Our Scholars Shed Light on Black History – and Make History

January 31, 2022

(L-R) Demond (Dom) Mullins, Amber Musser, the late Charles Mills, and Allison Guess
(L-R) Demond (Dom) Mullins, Amber Musser, the late Charles Mills, and Allison Guess

During Black History Month and every month, we are celebrating the work of our scholars who are shedding light on Black history – and those who are making history.


Kevin McGruder and the cover of his book

Alumnus Kevin McGruder  (Ph.D. ’10, History) tells the complicated history of a Black trailblazer in his book Philip Payton, the Father of Black Harlem. 



The late Professor Charles W. Mills wrote the seminal philosophy text, The Racial Contract, and his work in social and political philosophy, African American and Africana philosophy, ethics, and Marxism made him an influential voice in Black political thought. 

CUNY Graduate Center · Why Christmas Is Observed as a Day of Liberation by Black People

Alumna Allison Guess (Ph.D. ’21, Earth and Environmental Sciences), now a tenure-track assistant professor of Africana Studies at Williams College, and Professor Ramona Hernandez (City College, Sociology) examine Black-led Christmas rebellions in the Caribbean in this Thought Project blog post



Professor Amber Musser, who recently joined the English Department, uses her research to explore critical race theory and taught a seminar on the different ways that Black feminisms have approached the idea of the flesh.


Alex Zamalin and the cover of his book "Against Civility: The Hidden Racism in Our Obsession with Civility"

In his latest book, Against Civility: The Hidden Racism in Our Obsession with Civility, alumnus Alex Zamalin (Ph.D. ’14, Political Science), argues that civic radicalism, rather than civility, is how Black social activists can achieve racial justice. 


Desiree Byrd (Photo courtsey of Byrd)

Professor Desiree Byrd (GC/Queens, Psychology) brought attention to the presence of the noose, an object with a violent and racialized history, in a common word-naming psychological assessment tool and called for its removal


Bianca Williams

Professor Bianca C. Williams is the co-editor of Plantation Politics and Campus Rebellions: Power, Diversity, and the Emancipatory Struggle in Higher Education, a multidisciplinary examination of the academy’s entanglement with slavery and settler colonialism in the United States.  



And he’s making history! Alumnus Demond (Dom) Mullins (Ph.D. '13, Sociology) has organized a group of Black mountaineers who intend to make an expedition to climb Mount Everest in spring 2022 and become the first all-Black team to scale the world's tallest mountain.