An Open Letter of Love to Black Students: #BlackLivesMatter

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Black students and professors, Beaumont Tower, Michigan State University, December 6, 2014. photo by Darryl Quinton Evans

We are Black professors.

We are daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, godchildren, grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, and mothers.

We’re writing to tell you we see you and hear you.

We know the stories of dolls hanging by nooses, nigger written on dry erase boards and walls, stories of nigger said casually at parties by White students too drunk to know their own names but who know their place well enough to know nothing will happen if they call you out your name, stories of nigger said stone sober, stories of them calling you nigger using every other word except what they really mean to call you, stories of you having to explain your experience in classrooms—your language, your dress, your hair, your music, your skin—yourself, of you having to fight for all of us in classrooms where you are often the only one or one of a few, stories of you choosing silence as a matter of survival.

Sometimes we’re in those classrooms with you.

We know there is always more that people don’t see or hear or want to know, but we see you. We hear you.

In our mostly White classrooms we work with some of you, you who tell us other professors don’t see, don’t hear you. You, who come to our offices with stories of erasure that make you break down. They don’t see me, you say. They don’t hear me. We know and don’t know how to hold your tears.

How do we hold your tears, and your anger?

You are our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters, our mothers, our fathers, our godchildren. You, with your stories of erasure break our hearts because you are family, because your stories of erasure ultimately are stories of violence, because your stories mirror our experiences, past and present.

Right now. This is all happening now. Every day. We know this.

We want you to hear.

You tell us your stories and sometimes we tell you our own stories of cops who stop us on the way to work, of grandparents born in Jim Crow, of parents born during segregation into an economic reality that made them encourage us to get solid jobs, of parents born outside the United States who came face-to-face with the harsh reality of U.S. anti-Blackness, how we chose institutions where we often feel alone. We tell you stories of almost dropping out of school, stories of working harder than anyone else even when it felt like it was killing us, even when it is killing us. We tell you we know historically and predominantly White universities might let you/us in, but they don’t care much about retaining us no matter how many times they misuse pretty words like diversity, or insult us with the hard slap of minority.

We tell you about the underground network of folks who helped us, the people who wrote us letters, the offices we cried in, the times we were silent, the times we spoke up, the times we thought we wouldn’t make it, the people who told us to hold on. We tell you over and over about the railroad of Black professors and other professors of color who we call when we know one of us is in need. We remind you skinfolk isn’t always kinfolk. We tell you to be careful. We tell you to take risks. We tell you, guard your heart. We tell you, keep your heart open. We tell you to hold on. Hold on, we say, to you, to us, because holding on to each other is everything, often the only thing.

Hold on.

We want a future for you, for us right now.

We write this is in solidarity with the families of Tamir Rice, Mike Brown, Renisha McBride, Trayvon Martin, Rekia Boyd, Aiyana Stanley Jones, and so many others who they are killing, so many others who should have had the chance to be in our classrooms, who should have had the chance to simply be.

We write this in solidarity with Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and too many others stolen and gone, too many others who fought for us to be in this privileged place where we still have to fight for justice.

We write this in solidarity with The Combahee River Collective and #BlackLivesMatter who knew and know we have to fight for and love all of us if any one of us is going to survive.

We write this in solidarity with you, Black students, here and elsewhere, and with those on the ground for over 100 days, four and a half hours, two seconds.

The living and the dead. We hear you. We see you.

In our classes we’ll continue to do what we’ve always done: teach about race, anti-Blackness, and White Supremacy. This has and will continue to put us in positions we have to defend. This has and will continue to compromise our jobs, our health, our relationships with other people who profess to be our colleagues. This has and will compromise relationships with partners who tell us with love we need to set better boundaries.

We’re trying.

We study ourselves. We study, we live Black lives. We organize. We strategize. We march. We teach to nurture and resist. We don’t always talk about the letters we write to administrators, the angry emails we send, the committees and task forces we serve on, the department meetings where we question and push for more, the colleagues who question our research, our presence, our skin, our manner of being. We don’t always talk about the weight of pushing for more, more being basic equity, more being the right to exist without explanation or apology, more being the right to love and be loved.

What we do is not enough. It’s never enough, but we’ll keep on. We’ll keep finding ways to do more. For all of us.

We’re supposed to say views expressed herein are ours alone, but we believe that truth to be self-evident.

Some people who share our views will not sign this but they’re still with us. The living and the dead.

We’ve never been alone.

You already know your life matters. Know we’re fighting with you and for you. With all of us. For all of us.

We got you.

We see you. We hear you. We love you.

********

Rae Paris, Michigan State University

Django Paris, Michigan State University

Jessica Marie Johnson, Michigan State University

Brian G. Gilmore, Michigan State University

Michael J. Dumas, New York University

Terry Flennaugh, Michigan State University

Tama Hamilton-Wray, Michigan State University

Jeff Wray, Michigan State University

Yomaira Figueroa, Michigan State University

Tacuma Peters, Michigan State University

Michelle A. Purdy, Washington University in St. Louis

Adrienne Dixson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Maisha T. Winn, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dorinda J. Carter Andrews, Michigan State University

Terrion Williamson, Michigan State University

Karla FC Holloway, Duke University

Kiese Laymon, Vassar College

Chezare A. Warren, Michigan State University

Shaun R. Harper, University of Pennsylvania

Adam J. Banks, University of Kentucky

Metta Samá, Salem College

Tamara Butler, Michigan State University

Lisa Ze Winters, Wayne State University

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, University of Pennsylvania

Valerie Kinloch, The Ohio State University

Ibram X Kendi, University at Albany-SUNY

NiCole T. Buchanan, Michigan State University

Geneva Smitherman, Michigan State University

Keisha L. Green, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Terah Venzant Chambers, Michigan State University

Glenn Chambers, Michigan State University

David E. Kirkland, New York University

Brittney Cooper, Rutgers University

Mark Anthony Neal, Duke University

Tamura Lomax, Virginia Commonwealth University

Treva Lindsey, The Ohio State University

April Baker-Bell, Michigan State University

Risée Chaderton, Barbados Community College

Mary Frances Berry, University of Pennsylvania

Derrais Carter, Portland State University

LaShawn Harris, Michigan State University

Andre E. Johnson, Memphis Theological Seminary

Yaba Blay, Drexel University

Chanequa Walker-Barnes, McAfee School of Theology

Koritha Mitchell, The Ohio State University

Kaila Adia Story, University of Louisville

Charles W. McKinney, Rhodes College

Amrita Chakrabarti Myers, Indiana University

Shannon Gibney, Minneapolis Community & Technical College (MCTC)

Aliyyah I. Abdur-Rahman, Brandeis University

Brian Ragsdale, Walden University

LaGarrett J. King, Clemson University

Jeffrey Q. McCune, Jr., Washington University in St. Louis

Kristal Moore Clemons, Florida A&M University

Tamara Bertrand Jones, Florida State University

Angelyn Mitchell, Georgetown University

Carla A. Jones, Lancaster Bible College at the Center for Urban Theological Studies

Allen J. Green, Sarah Lawrence College

Bianca I Laureano, College of Mount Saint Vincent

Nina A. Nabors, Walden University

Oscar Holmes IV, Rutgers University School of Business

Marisa Parham, Amherst College

Pamela R. Lightsey, Boston University

Erica K. Dotson, Clayton State University

Tamika L. Carey – University at Albany, SUNY

April Langley, University of Missouri-Columbia

Eric Darnell Pritchard, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Crystal Feimster, Yale University

Eve Dunbar, Vassar College

Latish Reed, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Caridad Souza, Colorado State University

Tracie Q. Gilbert, Widener University

Kai M. Green, Northwestern University

Stephanie Troutman, Appalachian State University

Anthony D. Greene, College of Charleston

Leslie Alexander, Ohio State University

Richard Pierce, University of Notre Dame

Ernest Morrell, Teachers College, Columbia University

Barnor Hesse, Northwestern University

Jasmine Johnson, Brandeis University

Valerie Bridgeman, Methodist Theological School in Ohio

Lisa Woolfork, University of Virginia

Donnie Johnson Sackey, Wayne State University

Frances B. Henderson, Maryville College

Carla Shedd, Columbia University

Fadeke Castor, Texas A&M University

Layli Maparyan, Wellesley College

Courtney D. Marshall, University of New Hampshire

Chad Williams, Brandeis University

Uri McMillan, University of California-Los Angeles

Daryl Michael Scott, Howard University

Robin M. Boylorn, University of Alabama

JeffriAnne Wilder, University of North Florida

Tommie Shelby, Harvard University

Reid Gómez, Kalamazoo College

Crystal M. Hayes, Smith College

Joel Wade, Bucknell University

Thadious Davis, University of Pennsylvania

Shirletta J. Kinchen, University of Louisville

Noelle Trent, University of Maryland University College

Martha S. Jones, University of Michigan

Filomina C. Steady, Wellesley College

Valorie Thomas, Pomona College

Christa J. Porter, Michigan State University

Tabitha Chester, Denison University

H. Samy Alim, Stanford University

Gloria Ladson-Billings, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Brian Bantum, Seattle Pacific University

Ana Lucia Araujo,  Howard University

Marlon Rachquel Moore, UNC Wilmington

Michelle Barrett Ferrier, Ohio University

Ferentz Lafargue, Williams College

Barbara Krauthamer, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

JoAnne Marie Terrell, Chicago Theological Seminary

Teri McMurtry-Chubb, Mercer University

Shannon J. Miller, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Gail Arthurs Krahenbuhl, Triton College

Elaine Richardson, Ohio State University

Ashante Reese, Rhodes College

Larry Lee Rowley, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Teresa Fry Brown, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

Celeste Walley-Jean, Clayton State University

Deirdre Cooper Owens, Queens College, CUNY

Phia S. Salter, Texas A&M University

Deborah E. McDowell, University of Virginia

Tiffany M. Gill, University of Delaware

Wil Gafney, Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University

Utz McKnight, University of Alabama

Robin J Hayes, The New School

Robyn Spencer, Lehman College

Sonja Lanehart, University of Texas at San Antonio

Chris Johnson, University of Memphis

Natanya Duncan, Morgan State University

Stephanie Y. Evans, Clark Atlanta University

Hilton Kelly, Davidson College

Ernest L. Gibson III, Rhodes College

LaTasha Levy, University of Virginia

April Warren-Grice, Kansas State University

Erin M. Kerrison, University of Pennsylvania

Elaine Salo, University of Delaware

Relando Thompkins, Oakland University, University of Michigan

James M Jones, University of Delaware

Judith Weisenfeld, Princeton University

Alicia D. Bonaparte, Pitzer College

Candice M. Jenkins, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Barrett Berry, Valparaiso University

