Recently in April 2010 Category

A Message from Scott

Thumbnail image for Picture1.gifDear Alumni and Friends,

Continuing to strengthen the Department's outreach is one of our most exciting priorities. It is one that stresses alumni engagement and better connects current students with the tremendous resources of alumni talent and experience.

Increasing our outreach isn't only beneficial for current students. There is real value for alumni as well. As a graduate of the Department of African American & African Studies,you can attest to the tight bonds that exist between you, faculty, staff and fellow graduates. We are a community defined by its members' commitments to leadership, excellence, and innovation.

Our alumni network is an important resource for students and graduates in virtually every industry and field. As alumni, it is our responsibility to keep the community strong--for ourselves, and for future generations of African American & African Studies majors and minors. I encourage you to connect with theDepartment and with fellow alumni. Explore the offerings of our outreach initiatives, connect with students, or return to campus to share the work you are doing.

I look forward to keeping you informed of the Department. I welcome your questions, input and most importantly, your involvement.

NOMMO African American Authors Series: Quincy Troupe

quincy troupe_web.jpg

On April 28 host and moderator Alexs Pate, University of Minnesota profressor and author of Amistad, will take you on a journey into the consciousness of luminary writer Quincy Troupe.

Troupe is an award-winning author of 17 books, including American Book Award winners Snake-Back and Miles: The Autobiography. In 1991, he received the prestigious Peabody Award for "The Miles Davis Radio Project," broadcast in seven parts on National Public Radio. Troupe co-authored The Pursuit of Happyness with Chris Gardner, which chronicled Gardner's journey from homelessness to success onWall Street. The book became the basis of an award-winning movie of the same name, starring Will Smith.

Troupe is professor emeritus of creative writing and American and Caribbean literature at the University of California, San Diego, and the founding editorial director for Code Magazine. He is currently editor of Black Renaissance Noire, published by the Institute of African American Affairs at New York University.For more detailed information regarding this event see Upcoming Events in this issue of The Village.

Alumni Making News: Sonal Desai-Redd class of 91

Phoenix High graduates two-step dancer

The following is an excerpt from the Star Tribune by David Joles


Watch an audio slideshow

Larry Jones, 18, recently graduated from Phoenix High, a state approved alternative program operated by Volunteers of America-Minnesota. Jones, who is the father of a three-year-old son, had done poorly at another Minneapolis high school and had been in danger of failing. But after coming to Phoenix Jones was encouraged to work hard and believe in himself and his intelligance by prinicpal Sonal Redd and other staff members. As he neared graduation, Redd learned that Jones was an accomplished two-step dancer and she asked Jones to teach her. "He's a big guy but he's light on his feet," Redd said. "He floats on the dance floor." To repay Redd for encouraging him to graduate and challenging him, Jones gave Redd several private two-step lessons. A grateful Jones will be heading to college at MCTC soon. "They (Redd, teachers and staff) acted like my moms and scared the hell out of me," he said. "I can honestly say I'm gonna miss this school. I'm still gonna come back and visit."

Course Spotlight

Afro 3426 African Americans, Social Policy, and the Welfare State

This is a course on the history of public and social policy and African Americans. Professor Mayes attempts to familiarize students with some of the most pertinent issues that continue to dominate the news. This course seeks to place into historical context the present-day commentary on social security, affirmative action, welfare, healthcare, and incarceration.

Instead of focusing on political movements, Professor Mayes will address the outcome and manifestation of social and political movements, mainly policy concerns and questions. The course will begin with the period that ushered in the tradition of social policy-the New Deal. The New Deal, the Great Society, and other attempts by the federal government to involve itself in the lives of ordinary people will be at the center of our course. Afro 3426 will go beyond this and explore the racial, class, and gender implications of social and public policy. Answering questions around how are African-Americans situated within the welfare state? Do African-Americans receive and share in social benefits to the same degree as other groups? How are African-Americans impacted by education policies such as affirmative action and busing, reforms in welfare, sentencing, and incarceration? What presidential administrations have been amenable to policies that address the problems facing African-Americans? The goal of the course is to turn students into policy-makers.

South Rides Again in Virginia Governor's Office

Confederat_040710.jpgThe following is an excerpt from the RaceWire The Colorlines Blog by Kai Wright.

It's enough that Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a GOP darling, has revived the tradition of declaring April "Confederate History Month." But what's truly astonishing is that in bringing it back he dropped from the ceremonial proclamation a previous obligatory nod at, you know, slavery. As the Washington Post reports:

"McDonnell said he did not include a reference to slavery because "there were any number of aspects to that conflict between the states. Obviously, it involved slavery. It involved other issues. But I focused on the ones I thought were most significant for Virginia."

