The University of California, Berkeley has announced that it will build a new African American Center on campus. The center will be named after Fannie Lou Hamer, the Mississippi-born voting and civil rights activist.
The agreement to establish the center comes after a year of talks among the administration, the Black Student Union and other campus African American groups.
The university has allocated more than $80,000 to refurbish the space for the new center in the Hearst Field Annex.
Na’ilah Nasir, vice chancellor for equity and inclusion at the University of California, Berkeley, stated that “it’s a big deal for our students to know that our administration understands their needs and supports them. It’s a financially constrained time, but it’s also a time when the administration is thinking about its priorities and values. I think the students should be encouraged that the center is something the campus will really support.”
Dr. Prudence Carter was named Dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, effective June 30, 2016. She currently serves as the Jacks Family Professor of Education at Stanford University. She is also the faculty director of the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities and earlier she served as the co-director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity in Policy in Education.
A native of Mississippi, Dr. Carter is graduate of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where she majored in applied mathematics and economics. She holds two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University.
J. California Cooper, an award-winning writer whose black female characters confront a world of indifference and betrayal, but find kinship there in unexpected places, died on September 20th in Seattle. She was 82. A spokesman for Random House, her publisher, confirmed her death. She had had several heart attacks in recent years.
Ms. Cooper won an American Book Award in 1989 for the second of her six story collections, “Homemade Love.” Her short story “Funny Valentines,” about a woman in a troubled marriage who repairs an old rift with a cousin when she moves back home, was turned into a 1999 television movie starring Alfre Woodard and Loretta Devine.
Writing in a vernacular first-person style, Ms. Cooper set her stories in an indeterminate rural past permeated with violence and the ghost of slavery. The African-American women she depicts endure abandonment, betrayal, rape and social invisibility, but they survive.
“Some Soul to Keep” (1987), her third collection, includes over-the-back-fence tales. One story tells of two women who become close friends after one woman’s husband dies and the other’s leaves. They learn that long-lived rumors of their dislike for each other had been fabricated by their husbands. Another story is about a blind girl who is raped by her minister, gives birth to his son and raises him alone because, she explains, he makes her forget she is blind.
Ms. Cooper’s 1991 novel, “Family,” one of five she wrote, is narrated by the ghost of a slave woman who committed suicide before the Civil War and who follows the lives of her descendants as they mingle and procreate in a new interracial world, marveling at how “from one woman all these different colors and nationalities could come into being.”
Ms. Cooper was clear about the religious values that informed her stories. “I’m a Christian,” she told The Washington Post in 2000. “That’s all I am. If it came down to Christianity and writing, I’d let the writing go. God is bigger than a book.”
In an interview on NPR in 2006, she said, “What I’m basically trying to do is help somebody make some right choices.”
Berkeley Fire Chief Debra Pryor is retiring Dec. 28, 2012 after 27 years in the Berkeley fire department. She was the city’s first woman firefighter, the first woman chief and the second black woman to head a fire department in the nation. (Doug Oakley/Staff)
BERKELEY, CA — It’s a drizzly cold Tuesday evening and Berkeley Fire Chief Debra Pryor is outside the city’s public safety building talking to a homeless man with two shopping carts piled high with possessions. The man loops in and out of lucidity, but Pryor doesn’t appear annoyed, pressed for time or afraid. She listens and talks to him, then politely wraps it up and approaches a second man to ask if he needs help deciphering the front desk hours of the police station.
Pryor, 51, is retiring Friday after 27 years in the fire department and 27 years of smashing race and gender barriers: she was the city’s first female firefighter, its first female fire chief and the second black female fire chief in the country behind Rosemary Cloud of East Point, Ga. (Earlier this year Oakland named Teresa Deloach Reed as its fire chief, making her the first black woman fire chief of a major metropolitan city.)