Cecilia D. Shelton, Saint Augustine’s University

Leah Gunning Francis, Eden Theological Seminary

Michelle R. Scott, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Saru M. Matambanadzo, Tulane University

Bryana H. French, University of St. Thomas

Kyra D. Gaunt, Baruch College-CUNY

Peggy Jones, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Ethan Johnson, Portland State University

Kidada E. Williams, Wayne State University​

Regina N. Bradley, Kennesaw State University

Kelvin C. Black, Hunter College

Tara Betts, Binghamton University

Shawn M. Bediako, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Siobhan Carter-David, Southern Connecticut State University

Walidah Imarisha, Portland State University

Samaa Abdurraqib, University of Southern Maine

Krystal D. Frazier, West Virginia University

Jonterri Gadson, Bloomfield College

Kimberly R. Moffitt, University of Maryland Baltimore County

Sybol Anderson, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Stephanie Baker White, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Khalilah L. Brown-Dean, Quinnipiac University

Araya Debessay, University of Delaware

Anne H. Charity Hudley, The College of William and Mary

Carmen Kynard, John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY

Lisa Green, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Reena Goldthree, Dartmouth College

Trina J. Wright-Dixon, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Lisa K. Bates, Portland State University

Ginny M. Jones, Michigan State University

Jacinda Townsend, Indiana University

Simone Browne, The University of Texas at Austin

André Carrington, Drexel University

Lasana Kazembe, University of Illinois at Chicago

Vanessa Siddle Walker, Emory University

Antwanisha Alameen-Shavers, San Diego State University

Tanisha C. Ford, UMass Amherst

Robbin Chapman, Wellesley College

Ellington Graves, Virginia Tech

Russell E. Williams, Wheaton College (MA)

Peter James Hudson, University of California, Los Angeles

Marcus A. Simmons, North Park University

Lanita Jacobs, University of Southern California

Bettina A. Judd, The College of William and Mary

Bianca C. Williams, University of Colorado Boulder

Susana M. Morris, Auburn University

Aisha Durham, University of South Florida

Jillian Carter Ford, Kennesaw State University

Chance W. Lewis, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Jennifer M. Wilks, The University of Texas at Austin

Michael Leo Owens, Emory University

Charles H.F. Davis III, University of Pennsylvania

Max Hunter, Seattle Pacific University

Youlanda D.Barber, King Saud University, KSA

Walter D. Greason, Monmouth University

Elizabeth Todd-Breland, University of Illinois at Chicago

Noemi Waight, University at Buffalo

Anthea Butler, University of Pennsylvania

Jemima Pierre, UCLA

Velda R. Love, North Park University – Chicago

Rachel Watkins, American University

Annette Madlock Gatison, Southern Connecticut State University

Beverly J. Moss, The Ohio State University

Shanté Paradigm Smalls, St. John’s University

Colette Gaiter, University of Delaware

Sharon Marshall, St. John’s University

Charles Peterson, The College of Wooster

Sandra E. Weissinger, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Joyce E. King, Georgia State University

Herman Beavers, University of Pennsylvania

Ronald Jackson, University of Cincinnati

Clemmie L. Harris, University of Pennsylvania

Victoria A. Chevalier, Medgar Evers College (CUNY)

Leigh Raiford, University of California-Berkeley

Ruha Benjamin, Princeton University

Salamishah Tillet, University of Pennsylvania

Nyama McCarthy-Brown, Indiana University

Linda E. Thomas, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

Daniel Joseph Lind, Cypress College

Lee H. Butler, Jr., Chicago Theological Seminary

Shelley P. Haley, Hamilton College

Kami Fletcher, Delaware State University

Aishah Shahidah Simmons, Temple University

Gabrielle Foreman, The University of Delaware

Cynthia B. Dillard, The University of Georgia

Michelle Moyd, Indiana University-Bloomington

McKinley E. Melton, Gettysburg College

Akissi Britton, Pace University

Anita August, Sacred Heart University

Tameka Bradley Hobbs, Florida Memorial University

Meredith M. Gadsby, Oberlin College

Jerrell Beckham, Denison University

Jennifer D. Williams, Morgan State University

Angela Ards, Southern Methodist University

Tryan L. McMickens, Suffolk University

Nikki Brown, University of New Orleans

Régine Michelle Jean-Charles, Boston College

Kennetta Hammond Perry, East Carolina University

Elsa Barkley Brown, University of Maryland College Park

Earle J. Fisher, Rhodes College

Donna V. Jones, University of California, Berkeley

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Princeton University

Kwame Holmes, University of Colorado-Boulder

Mary Roaf, Northern Arizona University

Daren Graves, Simmons College

Sherrie L. Proctor, Queens College, City University of New York

Brandon R. Byrd, Mississippi State University

Christina Sharpe, Tufts University

Hector F. Myers, Vanderbilt University

Pam Brooks, Oberlin College

Jon A. Yasin, Bergen Community College

Jonathan C. Smith, Saint Louis University

Terri N. Watson, The City College of New York

Gina Athena Ulysse, Wesleyan University

Arnetha F. Ball, Stanford University

Monica L. Miller, Barnard College

Cameron Knight, Carnegie Mellon University

Nikki A. Greene, Wellesley College

Tracey Elaine Hucks, Davidson College

Pero G. Dagbovie, Michigan State University

Marlo D. David, Purdue University

La Mont Terry, Occidental College

Nyasha Grayman-Simpson, Goucher College

Angela R. Logan, The University of Notre Dame

Karsonya Wise Whitehead, Loyola University Maryland

Jennifer Bloomquist, Gettysburg College

Sika Dagbovie-Mullins, Florida Atlantic University

David Canton, Connecticut College

George Derek Musgrove, University Maryland Baltimore County

Renee Simms, University of Puget Sound

Patricia Williams Lessane, The College of Charleston

Candace Epps-Robertson, Michigan State University

Lallen T. Johnson, Drexel University

Denisha Jones, Howard University

Artisia Ifabukonla Green, College of William and Mary

Erin Harper, Miami University

Douglas Edward Ramsey, Wesleyan University

Jill M. Humphries, University of Toledo

Conseula Francis, College of Charleston

Crystal M. Fleming, Stony Brook University

Shanetia P. Clark, Salisbury University

Steven Nelson, University of California, Los Angeles

Regina Dixon-Reeves, Chicago State University

Shana L. Redmond, University of Southern California

Jessica Millward, University of California, Irvine

Joyce Ladner, Howard University

Riché Daniel Barnes, Smith College

Daniel White Hodge, North Park University

Mia Charlene White, University of California Santa Barbara

Lisa Harrison, Ohio University

Barbara McCaskill, University of Georgia

Johnny E. Williams, Trinity College

Michelle Rankins, Cuyahoga Community College

Darius Bost, San Francisco State University

Kim F. Hall, Barnard College-Columbia University

Stephen John Quaye, Miami University

Z’étoile Imma, University of Notre Dame

Erica Edwards, UC Riverside

Terry Lindsay, North Park University

Abosede George, Barnard College – Columbia University

Monica Jones, Berea College

Lorenzo DuBois Baber, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Francille Rusan Wilson, University of Southern California

Tracey Lewis-Giggetts, Philadelphia University

Darlene Clark Hine, Northwestern University

Erica Armstrong Dunbar, University of Delaware

Wornie Reed, Virginia Tech

Sarah Haley, University of California-Los Angeles

Elon Dancy II, University of Oklahoma

Robin G. Nelson, Skidmore College

Bernadette M. Gailliard, Rutgers University

Edward A. Scott, Mary Baldwin College

Carl W. Kenney II, University of Missouri

Karen Flynn, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Mahauganee D. Shaw, Miami University

Shawndra Hill, University of Pennsylvania

Maisha I. K. Handy, Interdenominational Theological Center

Christienna Fryar, SUNY Buffalo State

LeConté J. Dill, State University of New York Downstate

Melanie E. Bratcher, The University of Oklahoma

Kevin A. Browne, Syracuse University

Charles R. Lawrence III, University of Hawaii

marcus d. harvey, Baruch College/CUNY

Denise James, University of Dayton

Camille Z. Charles, University of Pennsylvania

Natasha A. Brown, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Shanna L. Smith, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

Brandon Hutchinson, Southern Connecticut State University

Rhonda Frederick, Boston College

Whitney Laster Pirtle, University of California, Merced

Aneeka A. Henderson, Amherst College

Ashon Crawley, University of California, Riverside

Dennis Tyler, Fordham University

Nadine Finigan-Carr, University of Maryland – Baltimore

Charles Burks, City College and B.M.C.C.

Chenjerai Kumanyika, Clemson University

Christina M. Grange, Clayton State University

Camika Royal, Loyola University Maryland

Michael C. Lens, University of California Los Angeles

Jean Beaman, Purdue University

Sheree L. Greer, St. Petersburg College

Vida B. Johnson, Georgetown Law

Michael Sterling Burns, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Amber Jean-Marie Pabon, The University of Pittsburgh

Samiya Bashir, Reed College

Michele Elam, Stanford University

Darnell L. Moore, Vassar College

Shennette Garrett-Scott, University of Mississippi

Reynaldo Anderson Harris, Stowe State University

Nicole Jackson, Bowling Green State University

Patrick Douthit, North Carolina Central University and Duke University

Whitney Battle-Baptiste, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Claudia B. Isaac, University of New Mexico

Lawrence Ware, Oklahoma State University

Chrystal A. George Mwangi, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Darren Canady, University of Kansas

Randal Maurice Jelks, University of Kansas

Meredith Clark, University of North Texas

Ashley Brown Burns, Amherst College

Dylan C. Penningroth, Northwestern University

Kimberly Y. McCrae, Duke University

Asia Leeds, Spelman College

Michelle Harris, Rochester Institute of Technology

David Evans, Eastern Mennonite University

David Stovall, University of Illinois at Chicago

Ray Jordan, University of Texas at Arlington

KC Williams, Coastal Carolina Community College

Rhondda Robinson Thomas, Clemson University

Tryan L. McMickens, Suffolk University

Tryan L. McMickens, Suffolk University

Danielle M. Wallace, William Paterson University

Maya Corneille, North Carolina A&T State University

Eric Pierson, University of San Diego

Daniel Alexander Jones, Fordham University

Hodari A. Touré, University of California at Berkeley

Roxana Walker-Canton, film professor

Aimee Meredith Cox, Fordham University

Dexter Blackman, Loyola Marymount University

Brendesha Tynes, University of Southern California

Alisha Gaines, Florida State University

Tennille Allen, Lewis University

Bertin M. Louis, Jr., The University of Tennessee

Chris Tinson, Hampshire College

Marissa Jackson, New York University School of Law

Ebony M. Duncan, Washington University in St. Louis

Grisel Y. Acosta, Bronx Community College–City University of New York

Allyson Hobbs, Stanford University

Rashawn Ray, University of Maryland

Marini C. Lee, Michigan State University

Rodney D. Coates, Miami University

LaShay Harvey Jones, University of Baltimore

Robin D. G. Kelley, UCLA

Matthew J. Countryman, University of Michigan

Nadia E. Brown, Purdue University

Brandon K. Winford, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Chris Massenburg, Saint Augustine’s University

