Celebrating Our Scholars During Black History Month
From a book on Black-owned bookstores to the first CUNY Kennedy Center honoree, Graduate Center scholars are writing and changing Black history.
During Black History Month, we pause to reflect on our scholars who are making history and, through their research, shedding light on African American history.
Distinguished Professor Emeritus Tania León (GC/Brooklyn, Music) made history as a Kennedy Center honoree, sharing the stage with George Clooney, U2, Gladys Knight, and Amy Grant. Learn how the groundbreaking composer became a national treasure.
In another history-making honor, Professor Ruth Wilson Gilmore (Earth and Environmental Sciences, American Studies, Africana Studies) was named a 2022 Freedom Scholar, a prestigious $250,000 award, by the Marguerite Casey Foundation.
Alumna Angela Crumdy (Ph.D. ’23, Anthropology) traced the experiences of Black Cuban women educators throughout the course of the 20th and 21st centuries to better understand the ways that they contribute to the maintenance of society through their work in the home, school, and broader community.
A new book by Professor Nathalie Etoke (French, Liberal Studies) analyzes themes of being and freedom that extend back to 19th- and early 20th-century Black intellectuals to make a forceful argument about Black culture and agency in the face of oppression.
Char Adams (M.A. ’20, Women’s and Gender Studies) landed a book deal to write about the history of Black-owned bookstores and the key role they’ve played in Black activism and culture.
Ph.D. candidate Jessica Larson (Art History) is writing her dissertation on the architecture of reform institutions in New York — tenements, schools, nurseries and kindergartens, senior homes, and other structures — built to serve Black charity recipients in the years just before the Civil War through the start of World War I.
Alumnus Kwame Ocran (M.A. ’22, Liberal Studies) overcame many personal challenges and tragedies to write his master's thesis on Lena Horne and Billie Holiday, whom he calls “Black divas of refusal.”
Alumna Zaira Simone-Thompson (Ph.D. ’22, Earth and Environmental Sciences), now a tenure-track professor at Wesleyan University, researches reparations for slavery and colonialism in the Caribbean.
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