March-April 2017: African American Mentions, News, and Articles of Interest

Sweenee Style Blogger


  1. African Americans earned 340,946 degrees and certificates from four-year institutions in the 2014-15 academic year. They made up 10.5 percent of all individuals who were given degrees or certificates from four-year institutions. The Full report is here:
  2. #BlackBoyJoy: A. Benjamin Spencer, Associate Dean and Professor of and Director, Frances Lewis Law Center:  An expert in the field of civil procedure and federal jurisdiction, Professor A. Benjamin Spencer joined the University of Virginia School of Law in 2014. Spencer has authored two books in the area of civil procedure, Acing Civil Procedure and Civil Procedure: A Contemporary Approach. Both are used widely by professors and students throughout the country. Spencer holds a B.A. from Morehouse College, a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a master of science from the London School of Economics, where he was a Marshall Scholar. He also serves as an officer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the U.S. Army (Reserve).
  3. Book Recommendation: Nine Lives of a Black Panther, by Wayne Pharr: Here he reveals how the branch survived attacks such as these, and also why Black Panther Party co- founder Huey P. Newton expelled the entire southern California chapter
    and deemed it “too dangerous to remain a part of the national organization.”
  4.  Walter E. Massey, the prominent physicist and educator, has been named chair of the board of directors of the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization. Poised to be the first of a new generation of extremely large telescopes, the Giant Magellan Telescope will be the largest optical telescope in the world when it comes online in 2022. The telescope is under construction at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile.
  5. Book Recommendation: Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson: New York State authorities prosecuted only the prisoners, never once bringing charges against the officials involved in the retaking and its aftermath and neglecting to provide support to the survivors and the families of the men who had been killed.
  6. Black Historians to Follow: Chad Williams (@Dr_ChadWilliams); Kidada Williams (@KidadaEWilliams); Keisha N. Blain (@KeishaBlain); Dr. Leslie Alexander (; Professor Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor (
  7. HBCU Presidents: Gwendolyn Boyd is a former national president of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.  Boyd is the fourth woman president of an HBCU to be out of a job in the past two months. Former Jackson State University president Carolyn Meyers resigned in October amid concerns about the school’s finances. Lady June Cole was fired from Allen University in September after three years with the university. Elmira Mangum stepped down as president of Florida A&M University in September.
  8. Chemical Drug Pioneer, Alice Augusta BallWhen Ball began her research, chaulmoogra oil had been used to treat the disease outside of western medicine for hundreds of years. It proved to be moderately effective as a topical agent, but injection would be better. At the request of Dr. Harry T. Hollmann, assistant surgeon at Kalihi Hospital, Ball successfully isolated the ethyl esters from the oil to make an injectable form to treat the disease. Her research efforts helped treat countless leprosy patients up until the 1940s when sulfone drugs were introduced. Sadly, Ball died in 1916 at the age of 24.
  9. Book Recommendation: Depression in African American Clergy (Black Religion/Womanist Thought/Social Justice) by Wynnetta Wimberley: In this book Wynnetta Wimberley addresses the often overlooked crisis of depression in African American clergy, investigating the causes underlying this phenomenon while discussing possible productive paths forward. Historically, many African American pastors have had to assume multiple roles in order to meet the needs of congregants impacted by societal oppression.
  10. Report: Housing, Food Insecurities on Rise for Community College Students: “Our report shows that our college campuses are food and housing deserts,” says Wood. “And while many students face these concerns, we find that nearly half of Black collegiate men face homelessness or other housing instabilities and nearly a quarter deal with hunger.”
  11. #Charlstonsyllabus: Here is a list of readings that educators can use to broach conversations in the classroom about the horrendous events that unfolded in Charleston, South Carolina on the evening of June 17, 2015. These readings provide valuable information about the history of racial violence in this country and contextualize the history of race relations in South Carolina and the United States in general.
  12. Imeime Umana became the First Black Woman to lead the Harvard Law Review from a field of 12 candidates.  A native of State College, Pennsylvania, Umana graduated from Harvard University in 2014 with a dual major of government and African American studies. She will be interning with the public defenders office in Washington, D.C., summer. Upon graduation from Harvard Law School in 2018, Umana will become a clerk for Judge Robert L. Wilkins of the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia.
  13. Book Recommendation: Resurrecting Slavery: Racial Legacies and White Supremacy in France by Crystal Marie Fleming – Crystal Fleming shows how people make sense of slavery in a nation where talking about race, colonialism, and slavery remains taboo. Noting how struggles over the meaning of racial history are informed by contemporary politics of race, she asks: What kinds of group identities are at stake today for activists and French people with ties to overseas territories where slavery took place?
  14. James Baldwin: Documentary called, I am not your Negro has been gaining awards and talk around the country.  This is a need to see film that will explain America’s Lies.  I wrote on my blog what I took away from it.  Read it after you see the film and tell me your thoughts. Synopsis: In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of his manuscript. Now, in his incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished.
  15.  Hidden Figures LEGO: Shows the black women from the biographical drama film (Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson) who worked at NASA in New LEGO Playset along with other women from diverse backgrounds that worked at NASA throughout the years.  Maia Weinstock, a science editor and writer who pitched the idea for the set and designed it, wrote on her Lego submission page that she wanted to honor women in NASA because “in many cases, their contributions are unknown or under-appreciated.”


NASA LEGO featuring Women from Diverse Backgrounds throughout History

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