Lillie Johnson Edwards, Drew University

Artress Bethany White, Carson-Newman University

Sabrina Pendergrass, University of Virginia

Angela James, Loyola Marymount University

Nzadi Keita, Ursinus College

Vanessa M. Holden, Michigan State University

Anthony Ratcliff, California State University, Northridge

Yvonne Davis Frear, San Jacinto College

Kerrita K. Mayfield, UMass Amherst

David Haynes, SMU

Deanna Hence, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Stephanie Shonekan, University of Missouri

Gayle T. Tate, Rutgers University

Dania V. Francis, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Ula Taylor, University of California, Berkeley

Carla Janáe Brown, Arizona State University

James Braxton Peterson, Lehigh University

Walton Muyumba, Indiana University

Nikky Finney, University of South Carolina

Vernon C. Mitchell, Jr., Princeton University

Angela Jackson-Brown, Ball State University

Lisa L. Thompson, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Jossianna Arroyo-Martínez, University of Texas, Austin

John B. Diamond, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Shawn Arango Ricks, Winston-Salem State University

Lynn A. Hampton, Texas Christian University

Regina Shands Stoltzfus, Goshen College

Tina L. Ligon, Howard Community College

LaGuana K. Gray, University of Texas at San Antonio

Cynthia A. Tyson, The Ohio State University

Robin R. Ford, Queensborough Community College/CUNY

Zakiya Brown, Rollins College

Tiyi M. Morris, Ohio State University

Leonard L. Brown, Northeastern University

Françoise N. Hamlin, Brown University

Collin Craig, St. Johns University

Velda R. Love, North Park Theological Seminary

Treasure Shields Redmond, Southwestern Illinois College

Kevin Lyles, University of Illinois at Chicago

Joanne Braxton, College of William and Mary

Jasmine Harris-LaMothe, Ursinus College

Deborah J. Johnson, Michigan State University

Jackie Jordan Irvine, Emory University

Lynette D. Nickleberry, Stephens College

Manya Whitaker, Colorado College

Lisa Crooms-Robinson, Howard University School of Law

Emmett G. Price III, Northeastern University

Ray Black, Colorado State University

Yasser Arafat Payne, University of Delaware

Amina Wadud, Professor Emeritus

Steve Locke, Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Tarshia L. Stanley, Spelman College

Tobias Wofford, Santa Clara University

Terri N. Watson, The City College of New York / CUNY

Shannon King, College of Wooster

Trica Danielle Keaton, Vanderbilt University

Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper, Spelman College

Monique Moultrie, Georgia State University

Carter Mathes, Rutgers University

Nick Mitchell, UC Riverside

Natasha Lightfoot, Columbia University

Helen Neville, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Evelyn M. Simien, University of Connecticut

Benita J. Barnes, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Victor Erik Ray, The University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Heidi R. Lewis, Colorado College

Amber A. Hewitt, University of Akron

Bettina Love, University of Georgia​

Melynda J. Price, University of Kentucky

David B. Miller, Case Western Reserve University

Angela K. Lewis, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Melanye White Dixon, The Ohio State University

Nikitah Okembe-RA Imani, University of Nebraska At Omaha

April Thames, PhD – University of California Los Angeles

Pearl K. Dowe, University of Arkansas

Leigh-Anne Francis, SUNY Oneonta

Menna Demessie, University of California Washington Center

Cynthia Oliver, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Glenn Bracey, Hollins University

Natalie Bullock Brown, Saint Augustine’s University

Kelly Lytle Hernandez, University of California, Los Angeles

Stanlie M. James, Arizona State University

Kevin Cokley, University of Texas at Austin

Christina Jones Davis, Christian Theological Seminary

Farah Jasmine Griffin, Columbia University

Robert A. Bellinger, Suffolk University

Marcia Chatelain, Georgetown University

Vincent Brown, Harvard University

Colette Cann, Vassar College

 Darrell Cleveland Hucks, Keene State College

 Zaire Dinzey, Rutgers University

Emmitt Y. Riley III, Coahoma Community College

Louis B. Ward, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Catherine R. Squires, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Selika Ducksworth-Lawton, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Lisa Brock, Kalamazoo College

Jennifer L. Morgan, New York University

Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Spelman College

Heather Z. Lyons, Loyola University Maryland

Quincy Mills, Vassar College

Sara E. Johnson, UC San Diego

Janaka B. Lewis, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Damon J. Bullock, Western New Mexico University

Joycelyn Landrum-Brown, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Stacy Williams, Marist College

Constance Bailey, University of Southern Mississippi

Wahneema Lubiano, Duke University

Courtney J. Patterson, Beloit College

Therí Pickens, Bates College

Akinyele Umoja, Georgia State University

Ashley N. Woodson, University of Pittsburgh

Maxine McKinney de Royston, University of California, Berkeley

 Russell Rickford, Cornell University

Melina Abdullah, California State University, Los Angeles

Amilcar Shabazz, University of Massachusetts

Billye Sankofa Waters, Northeastern University

Shane’a Thomas, University of Southern California

Reginold A. Royston, Williams College

Beverly Wallace, Shaw University Divinity School

Mariana Souto-Manning, Teachers College, Columbia University

Margaret Aymer, Interdenominational Theological Center

Karen L. Mapp, Harvard University

Luis Inoa, SUNY, New Paltz

Imani M. Cheers, The George Washington University

Toni Moore, Esquire, Eastern University

John Edwin Mason, Department of History

T.J. Tallie, Washington and Lee University

Tara T. Green, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Joshua Guild, Princeton University

Wadiya Udell, University of Washington, Bothell

Cirecie West-Olatunji, University of Cincinnati

Diana I. Williams, University of Southern California

Sherwin K. Bryant, Northwestern University

Jeremy Harper, Boise State University

Thema Bryant-Davis, Pepperdine University

Jervette R. Ward, University of Alaska Anchorage

Pamela Greene, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Albert R. Lee, University of Nevada, Reno

Danielle C. Heard, University of California, Davis

Angela N. Booker, UC San Diego

Lucy M. Brown, University of Arkansas

Arthé Anthony, Occidental College

Laurie Nsiah-Jefferson, Brandeis University

Carolyn Finney, University of California, Berkeley

 Christi Griffin, St. Louis University

Rasul A. Mowatt, Indiana University School of Public Health, Bloomington

Lynnette Mawhinney, The College of New Jersey

Jerome E. Morris, The University of Georgia

Piper Anderson, New York University

Kimberleigh Jordan, Union Theological Seminary

Christopher M. Himes, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

Carol E. Henderson, University of Delaware

Brian Purnell, Bowdoin College

Marc Lamont Hill, Morehouse College

Dean Brandi P. Jones, Princeton University

Angela D. Sims, Saint Paul School of Theology

Brandon K. Winford, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Kevin A. Browne, Syracuse University

Louis, C. Glover, University of Tennessee at Martin

Anna Haskins, Cornell University

Austin Dorell Jackson, Michigan State University

Veronica T. Watson, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Lynn Roberts, CUNY School of Public Health

Joy Barnes-Johnson, University of Wyoming

Vershawn Ashanti Young, University of Waterloo, Canada

Shawn Anthony Christian, Wheaton College (MA)

Anita M. DeRouen, Millsaps College

Giselle Corbie-Smith, UNC-Chapel Hill

 Anna S. Agbe-Davies, UNC-Chapel Hill

Benita J. Barnes, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Ryan Sharp, Huston-Tillotson University

 Leslie Patrick, Bucknell University

Natasha L. McPherson, Wright State University

Angela D. Dillard, University of Michigan

Laura Rosanne Adderley, Tulane University

Khary Polk, Amherst College

Clarissa Peterson, DePauw University

Kenneth Maurice Tyler, University of Kentucky

Amorie Robinson, Michigan School of Professional Psychology

Dolita Cathcart, Wheaton College, Massachusetts

Michael Leslie, University of Florida

Rosa L. Rivera-McCutchen, Lehman College CUNY

Gwendolyn D. Pough, Syracuse University

Rhunette C. Diggs, Columbus State Community College

Matthew Oware, DePauw University

Peony Fhagen, Wheaton College, MA

Melvin Hill, University of Tennessee, Martin

Fanon Che Wilkins, Doshisha University Kyoto, Japan

Nicole A. Spiner, Vanderbilt University

 Deborale Richardson-Phillips, Cuyahoga Community College

Aida Levy-Hussen, University of Wisconsin-Madison

James Taylor, University of California, Berkeley

Curtis Phills, University of North Florida

Maurice Jackson, Georgetown University

Jameta Nicole Barlow, Towson University

Nagueyalti Warren, Emory University

Noelle Witherspoon Arnold, University of Missouri-Columbia

Bridget Turner Kelly, Loyola University Chicago

Julia M. Speller, Chicago Theological Seminary

Sakina Mariam Hughes, University of Southern Indiana

Vanessa Washington, Concordia University Portland

Martin Summers, Boston College

Jennifer Cobbina, Michigan State University

Joseph B. Richardson, Jr., University of Maryland at College Park

Marguerita Lightfoot, University of California, San Francisco

Angela J. Davis, American University Washington College of Law

Tamora  A. Callands, University of Georgia

Oveta Fuller, University of Michigan

Jessica Kenyatta Walker, The University of Maryland, College Park

Andreana Clay, San Francisco State University

Sheretta T. Butler-Barnes, Washington University in St. Louis

Casey Goldston Giraudy, University of South Carolina

Ralina L. Joseph, University of Washington

Monica L. Ridgeway, Niagara County Community College

Yvette Murphy-Erby, University of Arkansas

Nancy Lynne Westfield, Drew Theological School

Frances Jones-Sneed, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

Carol Anderson, Emory University

Paulette Patterson Dilworth,  Auburn University

Nadia L. Ward, Yale University School of Medicine

Leslie R. Hinkson, Georgetown University

Chrystal S. Johnson, Purdue University

Shirley Thompson, The University of Texas at Austin

Dana Griffin, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Erin D. Chapman, George Washington University