Instead, McDonnell's proclamation, issued Friday, cites "the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens." Read the whole thing after the jump.

The Republican governor delivered the GOP's response to President Obama's State of the Union address in January and has been considered a rising star. But some say he's got his eye on surging state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who's own recent contributions to history include trying to get sexual orientation removed from anti-bias codes at state universities and suing the federal government over the health insurance reform law. April 17 is the anniversary of Virginia's secession from the union. No word yet on whether McDonnell or Cuccinelli plan to give it another go this spring.

Full text of the proclamation:

WHEREAS, April is the month in which the people of Virginia joined the Confederate States of America in a four year war between the states for independence that concluded at Appomattox Courthouse; and

WHEREAS, Virginia has long recognized her Confederate history, the numerous civil war battlefields that mark every region of the state, the leaders and individuals in the Army, Navy and at home who fought for their homes and communities and Commonwealth in a time very different than ours today; and

WHEREAS, it is important for all Virginians to reflect upon our Commonwealth's shared history, to understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War, and to recognize how our history has led to our present; and

WHEREAS, Confederate historical sites such as the White House of the Confederacy are open for people to visit in Richmond today; and

WHEREAS, all Virginians can appreciate the fact that when ultimately overwhelmed by the insurmountable numbers and resources of the Union Army, the surviving, imprisoned and injured Confederate soldiers gave their word and allegiance to the United States of America, and returned to their homes and families to rebuild their communities in peace, following the instruction of General Robert E. Lee of Virginia, who wrote that, "...all should unite in honest efforts to obliterate the effects of war and to restore the blessings of peace."; and

WHEREAS, this defining chapter in Virginia's history should not be forgotten, but instead should be studied, understood and remembered by all Virginians, both in the context of the time in which it took place, but also in the context of the time in which we live, and this study and remembrance takes on particular importance as the Commonwealth prepares to welcome the nation and the world to visit Virginia for the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the Civil War, a four-year period in which the exploration of our history can benefit all;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert McDonnell, do hereby recognize April 2010 as CONFEDERATE HISTORY MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.

Quote of the Month

"None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody - a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns - bent down and helped us pick up our boots."
Thurgood Marshall

Upcoming Events

African American & the African Diaspora In the Twin Cities: Empowering & Bridging Black Communities

Date: April 15, 2010

Time: 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Location: Walter Mondale Hall, Room 25

229 19th Avenue South


Cost: Free

Sponsored by: The Black Graduate and Professional Student Association (BGAPSA)

Contact Info: 404-754-8271

Two panel discussions with local political leaders, community organizers, engaged faculty, and students. Spoken word and free African & soul food will be served.

Premier Screening of "We Shall Not Be Moved"

Date: April 17, 2010

Time: 1:30pm - 3:30pm

Location: Rondo Out-Reach Library

461 North Dale St.

St. Paul, MN

Cost: Free

Documentary film archives the building of the African American, Tillery Agriculture Community by the USDA, during the 1930's depression and continues through present day. As a preview to the this feature documentary, Seitu Jones, a local artist, will share his photo archive of this very same Frogtown garden co-op.

5th Annual African American Mental Health Awareness Conference

Date: April 17, 2010

Time: 8:15am - 12:30pm

Location: Mt. Olivet Baptist Church

451 Central Avenue

St. Paul, MN

Cost: Free

To RSVP call Camphor Church at (651)224-0341

The Role of the Family, Church and Community & Mental Health and Self Image of the African American People.

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Reducing Health Disparities: Where to go from Here

Date: April 23, 2010

Time: 9:30am - 12:00pm

Location: Coffman Memorial Union Theater

300 Washington Avenue South East

Minneapolis, MN

Cost: This event is free, but online registration is requested at

For more information go to:

This SPH Health Disparities Roundtable will explore strategies to reduce health disparities that target the underlying causes of health disparities in minority and low income populations. Special attention will be given to strategies that draw on perspectives from multiple disciplines.

NOMMO African American Author Series: Quincy Troupe

Date: April 28, 2010

Time: 7:00pm

Location: Coffman Memorial Union Theater

300 Washington Avenue South East

Minneapolis, MN

Cost: $15.00; Complimentary tickets for U of M students and members of the Friends of the

University of Minnesota Libraries.

For more information go to: