Author Tayari Jones has won the Women’s Prize for Fiction for her fourth book, An American Marriage (Algonquin Books, 2018). The prize, considered one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world, honors the year’s best novel written in English by a woman of any nationality across the globe. An American Marriage tells the story of Celestial and Roy, two Black newlyweds whose lives are violently interrupted when Roy is imprisoned for a rape he did not commit.
Jones is currently a professor of English and creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta, is a graduate of Spelman College, and holds master’s degrees from the University of Iowa and Arizona State University.
Atlanta psychiatrist Patrice A. Harris will take the helm of American Medical Association after being elected president Tuesday at the Annual Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates in Chicago.
Harris, who is the chief health officer for Fulton County, becomes the first African-American woman to hold the office. Following a year-long term as AMA president-elect, she will be installed as president in June 2019.
Harris has experience as a private practicing physician, public health administrator, patient advocate and physician spokesperson. She currently works in private practice and consults with both public and private organizations on health service delivery and emerging trends in practice and health policy, according to an AMA news release. Harris is also an adjunct assistant professor in the Emory Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
“It will be my honor to represent the nation’s physicians at the forefront of discussions when policymaker and lawmakers search for practical solutions to the challenges in our nation’s health system,” Harris said in the release. “I am committed to preserving the central role of the physician-patient relationship in our healing art. The American Medical Association has well-crafted policy concerning the changing health care environment in this country and I look forward to using my voice to help improve health care for patients and their physicians.”
Harris was first elected to the AMA Board of Trustees in 2011, and has held the executive offices of AMA board secretary and AMA board chair. As Fulton County’s chief health officer, Harris spearheaded efforts to integrate public health, behavioral health and primary care services. She also served as medical director for the Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.
Prior to her AMA service, she was elected to the American Psychiatric Association Board of Trustees and president of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association. She was also the founding president of the Georgia Psychiatry Political Action Committee. In 2007, she was selected Psychiatrist of the Year by the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association.
$1.5 million grant gifted to Michigan State University by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will go towards the cultivation of a database that harbors information about former slaves, MSU Today reported.
The database, which is part of the institution’sEnslaved: The People of the Historic Slave Trade initiative, will encompass data surrounding those who came to America during the Atlantic slave trade; giving individuals the opportunity to explore their ancestry, the news outlet writes. Individuals who utilize the database will also be able to view maps, charts, and graphics about enslaved populations.
The project is being spearheaded by Dean Rehberger, director of Matrix: The Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences at MSU, Walter Hawthorne, professor and chair of MSU’s Department of History and Ethan Watrall, who serves as an assistant professor of anthropology at the university.
MSU Today reports that the project will go through several phases and take nearly a year and a half to be completed.
Hawthorne believes that the database will allow scholars to delve deeper into the dark history of slavery. “By linking data compiled by some of the world’s foremost historians, it will allow scholars and the public to learn about individuals’ lives and to draw new, broad conclusions about processes that had an indelible impact on the world,” he said in a statement, according to the source.
Michigan State University has one of the top African history graduate programs in the country and leaders at the institution believe that this new project will further its impact in this space. Institutions who have partnered with MSU for the project include Emory University, Vanderbilt University, Harvard University, the University of Maryland and others.
Slavery has been a common topic at colleges and universities across the country with many institutions coming forward to acknowledge and come to terms with their ties to slavery. Rutgers University recently paid tribute to former slaves by renaming parts of its campus after individuals who built the university from the ground up.
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation has announced the selection of the 2017 Truman Scholars. Each Truman Scholar is awarded up to $30,000 for graduate study. They also receive priority admission to several top-tier graduate schools, have career and graduate school counseling opportunities, and are fast-tracked for internships within the federal government.
Truman Scholars must be U.S. citizens and be in the top 25 percent of their college class. They must express a commitment to government service or the nonprofit sector. Since the establishment of the program in 1975, 3,139 students have been named Truman Scholars.
