5 Great Reasons to Get an MBA


By Maria Alexandra Bujor

An MBA, or a Master of Business Administration, is a very hot topic nowadays. Is this just a trend, a trifle, or is there real value in pursuing an MBA? It is expensive and demanding and it has high entry requirements, so why should you opt for an MBA?

We will try to make that clear and list the advantages of an MBA, especially when it is a top business school with a very good reputation. So, here are the top 5 reasons for which it is worth it to start studying a master in business administration.

  1. Higher salary

The average salary for an MBA graduate is considerably higher than that of an employee with a regular master qualification. For MBA graduates the average salary ranges from $70.000 (in governmental or non-profit Institutions) to $120.000 (in consultancy, finance or healthcare). That is almost twice as much of what you can expect to earn with a regular University degree. In this case, in 2-3 years, you cover the investment made in your MBA education which is estimated to cost, for a 2 year MBA at a top business university, $110.000 on average.

  1. Better career opportunities

This advantage of an MBA degree goes hand in hand with the first one and it is actually the cause of the first one. Graduates of an MBA have, due to their qualification, higher chances of obtaining and holding a high level management position. It is estimated that 70 percent of the MBA graduates worldwide are senior managers or board directors. This type of position brings along a higher salary but of course also a higher responsibility and longer working hours.

  1. Better consolidated business network

As an MBA student you have great networking opportunities. Through this type of study you get to know and interact in a relevant manner with colleagues, professors and teaching staff with great on-field experience. Furthermore, if you are not doing a part-time MBA next to your job or within your company, you have good chances to meet potential employers through the various internships that are part of most top MBA programs. Last but not least, you gain access to the extensive alumni network of that particular MBA and of others. This extensive business network is bound to pay off throughout your whole career making you the first-hand recipient of all relevant information in the field and giving you better chances at seizing the best opportunities.

  1. New skill and knowledge acquisition

You may think it sounds trivial and may say to yourself isn’t that what any study program is supposed to do? Yes, it is, but an MBA education is usually pursued in a very specific situation by a young professional with a few (2, 3 or more) years of experience and sometimes even by senior employees that feel up for the challenge. After some time in the professional life (even as little as 2 years), it is in the human nature to conform to a certain repetitiveness and to stagnate in a comfort zone. This limits your disposition for learning and new skill acquisition—why should I learn something new when what I know works just fine, it’s safer to stick to what I know best. Studying a Master of Business Administration forces you to get out of your comfort zone, deal with the latest issues, apply the newest management techniques and just constantly challenge yourself, your practices and your approaches.

  1. A holistic perspective over the business world

As mentioned before, through studying an MBA you become part of a great network of professionals and companies and you constantly challenge yourself with the newest problem-solving. These things together give you a great overview of the business world, a deep understanding and a certain receptiveness to the slight changes of this environment. This type of overview and sensitivity is very hard to achieve without spending a lot of time on it. Also, as a regular employee, your access will be restricted to much of the relevant information. As an MBA student or graduate, this insight comes with the territory and is a great asset, not only to you as a manager, but also to any potential employer.

If you are the type of person that can handle the challenge of holding a leadership position, of having a lot of responsibility and of being in a constant learning and development cycle, then you are probably a good candidate for an MBA.

Source: MastersPortal.eu

Among HBCU sports, the SIAC stands out for its female officiating crews and more


Despite the doomsday scenarios that say the bottom is falling out within athletic departments at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) is pursuing several groundbreaking initiatives and continuing to quietly earn a reputation as an innovative leader in digital and social media strategies and sponsorship development, as well as in diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Founded in 1913, and one of the nation’s oldest NCAA conferences, the SIAC is a Division II league composed of 14 member institutions spread across a six-state footprint (Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio). But when the SIAC Council of Presidents hired attorney Gregory Moore as its commissioner in 2009, the league was grappling with significant financial challenges that included three consecutive years of budget deficits that left the league almost a half a million dollars in debt and with no cash reserves.

Where many saw disarray, Moore saw tiny rays of light. “Frankly, I thought SIAC possessed a host of unrealized competitive advantages with respect to our outstanding member institutions. Furthermore, the geographical imprint was full of alumni, fans and community with a special shared bond,” Moore said. “In a very real sense, these were the relationships that have helped the SIAC to lead NCAA Division II in average football attendance 13 consecutive years and 23 out of the past 26 seasons.”

