The Gamma Eta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha’s 2018 Miss Black & Gold Pageant

Written by: Khaila King

As the lights dimmed and the seats began to fill Sunday evening at the Buskirk Chumley Theater, eight collegiate women overcame their weaknesses to showcase their strengths in hopes of becoming the 2018 Miss Black & Gold.

The annual scholarship pageant was hosted by the Gamma Eta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated and narrated by Chapter President Calvin Sanders, and last year’s pageant winner, Faith Causey.

Since 1976, the pageant has been geared toward uplifting women by encouraging each contestant’s academic success, community activism, and giving them the opportunity to foster sisterhood with other contestants.

“It’s women empowerment,” contestant  Alexis Beverly said. “Going to a PWI, we’re usually torn down. As Black women we are not valued, but here, we were definitely in a space where we were all valued. We were shown that these are your differences, and these are the qualities that you have that make you, you.”

The show began with each contestant personally greeting the audience, followed by a swim suit competition. The ladies also showcased some of their talents. Performances consisted of singing, dancing, and a very unique science experiment performed by senior Jordyn McCray.

Before the winner was announced, each contestant individually debuted their evening gowns while Sanders and Causey narrated a brief description of their academic achievements and philanthropic history.

McCray took the crown as the 2018 Miss Black and Gold and Miss GPA. Following her lead in second place, freshman Sydney Giles was crowned Miss Gold and Miss Congeniality. In third, junior Alexis Beverly was crowned Miss Black. Other awards consisted of most ad sales and community service, both won by junior Ivorie Stalling.

“At first, this was not something that I ever would have thought about doing,” McCray said. The fact that I was able to step out of my comfort zone and then win. It just feels really good.”

McCray transferred to IU as junior, majoring in Biology with a minor in Spanish. One of the challenges she faced during the process was managing her time between academics and preparing for the show. Her coach and pageant co-coordinator, Calieel Muhammad, helped her develop the confidence she needed to succeed.

“I watched her put in the work and develop overtime,” Muhammad said. “Seeing how much she’s developed and grown since the start of the pageant was a wonderful experience. She definitely gained a sense of confidence.”

The growth and overall success of each contestant was due to their hard work, and the unconditional support and guidance from the men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated. The show itself would not have been possible without their efforts. Pageant coordinator Brelon Davis described it as an overwhelming but rewarding process.

“I essentially had to orchestrate everything along with Calieel, my co-coordinator” Davis said. “Finding a venue, interviewing the girls with Calieel, picking them and assigning them to their coaches, everything that went into it logistically and emotionally, all of it. I’m relieved that we’re finally through it and happy it went well.”

With her newly bestowed crown, McCray has plans to keep promoting the pageant, volunteering, and encouraging others that stepping out of their comfort zone may be challenging, but worth the risk.

(left to right) Calieel Muhammad, Jordyn McCray and Brelon Davis


The brothers of the Gamma Eta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha and the contestants of Miss Black & Gold 2018.


Black Market Friday

A vendor sells Afrocentric earrings and bags at Black Market Friday in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. Feb. 28, 2014
A vendor sells Afrocentric earrings and bags at Black Market Friday in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. Feb. 28, 2014

By Charnay Pickett

On the last day of Black History Month, The Indiana University Black Graduate Student Association held its annual Black Market Friday. This event commemorates the physical market that used to sit on the corner of Kirkwood and Dunn. The Black Market used to be where People’s Park now sits across the street from Kilroy’s.

Black vendors from the Bloomington community sold African inspired products and products in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.

In the fall of 1968, graduate student Clarence “Rollo” Turner and other African-American students and faculty members created the Black Market . They sold items made in Africa or by African-Americans. The store served as a meeting place and gathering area for the Black community. On December 26, 1968, the Black Market was bombed and burned to the ground by members of the KKK. The store was never rebuilt.

At the commemoration event, there were vendors that sold Christmas cards, journals and stationaries with depictions of African-Americans on the cover. Hair products, jewelry and household items were also for sale at Black Market Friday.

The Black community in Bloomington might be small, but events like this show that when the community comes together, it grows.

Gamma Eta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha 21st Annual Miss Black & Gold Pageant

By Shekinah Ragland

On Feb. 16, the Gamma Eta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity had their 21st annual Miss Black and Gold pageant. Nine college women participated in this year’s pageant. This year’s theme was Cirque Du Soleil.

Miss Black and Gold GirlsThe Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity began the pageant off with the nine contestants stepping. Next, the fraternity introduced each of the nine ladies, followed by the presentation of the ladies’ talents, a group dance, a swimsuit showoff, and an evening gown walk.

In the final round, the top five contestants had to answer questions out of a fish bowl. The winner of Miss Black and Gold received a $3000 scholarship, second place received a $1500 scholarship, and third place received a $500 scholarship.

Akia Perkins, a freshman who placed fifth, said that Miss Black and Gold helped her in more ways than one.

“Being a freshman, it helped me step out of my comfort zone,” Perkins said. “Miss Black & Gold teaches you confidence and pose, and I had some great networking opportunities as well. “

Senior Lakeisha Johnson won the title of Miss Black and Gold 2014.

“The show was everything I imagined it to be and then some,” Johnson said. “All of us did an amazing job.”

Miss Black and Gold Girls_1

My First Time in a Date Auction

By Arriel Vinson

The bid started at $3. Trebby Ellington, Vice President of Epiphany Modeling Troupe, told the bidders my name, major and my “ideal perfect date.” Mela Archibald, a member of Delta Sigma Theta, stood at the computer and turned the slow jams on Pandora up, as we all waited for someone to bid for me.

