MARSHALL ON MY MIND






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Publication: Diverse Issues in Higher Education
Author: Pluviose, David
Date published: November 10, 2011

You will notice in this edition a bookshelf like no other as longtime Diverse contributor Angela Dodson wades through the pain of her own memories in her review of November Ever After: A Memoir of Tragedy and Tnumph in the Wake of the 1970 Marshall Football Plane Crash by Craig Greenlee. Like Greenlee, Dodson was a Marshall student left shocked and saddened after 75 individuals, including most of the football team along with its coaches and a number of supporters, perished on November 14, 1970, when the team charter plane crashed in adverse weather in Wayne County, W.Va.

The 1970 Marshall University Football Press Guide says regarding #56, linebacker Jerry Stainback:

"Stainback was one of the keys to Marshall's stretch run last season. He is not gifted with great speed but he has a nose for the ball and likes contact. He started last season as a semi-regular but won himself a full time job as the season progressed. He will be a senior, in this, his second year at Marshall after playing two years at Ferrum Junior College. He was a second-team All-America JUCO linebacker on Ferrum 's national championship team in 1968."

Since 2006, Diverse creative director Dan Stainback has been responsible for designing virtually every single publication produced by Cox, Matthews & Associates, our parent company. Stunning covers, striking page layouts - all the work of Dan and his team.

Typically, our design meetings in Dan's office are relatively jovial affairs as we brainstorm the best ways to showcase the world of diversity in higher ed. However, when the bookshelf topic for this edition came up, our meeting halted abruptly when Dan informed us that his dad had died in the Marshall plane crash. I had to pause and process the pang of grief that hit me at that moment, realizing that this piece hits home for Dan in a way few of us could understand.

Most of what I knew about the Marshall plane crash up to that point I gathered from the oft-rousing Warner Bros, film, "We Are Marshall." According to Dodson, Greenlee says that the film leaves major parts of the Marshall story untold and fictionalizes other elements, and his book aims to set the record straight and simply "tell the story."

Part of that story was that Marshall University was "ahead of the curve" in integrating its football team in the late '60s. Though not on the team when the plane crashed, Greenlee was part of a wave of Blacks attracted by the chance to play for a major college team at a time when many opportunities to play big-time college ball were denied Afri can- Americans.

In her review of Greenlee's book, Dodson does an excellent job capturing not only her feelings, both then and now, as she reaches back 40 years into the recesses of her memory, she also captures the essence of the African- Ameri can experience at Marshall through the prism of pain and solidarity borne out of tragedy.

If suffices to say that Dodson's piece is a must-read, and it is just one of many outstanding pieces in this special "Careers in Higher Education" edition. As always, keep fighting the good fight.

Author affiliation:

David Pluviose

Editor

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