With that as a foundation and inspired by its motto “We Play Hard,” the conference has been a laboratory of ideas and continues to push the college athletics agenda.

The schools of the SIAC are Albany State University, Benedict College,Central State University, Claflin University, Clark Atlanta University, Fort Valley State University, Kentucky State University, Lane College, LeMoyne-Owen College, Miles College, Morehouse College, Paine College, Spring Hill College, Tuskegee University.

“The SIAC had a vision for something that had not been done in college athletics,” said Jeff Rubin, the founder and CEO of Sidearm Sports.

With a starting point of just two SIAC schools with dedicated athletic websites, the SIAC made the strategic decision to essentially construct from scratch a digital and social media infrastructure around the almost 400,000 fans who attend SIAC football games every fall. This decision ultimately resulted in all 14 SIAC member institutions sharing the same digital platform provided by Sidearm Sports.

Continue onto The Undefeated to read the complete article.

Google opens Howard University West to train black coders


Google is opening “Howard West” on its campus in Mountain View, Calif., a Silicon Valley outpost for the historically black university where computer science majors can immerse themselves in coding instruction and tech culture, not to mention the inner workings of one of the planet’s most famous companies.

Between 25 and 30 juniors and seniors from Washington, D.C.-based Howard University will spend 12 weeks at Google this summer, receiving instruction from senior Google engineers and Howard faculty and getting course credit for their studies, the Internet giant announced Thursday.

The program is an outgrowth of Google’s effort to recruit more software engineers from historically black colleges and universities, one of the ways Google is addressing the severe shortage of African Americans on its payroll, particularly in technical roles, where they account for 1% of the workforce.

Eventually Google wants to expand the program to include other historically black colleges and universities, said Bonita Stewart, Google’s vice president of global partnerships, who has been working with Howard University President Dr. Wayne Frederick to develop the framework.

Stewart says when she joined Google a decade ago, there was little talk of diversity or making the tech industry more representative of the populations it serves. Today, this Howard graduate says Google is making a serious investment in building bridges.

“For us, it is an opportunity to ensure that we are building a pipeline and more importantly, stimulating the right partnerships to drive change,” Stewart told USA TODAY.

Read the complete article on USA Today.

Johns Hopkins has first black female neurosurgeon resident


In the 30 years that Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s neurosurgical department has accepted residents, there has never been a black woman in the ranks.

Now, Nancy Abu-Bonsrah is making history.

The prestigious program accepts just two to five residents, and is ranked second in the country. Among its most notable alumni: Dr. Ben Carson, who is now the United States secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

“I am very much interested in providing medical care in underserved settings, specifically surgical care,” Abu-Bonsrah said in a statement. “I hope to be able to go back to Ghana over the course of my career to help in building sustainable surgical infrastructure.”

Abu-Bonsrah lived in Ghana until she was 15, and also attended Johns Hopkins medical school.

Read more about Nancy’s achievement on CNN.

16-Year-Old Is The First Black Student To Build A Nuclear Fusor


The United States is very lukewarm when it comes to nuclear power but one high school junior from Southern New Jersey is on a mission to change that.

16-year-old Steven Udotong is on a quest to build a nuclear fusor, an invention he hopes will help inspire a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly future for us all. In order to do so, Udotong created a GoFundMe page to raise $1500 for supplies, a goal he has such exceeded in just one month.

“I grew curious after we flew by the topic of nuclear energy in my chemistry class last year. I decided to do more research and I soon learned that I could actually make a nuclear fusor. That sparked my interest. I want people to know that there are alternate methods for obtaining power and energy. I want to examine more clean energy products and stop fearing the word “nuclear,” Steven shared in an interview on The Well, Jopwell’s Digital Magazine, with his older brother Emmanuel, a computer science student at Princeton University. “Nuclear energy is a lot safer than people think.”

Continue onto Blavity to read the complete article.

Wells Fargo and Tuck Announce Scholarship Program for Diverse Businesses


Wells Fargo announces $100,000 scholarship fund for diverse business owners to attend Tuck School of Business Minority Business Programs.

Wells Fargo today announced the Wells Fargo Scholarship Fund for Diverse Businesses in collaboration with the Tuck School of Business. With $100,000 to fund 24 scholarships for the Tuck School of Business Minority Business Programs, certified minority, women, veteran, LGBT and disabled owned business entrepreneurs will be able to attend Tuck.