This year, 62 Truman scholars were selected from 768 candidates nominated by 315 colleges and universities. While the foundation does not release data on the racial and ethnic make up of Truman Scholars, a JBHE analysis of this year’s class of 62 Truman Scholars, concludes that it appears that 8, or 12.9 percent, are African Americans. Here are brief biographies of the African Americans named Truman Scholars this year:
Dontae Bell is a junior at Howard University in Washington, D.C., studying economics and military science. He is a member of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps and was selected as a pilot candidate this spring. After graduation, Dontae will commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Eventually, he hopes to earn a master of public administration degree before pursuing a career in public service.
Taylor Cofield is a junior political science and international studies major with a minor in Middle East studies at the University of Missouri. She also is studying Arabic. Cofield is a member of the university’s track team and is current legislative intern with the Missouri State Senate. Upon graduation, she hopes to fulfill a two-year assignment in the Peace Corps and then pursue a dual master’s and law degree program in contemporary Arab studies and national security law.
Lexis Ivers is a third-year student at American University in Washington, D.C., where she studies law and policy. She is the founder and director of Junior Youth Action DC, a mentorship program focused on the academic and personal development of foster youth. She plans to pursue a career in child welfare law, which will allow her to advocate for children when foster care systems fail. Continue reading “Eight African Americans Earn Truman Scholarships for Graduate Study in 2017”→
The winners of the National Book Critics Circle Awards were recently announced in New York City. The National Book Critics Circle awards are given each March and honor the best literature published in the United States in six categories—autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. This year, two of the six winners are Black scholars with current affiliations at academic institutions in the United States.
Carol Anderson, the Charles Howard Candler Professor and chair of African American studies at Emory University in Atlanta won the National Book Critics Circle Award in the criticism category. She was honored for her book White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide(Bloomsbury, 2016). Professor Anderson holds bachelor’s and master’s degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She earned a Ph.D. in history from Ohio State University.
Dr. Anderson joined the faculty at Emory in 2009 after teaching at the University of Missouri. She is also the author of Bourgeois Radicals: The NAACP and the Struggle for Colonial Liberation, 1941-1960 (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and Eyes Off the Prize: The United Nations and the African American Struggle for Human Rights, 1944-1955 (Cambridge University Press, 2003).
Ishion Hutchinson, an assistant professor of English at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, won the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry for his collection House of Lords and Commons (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016). Dr. Hutchinson is a native of Jamaica and a graduate of the University of the West Indies. He holds a master of fine arts degree from New York University and a Ph.D. from the University of Utah. His first collection of poetry, Far District: Poems, was published in 2010 by Peepal Tree Press.
President Barack Obama signed legislation earlier this month that allows the FBI and the Department of Justice to reopen unsolved civil rights cases. Initially titled Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes, the updated version of this bill now allows both agencies to bring to justice those who committed crimes prior to 1970.
Named after Emmett Till, the 14-year-old boy from Chicago who was taken from his bed in the middle of night, beat and shot by two white men for allegedly whistling at a white woman, the Justice Department is being encouraged to reach out to “activists, advocates and academics working on these issues.”
Other departments who will aid in resolving these cases include the Cold Case Justice Initiative at Syracuse University, Northeastern University School of Law’s Civil Rights and and Restorative Justice Project, The Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project at Emory University.
G. Gabrielle Starr was appointed the tenth president of Pomona College in Claremont, California. When she takes office on July 1, Dr. Starr will be the first woman and the first African American president of the highly ranked liberal arts college.
Pomona College enrolls about 1,650 students. African Americans make up 7 percent of the student body according to the latest Department of Education data. However, data supplied to JBHE shows that Black students make up more than 15 percent of the entering class at Pomona College this year.
Dr. Starr has been serving as dean of the College of Arts and Science at New York University. She joined the faculty at New York University in 2000.
Natasha Trethewey, the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University and the former poet laureate of the United States, received the 2016 Fellowship for Distinguished Poetic Achievement from the Academy of American Poets. The award comes with a $25,000 prize.
In announcing the award, Marilyn Nelson, chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, stated that “Natasha Trethewey’s poems plumb personal and national history to meditate on the conundrum of American racial identities. Whether writing of her complex family torn by tragic loss, or in diverse imagined voices from the more distant past, Trethewey encourages us to reflect, learn and experience delight. The wide scope of her interests and her adept handling of form have created an opus of classics both elegant and necessary.”
Twin sisters and founders of Focal Point Global, Hassanatu Blake and Hussainatu Blake are on a mission to provide a global experience that enlightens youths in Africa and the United States about different cultures, countries, and lifestyles. Using modern technology such as Skype and Google Hangout, Focal Point Global makes it possible for youths to connect, learn, and address social issues together, and become leaders in their communities.
As 2012 White House Champions of Change, the dynamic duo has accomplished a great deal since launching the organization in 2010. This includes creating The U.S.-Southern Africa HIV Education Initiative (2010), the US-Cameroon Child Trafficking Awareness Project (2012), the Gambia-Namibia HIV/Ebola Education Initiative (2014), preparing 150 global youth alumni, and serving as 2013 TEDxEmory Keynote Speakers.
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the Cameroonian-American sisters to delve into their background and learn more about their plans for 2016.
BlackEnterprise.com: Tell us a bit about your background.
Hussainatu: I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University, a Masters degree from Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and a law degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. I have lived and worked in Germany, South Africa, Namibia, and The Gambia. While living in Germany, I assisted the NAACP with educating Africans about their legal rights. I also worked for the International Organization for Migration’s Counter-Trafficking Department in South Africa, aiding trafficked Africans. I have published articles about slavery in Mauritania for International Affairs Forum, a publication of the Center for International Relations in Washington, D.C.
Hassanatu: I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University, a Master of Public Health degree from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Plymouth State University. I’ve also lived, worked, and studied in Germany, Jamaica, Namibia, Zambia, Antigua, St. Lucia, Cameroon, The Gambia, and South Africa. I have focused on improving health issues globally. Recently I worked with BroadReach Healthcare to implement a national management and leadership training program for health professionals in Zambia. I also conducted maternal/child health research with the National Institutes of Health and University of Alabama in Jamaica, worked with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Namibia to support Namibia’s national fight against HIV/AIDS, and managed technical assistance projects in Africa and Asia with USAID Global Health Technical Project in Washington, D.C. I’ve also written on a variety of health topics for the African American online health resource, BlackDoctor.org.
Tell us about the defining moment that inspired you to launch Focal Point Global. Seven years ago, Focal Point Global started as an idea while we were sitting in our parents’ living room. We had just returned from working overseas and we read a New York Times article about the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the D.C. metro area being as high as 3%. Although 3% may not seem high for many people, based on our global public health and international development backgrounds, we knew this prevalence rate was high for an industrialized country like the U.S., and also comparable to some prevalence rates in West African cities. What makes it more alarming is that many who are impacted are youths between the ages of 15 and 25. After reading the article, we did research on how HIV was being addressed in the U.S., particularly in the youth population. We realized there was a critical gap that wasn’t being fully utilized — global peer education. Right then, we decided to create a project connecting youths in the U.S. and in Namibia (Southern Africa) so they could have a cross-cultural educational platform to discuss HIV and a space to create solutions to address this disease in their communities. Continue reading “Sisters Create Cross-Cultural Organization Connecting U.S. and African Youth”→
According to the latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report, the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine ranks third in its listing of the best medical schools in the United States. Only Harvard and Stanford rank higher. Now this prestigious medical school will be led by an African American.
Talmadge E. King Jr. was named dean of the School of Medicine and vice chancellor for medical affairs at the University of California, San Francisco. For the past nine years, Dr. King has been chair of the department of medicine at the university. He joined the faculty at the medical school in 1997 after teaching at the University of Colorado.
Dr. King’s research is focused on inflammatory and immunologic lung injury. He is the past president of the American Thoracic Society. Professor King has been elected a fellow of the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
A native of Georgia, Professor King is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota. He earned his medical degree at Harvard University and completed his residency at Emory University hospitals in Atlanta.