Nikki Jones, University of California, Berkeley

Nadine Golly, Leuphana University of Lueneburg, Germany

Monica A. Coleman, Claremont School of Theology

Carol E. Henderson, University of Delaware

Dawne Y. Curry, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Lisa M. Allen-McLaurin, The Interdenominational Theological Center

Stephanie Jones-Rogers, University of California, Berkeley

Ousmane Power-Greene, Clark University, Worcester, MA

Leonard Foy, DePauw University

 Dominick N. Quinney, Albion College

Brenda V. Smith, American University, Washington College of Law

Robin Lin Miller, Michigan State University

Barbara Thelamour, The College of Wooster

Sharon L. Bethea, Northeastern Illinois University

Vanessa Agard-Jones, Yale University

Blane Harding, University of Kansas

Scott Hancock, Gettysburg College

Charles P. Henry, University of California-Berkeley

Kathleen Fearn-Banks, University of Washington

Nadia Williams, New School University

Nina Angela Mercer, Medgar Evers College, City University of New York

Olivia Perlow, Northeastern Illinois University

Janean E. Dilworth-Bart, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Karen Powell Sears, Denison University

Carole Boyce Davies, Cornell University

Sylvie Taylor, Antioch University Los Angeles

 Donna J. Nicol, California State University Fullerton

JaMuir Robinson, Walden University

Robin R. Means Coleman, University of Michigan

Felicia D. Blakeney, Northern Virginia Community College

BarBara M. Scott, Northeastern Illinois University

Yolanda Ogbolu, University of Maryland

Anne R. Simpson, University of New Mexico

Jennifer DeVere Brody, Stanford University

Monika R. Alston-Miller, University of Central Arkansas

Janelle Dance, University of Nebraska-Lincoln & Lund University-Sweden

 Esrold Nurse, University of Michigan

Joseph S. Flipper, Bellarmine University

Deborah A. Thomas, University of Pennsylvania

Nzingha S. Dugas, University of California, Berkeley

Henryatta Ballah, Oberlin College

Stanford C. Traywick, Roosevelt University

Judy Pryor-Ramirez, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts

Joy Williamson-Lott, University of Washington

Sami Schalk, University at Albany, SUNY

Jerome Branche, University of Pittsburgh

Stephen C. Finley, Louisiana State University

Toby Sisson, Clark University (Massachusetts)

Bernadette M. Gailliard, Rutgers University

Lynnell L. Thomas, University of Massachusetts Boston

Dorinda Booker Rolle, University of Texas at San Antonio

Yvonne Daniel, Smith College

Alexes Harris, Department of Sociology

M. Trotman, Mercy College, St. Francis College & Pace University, New York

Karin L. Stanford, California State University, Northridge

John W. Miller Jr., University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Chante’ D. DeLoach, Santa Monica College

Celia E. Naylor, Barnard College, Columbia University

Justin Emeka, Oberlin College

Lucius T. Outlaw (Jr.), Vanderbilt University

Grace Livingston, University of Puget Sound

 Beverly M. John, Chicago State University

Birgitta J. Johnson, University of South Carolina

Patricia Reid-Merritt, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

 Shawnrece D. Miller-Campbell, Stetson University

Daniel McSpadden, Ivy Tech College

 Nagueyalti Warren, Emory University

Martinique Perkins Waters, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Sherwin K. Bryant, Northwestern University

Troy D. Harden, Chicago State University

Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar, University of Connecticut

 Mary Phillips, Lehman College, City University of New York

Denise A. Harrison, Kent State University

Amoaba Gooden, Kent State University

Myra S. Washington, University of New Mexico

Gretchen Givens Generett, Duquesne University

Julie Iromuanya, Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, IL

Dexter B. Gordon, University of Puget Sound

 Temple S. Lovelace, Duquesne University

Edward Onaci, Ursinus College

Anna Madison, University of Massachusetts Boston

Christina Campbell, Southern Illinois University

Jamal Martin, University of New Mexico

Cara Stanley, U.C. Berkeley

Zeinabu irene Davis, University of California, San Diego

Thomas B. Slater, Mercer University

Michael A. Gomez, New York University

James E. Walton, Fresno State

Ericka J. Fisher, College of the Holy Cross

Crystal Boson, Oregon State University

Prudence L. Carter, Stanford University

Vanessa K. Valdés, The City College of New York-CUNY

Wardell Johnson, Eastern Kentucky University

Buffie Longmire-Avital, Elon University

Vanessa D. Dickerson, DePauw University

Olubukola A. Gbadegesin, Saint Louis University

Jeannette Eileen Jones, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Sonja M. Brown Givens, Medaille College

Joi D. Lewis, University of St. Thomas

Nichole Phillips, University of Mary Washington

Gwendolyn L Harris, Rutgers University-Camden

Nwando Achebe, Michigan State University

Folu Ogundimu, Michigan State University

Jori L. Moore, Ivy Tech State College

Sharon Lambert, The George Washington University

Miriam Thaggert, University of Iowa

Linda James Myers, Ohio State University

 Shona Tucker, Vassar College

Allyson L. Watson, Northeastern State University

Jared Sexton, University of California, Irvine

Nichole R. Phillips, Emory University

Leslie I. Hill, Bates College

Donnetrice Allison, Richard Stockton College

Justin Wilkes, University of Mary Washington

 Karanja Keita Carroll, SUNY New Paltz

Christopher C. Jett, University of West Georgia

Valerie N. Adams-Bass, Arcadia University

Daphne Lamothe, Smith College

Jessica E. Birch, Indiana University South Bend

Rosamond S. King, Brooklyn College (City University of New York)

Phanuel Antwi, University of British Columbia

Tina Fakhrid-Deen, Oakton Community College

Valerie C. Cooper, Duke Divinity School

Natalie Graham, California State University, Fullerton

Kevin K. Gaines, University of Michigan

Jevon D. Hunter, The State University of New York, Buffalo State

Tyrone Simpson, Vassar College

Anastasia M. Boles, University of Arkansas Little Rock

Monique Moultrie, Georgia State University

Erica L. Ball, California State University, Fullerton

Darieck Scott, University of California, Berkeley

Venus E. Evans-Winters, Illinois State University

Deidre Hill Butler, Union College

Thanayi Jackson, San Jose State University

Jeanine M. Staples, The Pennsylvania State University

Nicole N. Aljoe, Northeastern University

Diane Harriford, Vassar College

Phylissa Mitchell, Washington & Lee School of Law

Janine Sanders Jones, University of St. Thomas

Wayne Morleand, Queens College, CUNY

DeMarquis Clarke, Seton Hill University

Theresa M. Davis, University of Virginia

Kenneth N. Ngwa, Drew Theological School

Donald Mitchell, Jr., Grand Valley State University

Ahmad A. Rahman, University of Michigan in Dearborn

Monica R. Miller, Lehigh University

Lauren J. Gunn, Teachers College, Columbia University

Gabrielle Civil,  Antioch College

Marta Alaina Holliday, Alabama State University

George Station, California State University, Monterey Bay

Jacqueline Francis, California College of the Arts

Rashida L. Harrison, Michigan State University

Tawanda M. Greer, University of South Carolina

Bill Gaskins, Cornell University

Cheryl Dune, San Francisco State University

Jioni Lewis, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Sharon Elise, California State University San Marcos

Atira Cherise Charles, Florida A&M University

Patrick Y. Charles, Tallahassee Community College

Nick Daily, Antioch College

Erika C. Bullock, University of Memphis

Manoucheka Celeste, University of Nevada Las Vegas

Angelique V. Nixon, The University of the West Indies

Lisa L. Moore, Boston University School of Social Work

William Darity Jr, Duke University

 Patricia Powell, Mills College

Starr E. Keyes, Bowling Green State University

Malik S. Henfield, University of Iowa

Robin Brooks, University of South Florida

Darron T. Smith, University Tennessee Health Science Center

Keith Mayes, University of Minnesota

Obery M. Hendricks, Jr., Columbia University

Veta Tucker, Grand Valley State University

Dalton Anthony Jones, Bowling Green State University

Tony Gaskew, University of Pittsburgh-Bradford

Bedford Palmer II, University of San Francisco

Mark A. Miller, Drew University

Amy Abugo Ongiri, Lawrence University

Kellie Carter Jackson, Hunter College, CUNY

 Takiyah Nur Amin, UNC Charlotte

Phillipe Copeland, Boston University

Mary Phillips, Lehman College, City University of New York

Deborah Jewell-Sherman, Harvard University

Rucker C. Johnson, UC-Berkeley

adolphus g. belk, jr., Winthrop University

Adriane Lentz-Smith, Duke University

Rochelle Brock, Indiana University Northwest

Julian Kunnie, The University of Arizona

Mark Christian, Lehman College, City University of New York

Jennifer A. Jones, University of Notre Dame

Alfred W. Tatum, University of Illinois at Chicago

Brandon E. Gamble, California State University Long Beach

Kareema J. Gray, Winthrop University

Kris Sealey, Fairfield University

Angela Stephens McIntosh, San Diego State University

Regis Mann, Florida Atlantic University

Dwayne C. Wright, Messiah College

 Tiffany D. Pogue, Albany State University

Patricia Williams Lessane, The College of Charleston

Maya Gibson, University of Missouri

Keisha Farmer-Smith, University of Illinois at Chicago

 Minkah Makalani, University of Texas at Austin

Nicole Ivy, Indiana University

Renée M. Byrd, Humboldt State University

Tina K. Sacks, University of California-Berkeley

Bernadette A. O’Leary, CSU, Long Beach & Santa Monica College

Kim Searcy, Loyola University Chicago

Zebulon V. Miletsky, (SUNY) Stony Brook University

Jessica Graham, UCSD

Gholnecsar Muhammad, Georgia State University

Duchess Harris, Macalester College, St. Paul Minnesota

Alexander G. Weheliye, Northwestern University

Diane C. Gooding, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Huberta Jackson-Lowman, Florida A&M University

Tina Opie, Babson College

Ifeoma Amah, The University of Texas at Arlington

 Letrell Deshan Crittenden, Robert Morris University (Pittsburgh)

Kathryn R. Dungy, Saint Michael’s College

Brian L. McGowan, Indiana State University

Joan Marie Blakey, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Courtney A. Henderson, University of Miami

Hank Williams, Lehman College, CUNY

Melanie E. Bratcher, University of Oklahoma

Tony Bolden, University of Kansas

 Nia Witherspoon, Arizona State University

Shurita Thomas-Tate, Missouri State University

Aisha Dixon-Peters, University of La Verne

Norweeta Milburn, University of California at Los Angeles

LaToya E. Eaves, Florida International University

Enid Logan, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Elisa Joy White, University of California at Davis