“We’re proud to continue our work with the Tuck School of Business Minority Business Program,” said Regina O. Heyward, senior vice president and head of Wells Fargo Supplier Diversity. “Diverse-owned businesses create jobs and support families and communities in every small town and big city in the U.S. At Wells Fargo, we’re focused on growing diverse businesses by offering executive training, providing access to capital, and working with external organizations to broaden opportunities that will benefit diverse-owned businesses, which are so vital to our country’s economy.”

Wells Fargo has set a goal of spending 15 percent of procurement dollars with certified diverse suppliers by 2020. To reach that goal, they’ve focused on two strategic areas: growing spend with certified diverse suppliers and working with business development organizations and the community to help build a strong network of diverse suppliers.

Tuck’s Minority Business Program started in 1980 and is the oldest program designed to develop diverse business owners at an academic graduate business school. Since its inception, more than 7,000 business owners have participated in the programs. “Tuck MBE Programs is very excited about this expanded relationship with Wells Fargo that allows us to bring our curriculum, faculty and 37 years of experience developing diverse businesses to even more entrepreneurs from diverse communities from across the county,” said Len Greenhalgh Faculty Director and Professor of Management, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

Diverse business owners interested in applying for a Wells Fargo Scholarship should contact Jade Melvin at 603-646-8214 .

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells
Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,600 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 42 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 269,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 27 on Fortune’s 2016 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

Former Chancellor Michael Drake and Brenda Drake to receive 2017 UCI Medal


Campus’s highest honor will be bestowed at Lauds & Laurels awards ceremony.

Michael V. Drake, M.D., former chancellor of the University of California, Irvine, and Brenda Drake, Esq., have been selected to receive the campus’s most prestigious honor, the UCI Medal, at the Lauds & Laurels celebration on March 30. The university’s oldest awards ceremony, Lauds & Laurels is a tradition that has recognized more than 800 members of the UCI family for their contributions to the university, the community or their professions.

“The Drakes truly embody the University of California’s mission of teaching, research and public service, and their transformational legacy at UCI continues to be seen today,” said current Chancellor Howard Gillman. “Brenda and Michael’s commitment to academic excellence, diversity and opportunity is renowned, and together as a team they ensured that UCI would become one of the country’s leading public research universities as well as a leading engine of upward mobility.”

Michael Drake has been a leader in higher education for nearly four decades, serving as chancellor at UCI before becoming president of The Ohio State University. Under Drake’s leadership from 2005 to 2014, the number of undergraduate applicants nearly doubled and the four-year graduation rate increased by more than 18 percent. Also during this period, the university added schools of law and education and programs in public health, pharmaceutical sciences and nursing science, all of which have had far-reaching impacts in the community.

In addition, during his tenure, UCI rose from the mid-teens to one of the top 10 national public universities in U.S. News & World Report‘s annual rankings. In addition to claiming the top spot on Sierra magazine’s list of the “Coolest Schools” for improving energy efficiency and sustainability, UCI was ranked by Times Higher Education in 2012 and again in 2013 as the No. 1 university in the U.S. – and the fifth worldwide – under 50 years old.

Prior to becoming UCI’s fifth chancellor, Drake served the University of California system for over 30 years in various positions, including vice president for health affairs. In 2014, UC President Janet Napolitano awarded him the UC Presidential Medal for his outstanding contributions.

Read the complete article at UCI’s Newsroom.

Diversity In The Workplace Starts With Diversity In Higher Education


There are close to 3,000 four-year colleges and universities in the United States. A small percentage are considered elite institutions of higher education. Degrees from these particular institutions are golden tickets, giving the recipients special access to the best opportunities in the American workforce.

Who, exactly, gets the opportunity to receive these golden tickets? In a country where the demographics are changing rapidly, we should expect its rich diversity to be reflected in all our educational institutions and certainly at our top colleges. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

SAT scores still play a significant role in determining who has access to these institutions. Many see the SAT as one of the most important parts of a college application and believe (incorrectly) that a higher score is equal to greater intelligence. Many want the SAT to be the determining arbiter of who is admitted. Though the College Board defends the SAT as a good predictor of first year GPA and even persistence in college, its most recent report shows that students with lower scores can and do compete in many instances with the same success as their high–scoring counterparts.

