Note: This month, the Office of Equity and Diversity will be talking with UTHSC leaders in recognition of Black History Month.
Office of Finance
OED: What does Black History Month mean to you? Why is it important?
Mr. Lawshe: Black History Month means several things to me. First it means a time to remember and honor individuals, African Americans and non-African Americans, gave up their freedom, endured beatings and humiliation, and even sacrificed their lives so that all people can live in dignity. Secondly it is a time to remember African Americans that have made great contributions to society that historically have not been recognized; for example, Robert R. Church who lived in Memphis and was the first African American millionaire in the South and Bessie Coleman who in 1921 became the first African American woman in the world to earn a pilot’s license. And finally, it means thinking about where do we go from here and how? What can we all do to move the needle in this effort to achieve equal rights and opportunity for all?
OED: Do you have a favorite soul food restaurant in Memphis? What is one of your preferred soul food dishes?
Mr. Lawshe: Like a previous contributor to this Spotlight, my favorite soul food restaurant in Memphis is the Crock Pot 2. My second favorite just happens to be Southern Hands, now located in the 920 Plaza Building. Cabbage has become my favorite soul food dish. If it’s on the menu, I’m ordering it.
OED: Will you share a favorite quote of yours, attributable to a figure in Black History?
Mr. Lawshe: My favorite quote is from Martin Luther King Jr. and it is, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” What we do when times are hard and/or no one is looking truly defines our character.
OED: Is there a book, movie or author that you would recommend to others to learn more about Black History?
Mr. Lawshe: I recommend reading “Up from Slavery” by Booker T. Washington.
OED: What is one experience that has shaped the person you are today?
Mr. Lawshe: I honestly can say I don’t think there is one experience that has shaped me into the person I am today but several. The death of a loved one that reminds me life is precious and short and you should enjoy every moment. Time in the military that taught me there is no success without discipline. And the birth of my child that taught me the true meaning of unconditional love.