HBCU Advocacy Spotlight: 28th and Jefferson is Tennesssee State's Best Kept Secret


This week, HBCUstory begins a new series featuring organizations committed to HBCU advocacy. We’re pleased to feature the independently-run alumni blog 28th and Jefferson, Tennessee State University’s best kept secret–a secret we hope you’ll find too good to keep.

Named for the intersection where Tennessee State University rests, 28th and Jefferson  was founded by three alumni who sought to inspire, inform, and educate alumni and supporters of the state of Tennessee’s only public HBCU. Launched in Febraury of this year, 28th and Jefferson’s blog is complemented by a Facebook fan page, a Twitter account, and a LinkedIn group which allows it to reach over 1000 people weekly with their messages.

“We share the stories of alumni successes, spread university press on academics and sports, and promote giving to the university,” says 28th and Jefferson founder Rodney Elam. “Telling the stories of alumni has a positive impact. We’re letting the world know Tennessee State is still producing world-class professionals.”

Always looking for new ways to engage its audience, 28th and Jefferson unveiled its Bleed Blue campaign during the summer Olympics. Inspired by the induction of  Tennessee State alumnus and legendary track coach, Ed Temple into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, Bleed Blue is designed to highlight the achievements of Tennessee State Alumni.

28th and Jefferson’s “Bleed Blue” Campaign featuring Ralph Boston, who, at 29, won a bronze at the 1968 Summer Olympics at Mexico City.

Rodney Elam, Victor Leon Cyrus-Franklin and Shaun Giles are the engine that drive 28th and Jefferson. Their friendship was born and grew as collegiates. Shaun is Rodney’s daughter’s godfather. Victor Leon and Shaun share the same birthday and Victor Leon and Rodney’s wife share the same birth date. It’s truly unsurprising since they are a tight lot.

A Dayton, Ohio native Rodney Elam graduated from Tennessee State with bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2001 and a master’s degree in education in 2006. After teaching math in the Washington, D.C. public school system, he is now pursuing a career in fundraising and development. Rodney is the creator, administrator and content manager for 28th and Jefferson, follow him on Twitter at  @roknows50. 

28th and Jefferson founders Rodney Elam, Victor Cyrus-Franklin and Shaun Giles (pictured l to r).

Victor Leon Cyrus-Franklin is a native of Nashville, Tennessee and graduated  in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in philosophy and religious studies. Victor finds content, edits and does graphic design for 28th and Jefferson. Cyrus-Franklin is currently based in Atlanta, Georgia and can be followed on twitter @changingsame.

Shaun Giles is also a Nashville native. He earned his bachelor’s degree in studio art in 2002 and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction in 2005. Giles has worked as a museum educator in Nashville for six years. He provides content and is the layout editor for the 28th and Jefferson. Follow him on twitter at @shaung615.

Stay connected with 28th and Jefferson at www.28thandJefferson.wordpress.com. Interested in becoming involved? Email them at 28thandJefferson@gmail.com

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A member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Crystal A. deGregory, Ph.D. is a graduate of the historic Fisk University ’03. She received her master’s and doctoral degrees in history from Vanderbilt University. She also holds a master of education degree in curriculum and instruction from Tennessee State University, ’14, where she formerly taught in the department of history, geography and political science. A professional historian and passionate HBCU advocate, she is editor-in-chief of the forthcoming The Journal of HBCU Research + Culture. She is also a regular contributor to HBCU Digest, is a co-host of Black Docs radio show, and offers a wide-range of expertise on multiple topics including history, culture, education, black fraternity and sorority life and of course HBCUs. Follow her on twitter at @HBCUstorian, visit her website at www.CrystaldeGregory.com, or contact her via email at cadegregory@HBCUstory.com.

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