In 2014, The Posse Foundation took a look at the top-ranked colleges and universities in the United States to determine how many Black and Hispanic students they would need to admit each year if they were to reflect the percentage of Blacks and Hispanics in the American population. We found that the top-ranked 150 liberal arts colleges and national research universities (combined) would need approximately 50,000 Black students and 58,0000 Hispanic students entering their first–year classes each year in order to achieve this goal.

Then, we looked at how Black and Hispanic students were performing on the SAT. The College Board reported in 2014 that 9,700 Black students and 22,000 Hispanic students scored 1200 or more on the math and reading sections of the SAT.  Clearly, if these top institutions continue to rely too heavily on SAT scores, they will never achieve the kind of representational diversity they say they hope to achieve.

The most selective institutions of higher education are gatekeepers to the most lucrative opportunities in the workforce. Those that care about race and also understand that students who merit admission may show their talents and capabilities in myriad ways, do better with diversity. In the absence of this, we see an unfair reliance on test scores which helps to perpetuate a power structure in the workforce that is race-based.

The U.S. Senate, in 2016, is 93 percent white. Of the country’s four-year college and university presidents, 88 percent are white. Those who own the teams in the NBA, the NFL and MLB are 98, 97 and 98 percent white, respectively. (Yet look at who the players are.)

It is no secret that industry-leading companies recruit from the most selective institutions of higher education. (And, unfortunately, some major corporations and firms ask for SAT scores when interviewing candidates to help eliminate applicants.) If the student bodies from which they are recruiting are mostly white, it is not surprising that those companies are mostly white as well. This, combined with persisting race biases in hiring and promotion, sets the stage for segregation in the workforce.

The nation’s Fortune 500 chief executive officers are almost all white and almost all male. In 2014, California State Sen. Ed Hernandez completed his annual study of senior executives in Fortune 100 companies, wondering if maybe a more diverse leadership was trickling up. He found that 88 percent of the executive teams of these companies were white. In 2014, The American Lawyer took a look at the racial breakdown of the partners at the big American law firms and found that 92 percent of them are white. In fact, in the year 2000, 88.8 percent of the attorneys at these firms were white and in 2010, a decade later, that number had hardly changed: it was 88.1 percent.

We have been way too slow in addressing the inequities that exist within the American population, a population that becomes more diverse every year. The perception that test scores like the SAT should be the most important defining factor in whether or not a student is admitted to an elite college is dangerous. The college admission process is, as it should be, a subjective one.

When putting together a new class of students, admissions experts think about establishing a community. Do they need violinists for the orchestra, a strong running back for the football team, students interested in physics or French literature? These considerations are valid. But no less important is the consideration of diversity.

We must consider race in college admissions. We must believe that admitting and graduating diverse student bodies from our best colleges and universities is critically important for the nation as a whole. We must act on this belief. Otherwise, we perpetuate a kind of segregation that breeds severe inequities. And these inequities directly lead to the divisions and discontent we see in our country right now. The needs of a very diverse population cannot be adequately understood or met by a homogenous group of generally white men. We need our leaders in every industry to represent the diversity of this nation, in research and science and medicine. We need it in corporate America, in non-profits, and in government. Diverse voices at the tables where decisions are made bring the interests of everyone to the table, better represent the experiences of different groups, and result in more thoughtful, comprehensive, solutions to complex social problems.

The United States embraces the idea that it can be a meritocracy, that everyone can have the same chance to succeed if they work hard, if they study, and if they care. We cannot be content with a system that promotes stratification and exclusion. We have to figure out a way to be a national community and make sure that the American dream remains a possibility for all of its citizens.

Source: Forbes.com

NABA Black History Month Letter


Dear Members, Partners & Friends,

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  This picture came from the article  ” President Obama’s message to my son: Clark, dream big dreams’ ” (The Guardian, 01/13/17).  According to Clark’s mother, the picture debuted on Instagram and has since floated around on the internet.  It was even featured on President Barack Obama’s website last month.  In light of the election results, recent events and the current climate in Washington, it is particularly powerful image to reflect on as we enter Black History Month.

Black History Month is an important opportunity for us to celebrate the important contributions and achievements of blacks throughout our history, including black people that have been trailblazing in the field of accounting.  Now, more than ever, we must raise our voices to celebrate – and, where necessary, insist – that society continue to recognize black leaders, businesses, artists, educators, culture and tradition.  Over the coming weeks, we will each experience moments of joy, honor, activism and reflection.  But it’s more than sharing stories to remind us of how far we have come.  It is also an opportunity to deepen our commitment to educate, engage and empower.

