“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” — Francis Bacon
This quote, from Sir Francis Bacon’s The Essays, speaks so much to the past week for me. I got some bad news about graduation–namely that it will occur in August instead of May, but there’s a silver lining in this little set-back. I also received the news that I had to re-conduct the surveys that form the backbone of my thesis. This came as a horrible shock, but a little chat with my father and my advisors and friends, and I’m seeing the good in all of this. I had wanted to re-vamp my survey instrument, and survey another church anyways, but had resisted making that amendment to my Institutional Review Board form. Now that I’m re-conducting the surveys in their entirety, I can make those changes, and further improve my research. As I always say, “it’s going to work out because it has to work out.”
Well, the semester officially started on Monday, the 13th. My first day at work was the 14th, and it was fun to meet with the students. My first day of class was on the 16th, and I feel pretty good about this course in SPSS. I got some unwelcome news about graduation–namely, it will be in August, rather than May. However, I’m the type to find a silver lining and the pushed back date means I get to refine my survey instrument, which I realize needs some work. All in all, it will work out because it has to work out.
Proverbs 31:9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
In January 2014, I will present my original research on the role of the non-metropolitan black church in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections at the Southern Political Science Association’s Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Research has shown that the majority of black Americans (61%) agree that churches should “open their mouths” and express their opinions on social and political matters, though a majority of them (58%) reject the notion that their churches should go so far as to actually endorse a particular candidate (Sahgal and Smith, 2009).
As recently as the early 1970s, black residents of sleepy Commerce, Texas, lived, quite literally, in “The Hole.” “The Hole” was the name given to the historically segregated section of the city, and was established in the late 19th century to provide housing for blacks who staffed the local university. Residents of “The Hole” established schools, churches, restaurants, shops, and other business to provide services that Jim Crow segregation meant were unavailable on the other side of town. However, though they were legally part of the city of Commerce, they remained without paved streets or access to city sewage systems, bereft of police or ambulance coverage, and lacking in adequate electric, telephone and postal services. Even after what is now Texas A&M University-Commerce desegregated in 1964, the blacks who worked on campus returned nightly to their segregated community on the wrong side of the tracks.
I think I’ve completed the basics of my thesis. I still need to work on the introductory chapter, and the vita, but the body of my thesis is completed in its entirety. Not bad, considering I started writing it in October.
I must have created this over ten times by now. I finally decided to print it out Portrait orientation, in the hopes that it won’t get lost in a stack of Landscape orientation survey questionnaires.
My coding of the responses to my survey questionnaire is in progress. It’s not a particularly tedious process, but I do tend to misplace the codebook, which makes for a fun time.