4 The HBCU Advocate Editorial

My African American European Vacation: Italy

Part four of a five-part series exploring Europe’s influence on African Americans’ past, present and future

and other passengers seemed miffed when I asked the driver where was the machine where I was to insert the ticket. Te driver indicated that the machine did not work. In the three days that I rode around on the buses in Rome, I never saw anyone else pay.

When I arrived at the hotel, the

BY ANGELA JONES When asked what was my favorite

country or city in Europe, I can never answer that question. However, I must say that when my plane landed in Rome, Italy, I was mesmerized by its splendor. I even forgot that Italy was once home to one of the most reviled people in African American and Native American history, Christopher Columbus. From my experience, Italians today are nothing like Christopher Columbus.

When I arrived in Rome, I took

a very long but inexpensive bus ride from the airport to the train station. I believe the bus ride took about 45 minutes and the cost was equivalent to approximately $5. Te bus dropped me off at a train station near the Historic Center or the Centro Storico, as the Italians refer to it. Tis area includes buildings that are between 300 and 2000 years old and has been inhabited practically uninterrupted for 2000 years. Te Historic Center is where most of the tourist sites, such the Trevi Fountain, the Coliseum and the Vatican, are located in Rome.

Rather than go to our hotel, since

it was before noon when we arrived in Rome, or Roma, as the natives say, we took an Uber from the train station to a vegan restaurant that I found on Te restaurant had a buffet with a huge assortment of vegan dishes including pastas, potatoes and stuffed peppers. My plate was weighed to determine the price of my meal. To my surprise, the cost was very reasonable, approximately $15 when converted from Euros. Tat price did not include the must-have gelato. Te food was so delicious and affordable that I ate there on each of the three days that I spent in Rome.

I caught a bus to my very quaint

hotel aſter leaving the restaurant. Te bus was virtually free in Rome. I say virtually because I paid for a ticket at one of the bus stops but the bus driver

staff was very thorough in explaining all of the fees including the “city tax” which had to be paid in cash. Te location of the hotel where I stayed was in the center of the tourist district and I could walk to stores like Sephora. Tere was a grocery store and a newspaper called, Il Messaggero (Te Messenger), across the street from the hotel.

I took a hop-on-hop-off bus

tour around Rome to see a number of historic landmarks. Te Coliseum was old and dusty but fascinating. You can squint and imagine the atrocities that took place within its crumbled walls. For that reason, I did not want to spend too much time there.

Te bus tour was also very

inexpensive and included audio narration. Te bus tour ticket could be used for twenty-four hours. I also purchased a boat tour ticket as part of the package. I was exhausted aſter a long day in the hot sun, although it could have been hotter. Most of the time that I was in Rome, the high temperature hovered around 90 degrees. Fortunately, I found refuge from the heat in a five-star hotel where I ordered all of

the libations

that I could stand. I had a virgin pina colada, a glass of coconut water and a glass of bottled water. Of course since it was a five-star hotel and the drinks are five times what they would cost anywhere else, the waiter also served complimentary olives; hummus and pita bread; potato chips and crepes.

Te hotel lounge sat high on top

of a hill, had walls of windows with amazing views of the city and was sufficiently air conditioned, therefore I did not mind paying for the overpriced drinks.

Having time to relax at the

hotel gave me the energy to tour the riverfront area of Rome. I actually stumbled upon it while looking for the embarkment location for the boat tour. When I saw the sun setting on the beautiful banks of the Tiber River, dotted with shops and temporary restaurants in tents, I knew I was in for a treat. I ate fried pizza, drank peach juice, watched professional dancers and listened to live jazz there. I was having so much fun that I almost unwittingly purchased a KKK ring

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(that is a long story). I

took the saying, “When in

Rome, do as the Romans,” literally and stayed on the riverfront past midnight. Te “free” buses, which are scheduled to arrive at approximately 15 minute intervals, were still running at that time and I rode one back to my hotel.

Te next morning I set out for

the illusive Vatican. Our tour bus had a Vatican stop on the map but I never found it. Just outside the walls of the Vatican, I purchased some true Italian shaved ice.

It was made with

real fruit juices and real pieces of juicy fruit. I must say, I was disappointed by the Vatican area. Te neighborhood surrounding it was quite rundown and discarded paper laid in the streets inside and outside of the Vatican walls. I would hope that with the amount of money and power that the Catholic Church possesses, it will extend some grace to its neighbors and help the poor people who are begging on the streets just outside of the Vatican.

Te boat tour was very relaxing.

Te water was calm and the breeze was refreshing. We saw what looked

Winter 2017-2018

like homeless people living under one of the bridges but they may have been some of the people displaced from an abandoned building during the time I visited Rome. When I was waiting for my bus at the Coliseum, I was told that there was a protest rally taking place. I saw large crowds on the bus tour prior to arriving at the Coliseum. At that time, I did not realize that they were protesting the police removing squatters from a building where they had been living for four years. Many of the squatters were refugees from Eritrea, Africa.

Hopefully, the Italian government

and the refugees have found a solution to the homelessness problem faced by people fleeing other countries for political reasons. As a matter of fact, I met a Canadian couple who said “It’s a shame” that African Americans have been fleeing the US in droves and moving to Canada since Donald Trump was elected. I think Rome would be a nice place for African Americans but I would suggest that they have a decent place to stay lined up before they get there.

Robert Prunty Named New Head Football Coach at Hampton University

Photo courtesy of ECSU HAMPTON, Va. — Eugene

Marshall Jr., Director of Athletics at Hampton University, has announced that Robert Prunty, a veteran with more than 30 years of football experience as a player and coach and a four-time conference recruiter-of-the-year honoree with two different Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs, has been named the 21st head coach of the Hampton Pirates.

“I am excited to welcome Coach

Prunty back to our Home by the Sea,” said Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey. “Coach Prunty’s record of consistent, sustained outstanding performance will take our football program to the next level. I enthusiastically welcome him to Hampton Nation.”

Prunty served last season as East

Carolina University’s associate head coach, defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. Prior to that, he served four years as the University of Cincinnati’s associate head coach and defensive ends coach and three years as co-defensive coordinator. Before impacting the Bearcat program, Prunty spent three seasons under Tommy Tuberville at Texas Tech, 2010-2012, directing the Red Raiders’ defensive ends.

"I am honored to be named the

Head Football Coach of Hampton University," said Prunty. "I would like to thank President Dr. William R. Harvey and Athletic Director Eugene Marshall

Jr. for this opportunity. I will give all that I have to make this program successful for our University, Alumni, fans, and our community. Tere is plenty of work to be done until we reach our goal, but we will all work tirelessly to get us there."

In seven combined seasons at the

FBS level, Prunty has been part of five bowl appearances, a conference co- championship and has been recognized by as the Big 12 Conference Recruiter-of-the-Year in 2010-11 and 2011-12 before earning similar honors as the American Athletic Conference’s (AAC) top recruiter in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

Prunty helped guide the Bearcats

to the Belk, Military and Hawai’i Bowls in 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively, and worked with 10 All-AAC defensive selections. Linebacker Eric Wilson was a first-team pick in 2016 aſter leading the league and standing fiſth nationally with 10.8 tackles per game, while Cortez Broughton (2016), Silverberry Mouhon (2015, 2013), Terrell Hartsfield (2014) and Jordan Stepp (2013) were all honored as the conference’s top linemen.

While at Texas Tech, he was part

of a strong defensive turnaround in 2012 as the Red Raiders finished the regular season ranked 39th at the FBS level in total defense aſter standing 114th in 2011. Lineman Kerry Hyder was an All-Big 12 selection aſter ranking third on the squad with 56

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