Then earlier this year, her daugh ter Jasmine was talking with her grandfather. “I was just asking about his past and what he was proud of and what he would do if he had the opportunity,” she said. “He said, T would definitely like to go back to Morehouse.’” Jasmine picked up the phone and called the office of President Robert M. Franklin Jr. ’75. She left a message. “Then literally 15 minutes later, I get a call back on my cell phone and it was Mr. Franklin himself,” she said. “I was blown away.” Freeman was given a certificate of attendance and was introduced as an associate member of the Morehouse College National Alumni Associa tion, representing the class of 1933. He is the only living person associ ated with that class. “It was a proud moment for the entire Freeman family,” Jasmine Adams said. For Freeman, the day was the completion of a 79-year journey. “I kept pinching myself,” he said of the Summer Commencement cer emony. “I couldn’t think. I was too excited. It was a thriller.” ■ Pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson told 38 Atlanta students that they hold the key to their educational success. "The responsibility for obtaining a good education is not with your teachers, not with your parents," he said in the Executive Conference Centers Bank of America Auditorium on Aug. 22. "It’s your own. So there is really no excuse for not accomplishing what you really want to accomplish." Carson and his wife, Candi, were in Atlanta to present $1,000 scholar ships from the Carson Scholars Fund to the 38 Atlanta Public School stu dents, who ranged from fourth grade to high school juniors. The scholars maintain high grades, but also excel in humanitarian pursuits. The schol arship money is invested on their be half until the student attends college. Jordon Nesmith was a 2004 Car- son Scholar who is now entering his freshman year at Morehouse. He told the group that winning the scholar ship is only the beginning. "It is not about how you got there, but what you do along the way," he said. "Your job is to go out and make a difference." ■ ARCHE Study Finds Metro Atlanta Tops Nation in College Enrollment Growth Metro Atlanta continues to be the nations hottest spot to pursue colle giate studies. Since 1989, the area's percentage growth in college enrollment was up 62 percent by 2005, according to a study by the Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education (ARCHE). That is the highest percentage increase among the nations eight largest higher education centers and outpaces metro Atlanta's population growth. "Our colleges and universities are national role models for working with regional leaders in promoting prosper ity, educating a skilled workforce and improving quality of life," said ARCHE President Michael A. Gerber. The study ranked the nation's 50 largest metropolitan areas by college students enrolled and found metro Atlanta ranks third with 47,548 African-American students. Some of the other findings: metro Atlanta is seventh in degrees earned; in the top 10 for degrees earned across 14 academic fields; and fifth in univer sity research. To view the entire study, go to www.atlantahighered.org/MetroAreas. Morehouse is one of 19 private and public institutions in ARCHE, which builds awareness of the size, scope, impact and value of higher ed ucation in the region and helps its members share strengths through cooperative programs. ■