Arlene R. Keizer, University of California, Irvine

Marcia Y. Riggs, Columbia Theological Seminary

Bel Kambach, St. Cloud State University

Barbara Wallace, Teachers College Columbia University

Angela D. Sims, Saint Paul School of Theology

Adia Benton, Brown University

Patricia Herring Jackson, Michigan State University

Lori S. Wilson, Virginia Commonwealth University

Angela Hennessy, California College of the Arts

April Peters-Hawkins, University of Georgia

Billy Hawkins, University of Georgia

Nikki M. Taylor, Texas Southern University

Louis Prisock, Rutgers University

Clenora Hudson-Weems, University of Missouri-Columbia

Faith Smith, Brandeis University

Kimberly McClain DaCosta, New York University

Dafina-Lazarus Stewart, Bowling Green State University

Rachelle J. Brunn-Bevel, Fairfield University

Herbert R. Marbury, Vanderbilt University

Felicia Moore Mensah, Teachers College, Columbia University

Amber Jamilla Musser, Washington University in St. Louis

Michael E. Connor, Cal State University, Alliant International University

Gillian U. Bayne, Lehman College of CUNY

Jené Schoenfeld. Kenyon College

Melissa C. Thomas-Hunt, University of Virginia

Maurice Wallace, University of Virginia

Daniel L. Hollar, Florida A&M University

Jerma A. Jackson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Ersula Ore, Arizona State University

David F. Green Jr., Howard University

David Todd Lawrence, University of St. Thomas (MN)

Jedidah Isler, Syracuse University

Nichelle Carpenter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Lisa B. Thompson, University of Texas, Austin

Yolanda Vivian Williams, Eastern Illinois University

Bianca J. Baldridge, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Shaundra Myers, Northwestern University

Gaye Theresa Johnson, University of California at Santa Barbara

Reality S. Canty, University of Illinois at Chicago

Ramona J. Bell, Humboldt

Javon Johnson, San Francisco State University

Courtney L. Francis, Northeastern Illinois University

Jeanine Ntihirageza, Northeastern Illinois University

William Trent, University of Illinois

Valerie Miles-Tribble, American Baptist Seminary-Graduate Theological Union

 Olon F. Dotson, Ball State University

Nicole Higgins, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Isaiah M. Wooden, Georgetown University

Leonard Jones, Western Washington University

Lakeyta M. Bonnette, Georgia State University

Shannen Dee Williams, University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Conrad W. Worrill, Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies

Keona K. Ervin, University of Missouri-Columbia

David Wall Rice, Morehouse College

La Marr Jurelle Bruce, University of Maryland, College Park

Tiffany G. Porter, Case Western Reserve University

Krissie R. Harris, Oakton Community College

Sharon Lane-Getaz, St. Olaf College

Jacqueline Mattis, University of Michigan

Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon, Temple University

Jonathan Tazewell, Kenyon College

Dexter Blackman, Loyola Marymount University

Angela K. Lewis, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Genna Rae McNeil, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Michelle V. Rowley, University of Maryland, College Park

Robert Trent Vinson, The College of William and Mary

Glenn McNair, Kenyon College

Annette Henry, University of British Columbia

Gwendolyn Webb-Hasan, Texas A&M University

Julia S. Jordan-Zachery, Providence College

Anthony Reed, Yale University

Jennifer Freeman Marshall, Purdue University

Theodore O. Mason, Jr., Kenyon College

Aldo Billingslea, Santa Clara University

Kwesi Craig C. Brookins, NC State University

Ric Sheffield, Kenyon College

Alecia Anderson, University of Nebraska Omaha

Jalen Alexander, Wesleyan University

Steven Waller, The University of Tennessee

Howard Pinderhughes, University of California, San Francisco

 Hewlet G. McFarlane, Kenyon College

Melissane Parm Schrems, St. Lawrence University

Bernard Hall, West Chester University

Charles L. Taylor, University of Michigan

Mark Anthony Gooden, The University of Texas-Austin

Ennis B. Edmonds, Kenyon College

Regina Freer, Occidental College

Brenna Wynn Greer, Wellesley College

Adanna J. Johnson-Evans, Loyola University Maryland

Erica Turner, University of Wisconsin- Madison

Idia Thurston, University of Memphis

Elizabeth F. Desnoyers-Colas, Armstrong State University, Savanna, GA

Ivan Evans, University of California San Diego

Ella Turenne, Occidental College, University of Southern California

Ebonierose Wade, Howard University

Sue E. Houchins, Bates College

Tabitha Grier-Reed, University of Minnesota

Mary Pattillo, Northwestern University

Andrea Alston Roberts, University of Virginia

Danelle Stevens-Watkins, University of Kentucky

Mariann Weierich, The City University of New York

Jackie Graves, Laney College

Kimberly D. Blockett, Penn State University – Brandywine

Lisa A. Ellis, Baruch College, CUNY

Michael O. West, Binghamton University

Reginald L. Sanders, Kenyon College

Peggy Cooper Davis, New York University

Julie Lewis, De Anza College

Lance T. McCready, University of Toronto

Steven N. Waller, The University of Tennessee

Tyrone C. Howard, University of California, Los Angeles

Damien Sojoyner, Scripps College

Ekow N. Yankah, Cardozo School of Law

Lillie R. Albert, Boston College

 Mark Broomfield, State University of New York at Geneseo

Tracey West, Boston College Law School

Liz Piatt, Hiram College

Tera W. Hunter, Princeton University

Karen K. Miller, History, Boston College

Monique Lane, Teachers College, Columbia University

Terry Ann Smith, New Brunswick Theological Seminary

Joseph Maldonado, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Joyce M. Bell, University of Pittsburgh

D Ed Bell, Jr., California College Of The Arts

Michelle D. Holmes, Harvard University

Jasmin A. Young, Rutgers University

Kimberley C. Bassett, University of Virginia

Chasity Bailey-Fakhoury, Grand Valley State University

Nicole Truesdell, Beloit College

Steed Davidson, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and Church Divinity School of the Pacific

Courtney Desiree Morris, The Pennsylvania State University

 Patricia S. Parker, UNC-Chapel Hill

Keisha-Khan Y. Perry, Brown University

Wilbrod M. Madzura, Normandale College, Bloomington, Minnesota

Jorge Serrano, faculty at University of Delaware

Detra Price-Dennis, Teachers College, Columbia University

Logan D. A. Williams, Michigan State University

Dawn R. Johnson, Syracuse University

Thomas F. DeFrantz, Duke University

Betty Wambui, State University of New York at Oneonta

Lloyd Sheldon Johnson, Bunker Hill Community College

Daryl M. Rowe, Pepperdine University

Qiana M. Cutts, Kennesaw State University

Theopia R. Jackson, Saybrook University

 Jane Okech, University of Vermont

JoAnne Banks, Winston-Salem State University

Lynn R. Johnson, Dickinson College

Harriette Richard, Johnson C. Smith University

Marla H. Kohlman, Kenyon College​

Boatema Boateng, University of California San Diego

Cheryl Johnson-Odim, Dominican University

Reshawna Chapple, University of Central Florida

Azizi Arrington-Bey, Indiana State University

Nicole A. LaRonde, University of Maryland, College Park

Alexandra Cornelius, Florida International University

LaShawnDa Pittman, University of Washington

Mari Ann Roberts, Clayton State University

Zandria F. Robinson, University of Memphis

Johnny Jones, University of Louisville

Sylvie Coulibaly, Kenyon College

Jessica J. Williams, University of San Diego

Vincent C. Flewellen, Washington University in St. Louis

Fola Odebunmi, Cypress College

Jafari Sinclaire Allen, Yale University

Keisha N. Blain, The Pennsylvania State University

Jenice L. View, Associate Professor, George Mason University

Sabin P. Duncan, Hampton University

Marlene F Watson, Drexel University

Brandi Hinnant-Crawford, Western Carolina University

Evelyn Aniton McDowell, Rider University

Anthony E. Cook, Georgetown Law Center

Osamudia R. James, University of Miami

Laura Kohn-Wood, University of Miami

Barbara Harris Combs, University of Mississippi

Berlinda Thompson, Columbia College Chicago

Richard J. Reddick, The University of Texas at Austin

Enobong Hannah Branch, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Siobhan E. Smith, University of Louisville

 Mark A. Hicks, Meadville Lombard Theological School

Darnell Hunt, UCLA

Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Brilliance Remastered

Donette Francis, University of Miami

Love L. Sechrest Institution: Fuller Theological Seminary

Charles W. Mills, Northwestern University

Bryan Carter, University of Arizona

Tracy Curtis, University of Wisconsin—Madison

Renée M. Baron, The Juilliard School

Makeda Best, California College of the Arts

Naima N Lowe, The Evergreen State College

Lovaerie King, Penn State University

Rodmon King, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Mark C. Hopson, George Mason University

Crystal R. Sanders, Pennsylvania State University

Iset Anuakan, CSU Dominguez Hills

Brenda H. Leake, The College of New Jersey

Regine O. Jackson, Agnes Scott College

Carl Redwood, University of Pittsburgh

Wytress Richardson, National Louis University

Vincene Verdun, The Ohio State University

Susan Tomlinson, University of Massachusetts Boston

Renee Ater, University of Maryland

Walter C. Rucker, Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Renee Alexander Craft, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Patricia A. Edwards, Michigan State University

Fritz. G. Polite, Shenandoah University

Sasha-Mae Ecclesto, Pomona College

Kimberly Jade Norwood, Washington University School of Law

Ronald W. Whitaker, II Lancaster Bible College/Center for Urban Theological Studies

Ronald Williams II, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Tara L. Parker, University of Massachusetts Boston

Danice L.  Brown, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Adanma Onyedike Barton, Berea College

Peyibomi Soyinka-Airewele, Ithaca College

Dominique Rivière, University of Toronto

Stefan M. Bradley, Saint Louis University

Benedicte Boisseron, The University of Montana

Zakiya R. Adair, University of Missouri

Keith Howard, Chapman University

Toni Stokes Jones, Eastern Michigan University

Dana K. Harmon, University of West Alabama

Donna M Cox, University of a Dayton (OH)

Vernellia R. Randall, University of Dayton

Tikenya Foster-Singletary, Spelman College

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Christopher Chambers, Northeastern University

Johanna Foster, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Linda Strong-Leek, Berea College

