Recently in October 2010 Category

A Message from Scott

Thumbnail image for Picture1.gifGreetings Alumni & Friends,

We are on the move this academic year. We know in research the ability to draw connections between fields, translate ideas into action, and spur practically-minded innovation is crucial. A quick visit to our website,, and you can observe that faculty and staff are deeply involved with the continued exciting research and teaching that relates to the experiences of Africans in the diaspora. This focus has led to increased enrollment in classes and students majoring in African American & African Studies.

As alumni & friends, you sustain us. Throughout the year, many of you call or visit to share your successes with us. Your calls and visits help us to "keep on keeping on." Through you, we remain connected to the true purpose of our work: putting theory into practice to improve our communities. Please make it a priority this year to join us for department and university events. As always we look forward to your suggestions and continued engagement with the department. Our ability to continue on this path of growth means having our alumni friends engaged in our shared endeavors. We welcome and invite your presence.

We hope you enjoy this issue of The Village. Take special care and be well.

Author Patricia Smith to begin the NOMMO Series

P.Smith.jpgThe seventh annual NOMMO African American Authors series hosted and moderated by Alexs Pate will begin it's spirited dialogue journey with author Patricia Smith on November 6, 2010. Smith, lauded by critics as "a testament to the power of words to change lives," is the author of five acclaimed poetry volumes. Blood Dazzler, which chronicles the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina, was a finalist for the 2008 national Book Award.

Smith's work has been published in Poetry, The Paris Review, TriQuarterly, and other literary journals/anthologies, and performed around the world. A four time individual champion in the National Poetry Slam-the most successful slammer in the competition's history. Smith has also been a featured poet on HBO's Def Poetry Jam and has performed three one-woman plays one produced by Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott. Smith teaches in the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine and is a professor of creative writing at the City University of New York/College of Staten Island.

Faculty in the News

The following is an excerpt from Insight News by Professor Rose Brewer.

ethnicstudiesweek.jpg The right wing educational attack in Arizona expressed in the May 11 passage of HB 2281 banning the teaching of Ethnic Studies in all levels of education, k-12 through Higher Education, and new social standards by the Texas State Board of Education, confronts directly the historic struggles of people of color. These are attacks on our ability to tell our stories, to speak our truths, and to transform the curriculum regarding the history of the United States. These transformations in US education came from hard-fought struggles. From the 1968 Third World Strike at San Francisco State College resulting in the establishment of a Third World College, to the 1969 Morrill Hall Take Over by Black students at Minnesota and the struggles for American Indian and Chicano Studies on that campus, these fields emerged out of struggle.

Indeed, the Third World Strike at San Francisco State College might be called the borning struggle of contemporary Ethnic Studies in the academy. "On strike! Shut it down!" resonated on the campus from November 1968 to March 1969. This five-month strike, according to Helene Whitson, archivist of the San Francisco State College Strike Collection, was "longer than any other academic student strike in American higher education history."

It led to the creation of Third World College, which spawned hundreds of other Black, Chicano, Native and Asian Studies programs in the late 1960s.

The current period demands that the struggle continues since present political realities have everything to do with whether African American, Chicano/a, Native American and Asian Studies will survive. Let us not forget either that the buying and selling of Black bodies, African men, women and children, the seizing of Native, Latino/a and Asian lands and labor have been constants in the crafting of the United States as a nation.  HB 2281 reconnects to this history of exploitation with its passage by attempting to erase the history of people of color in the US. Not surprisingly, it has emerged during a period of intensified racism, xenophobia and anti-immigrant hostilities and practices. While attention has been rightfully focused on the draconian anti-immigration policies in Arizona, this attack on Ethnic Studies is another key feature in our struggle for educational and social justice in the US and globally.

In short, these are chilling times for peoples of color. The Ethnic studies programs, departments, centers in this country cannot / must not rest easily. The Ethnic Studies project has been named in conservative public discourse as the site of political divisiveness. Our status is fragile within the white academy that dominates higher education and K-12 , as institutional decisions too often embrace this logic. While those of us in Ethnic Studies have chastised and railed against conservatives, in fact, we face a neo-liberal reality where liberal and conservative sensibilities merge. The attacks on the conceptual playing fields of Ethnic Studies are matched by the politics of retreat and efforts to dismantle the fields altogether.

The perennial question for Ethnic Studies programs is why are we here? How must we connect to our students and wider constituencies? The Ethnic Studies paradigm is rooted in critique of Eurocentrism. The key actors who founded Ethnic Studies were young men and women of color who refused to accept their educational erasure. The Ethnic Studies task today remains the decolonization of knowledge, educating and creating the institutional basis for sustaining these fields. Most importantly, our task is refusing to be brought into the circle of domination that keeps injustice alive. No doubt, the attack on Ethnic Studies is one expression of an especially difficult set of inequalities in the US: the dismantling of living wages, intensified poverty, the destruction of welfare state supports which reach the poorest women and children in this country, and the mass incarceration of hundreds of thousands Black and Brown men and women. This is happening in the context of global economic exploitation. These retreats from social justice are part and parcel of the same logic that led to HB 2281. Our struggle continues.

Atkins.jpgIn this course Professor Atkins will examine the social and cultural contexts surrounding eras of athletes such as Jack Johnson, Jackie Robinson, Joe Louis, Jesse Owens, Althea Gibson, Wilma Rudolph, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods. The impact of these athletes on national and international events will also be examined. The course also explores periods when it was not uncommon for black entertainers and athletes to become involved in politics and community activism.

Quote of the Month

"Every one of us gets through the tough times because somebody is there, standing in the Oprah.jpggap to close it for us."

Oprah Winfrey

Upcoming Events

Community Health Fair

Date: October 15, 2010

Time: 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Location: 953 Olson Memorial Highway, Minneapolis

Cost: Free

Students from Summit Academy OIC host a Community Health Fair to educate low-income community residents and minorities about a variety of health issues including diabetes, heart disease, low birth weight prevention, STD's and obesity.

A Night of Shining Stars Gala

Date: October, 23 2010

Time: 5:00pm

Location: Hilton Garden Inn, 411 Minnesota Street St. Paul

Cost: $50.00 a person

For more information or to order tickets go to

The African American Breast Cancer Alliance is celebrating its 20 year anniversary with a celebration of cancer survivors. Reception, Awards, Dinner, Celebration Dancing.

Urban Bush Women: Zollar Uncensored

Date: October 24, 2010

Time: 7:00pm

Location: Ted Mann Concert Hall University of Minnesota West Bank

Cost: $27.00 $37.00 $47.00 To purcahse tickets go to

Through a special partnership with Northop Auditorium the Dept of AA&AS will provide a total of 10 free tickets to African American & African Studies alumni women. Tickets will be distributed on a first come first served basis. Conact Scott Redd at

An evocative journey of Jawole's creative history from 1984 to the present. Jawole chose sections of works that speak to her early investigations into eroticism, sensuality, and the reclaiming of the broken parts of the self after trauma. This is a tribute to all of the women who have been Urban Bush Women.

NOMMO African American Authors Series: Patricia Smith

Date: November 3, 2010

Time: 7:00pm

Location: Cowles Auditorium, Hubert H. Humphrey Center, University of Minnesota

Cost: $15.00

To order tickets go to