Today, blacks compose less than one percent of all CPAs, but that proportion represents a vast increase over the numbers of just a few years ago.  When NABA was formed in 1969, blacks and other minorities faced significant obstacles across the profession – from gaining acceptance into undergraduate accounting programs to overcoming laws barring blacks from sitting for the CPA exam, from getting hired to being recognized and promoted in accounting departments and firms.  NABA became a vehicle through which minority professionals could be assisted as they climbed the corporate ladder, pursued the CPA credential designation, and worked their way up to Partner or CFO is companies and firms. NABA’s motto is “Lifting As We Climb,” which is embodied in its official logo depicting two interlocked hands, with one pulling the other up. The image denotes both the political struggle NABA faced at its founding and the goal of helping future generations of accounting professionals.  It is integral to our operation model, where we leverage insights from experienced professionals to mentor students entering the profession and provide development opportunities for young professionals as they embark on an accounting career.

Our corporate partners are more committed than ever to creating diverse and inclusive work environments.  The evidence is clear – diversity makes us smarter, enhances creativity, improves the bottom line, and results in a happier, more connected workforce.  In fact, some studies go so far as to suggest that simply being exposed to diversity can change the way a person thinks.  As we strive to grow membership and form new chapters, we will continue our tradition of facilitating authentic connections and meaningful networks.  At the same time, we are working hard to develop new programs that equip members with tools and resources, build leadership competencies and offer new and challenging job opportunities.  We are also focused on providing our partners with more development and networking opportunities to support their retention efforts, as well as new targeted recruitment events to attract experienced top-level talent.

2016 definitely provided us with some challenging moments and created an increased level of anxiety and uncertainty as we entered into the new year.  However, we did have some achievements to celebrate:

  • The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in Washington, DC
  • There were 11 black billionaires on earth
  • Black athletes won 46 gold, 37 silver and 38 bronze medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janerio
  • 6 black actors were nominated for Academy Awards this year (18 nominations for blacks across all categories)
  • Georgetown University apologized for its role in slavery announced plans to atone for its past
  • The U.S. Chess Hall of Fame named their first black Grandmaster since 1984
  • Channing Dungey, ABC Entertainment President, became the first black person to lead programming at a major broadcast network

One achievement stands out as a key turning point in the profession.  It came last October when Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, CPA, CGMA became the first black Chairman of the AICPA.  She is also the youngest, the fifth female, and only one of a few Chairs from business & industry.  Kimberly is a Lifetime member and believes that NABA and AICPA are stronger together.  She is committed to facilitating increased interaction between AICPA and NABA and a continuing – if not increasing – focus on talent development and inclusion at AICPA and throughout the accounting profession.  Now THAT is a big step in the right direction!   We will continue to celebrate black trailblazers in the profession all month long.

Our work this fiscal year so far has been focused on internal and administrative infrastructure changes. But that is about to change.  Over the coming weeks, we will begin working on several new projects such as enhancing our chapter support models and building out new advocacy and thought leadership platforms.  Our goal is to develop member-centric models for advocacy, programs development and delivery, and stakeholder engagement.  To do that, we will be looking for members interested in providing input, offering feedback, and sharing ideas.  Please watch for sign-up opportunities up-coming newsletters. We need and welcome you joining our efforts to create new achievements and history!


Jina Etienne, CPA, CGMA
President & CEO

Steven L. Harris, CPA
Chairman of the Board

This Woman Was The Navy’s “Hidden Figure”


Soon after Hidden Figures was acknowledged with three Oscar nominations, a woman named Raye Montague spoke with Good Morning America about her own experience as a “hidden figure” in the Navy, Yahoo reports.

“I’m known as the first person to design a ship using the computer,” she explained — and she was being humble. She actually designed it in 19 hours using a system she built even though she’d been given a whole month.

“And I was the first female program manager of ships in the history of the Navy, which was the equivalent of being a CEO of a company,” she added.

That’s quite an accomplishment for anyone, but as a Black woman in Little Rock, Arkansas, the road there was particular bumpy for Montague.

“Growing up in a segregated South, you never dreamed that these options were available to you,” she said. She remembers exploring a submarine with her grandpa and asking a man working there how she could work somewhere like it one day. “Oh, you’d have to be an engineer, but you don’t ever have to worry about that,” he responded.