Geoffrey Habron, Warren Wilson College

Kimberly R. King, California State University, Los Angeles

Rhonda V. Magee, University of San Francisco, University of California, Berkeley

Obie Ford III, Warren Wilson College

Kathy W. Bullock, Berea College

John Keene, Rutgers University-Newark

Nancy L Copeland, Eastern Michigan University

Gail A. Burton, Emerson College, Bunker Hill Community College, Roxbury Community College

Candace Taylor, Warren Wilson College

Denise Davis-Maye, Auburn University Montgomery

Learotha Williams, Jr., Tennessee State University

Celeste Atkins, Cochise College

Charles Taylor, Edgewood College

Leroy Davis, Emory University

Trimiko Melancon, Loyola University New Orleans

Denise Davis-Maye, Auburn University Montgomery

Cheryl Render Brown, Wheelock College

Christopher Stackhouse, Maryland Institute College of Art

Kip Thompson, Harvard Medical School

LaShawnda Lindsay-Dennis, Paine College

Tonya E. Perry, Alabama A & M University

Melencia Johnson, University of South Carolina, Aiken

Veta Goler, Spelman College

Tamiko Ambrose Murray, University of North Carolina-Asheville

Mike Funk, New York University

Jacqueline C. Woodfork, Whitman College

Brooke Vick, Whitman College

Joseph f. Jordan, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Lynne St. Clair Darden, Interdenominational Theological Center

Chy Sprauve, Lehman College

Cedric M. Bright, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Ayesha Hardison, Ohio University

Kecia Brown McManus, Bridgewater State University

Nina I. Buxenbaum, York College, CUNY

Ron L. Collins Sr., Coppin State University

Michael O. Hardimon, UCSD

Charles Denton Johnson, Lane College

Felicity A. Crawford, Wheelock College, Boston

Jim C. Harper, II, North Carolina Central University

Vivian H. Jackson, Georgetown University

Jim C. Harper, II, North Carolina Central University

Hasan Kwame Jeffries, The Ohio State University

Dorothy E. Roberts, University of Pennsylvania

Terence Oliver, UNC-Chapel Hill

Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

O’Rese J. Knight, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Deborah L. Stroman, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Kristie Dotson, Michigan State University

Sherry K. Watt, University of Iowa

 Frank Ward, The University of Akron

Erika D. Walker, University of California, Berkeley

Susan Prattis, American University of Beirut

Martina L. Sharp-Grier, Stark State College

James W. Coleman, University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill

Amelia N. Gibson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Marva Mizell Price, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Robert L. Canida, II, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Tanya L. Shields, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Rima Vesely-Flad, Warren Wilson College

Donna Hunter, Stanford University

Afia Ofori-Mensa, Oberlin College

Jesse Tauriac, Lasell College

Grisha Coleman, Arizona State University

Nicole A. McFarlane, Fayetteville State University

Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, University of Texas at Austin

Ginetta E.B. Candelario, Smith College

Jewel Younge, City Colleges of Chicago, Olive Harvey College

Sharon P. Holland, UNC – Chapel Hill

Brenda D. Lakin, California State University, Northridge

Eileen R. Carlton Parsons, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Jody Lynn Allen, College of William and Mary

Kimberly C. Ellis, Dr. Goddess Arts, Education and Management

Christopher B. Newman, University of San Diego

Phyllis J. Jackson, Pomona College

Wendy R. White, De Anza College

Lolita C. Boykin, Southeastern Louisiana University

Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, University of California, Irvine

Vaun Monroe, Columbia College Chicago

Margaret Washington, Cornell University

Denise Troutman, Michigan State University

Charlie Wilson, Olivet College

Ayanah Moor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Sharri L. Coleman, University of Oklahoma

Mary Crawford, Knox College

Daphne Henderson, The University of Tennessee at Martin

Jessie LaFrance Dunbar, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Charnetta Gadling-Cole, Alabama A&M University

Melissa Asher Daniels, The University of Alabama at Birmingham

Melanie Moses, University of New Mexico

Tami “Sunnie” Foy, California State University, Fullerton

Shirley Moody-Turner, Pennsylvania State University

Marva L. Lewis, Tulane University School of Social Work

Nola Butler Byrd, San Diego State University

Teresa A. Bingman, Western Michigan University​

 Phillip D. Johnson, Western Michigan University

 Jill Rowe, Western Michigan University

Hakim Mohandas Amani Williams, Gettysburg College

Ishan C. Williams, University of Virginia

Derick J. Williams, University of Virginia

Patrice Preston Grimes, University of Virginia

Keffrelyn D. Brown, The University of Texas at Austin

Jesse Mills, University of San Diego

Safiya Umoja Noble, UCLA

Sonya Gunnings-Moton, Michigan State University

Yasser Arafat Payne, University of Delaware

Elaine Salo, University of Delaware

Natalie P. Byfield, St. John’s University

Artisia Green, College of William and Mary

Monica D. Griffin, College of William and Mary

Stephanie Smallwood, University of Washington

Rashidah Jaami` Muhammad, Governors State University in Illinois

Anthony Q. Hazard Jr., Santa Clara University

Mari Morales-Williams, Temple University

Jabari Asim, Emerson College

Courtney D. Cogburn, Columbia University

Isis H. Settles, Michigan State University

Kira Hudson Banks, Saint Louis University

Shauna M. Cooper, University of South Carolina

Tracy R. Butts, California State University, Chico

Athena D. Mutua, University at Buffalo

Catherine L. Adams, Paine College

Lawanda Cummings, Paine College

Bryan N. Massingale, Marquette University

Jeffrey Coleman, Marquette University

Camille T. Dungy, Colorado State University

Marcia L. Williams, Marquette University

Nandi Sojourner Crosby, California State University, Chico

Tray Robinson, California State University, Chico

Louis Philippe Römer, New York University

Yvonne Jefferson Atkinson, Mt. San Jacinto College

Robin Mitchell, DePaul University

Courtney S. Thomas, University of Kentucky

Angelique C. Harris, Marquette University

Angela K. Guy-Lee, Ferris State University

Gary Bailey, Simmons College

LaDonna L Christian, Simmons College

Janie Victoria Ward, Simmons College

Johnnie Hamilton-Mason, Simmons College

Mildred C Joyner, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Aerika S. Brittian, University of Illinois at Chicago

Renee M. Cunningham-Williams, Washington University in St. Louis

Dawn Thurman, Morgan State University

Charles E. Walker, Jr., New England School of Law, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Andreana Clay, San Francisco State University

Tanya L. Sharpe, University of Maryland

Anthony T. Estreet, Morgan State University

Robin Alva Marcus, George Washington University

Daphne Muse, Mills College

Karla Zelaya, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Claire Andrade-Watkins, Emerson College

Theresa Perry, Simmons College

Emily Raboteau, City College of New York

Yasmiyn Irizarry, University of Texas at Austin

Steven C. Sims, Francis Marion University

Salome Raheim, University of Connecticut

Nell Painter, Princeton University

William H.L. (Bill) Dorsey, Atlanta Metropolitan State College

Russell W. Irvine, Atlanta Metropolitan State College

Kenja R. McCray, Atlanta Metropolitan State College

AnneMarie Mingo, Pennsylvania State University

Gina Miranda Samuels, University of Chicago

Branden A. McLeod, University of Maryland

Wendy Shaia, University of Maryland

James (Ike) Adams, University of Kentucky

Beverly C. Sealey, Simmons College

Paula Marie Seniors, Virginia Tech

Carla Goar, Kent State University

Jo-Anna L. Rorie, Simmons College

Vetta L. Sanders Thompson, Washington University in St. Louis

Claudine Michel, University of California, Santa Barbara

Edgar Barron, Azusa Pacific University

Devon Brooks, University of Southern California

Krystal Strong, University of Pennsylvania

Theresa Flowers, Adelphi University

Dawoud Bey, Columbia College Chicago

Beverly Ann Davenport, University of North Texas

Claire Oberon Garcia, Colorado College

Mignon R. Moore, Barnard College-Columbia University

Wanda Brooks, Temple University

Dana-Ain Davis, City University of NY

Nicole Truesdell, Beloit College

Tanisha C. Ford, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Michael Sawyer, Colorado College

Hillary Potter, University of Colorado Boulder

Vanessa White, Catholic Theological Union

Heidi R. Lewis, Colorado College

Celeste L. Graham, the University of North Texas

Maria Mercedes Franco, Queensborough Community College – CUNY

Anastasia C. Curwood, University of Kentucky

Renée T. White, Simmons College

Olubukola Gbadegesin, Saint Louis University

Shawn A. Newton, Salem State University

Michelle Ferrier, Ohio University

Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Shawn Copeland, Boston College

Ruth Cossey, Mills College

Chonika Coleman-King, University of Tennessee

Randi Gray Kristensen, The George Washington University

Julie E Moody-Freeman, DePaul University

Renée Richardson Gosline, MIT

Amber L. Johnson, Saint Louis University

Zacharia Nchinda, University of Wisconsin -Milwaukee and Milwaukee Area Technical College

Mtafiti Imara, California State University San Marcos

Andrea Y. Simpson, University of Richmond

Patricia Nunley, Mills College

Moctar A. Sakho, Colorado College

Afaa M. Weaver, Simmons College

Dana Wright, Connecticut College

Shawnee Daniels-Sykes, Mount Mary University

Hugo Kamya, Simmons College

Carol D. Lee, Northwestern University

Bonnie Reddick, San Diego State

Stanlie James, Arizona State University

Frances Jones-Sneed, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

Pedro A. Noguera, UCLA

Tricia Elam Walker, Howard University

Imani Goffney, University of Houston

Anne-Maria Makhulu, Duke University

Shanti Parikh, Washington University in St. Louis

Antoinette T. Jackson, University of South Florida

Lynn Roberts, Hunter College/CUNY School of Public Health

Terrence T. Allen, University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Upchurch, Alabama A&M University

Nkiru Nzegwu, Binghamton University (SUNY)

Kalenda Eaton, Arcadia University

Jeannette Eileen Jones, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Jayminn Sanford-DeShields, Temple University

Esther L. Jones, Clark University

Lory J. Dance, University of Nebraska-Lincoln & Lund University-Sweden

Aaron R Mann PhD, University of Pittsburgh

Christopher M. Chacha, Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University

Omar Hassan Dphrepaulezz, SUNY Oneonta

Christopher P. Lehman, St. Cloud State University

Kwakiutl L. Dreher, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Elizabeth Sparks, Boston College

Joycelin Randle, University of Denver

Raj Sethuraju, Metropolitan State University

Nina A. Johnson, Swarthmore College

Nicole M. Overstreet, Clark University

Dixa Ramírez, Yale University

Tehia Starker Glass, UNC Charlotte

Leslie Doyle, Fontbonne University

Mia Charlene White, University of California, Santa Barbara

Kamal Hassan Ali, Westfield State University

Rachel J Watkins, American University

Evelyn Newman Phillips, Central Connecticut State University

Saundra H. Starks, Western Kentucky University

Noel Voltz, Trinity Washington University

Jennifer James, George Washington University

Tendai Chitewere, San Francisco State University

Waldo E. Johnson, University of Chicago

Littisha A. Bates, University of Cincinnati

Enrique Neblett, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Keith Michael Green, Rutgers University, Camden

Don C. Sawyer III, Quinnipiac University

Fabienne Doucet, New York University

Richard D. Harvey, Saint Louis University

Chantal Thomas, Cornell University

Brenda M. Greene, Medgar Evers College, CUNY

*1343 names (Many thanks to Dr. Russell Williams for checking the numbers.)

