Angela Davis tackles issues of race, slavery, imprisonment

Renski Davis-Buckley, UT graduate student, leans in to pose a challenging question to visiting speaker Angela Davis.
Renski Davis-Buckley, a UT graduate student, leans in to pose a challenging question to visiting speaker Angela Davis.

Controversial political activist and established educator Angela Davis spoke to a nearly full auditorium Tuesday, Feb. 4, both identifying and describing the role slavery continues to play in American society.

Davis, notorious for her involvement in the United States Communist Party and Black Panther movement, avoided discussing her radical past. Instead, she focused on illustrating the similarities between slavery and imprisonment– namely, the idea of profit from punishment.

She argued with support from authors W.E.B. Du Bois and Douglas Blackmon that slavery did not end with the ratification of the 13th Amendment.

She added that institutions such as the convict-leasing programs of the late 1800s as well as modern-day prison systems demonstrate both the prevalence of slavery and the nation’s inability to adequately address it.

“If we cannot acknowledge our past, as a slave past, then we will never be able to address the issues of mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex,” Davis said.

The phrase “prison industrial complex” was both promoted and popularized by Davis. It is meant to highlight the correlation between demand for labor and rate of incarceration.

Davis went on to say that the U.S. has the largest incarcerated population in the world and, further, that there are more black men in today’s prison system than were enslaved in 1850.

Renski Davis- Buckley, a UT graduate student of social work,  explained his attraction to the passionate speaker and her cause.

“Angela Davis has been a social activist for change in America, where being a social revolutionary is given a negative connotation,” said Davis-Buckley, “She sacrificed her reputation, friends and personal opportunities for a greater good.”

An animated Davis addresses the unsettling gap between black and white charges, arrests and convictions.
An animated Davis addresses the unsettling gap between black and white charges, arrests and convictions.

Davis, now 70, acknowledged the unlikeliness of witnessing total abolition of prison complexes, her ultimate goal. She did, however, emphasize the importance of a community committed to understanding the past, correcting the present and safeguarding the future.

“You have to act as if it were possible to change the world,” said Davis.

Find more information about Angela Davis and a list of upcoming speakers at

Edited by Maggie Jones

UT’s First Sophomore Step-Up to help students with major decisions

The University of Tennessee’s College of Arts and Sciences will be holding their first annual Sophomore Step-Up event at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5 in Thompson-Boling Arena.

The event is intended for all sophomores, both with declared and undeclared majors. Each department in the college will have a table and will be arranged by discipline: natural sciences, humanities, social sciences and fine arts.

According to Kristin Pitcock, Sophomore Step-Up’s spokesperson, their hope is that students with declared majors are able to connect with faculty within their department, and students with undeclared majors will be able to explore each department represented at the event.

Sophomore Step-Up will also feature a step show performed by the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and Dr. Michael Handlesman, the chair for the Global Studies Interdisciplinary Program, will speak to the students.

In addition to providing information about each potential major, Sophomore Step-Up has placed value on giving students the opportunity to gain more information about minors within UT.

“Many UT  students are unaware of how minors can both diversify their educational experience, without hindering their ability to graduate on time,” Pitcock said.

Theresa Lee, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences,  said that Sophomore Step-Up will be a great opportunity to focus attention on sophomores and get them more academically involved.

All students that attend will receive a commemorative gift from the college, and the first 250 will receive a free Step Up 2016 T-shirt.

Edited by Maggie Jones

McClung museum offers family event day

A son waits for his father at the family activity day.
A son waits for his father at the family activity day.

McClung Museum opened its doors Saturday, Nov. 2 for another family activity day. The free event spotlighted the museum’s Pueblo-to-Pueblo exhibit and featured pottery clay-related activities along with tours of the museum.

The museum has done family activity days for about a year said Debbie Woodiel, a museum employee. The museum will start having the family weekends more often by January.

“We will just have a theme for the weekend and include a mini-tour and crafts involved with that,” Woodiel said.

The museum was humming with the large crowd that gathered to enjoy the events and exhibits. In the center of the McClung, children sat around large tables to mold clay after the Pueblo-style art.

Children mold clay.
Children at McClung’s family event day learn to mold clay after Pueblo art.

“We began the series to increase the attendance on the weekends. We have a lot of school groups that come here, a lot of things for adults on weekends, like lecture series, but we wanted to increase the amount of things we had for families,” she said.


The Museum’s exhibits were also open for families to walk through.

A mother and her daughter walked through the ancient Egyptian exhibit, snapping photos of the Egyptian sarcophagus. “It’s been years since I’ve been here, probably when I was a student was the last time,”Janelle Witt said.

Witt said she enjoyed the museum, as did her daughter, who was studying Ancient Egypt in her social studies class.

A son enjoys the evolution exhibit at the McClung Museum.
A son enjoys the evolution exhibit at the McClung Museum.

Witt found that Knoxville offers many events for children and families, but thought the event at the museum would be helpful with her daughter’s studies.

Her daughter said her favorite exhibit was “the Egyptian one.”

The museum offers a diversity of exhibits, events, lectures and other outlets for younger students to engage with and be entertained by.


Edited by Nichole Stevens 

Architecture to host open house for potential majors

The College of Architecture will be hosting an open house at he UT Art and Architecture Building on Friday, October 11th. The event will begin at 2:00 p.m. and feature talks from faculty members and department chairs.

The programs represented include Architecture, Interior Design, and Landscape Architecture, all of which are the highest rated programs of their kind in the state of Tennessee. At 3:00 p.m. there will be a question and answer session for students with the faculty which will be used to eliminate any myths or reservations you might have about the department, or to simply learn more about career paths and opportunities provided by the different individual departments. Selected faculties members will be giving specialized five minute presentations about their departments and classes.

The open house serves as an informational event where students can learn about different programs within the department, while meeting with current students and talking with faculty members.

For students interested in the program, you should know that the architecture department offers multiple degrees that are accredited by the National Architecture Accreditation Board.

“I think it’s a great way to experience the university’s diversity in departmental programs,” Houston Cookenhour, freshman Computer Science major, said. “As a Computer Science major it will be interesting to explore other areas of study that I hadn’t thought about before.”

When asked if he would like to learn anything specific about the program Houston said, “I’d like to know what, if any, buildings on campus the department has been a part of creating or designing. Or perhaps if they’ve been involved in larger projects.”

These questions and more can and will be answered at the open house on Friday, October 11th. The event begins at 2 p.m. in the UT Art and Architecture Building.

Edited by Zach Dennis