Former local resident spotted at CIAA

Published 10:16 am Wednesday, March 7, 2018

by Almeta Davis

The 2018 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Basketball Tournament was held Feb. 27 through March 3, in Charlotte, North Carolina. On Feb. 27 and 28, the games were held at Bojangles Coliseum, and from March 1 through the final games on Saturday, they were held in Uptown Charlotte at the Spectrum Center, formerly known as the Time-Warner Cable Arena. The Spectrum Center is also the home court of the NBA Charlotte Hornets.

The CIAA consists of 12-member institutions that are located in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Its alumni and fans come by the thousands to attend this annual tournament. It is ranked among the highest in attendance for a Division II conference. That attendance is also high for local fans that still have a connection to the Franklin/Southampton area.

Spotted watching the Virginia State University Lady Trojans play and later defeat the Winston-Salem State University Lady Rams was former Franklin resident Jemayne Lavar King. He is a 1996 graduate of Southampton High School, a 2006 graduate of Elizabeth City State University with a BA in English news media, and a 2001 graduate of Virginia State University with a master’s degree in English Southern Literature; both are CIAA member schools.

King is in his dissertation stage of his Ph.D. in literary criticism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

He expressed his gratitude for each school.

“ECSU definitely prepared me for VSU. Being an out of state student the adjustment was a bit more strenuous, but I definitely learned literary theory and communications as far as news media was concerned.

Therefore, when I transitioned to VSU I was more than prepared for the task that was ahead of me because my undergraduate studies challenged me in ways I didn’t think possible.”

Jemayne is employed as an English professor at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte. He created the first English course in higher education dedicated to identification within sneaker culture using the Marxist theory as a base.

A brief synopsis of his dissertation reads as follows: “The contemporary athletic shoe has experienced an evolution comparable to man. What began as necessity, matriculated to style, then morphed into a culture with its own multicultural identity. Sneaker culture addresses societal ills, life and identity within that culture. The culture serves as a means of expression and is a canvas for various forms of art.

“The overall impact and phenomenon of sneakers on a global level is nearly immeasurable. Today, sneaker culture is a multi-billion dollar industry that found its way into academic settings in the 21st century. Before then, it existed as an extension of hip-hop culture primarily associated with African-Americans and urban communities. Unlike sports such as tennis, golf and polo, urban dwellers could afford basketball because it was cheap to play. Basketball became one of North America’s most inclusive sports. Players only needed a ball, sometimes makeshift and hoops to compete. As basketball became more popular so did the emerging sneaker culture.”

King attributes his love of continuing to strive for excellence in education to his parents, Willie and Lois King Jr., who still reside here in the city of Franklin.

“They would always say we have done our job in raising you right, the rest is on you, so I took it to heart and I ran with it, ” he said.

When asked about his early educational experience in Southampton Public Schools, King smiled and called the name of one of his favorite teachers, Virginia Majette.

“She taught third grade English, she was simply the best teacher I ever had. I can remember the exact instance when I knew I was going to fall in love with this thing called learning it was during one of the very first spelling test she gave to our class. She challenged me to learn every word, to know their meaning and to be humble in expressing my knowledge of them.”

At the close of this interview King said, “I have been interviewed by The Boston Globe, The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer and I have never felt more pressure to get it right than I do now. Knowing this interview will be in The Tidewater News, my hometown newspaper fills me with more pride than I can express.”