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The Most Cited Black Scholars in the Humanities in 2006

Last week JBHE reported the results of our annual survey of citation rankings of black scholars in the social sciences. This week we list the black scholars who received the most citations in humanities journals during 2006.

For the third time in the past five years, Paul Gilroy, Anthony Giddens Professor in Social Theory at the London School of Economics, is ranked first. He had 105 citations in humanities journals in 2006, six fewer than a year ago.

Toni Morrison, the Nobel laureate and Princeton University professor, saw her citation count increase from 95 in 2005 to 100 this past year, placing her in second place. Harvard University’s Henry Louis Gates Jr. dropped to third place with 76 citations, down from 113 in 2005.

Also among the most highly cited black scholars in the humanities are novelist Alice Walker, poet bell hooks, and Princeton philosopher K. Anthony Appiah. In addition, Princeton’s Cornel West; Paule Marshall of New York University; literary critic and novelist Albert Murray; Colin Palmer, Dodge Professor of History at Princeton University; Trudier Harris, J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; author Chinua Achebe, who teaches at Bard College; and Houston A. Baker, who left Duke University a year ago for Vanderbilt University, were among the citation leaders in the humanities.

“To deal with the problems black people have, we need money and we need access to educational opportunity. It’s nice to help the historically black colleges, but that’s a nice, neat, tidy way of keeping the students out of Brown University.”

Deadria Farmer-Paellmann, executive director of the New Jersey-based Restitution Study Group, responding to the announcement that Brown University would contribute $10 million to the Providence public school system and expand cooperation with black colleges and universities. These initiatives came about as a result of Brown’s efforts to make restitution due to the institution’s past ties to slavery (Brown Daily Herald, 3-8-07)

When College-Educated Blacks Pull Up Stakes, Where Do They Relocate?

New data from the Census Bureau gives an indication of where college-educated African Americans are moving when they choose to change their residence. For those college-educated blacks who moved in the 2000 to 2005 period, 47 percent moved locally, within the same county. Another 19 percent of black movers with a college degree relocated to a different county within the same state. More than 28 percent moved to a different state of the nation. Slightly more than 5 percent of all college-educated blacks who moved in the period relocated to another country.

College-educated whites were less likely than their black peers to move to a different state and were significantly less likely to move abroad.

Among Four-Year College Graduates, Blacks Are More Likely Than Whites to Enroll in Graduate Education

In 2005 African Americans earned 8.9 percent of all the bachelor’s degrees awarded in the United States. This was an all-time high. Yet the percentage of blacks earning bachelor’s degrees is still considerably below the black percentage of the U.S. population. The racial disparity in degree attainment also prevails at the graduate degree level. Blacks make up 8.5 percent of all master’s degree recipients and 6.4 percent of all students who receive doctoral degrees.

But a new study from the U.S. Department of Education shows that for college graduates, blacks are actually more likely than whites to enroll in graduate education. The research shows that for all students who graduated from four-year colleges in 1993, 45.4 percent of blacks had enrolled in graduate education by 2003. For whites, 39.2 percent had enrolled in a graduate program over the 10-year period since receiving their bachelor’s degree.

Black graduate school enrollments were higher than those of whites across the board. African-American college graduates were more likely than similarly educated whites to enroll in MBA programs, in professional degree studies, and in doctoral programs. Whites were more likely than blacks to enroll in master’s degree programs in education.

Black Colleges and Universities With a Strong Performance in Endowment Growth

In the July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006 period, the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index rose 8.6 percent. Nationwide about 60 percent of college endowment funds are invested in stocks. Thus it is not surprising that, according to a report by the National Association of College and University Business Officers, the typical college endowment fund increased its value by 10.7 percent in the period from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006.

Several historically black colleges and universities did better than the national average. For the second year in a row, Meharry Medical College in Nashville saw its endowment increase by a large percentage. In the most recent period, the medical school saw its endowment increase by 18.5 percent. This was on top of a 19.6 percent gain a year earlier. The Morehouse School of Medicine also saw major gains over the past two years. This year the Morehouse School of Medicine endowment grew 19.8 percent to $46.1 million.

Bethune-Cookman College, which recently changed its name to Bethune-Cookman University, saw its endowment increase by nearly 22 percent in the July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006 period. The university’s endowment now stands at $35.4 million.

Spelman College, with an endowment of $291,695,000, had the second-largest fund among the black institutions. For the year ending June 30, 2006, Spelman’s endowment fund increased 13 percent over a year earlier. This is considerably higher than the national average and just short of the gain posted by the endowment at Harvard University.

South Carolina State University Getting $126 Million Facelift

Next month the eyes of the nation will focus on South Carolina State University, the historically black educational institution in Columbia. The Democratic presidential candidates will hold a debate at the university’s auditorium on April 26.

