Black Studies Department Newsletter
Volume 1, Issue 1
June 5, 2020
Chair of Black Studies, Associate Professor
“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance
and conscientious stupidity.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
(Strength to Love, 1963)
Message from the Chair
While we are physically distant, we remain joined by a common mission to “prepare students to critically understand, conduct research, and interpret the complex histories, societies, and cultures of people of African descent in the United States, Africa, and the Diaspora … conduct research that develops new or builds upon existing concepts, theories, and approaches to the study of the evolving experiences and contributions of Africa and the African Diaspora.” We are engaged in the work that prepares our students, ourselves, and our communities “to competently participate in diverse and competitive global societies where [we] may contribute viable practical solutions to critical challenges on multiple levels.” In the past six months, the mission and value of Black Studies has become increasingly more transparent as we confront a pandemic that continues to have a devastating impact on our global Black African and African Diaspora communities.
It is not only the dreadful and ravaging COVID-19 virus that has disproportionately claimed the lives, families, and legacies of Black people in the U.S.—with cities that are heavily populated by Black people. including Detroit and New Orleans, accounting for the greatest percentages of COVID-19 related deaths, but also the ceaseless, tragic, and senseless slaughter, incarceration, and terror inflicted upon Black lives that matter on all continents, as well as the peoples, histories, and cultures they represent. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, what remains clear is that a lack of knowledge as well as ignorance and miseducation about Africa and the African Diaspora have helped to spread one of the deadliest of all pandemics—plain and simple, from Linneas and Buffon to Loch: Racism, a malady exacerbated by other equally devastating forms of systemic oppression.
Black Studies has been and continues to be at the forefront of identifying problems, educating for solutions, and adapting with changing visions and versions of the worlds we represent in scholarship, teaching, and service. In our 50th year as an academic unit and seventh year as a department in the College of Arts & Science, we are reminded of the mission and legacy of those who made it possible for us to be here and to do the work we are called to do. The Black Studies Department represents a fellowship of brave scholars, teachers, activists, and leaders who remain faithful to our call—to educate, inspire, imagine, and create a better world from our diversity of disciplines, thinking, and cultures.
This is why I know Black Studies matter! Now, more than ever.
Congratulations to our Seniors!
"The size of your dreams must always exceed
your current capacity to achieve them.
If your dreams do not scare you,
they are not big enough”
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
President of Liberia
Select Fall 2020 Courses*
BLSTU 1000: Introduction to Black Studies
BLSTU 1705: Writing Early Black Women's Spiritual Identity
BLSTU 1705/1705H: Swahili Language Course, Regular/Honors
BLSTU 3004: Africa and the World
BLSTU 3977: Black Studies Methodologies
BLSTU 4270/7270: African Americans in the 20th Century
BLSTU 4303: Black Studies in Race, Class, Gender, and U.S. Policy
*See Black Studies Department website for full list, instructor, date/time, and location: https://blackstudies.missouri.edu/academics/current-courses
Faculty and Staff News
Congratulations and kudos to
Dr. Daive Dunkley for receiving the Research Board Grant as well as the A&S Research Leave Grant, for enriching Black Studies and MU by highlighting local, national, and international scholars, activists, and others through symposia like Migrations #1 and 2 and the BSD Fall conference on “Racial Health Disparities,” as well as using his ultimate connections to bring The Most Honorable Andrew Michael Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica, to the University of Missouri-Columbia. All this with a new book and one on the way.
Dr. Admire Mseba for completing his first year in Black Studies with flying colors, bringing a fresh approach to our study of Black Studies of the African continent through such new courses as “Africa and the World” (coming Fall 2020), and representing MU internationally in his scholarship and presence (Italy, Canada, Southern Africa, etc.). All this with multiple publications and a new book in the works.
Dr. Stephen Graves for not only his strong work with graduate and undergraduate students but also his incredible efforts to support and strengthen our Black Studies curriculum. As our first Director of Undergraduate Studies, Graves completed his second year as a BSD faculty member and accomplished phenomenal work for not only BSD but all of A&S while serving on campus committees. In addition, his research was well-received at the National Council for Black Studies and National Conference of Black Political Scientists. He accomplished all of this with publications forthcoming (chapters, essays, and articles), while researching and writing a book and only in his second year at Mizzou.
Dr. Christina Carney, the recipient of the prestigious Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation grant, as well as the University of Missouri Research Board and College of Arts & Science awards. Carney is also the recipient of numerous internal awards. All of these accolades are well-deserved support for a book that promises to be an inaugural work in the field of interdisciplinary studies.
Dr. Devin Fergus, Arvarh E. Strickland Distinguished Professor of History and Black Studies, whose book "Land of the Fee" has been called “one of the five best books for understanding capitalism today” and whose work in national and international media and venues from The Washington Post, New York Times, and KBIA to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and abroad contributes to the mission of Black Studies.
Please join us in extending a hearty welcome to Mr. Shawn K. Hall for his amazing support as our Department Administrator. Hall's people skills, financial acumen, and his smart negotiating efforts saved us money, especially during the recent Jamaican Prime Minister’s visit. He continues to be the glue that holds us together. Hall, as someone recently mentioned, “is the staff person that a great many other departments wish they had.” We are proud that he is a member of the Black Studies family and continues to serve and support the Black Studies mission through his administrative role—all this in only 8 months!
If we've missed anyone’s achievements, it’s because BSD faculty and staff have done so much. As they say in the vernacular, “charge it to the head and not the heart.” Our team’s accolades are so numerous it is not possible to include them all in this section.
Sewell named McNair Research Scholar
Congratulations to Caleb Sewell who was selected as a McNair Research Scholar. The purpose of the program is to prepare eligible students for doctoral study. Eligible undergraduate students at the junior and senior level have the opportunity to participate in research experiences.
BSD Alumni and Affiliate news coming soon
If you want to be included in the BSD newsletter, email info to Stephen Graves at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support the Department of Black Studies
If you would like to support the work of the Department of Black Studies, you can make a gift on MU’s secure "Giving to Mizzou" website. Once at this website, please enter the amount of your gift and select “Other.” This will open a “Gift Designation” field. In that field, please type any of these choices:
- Department of Black Studies Unrestricted Gift Account
- Dr. Charles Sampson Endowed Scholarship in Black Studies
- James S. Rollins Slavery Atonement Endowment
- Mary Crawford King and Louis King Endowment in Black Studies
- Walter C. Daniel Endowment
- Arvarh E. Strickland Endowment
At the bottom of the page, click on “Continue” and follow the remaining steps. Donations to any of these funds are tax-deductible and will benefit the entire department.
Representatives from the Office of Gift Planning and Endowments are available to answer questions and provide assistance when you choose to make a planned gift and/or endowment to the Black Studies Department.
For more information contact:
Office of Gift Planning and Endowments
University of Missouri, 302 Reynolds Alumni Center, Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: 573.882.0272, Toll-free: 1.800.970.9977, Email: email@example.com
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