Here is my classroom while I am here at Fitchburg State University teaching an APSI European history seminar. Next week I am off to the University of Washington in Seattle to attend and deliver a conference paper at the Society for Values in Higher Education (SVHE). Oh — did I mention I was selected to SVHE society and conference board. I think they will be introducing me next week. I hope to offer my work on Black thought and religion, as well as a multicultural framing of intellectual and cultural thought. I am very confident in my ability to offer a lens aimed at promulgating topics centered along W.E.B. Du Bois’s color line narrative, and how we address that for what he described as the problem. Such notions are critical in the circle of dialogue, as people of color and LGBTQ folk continue to feel marginalized, while our voices are excluded from the cannon of thought and debate.
It was exciting being a participant at the Clark Atlanta University symposium. I was thankful that the university was able to award me funding. Joined by friends and colleagues, I was able to engage and learn from a number of top scholars in the field of history, sociology, religion, and African-American Studies. I was excited by how well my paper was received by the audience. And, I was able to get some feedback on my research as I further develop my arguments.
As seen above, I am discussing my paper that reflects a more traditional W.E.B. Du Bois. I will not comment much on my work here, but it was exciting sharing space with other academics seeking to advance their understanding of the past, and how reflecting on the past can bring about some resolutions to the problems of the 21st century.
On the final day of the symposium, Phil (pictured here to the left and Sho to the right) and I arranged to have coffee with artist Sho Baraka, who authored his lyrical album Talented Tenth—after that of W.E.B. Du Bois. This brotha is gifted. I am a fan. Better yet, I am in hopes of bringing him to Brooks campus to speak and perform. We were also recruiting him to write for a peer-reviewed journal we are editing.
My friend and colleague shared this with me on social media. Coming from her this compliment is a big deal.
“Edward Carson did an amazing talk on Marxism and Urban Centers. I miss our time together on the AP Euro test development committee. I always wondered what he’d be like as a teacher. All I can say is his kids are very lucky to have him.”
A few months ago the American Historical Association (AHA) interviewed me. It was fun because it forced me to pause and think about my past, present, and future endeavors. I noted that, “…I sought to study history and literature in a normative fashion to challenge both my peers and colleagues to take action and avoid the sins of complacency and gradualism….[History] guides my morality; I get to have a job that demands I read, reflect, and ponder the sins and immoral actions of human beings.”
You can read it in its entirety here.
“More than malice, Matthew says, “what I’ve found is that there are codes and habits that faculty of color don’t know about because those unwritten practices are so subtle as to seem unimportant until something goes wrong, and then the assumption is that the person of color is incompetent, lazy or lying. In my case, the assumption was that I was dishonest or disorganized, though neither of those things is true. The fact that I am a black woman played some role in that tangled-up process, and I still see the same patterns that were in play in my reappointment and tenure reviews whenever I am assessed. More important, I now know that those patterns are at work all over the country. It’s not just me. It’s not just us. This is happening everywhere.” See here for more.
I greatly enjoyed my time at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill for the African American Intellectual History Society conference. The responses to my paper were excellent. Both the questions and the comments to me and my colleagues were excellent. You can read more about this gathering here at the AAIHS.
It was also great to sit on a panel with two brilliant historians in John and Phil — pictured below. I must have heard some 21 papers read over the course of two days. I authored a short piece on this conference at The Christian Century. Give it a read here.
On Saturday February 20, I will be a panelist discussing the school to prison pipeline, as part of the educational community forum, presented by Power of Self Education. I will offer my expertise on matters of race, education, and societal inequalities. I am excited about this conversation, and how it might challenge the community of Haverhill and those surrounding it to take action against the inequities that places young men of color in prison. See information here.