EMT, Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, and Delta Sigma Theta sorority hosted a Date Auction in Woodburn Hall. The event started at about 7:30 p.m. and included a mingling session afterward for people who placed a bid on a person or gift bag. The proceeds went to Big Brothers Big Sisters.

I signed up for the date auction at EMT practice, not knowing how nerve-wracking this event would be the day of. Us models who signed up for the date auction received an email a few days before the auction, being told to reply with our name, major, & our ideal perfect date. The next day, we received another email telling us to wear something classy (i.e a dress, skirt, blazer, etc). After reading that, I freaked out. I immediately walked to my closet, ripping dresses off the hanger trying to find the perfect one.

I thought about the date auction all day. I asked as many friends as I could to come bid or at least support, but only 2 came. Call time was 6:30 p.m. and I was rushing to find a hairstyle and do my makeup. I finally got to Woodburn at 6:30 p.m. on the dot. I changed in the bathroom and checked myself out in the mirror, then finally went to the lecture room.

From the time I arrived to the time the event started, us EMT models, Kappas, & Deltas sat around in our outfits, took pictures, and talked about the bids we may/may not get. The doors finally opened at 7:20 p.m. A crowd larger than I expected walked in and sat down. Trebby and Mela told them it would be a few more minutes before we started. They played an R&B station on Pandora from the computer and let the crowd converse.

Finally, the auction began. Everyone getting auctioned sat in the front. Once our name was called, we had to wait for an escort (for models, it was a Kappa, for Kappas it was a Delta, and so on). I was the second or third person to go. My heart was pounding and my hands were shaking. I didn’t want to not get bid on. I stood up from my seat and waited for a Kappa escort, who walked me to the middle of the room. I stood there smiling as Trebby read my description. The crowd was silent once she told the audience they could start bidding. I looked around nervously, still smiling and hoping that anyone would bid. Finally, Caleb Keys, a freshman, shouted, “We got $5 right here” as soon as he walked in the door and seen me standing there. I smiled with relief. Trebby confirmed his bid and asked if anyone wanted to bid for six dollars. We waited, and the crowd was still silent.

Mela turned to me and asked if I wanted to do a short model walk. I agreed as she turned up the music on Pandora and I strutted across the room, still smiling and hoping for a bid. Once I was done, no one else bid for me. Trebby announced my $5 bid again and I hurried to my seat.

I watched the others get bidded on, some who got more than me and some who got less. I couldn’t stay long because I had to go to work soon after. Although I missed the mingling session (complete with Chipotle, Valentine’s snacks, and drinks), I had a fun time participating in the Date Auction. Once it was over, I realized that it wasn’t that bad.


Cupid Shuffle AIDS Benefit Program

By Alex Lopez

Girls clad in red and pink and guys in suits and button ups scrambled to get the last decorations set up.

“Don’t forget to get your nametags,” a girl yells.

 The ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha stopped to take pictures. Friends embraced. Girls checked themselves in the bathroom mirror.  Food is laid out on the table.

After a final walk through of the room and details,  the Alpha Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, Gamma ETA Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha and the Tau Chapter of AKA all chatted before the guests arrived for the Cupid Shuffle Charity Benefit sponsored by IU’s Women of Color Leadership Institute on.

As guests mingled, Joy Roberts, Founder and Advisor of WOCLI hit the stage to thank everyone for participating. The proceeds of the evening were going to Piney Woods Charter School, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Keep a Child Alive Foundation, American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life Benefit and the March of Dimes Foundation.

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“Our goal was to raise money for charity and collect canned goods,” she said. “We wanted to plan a fun event for people to meet each other.”

The event included a speed dating component. The four rows of seats occupied by young men and women mingled for the given time to try and see who matched the heart they were given at the beginning of the night.

“It was a great atmosphere for people to get to know each other,” junior Brandon McGhee said.

After speed dating, couples won prizes, ate, talked and danced.

“It was a great event and I’m so glad my organization was a part of it,” senior Nikia Wilson said.


Today’s Black in the Day Fact

The 369th Infantry Regiment, also colorfully known as the Harlem Hellfighters, was the first African-American and Puerto Rican regiment to fight with the United States Armed Forces (then called the American Expeditionary Forces) during World War I. The Harlem Hellfighters were constituted on June 2, 1913 in the New York National Guard as the 15th New York Infantry Regiment.

They were one of the first units in America’s armed forces to have black officers as well as all-black enlisted corps. The men had a record that could rival any other U.S. infantry regiment in the forces.

Their other nicknames included “Men of Bronze” and the “Black Rattlers”.

The Harlem-Hellfighters circa 1919
The Harlem-Hellfighters circa 1919

Today’s Black in the Day Fact

Have you heard about the girl who was once known as the richest black girl in world?

Little Sarah Rector
Little Sarah Rector

After her parent’s death, the Oklahoma government gave Sarah Rector 160 acres of land (as they did with all Creek minors) in 1887.

In 1913, oil was discovered on her land when she was only 10 years old! When the press and others found out, Sarah was put under White guardianship and White businessmen took control of her estate. As a matter of fact, in 1913, the Oklahoma government attempted to make her White (There was a law in Oklahoma that Indians were White) because of the accounted millions that lay beneath her feet.

Article about Rector being under care of Tuskegee Institute
Article about Rector being under care of Tuskegee Institute

That “privilege” would have given her the honor of riding first class in train cars.  She also received many love letters and proposals from White men all around the world.

In a newly released book titled Searching for Sarah Rector, Tonya Bolden delves into the story of Sarah, the Indian Territory in Oklahoma and the oil boom in connection with black towns.

By Tonya Bolden
By Tonya Bolden

To learn more about Sarah Rector, check out Bolden’s book Searching for Sarah Rector

Have you heard?