Other Ways to Support:

VOD APPEAL FOR HOLIDAY FUNDS FOR AIYANA JONES’ FAMILY: VOD was there the morning Aiyana was killed on May 16, 2010, and has covered virtually every related event since. Now at this time of heightened awareness regarding the extent of police killings and atrocities committed against Black and Brown people, please let us not forget little Aiyana Jones and her family.”

RAISE MONEY FOR AURA ROSSER’S CHILDREN: “On November 9, 2014, Aura Rosser, a black woman living with her boyfriend in Ann Arbor was fatally shot by Ann Arbor Police. Responding to a 911 call to Ms. Rosser’s home, police had weapons drawn and fired on Ms. Rosser within 60 seconds of arriving to the scene. Shooting her in the head and chest, police took the life of a mother of three, right before the holiday season.”

Support Ferguson Protests

***update: If you don’t see your name or if there is any error, please don’t hesitate to let me know via email. If you put your info in the comments section, please email your information.

If you are a Black professor and would like to add your name, please email blackspaceblog@gmail.com with your name as you would like it to appear, along with your institution. Please include this statement in your email: “I am a Black professor and would like to add my name to the letter.” (A big shout out to Ashley N. Woodson, University of Pittsburgh who (I think) was the person who included this sentence in her email.)

Black adjunct professors are welcome to sign. Please only send one email. Do let me know if your name is spelled incorrectly, if your name is listed more than once, or if  there’s any other error, but please be patient with the corrections.

(If you do not identify as a Black professor you can support by sharing widely. Thank you for being with us. )

(Also, adding names as fast as I can. Going to take some time. I can’t respond to every email message, but thank you. Y’all are bringing the love right now.

“Powering Our Future through Building on Our Past”

2015Gala-2 On Saturday, April 11, the Black Graduate Student Association held an awards ceremony I was unfortunately unable to attend. These are thoughts (with a few additions) I was having this past Tuesday, which I recorded and sent to them.

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It’s Tuesday.

I wish it were Saturday. I wish I could be where y’all are right now, all dressed up, beautiful together, but I’m in Minneapolis, Minnesota for a writer’s conference. Not only that, but Prince will have played in Detroit on Thursday so something’s not right with this picture.

The last time I was in Minnesota I had just finished my very White MFA program. I’d been awarded a writing residency on the shore of Lake Superior. Joan Drury, a White woman founded this residency, Norcroft, to create a needed space for women who write. Each bedroom was named after a woman writer. I had the Audre Lorde room. A key component of this residency was silence. We couldn’t speak to the other women at the residency until 4:00 each afternoon, so most of the day we spent in necessary silence that allowed me to write and go inward in ways I hadn’t been able to do, in ways I’ve only realized recently would prepare me for future work. It was also at this residency that I stumbled upon Houston Baker’s Workings of the Spirit: Poetics of Afro-American Women’s Writing, which gave me language for work I was just falling into seriously. These feel like extra details but I’m thinking about place and space, silence and protection right now on this particular mournful Tuesday where video of lying White cop Michael Slager shooting Walter Lamer Scott in the back eight times is everyplace I look.

To get to this writing residency, I flew into and out of Duluth, Minnesota. I had never heard of Duluth, Minnesota. Who and what is Duluth, Minnesota? I’m sure Duluth is, does, and has many things, but one thing it definitely owns is the 1920 lynching of Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Isaac McGhie. I learned about their execution in a book I bought while I was at the residency, and when my writing residency finished and I had to spend another night in Duluth I walked around town with slightly different eyes, up to where White townsmen dragged, beat, and hung three young Black men who came to Duluth as part of a traveling circus and found themselves at the end of a rape accusation.

We know the truth. We knew the story of Walter Scott’s murder before they handed it to us. It’s only the small details that sometimes change.

In Duluth, the lynching corner is just a corner. I stood near an empty lot, where a memorial would be built later that fall, a memorial I hope to one day see, and I thought about place and history, story and fictions. I thought about traces traumatic events might leave in a place. I thought about historical trauma and personal trauma and the blurry line between, and the ways many of us, myself included, construct our lives around silences and the weight of this silence on our bodies, on our communities. Mostly, I thought about the boys whose lives they stole: Elias, Elmer, and Isaac. I thought about their families, how long it took for them to find out their sons and brothers were dead. I thought about future lives lost. How do you go on? How do we go on? I felt silly for standing in a place I wasn’t even sure was the right spot. I felt silly for wanting to feel something more than the nothing I felt, which I’ve come to understand isn’t nothing but more like the “circles and circles of sorrow” Nel feels at the end of Sula, like the circles and circles of sorrow I feel on this particular day of mourning which is just another Tuesday in this country.

After I went to the lynching corner, I walked down the main street, and in a store window I saw a poster for an event commemorating the lynching. It just so happened the weekend I was in Duluth was the anniversary weekend of the lynching and Duluth was holding a read-in of the book I had bought when I was at the residency. I went inside the store and asked the White woman behind the counter if I could have the poster. She’d been talking to another White woman. There was that uncomfortable pause that occurs with White people when a person of color makes race visible. I smiled. She didn’t ask my reason for wanting it. She said okay. I don’t know what I would’ve done or said if she’d said no. I said thank you. I kept smiling and turned my back to the women in order to peel the poster from the window. photo-30

We don’t know the stories of murdered cis and trans Black women as well as we should: Rekia Boyd, Renisha McBride, Shereese Francis, Megan Hockaday, Aiyanna Jones, Aura Rosser, Tanisha Anderson, Islan Nettles, Ty Underwood, Lamia Beard, Goddess Edwards. I can’t keep up with names of our dead.

Before I went to the read-in I had a beer at a bar next door to the theater. I talked to a young White guy from Duluth. We talked about writing. I told him about the writing residency for women. I think we talked about Tolkien and Lord of the Rings and Edgar Allen Poe. White male writers. I might have mentioned Toni Morrison. I didn’t want to talk about race with him. I didn’t want to talk about the reading of the lynching happening right next door. I didn’t want to know if he knew any stories that had been passed down in his family or other families. I didn’t want to know if I was talking to someone whose great great grandfather was one of the descendants of the grinning staring White people in the famous postcard where Elmer’s and Elias’s broken bodies hang from a light pole and where Isaac’s body lies face down on the ground because his body was hung so high he wouldn’t fit in the photo otherwise. I finished my beer, happy to be a little numb, and went to the read-in and listened to a loving community from Duluth read the story of the lynching out loud.

At this conference where I am, I’ll be talking about race and creative writing pedagogy and practice with three other Black women. This is work I care deeply about, but I don’t care much about this particular conference, which is AWP, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, but which some people refer to as the All White People conference. This conference, which costs a sick amount of money to attend, is not why I write. I’m here for community, for the people I’ve met online who I’m looking forward to knowing in person, to writers I know but haven’t seen for too long. Community is why I’m here, and also why it kills me I can’t be where you are to accept this honor from you because you and your work, us, matters most to me.

So when I get an email from Justin that says “people like you help us to understand that we are not alone in this journey” it makes me pause and take stock of what it is I’ve actually done, which I don’t believe is enough. It makes me wonder again what I’m doing at this conference, where I’m putting my energy, and it makes me commit to do more, to continue thinking about place and space, silence and protection, and the role of writing, poetry, and spirit in this work. “The work ‘protects,’” says Toni Morrison in a recent beautiful interview. ‘It’s a serious protection: emotionally, even intellectually, from the world.’” I’m trying to believe this. I’m continuing to think about Black Spaces we inherit, create and transform together, Black Spaces we make that can serve as both sword and shield in and outside of these institutions on any particular Tuesday.

Thank you so much for this recognition. It reminds me whatever it is I’ve done I can’t do without our loving, collective community, nor can I do it without the specific love I live with every day, the love that makes me tea in the morning and sometimes packs me a lunch to take to work. This recognition is really recognition of all of us, the living and the dead. It’s a recognition of our past and of a possible future we’re creating together.

Happy Birthday, Langston Hughes

My Mother, Carolyn, Holding Me, Langston HughesWhen I was in high school, Langston Hughes was one of two Black poets my White English teacher glossed over (the other was Gwendolyn Brooks). “A Dream Deferred”? The message in the poem was obvious, she said, and we turned the page. I’m including this moment in You, a young adult novel I’m revising, because I still remember it. It was a moment that taught me so much about power, silencing, and quiet resistance.

At the 2013 College Language Association Conference, an association “founded in 1937 by Black scholars and educators,” I was fortunate enough to attend the Langston Hughes luncheon where poet Tony Medina gave a talk on Langston Hughes and Black children. For many of us, Langston Hughes was (and continues to be) an early introduction to the sounds of Blackness in poetry, which is another way of saying Hughes’s poetry is a Black Space, a place where we can see, hear, and imagine ourselves in our lived present, our remembered past, and our possible futures. Writer Kima Jones puts it best:

A couple of my favorite Hughes poems:

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And:

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And an excerpt from “Harlem Sweeties”:

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Here, Langston Hughes reading “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”

Finally, for the record, shout out to my high school English teacher, there’s nothing obvious or simple about a dream deferred, the poem or the lived experience.

Happy Birthday, Langston.

hughes2hughes

In the City by Joy Priest

Joy Priest, who wrote her powerful poem “No Country for Black Boys,” has a poem up on Toe Good Poetry. A must read and listen. Don’t miss it.

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Here Comes the Sun

IMG_6889

No power for eight days. Our house was 31 degrees inside. We bounced around–a couple of nights here and there, and then spent a few days near Lake Michigan where the frozen waves made it feel as if we were on another planet.  IMG_6876

We were finally able to get back in the house the day before New Year’s Eve. I made gumbo. IMG_6945 It felt good to be able to cook, and to cook food from home–soul food in every way.

