April 13, 2024

This week, and in future editions of Witt Discoveries, I would like to extend a heart-warming invitation to you to become inspired. Not only inspired by the stories you will read about the countless number of people who are leaving their impact on the world from right here in Springfield, but also inspired by their actions and the steps they take in spite of the despair, hurt, failure and pain which they encounter in their lifetimes trying to change something for the better.
This edition of Witt Discoveries is about one of Witt’s newest family members in the English Department: Sha’Dawn Battle. She has an inspirational and hip-hop related story that I am eager to share. If her life thus far could be summed into a few different categories, you would have to include these: aspiring scholar, family-oriented, hip-hop and basketball.
To begin my conversation with Battle, I asked her to tell her story.
“There is a picture on my bed frame right now of my first birthday, and I am holding a basketball. From that moment, everyone knew my destiny was to play ball,” Battle said. “Or my destiny was to lead a team to a victory or to lead a team in terms of fulfilling a role of a point guard.”
That part of her life would come to a sudden halt one day. “My last year of high school, I was hit with an egg.”
The egg ripped her retina and compromised her position on the team: “Five surgeries later, I never regained all of my vision, and in fact, I really can’t see out of my left eye,” Battle said.
So now you are beginning to wonder what she is going to do to turn this tragic accident into a triumphant victory.
She said, “now I begin to take scholarship a little more serious.”
Readers, you will be happy to know that she was able to play a year in college for the Central State Crusaders.
“It was just too hard getting back, and I just couldn’t see the court the way I was once able to,” Battle said. “I put all my eggs in one bucket and really emerged myself complete in scholarship, especially when I really saw from Julius [Bailey] that hip-hop was this emerging field in academia.”
Julius Bailey, associate professor of philosophy, has been a mentor to Battle since his time serving as her professor at Central State University. When it comes to hip-hop, and Bailey’s influence on her about hip-hop, she says the way hip-hop “bridged what I loved outside of academic walls and walls of certain institutions, I would just listen to music all day, and it really informs the way that I see the world.”
“I was able to bridge these two things,” Battle said — the two things being hip-hop music and academia. “I grew up listening to music, but then I became conscious of analyzing and deconstructing music and looking at it more through a theoretical perspective.”
While that’s just the version of the Sha’Dawn Battle story she was willing to tell me for this issue, if you come back next week, you will be able to read about what interests her and motivates her to continue when all else is seemingly going wrong.

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