She proved him wrong. Even though she couldn’t get an engineering degree because her first-choice school didn’t accept Black people, she got a business degree at a Black college, started in the Navy in 1956 as a typist, and learned engineering and programming while she worked.

Continue onto Refinery29 to read the complete article.

Lowe’s Gives $500,000 In Emergency Funds To Support HBCU Students


The home improvement mega store awarded emergency student aid to more than 200 graduating seniors.

For many students, financing a college education is difficult. The decision often comes down to accepting a near lifetime of debt in exchange for the increased life trajectory that a college degree often affords those who achieve it.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, there was much talk on the Democratic side about lowering college expenses, supplementing them and even eliminating them altogether. With Betsy Devos heading up the Department of Education under the current administration, who knows what the future of college funding will look like. The good news is that, despite the current political climate, corporations like Lowe’s are continuing their commitment to help fund the education of many students at historically black colleges and universities.

“More than ever, a college education is foundational to building bright futures, inspiring leaders and stronger communities,” said Lowe’s community relations director, James Frison. “Scholarships and financial aid often provide the assistance needed for students having trouble paying for a degree so they continue and stay on the course. Lowe’s is proud to help make a college education a reality for many of our future leaders.”

Continue onto Blavity to read the complete article.

The Lesser-Known History of African-American Cowboys


One in four cowboys was black. So why aren’t they more present in popular culture?

In his 1907 autobiography, cowboy Nat Love recounts stories from his life on the frontier so cliché, they read like scenes from a John Wayne film. He describes Dodge City, Kansas, a town smattered with the romanticized institutions of the frontier: “a great many saloons, dance halls, and gambling houses, and very little of anything else.” He moved massive herds of cattle from one grazing area to another, drank with Billy the Kid and participated in shootouts with Native peoples defending their land on the trails. And when not, as he put it, “engaged in fighting Indians,” he amused himself with activities like “dare-devil riding, shooting, roping and such sports.”

Though Love’s tales from the frontier seem typical for a 19th-century cowboy, they come from a source rarely associated with the Wild West. Love was African-American, born into slavery near Nashville, Tennessee.

Few images embody the spirit of the American West as well as the trailblazing, sharpshooting, horseback-riding cowboy of American lore. And though African-American cowboys don’t play a part in the popular narrative, historians estimate that one in four cowboys were black.

The cowboy lifestyle came into its own in Texas, which had been cattle country since it was colonized by Spain in the 1500s. But cattle farming did not become the bountiful economic and cultural phenomenon recognized today until the late 1800s, when millions of cattle grazed in Texas.

White Americans seeking cheap land—and sometimes evading debt in the United States—began moving to the Spanish (and, later, Mexican) territory of Texas during the first half of the 19th century. Though the Mexican government opposed slavery, Americans brought slaves with them as they settled the frontier and established cotton farms and cattle ranches. By 1825, slaves accounted for nearly 25 percent of the Texas settler population. By 1860, fifteen years after it became part of the Union, that number had risen to over 30 percent—that year’s census reported 182,566 slaves living in Texas. As an increasingly significant new slave state, Texas joined the Confederacy in 1861. Though the Civil War hardly reached Texas soil, many white Texans took up arms to fight alongside their brethren in the East.

While Texas ranchers fought in the war, they depended on their slaves to maintain their land and cattle herds. In doing so, the slaves developed the skills of cattle tending (breaking horses, pulling calves out of mud and releasing longhorns caught in the brush, to name a few) that would render them invaluable to the Texas cattle industry in the post-war era.


But with a combination of a lack of effective containment— barbed wire was not yet invented—and too few cowhands, the cattle population ran wild. Ranchers returning from the war discovered that their herds were lost or out of control. They tried to round up the cattle and rebuild their herds with slave labor, but eventually the Emancipation Proclamation left them without the free workers on which they were so dependent. Desperate for help rounding up maverick cattle, ranchers were compelled to hire now-free, skilled African-Americans as paid cowhands.

“Right after the Civil War, being a cowboy was one of the few jobs open to men of color who wanted to not serve as elevator operators or delivery boys or other similar occupations,” says William Loren Katz, a scholar of African-American history and the author of 40 books on the topic, including The Black West.