I was happy to be eating solid food.

I was happy not to have any more anesthesia in my system.

Yesterday, I had my post-op appointment. The super surgeon was all tan from spending time in the sun somewhere. I didn’t ask where, but for a second I regretted not going to sun, and I think I was a little resentful, maybe not resentful, but maybe for a moment I thought, hey, shouldn’t you be researching thyroid cancer all the time? I gloated about MSU’s Rose Bowl win as if  I know anything about football, and then it was time for business. He reviewed the pathology report, went over things line by line. My cancerous nodule was .8 centimeters. If it was over 1 centimeter I would have needed radiation. He drew a picture of how small it was:IMG_6951I affectionately call it the tiny death planet of hell.

He said it was the best case scenario, stage 1 Papillary thyroid cancer, no high-risk features, 1-2% chance of recurrence. “We consider you cured,” he said.

But there are follow-ups. Just to be safe. An ultrasound in six months, another one in a year. And then blood tests forever.

But cured. Okay.

An old, dear friend from high school wrote to me and told me about his cousin who had thyroid cancer, how the cancer (much more advanced than mine) came back twice, how she kept fighting and did what she needed to do, including going to see a shaman in South America, until it was gone,  how she incorporated her neck scar into her Halloween costume.

Another friend, Lillian Reeves, whose mother died of breast cancer just a year ago sent me a message. One of the many powerful things she told me was this: “And finally, there is the task, and the very hard task, of embracing the beauty and the betrayal of life going on.”

They call thyroid cancer the “good cancer” because of the high survival rate, especially when it’s caught early. All of this is great. It really is. But it’s still cancer.

This is the part I couldn’t put in when I first wrote this:

Before I saw the surgeon, I had to get my blood drawn to make sure my calcium level is okay. Who knew there are four glands behind your thyroid that control calcium? Who knew that calcium isn’t just about bones, how important it is for our nervous and muscular systems?

CDR719086-571 During a thyroidectomy the parathyroid glands can sometimes be removed because of their proximity. Sometimes people have to take calcium pills forever. As a precaution, I’ve had to take six a day. I hate the calcium pills. They are for horses. (Interesting side note: Richard Owen first identified the parathyroid glands in a rhinoceros.)

Anyway.

I was sitting, waiting for them to call my name to get my blood drawn, Django sitting next to me, when I started to cry. Shit. I wasn’t prepared for this, this sudden welling up, of what? Django was looking at his phone. I told myself to stop it. Everything was okay. I was fine. It could’ve been worse. Over the past month, I saw people being wheeled in the hallways where it was evident it was worse. My surgery was in the children’s hospital where I heard and saw children who aren’t supposed to be sick, children who are supposed to be children somewhere else, not in a hospital. I tried to pretend as if I wasn’t crying, but the tears kept coming. Shit. Fuck. I’m fine.

It wasn’t working.

“So I think, maybe, I still have some trauma from the surgery, from this place.”

Django looked up, saw my face, put his hand on mine. “Of course you do. It’s okay.”

They called my name. “Sorry for the wait. How are you?”

“Fine.”

My calcium level is fine. I can wean myself off the horse pills to just one or two a day for overall bone health. Everything’s fine.

I want to believe in what “cured” is supposed to mean, but as long as there’s a chance of recurrence, however low, I’ll worry. I’ll worry for the next six months and I’ll worry for the next year. Maybe I’ll worry a little less after next year.

###

A few weeks earlier, after my pre-op appointment I needed music, so we went to Encore Records on Liberty Street. I bought a couple of Nina Simone albums. When I was looking through the bins, I remembered an older friend of ours once describing hearing Nina Simone perform ages ago in a small club in London, the magic of it, the awe and intensity. I never felt compelled to buy any of her records. Her voice always felt too heavy for me, not something I’d want to throw on and listen to, but after the pre-op in which I learned about the worst possible things that can happen during surgery I thought, Okay, maybe I’m ready to hear you now. After the post-op, we went to Encore again and I bought a few more of her records. One is a 1980 reissue of Here Comes the Sun, which I fell into as soon as we got home.

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My husband asked me why Nina Simone, why was I suddenly buying her records? I told him I didn’t know.

“Something about her voice goes with cancer,” I said.

“Is that how she died?”

I didn’t know, so I looked it up. She died of breast cancer when she was seventy years old. I ordered her autobiography.

###

Tonight we get more snow. Early Friday morning, the day we drove to Ann Arbor for the post-op, it was -9 degrees.  Weather conditions over the next few days are such that people are using words like “polar vortex,” “frostbite,” “dangerous conditions,” and “bitter cold.”

Michigan doesn’t get many days of sun a year. Since living here, Ray Bradbury’s brutal story “All Summer in a Day” has taken on even more meaning. When we were at Lake Michigan, we got to experience one of those rare sunny winter days, a visible sun setting beyond frozen waves. IMG_6923It’s already been a long, long winter. Of course I miss the sun. But over the past few years I’ve grown to appreciate the varying degrees of brightness in a gray day, and “cured,” what this word is supposed to mean, is a heavy, warm thing, like someone’s hand resting on top of yours. Or Nina Simone’s voice.

Rae Paris

On Surviving

IMG_6777A week ago today, I was in the hospital having surgery for thyroid cancer. It had taken a long time to get to this point where the anesthesiologist was suddenly saying, “So I’m going to put the oxygen mask on you now.”

Today is my father’s birthday. I had the surgery three days after the two-year anniversary of his death.

I thought I would have to wait until this past Monday to find out the results of the pathology report, the results that would tell me whether or not I did in fact have cancer, and whether or not I would have to do radiation to kill any remaining cancerous cells. The doctor called me last Friday and let me know what they found was indeed cancerous, but they caught it in time and it was small enough so I don’t have to do radiation.

I thought I would write something longer about all of this, but each time I try to write I only get to one or two possible sentences:

The first doctor tells me my neck is enlarged.

When the doctor inserts the needle for the biopsy….

And then nothing but the blank page and I get tired just thinking about the journey that led to the first incision. Clearly, it’s still too soon.

All I can say today is how thankful I am for this life, for my family, for my mother who has been praying for me constantly, for my niece who sent me a handwritten card complete with all of her perfect misspellings that had me in tears: “I relly, relly, relly hope you fell better. Is Uncle Jango crying?” for all the love I have in my life, for my partner (correct spelling, Django) who is everything.

Today, my great aunt on the Jamaican side of the family enlisted a small group of family and friends to conduct a thinking Reiki for me and my husband. Auntie Glo is in her nineties and still teaches yoga. I don’t know how anyone is supposed to say “no” to Auntie Glo. In an email she explains what a thinking Reiki means: “As with practicing Reiki, you all know that in the thinking Reiki we each focus our thoughts on the receiver, [Me], and her present issues, and on Django and the calls on his energies to help her to heal. The meditation helps each of us to keep our thinking focused. Each of us writes in our own way and so we might make the meditation practice around the process of creating a piece of writing –a poem, a blessing a bouquet of healing thoughts, etc.  This is an individual effort and it is up to you whether or not you care to share it.”

So from 3:00 to 3:30 this afternoon, family and friends sent healing energy from Jamaica, Canada, D.C., California.

Such a simple, loving gift: Today, we are all going to think about you at the same time.

I don’t know anything about Reiki, but I figured if people were sending healing thoughts my way, the least I could do was try to be open. At 3:00, I followed Auntie Glo’s detailed instructions that came after her initial explanation. I thought about the past couple of years. I thought about what it means to grieve—a person, or a piece of one’s own body, how it can feel the same. I thought about hospitals and doctors and needles and fear. And I began to release all of it.From my journal: I release each pound of fury. I release each dying cell. I release each memory of death, each death of memory. I release… I release…I release…

If only it was this easy, but it’s a start.

In the past couple of years, I’ve learned more about the thyroid than I care to know. I never knew how important it is, and I had no idea how prevalent thyroid cancer is among women. 2013 estimates: “About 60,220 new cases of thyroid cancer (45,310 in women, and 14,910 in men)” From another article:  “African-Americans have fewer incidences of thyroid cancer but are typically diagnosed at a more advanced stage.” As I searched for the voices of women of color who have had thyroid cancer, I found very little. I needed and still need to hear our voices because we’re already fighting so much.

IMG_6781And I’m thankful for Black women, like Audre Lorde and dream hampton, whose words have kept me steady.

“We are learning by heart what has never been taught.” Audre Lorde

Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs is doing a resurrection of Audre Lorde. Today, I happened to  listen to Lex read from Lorde’s poem “Call.”

****

Around 4:00 a.m. on Sunday, five days after the surgery, the power went out in our house. This was the result of an ice storm that hit mid-Michigan. I’m from California. I’ve never been in an ice storm. It’s devastatingly beautiful. The trees encased in ice become weighted down. I forget what an inch of ice is supposed to feel like on a live wire—someone told me the other day but I forgot. It’s a lot, hundreds of pounds maybe. We stayed in our house the first couple of days without power, our conversations interrupted by the breaking of branches of old trees in our front and back yard. It’s hard to describe this sound. The same friend who told me about the weight of ice described it as a “pop and a hiss.” It’s devastating, pieces of trees that have spent so many years forming gone in an instant. But in true Midwest form, my neighbor says, ”Oh, they’ll regenerate.” Because that’s what happens. Life goes on.

IMG_6853It’s also beautiful. When I see all of these plants encased in ice it almost makes me believe we can preserve things. Maybe come spring everything will be okay. Like a dork, I think of Han Solo frozen just waiting to be melted. Of course, that’s not how it works. Plants and people die. But life still goes on. People do live on inside us. I believe in body memory, in what gets passed down from one generation to the next. Blood and breath. If we’re lucky, we might even have their words, like the index cards my father used to mail me with rhyming poems and short notes I thought were so silly then, but which now hang above my writing desk at home.

“Daughters who don’t return phone calls never grow up to be writers.”

Even now in Michigan, many remain without power. We had to leave our house because it was too cold for me to continue the recovery I needed to do. We have the means to be in a hotel room. It’s not the Christmas I thought we would have, but I’m here, we’re here together, and we continue to receive healing light and love from friends and family. It’s more than enough. It will always be more than enough.

Earlier today I read from my friend Allison Green’s lovely post “Ornaments.” These lines hit home: “Deterioration means more to me at fifty than it did at thirty… I’m more fragile than I used to be, too, but I’m still here.”

Amen, Ashé, and to all the Black and White Santas and Baby Jesuses everywhere.

As they say in Jamaica, Happy Christmas.IMG_6832Rae Paris