Great Way to Learn How to Change the System

5 Ways to Engage Your City by Jes Howen McBride

tara.jpg=s900x1300A friend recently asked me what she could do to “engage” her city, to become familiar with the political pulse. Thanks to mass media, it’s easy to connect to popular culture, social circles, and global causes, but sometimes it’s harder to “dig where you stand” and engage in local government where you actually live. Our built environment, set in concrete and steel, evokes a false sense of permanence, but cities are changeable! And they change by people getting connected, speaking up, and telling decision-makers what they want. You don’t need to be super political or rich or influential; sometimes you just need a problem to solve.

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Arthur Mitchell, Founder, Director Dance Theater of Harlem


Arthur Mitchell is known around the world as an accomplished artistic director, astute educator, talented choreographer and extraordinary dancer. Born in New York City on March 27, 1934, he began his dance training at New York City’s High School of the Performing Arts, where he was the first male student to win the coveted Annual Dance Award.

Mitchell continued his classical training when he received a full scholarship to the School of American Ballet.  In 1955, he was the first African-American male to become a permanent member of a major ballet company when he joined the New York City Ballet.

During his 15-year career with the New York City Ballet, Mitchell rose quickly to the rank of principal dancer and electrified audiences with his performances in a broad spectrum of roles. Mitchell is best known for two roles choreographed especially for him by the late George Balanchine: the pas de deux from Agon and the lighthearted Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Performing in nightclubs, on Broadway, in film, and on television, Mitchell was also a popular guest artist in the United States and abroad.

In 1966, Mitchell was asked to organize the American Negro Dance Company, which represented the United States at the first World Festival of Negro Arts in Senegal, Africa. In 1967, at the request of the US International Association, he founded the National Ballet Company of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro.

Upon learning of the death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, Mitchell was inspired to provide children ― especially those living in Harlem ― with the opportunity to study dance. During the summer of 1968, he began teaching classes in a remodeled garage. In 1969, with financial assistance from Mrs. Alva B. Gimbel, the Ford Foundation and his own savings, Mitchell founded Dance Theatre of Harlem with his mentor and ballet instructor Karel Shook.

As a professional dance company and a school of the allied arts, the continued expansion of Dance Theatre of Harlem into a multicultural institution has attracted thousands of professional dancers and students from around the world. Arthur Mitchell adds to the legacy every day as Dance Theatre of Harlem’s founding artistic director.

Gerald Lawson


Gerald Lawson, Inventor (1940-2011) A self-taught engineer, he is considered a pioneer in the video game world for creating the single cartridge-based gaming system. Gerald Lawson is the person to thank for that PlayStation, Wii or Xbox you are playing on today!

Although he created coin-operated games, he made his mark by leading the team that developed the Channel F Video Entertainment System (above is the System II), which changed gaming forever in one word: cartridges.

demolitionderby.jpg geraldconsole

Pathway Celebrates Black History Month 2015



Elijah McCoy (1843 – 1929)

So, you want the “real McCoy?” That means you want the “real thing,” what you know to be of the highest quality, not an inferior imitation.

The noted African American inventor, Elijah McCoy was issued more than 57 patents for his inventions during his lifetime. His best known invention was a cup that fed lubricating oil to machine bearings through a small bore tube. Machinists and engineers who wanted genuine McCoy lubricators might have used the expression “the real McCoy.”

The inventor was born in 1843, in Colchester, Ontario, Canada. His parents were former slaves, George and Mildred McCoy (nee Goins) had fled Kentucky for Canada on the underground railroad.

At the age of fifteen, Elijah McCoy served a mechanical engineering apprenticeship in Edinburgh, Scotland. Afterwards, he returned to Michigan to pursue a position in his field. However, the only job he found was that of a locomotive fireman and oiler for the Michigan Central Railroad. The fireman on a train was responsible for fueling the steam engine and the oiler lubricated the engine’s moving parts as well as the train’s axles and bearings. Because of his training, he was able to identify and solve the problems of engine lubrication and overheating. At that time, trains needed to periodically stop and be lubricated, to prevent overheating. Elijah McCoy developed a lubricator for steam engines that did not require the train to stop. His lubricator used steam pressure to pump oil wherever it was needed.

Elijah McCoy – Patents for Lubricators Elijah McCoy was issued his first patent – US patent #129,843 – on July 12th, 1872 for his improvement in lubricators for steam engines. McCoy continued to improve upon his design and invented several more improvements. Railroad and shipping lines began using McCoy’s new lubricators and the Michigan Central Railroad promoted him to an instructor in the use of his new inventions. Later, Elijah McCoy became a consultant to the railroad industry on patent matters. Final Years In 1920, McCoy opened his own company, the Elijah McCoy Manufacturing Company. Unfortunately, Elijah McCoy suffered in his later years, enduring a financial, mental, and physical breakdown. McCoy died on October 10, 1929 from senile dementia caused by hypertension after spending a year in the Eloise Infirmary in Michigan.


Now Accepting Applications – Peer Mentors for Fall 2015!

We are seeking Pathway students to serve as Peer Mentors for our Pathway SDV 100 classes for Fall 2015.

Do you remember when you first came to NOVA?  How helpful would it have been if you had a Peer Mentor in your SDV 100 class to answer questions, share what they had learned, and assist you with blackboard problems?  Don’t miss out on this opportunity to make a real difference for new students and, in turn, gain new leadership skills and experience for yourself!

  • You should have completed at least two semesters at NOVA by the end of this spring semester,
  • Successfully completed SDV 100, and
  • Earned a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5.
  • Most important is that you have a desire to help our new students transition to college.
  • If you have not yet completed your eight hours of service requirement for the Pathway Program, this position will meet that requirement!


Serving as a Pathway Peer Member will enhance your scholarship and transfer applications and earn you a letter of recommendation.    To apply, email Pat Gordon for an application form, at: .


The deadline date to submit an application is Friday, March 6.