Freed blacks skilled in herding cattle found themselves in even greater demand when ranchers began selling their livestock in northern states, where beef was nearly ten times more valuable than it was in cattle-inundated Texas. The lack of significant railroads in the state meant that enormous herds of cattle needed to be physically moved to shipping points in Kansas, Colorado and Missouri. Rounding up herds on horseback, cowboys traversed unforgiving trails fraught with harsh environmental conditions and attacks from Native Americans defending their lands.

African-American cowboys faced discrimination in the towns they passed through—they were barred from eating at certain restaurants or staying in certain hotels, for example—but within their crews, they found respect and a level of equality unknown to other African-Americans of the era.

Continue onto The Smithsonian to read the complete article.

National Society of Black Engineers Launches #BlackSTEMLikeMe Campaign


Social Media Initiative Spotlights African Americans’ Contributions to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

Leveraging the immense popularity of the hit movie “Hidden Figures,” the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) has launched a nationwide campaign titled #BlackSTEMLikeMe. This unique multimedia initiative is aiming to encourage black students and professionals in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to share their stories and passions; bring visibility to the important work they are doing; show black boys and girls that a future in STEM is an incredible and attainable career path; demonstrate the value of NSBE membership and celebrate the unique, wonderful and life-changing aspects of the African-American community — past and present. The campaign is designed to move NSBE toward the main goal of its 10-year strategic plan, which is to lead the U.S. to produce 10,000 African-American bachelor’s degree recipients in engineering annually by 2025, up from 3,501 graduates in 2014.

“Hidden Figures,” released in theaters nationwide on Jan. 6, tells the story of how three African-American women — Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson — contributed critical math, engineering and computer science work to the early missions of the U.S. space program. The movie, which is getting great reviews and was the No. 1 film at the box office in its first two weekends, is bringing a major focus to the often overlooked contributions of the black STEM community.

“NSBE is very excited about this campaign, which makes a conscious effort to highlight black men and women in STEM and show young black boys and girls that this is a career path that it’s cool for them to pursue,” said NSBE National Secretary Racheida Lewis. “Being a member of NSBE has enabled me and many other black students to successfully complete engineering and other STEM-related degree programs. And it has empowered me to pursue my passion of educating others about STEM through initiatives such as #BlackSTEMLikeMe.”

Trina Fletcher is director of Pre-College Programs for NSBE and a Ph.D. candidate in engineering education at Purdue University. Like Lewis, she places high value on presenting positive STEM role models and mentors to African-American youth.

“Without my STEM education and professional career opportunities, I would not be the leader and woman that I am today,” Fletcher said. “As a member of NSBE and now full-time employee of the organization, I’ve been able to see the impact we have on people of color, ranging from K–12 students

to professionals on their way to retirement from their companies. I encourage all black parents and caregivers to take advantage of the opportunity to expose their children to STEM through #BlackSTEMLikeMe as well as NSBE youth programs such as our Pre-College Initiative and the Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK).”

#BlackSTEMLikeME provides many avenues for STEM students and professionals to participate in the campaign through social media:

  • By sharing STEM stories on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or via the nsbe.org website using the #BlackSTEMLikeMe hashtag. The best stories will be entered in NSBE’s national social media webisode series;
  • By tweeting STEM stories, including visuals, using the #BlackSTEMLikeMe hashtag;
  • By posting STEM stories to personal Facebook pages, tagging the NSBE Facebook page using the #BlackSTEMLikeMe hashtag;
  • By posting STEM photos or videos to Instagram, tagging @NSBE and using the #BlackSTEMLikeMe hashtag; and
  • By emailing text and video for blog posts to BlackSTEMLikeMe@nsbe.org for posting on the nsbe.org website.

“This campaign proves, once again, the power of good partnerships: combining NSBE members’ grassroots activism and dedication to our mission with the resources of other socially progressive organizations,” said NSBE Executive Director Karl W. Reid, Ed.D. “We thank our #BlackSTEMLikeMe sponsors for making this effort possible.”

A list of the #BlackSTEMLikeMe sponsors follows. Learn more about the #BlackSTEMLikeMe campaign, including upcoming events and other ways to get involved, at BlackSTEMLikeMe.nsbe.org.

About NSBE

With 278 chapters and nearly 16,000 active members in the U.S. and abroad, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the United States. NSBE, founded in 1975, supports and promotes the aspirations of collegiate and pre-collegiate students and technical professionals in engineering and technology. NSBE’s mission is “to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.” For more information, visit www.nsbe.org.

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Read about NSBE’s “Be 1 of 10,000” Campaign at Graduate10K.NSBE.org.

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