To capitalize on the publicity that will be generated by the debate, the university has debuted a new logo, slogan, and Web site to market itself to potential students. The university is also in the midst of a $126 million facelift to make its campus more attractive and useful to students. Five of the school’s oldest residence halls were closed. They were replaced by three new buildings. Three of the old dormitories will be torn down and the other two converted to office space. In addition, construction of a new $25 million computer science center and a $26 million transportation center will begin later in 2007. Lowman Hall, one of the oldest buildings on campus, will undergo a $7.5 million renovation. The university recently reopened the I.P. Stanback Museum, the only facility on a black college campus with a working planetarium.

The Continuing Success of the Texas Southern University Debate Team

In 1952 Barbara Jordan joined the debate team at Texas Southern University, the historically black educational institution in Houston. Jordan, who would go on to become a U.S. congresswoman, was part of the team that battled the debate team from Harvard University to a tie in a Houston meet, a remarkable achievement for that time and place.

Over the years the debate team at Texas Southern University has remained one bright spot at what has been an often troubled educational institution. Professor Thomas Freeman, who started the team in 1949, still coaches the team at the age of 86. Over the past decade, the team has won at least 100 individual and team trophies. It has participated in debates all over the nation and in Prague, Buenos Aires, London, and South Africa.

College Instructor Creates Web Site to Make Science Cool for Young Blacks

Jackie Johnson, an instructor at Wake Technical Community College in North Carolina, has developed a new education Web site with the goal of making science “cool” for African-American kids. Her Mop Top, the Hip-Hop Scientist Web site profiles several notable black scientists from the past as well as the present day. An interactive lab allows visitors to click on particular objects in a room, such as a laptop computer, the human brain, or an airplane, and be linked to a site that explains how they work.

In order to provide a role model for budding young women scientists, Mop Top has a female sidekick named Lollipop. Johnson hopes that teachers of black students in public schools across the nation will use the Web site to encourage African Americans to become interested in careers in science.

To view the site, click here.

In Memoriam

Gerard William Lee Jr. (1942-2007)

Gerard William Lee Jr., a long-time educator and college administrator in New Jersey, died earlier this month at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He was 64 years old.

Dr. Lee was born in Newark in 1942. After graduating from public high school, he enrolled at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. While a student there, he participated in the 1963 March on Washington.

After graduating from college, he returned to Newark to teach in the public schools. He went on to earn a master’s degree in guidance and counseling at Kean University. He later received an educational doctorate from Rutgers University.

In the early 1980s Dr. Lee was director of the Equal Opportunity Funding Program at William Paterson College. He later became dean of student affairs at Essex County College. He also served as president of the New Jersey Association of Black Psychologists.

Late in his career Dr. Lee served as supervisor of guidance for the East Orange school district in New Jersey. He retired in 2004.


David A. Paterson, lieutenant governor of the state of New York, was the recipient of the John Jay Award from Columbia University. Paterson, who is legally blind, is a 1977 graduate of Columbia College. The award, named after the first chief justice of the United States, is given to university alumni to honor distinguished professional achievement.

Shirley Staples Carter, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of South Carolina, was named journalism administrator of the year by the Scripps Howard Foundation. The award comes with a $10,000 cash prize.



African Americans in College Who Are Looking for Work Are Twice as Likely as Their White Peers to Be Unemployed

In October 2005 there were 8.6 million whites under the age of 25 who were enrolled in college. About 54 percent of these white college students held paying jobs while enrolled in school. Some 5.7 percent of white students in college were actively seeking work though unemployed.

For blacks, there were 1,328,000 students under the age of 25 enrolled in college in October 2005. Of these, 44 percent actually held jobs while they were enrolled in college. But slightly more than 10.5 percent of African-American college students who were actively seeking employment were unable to find work.

Therefore, for students currently enrolled in college, the traditional 2-to-1 black-white unemployment ratio holds firm.

Foreign-Born Blacks Are More Likely Than Native-Born African Americans to Hold Graduate Degrees

There are 114,000 foreign-born blacks in the United States who hold a master’s degree. They make up 4.7 percent of all foreign-born black adults in this country. For native-born African Americans, 3.9 percent of all adults hold a master’s degree. For white Americans, 7.7 percent of all adults hold a master’s degree.

Nearly 2 percent of foreign-born black adults hold either a professional degree or a doctorate. For African Americans, one percent of the total adult population holds a professional degree or a doctorate. For white Americans, 3.1 percent of all adults hold a professional degree or a doctorate.

Often, high-income families in Africa send their children to school in the United States, and a significant percentage of these children decide to stay on in America after completing their education. Other highly educated Africans come to the United States in search of greater economic opportunities than those that exist in their homeland.

New Literary Prize for Fiction Honors Professor Ernest J. Gaines

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation has announced a new literary award for fiction to honor African-American novelist Ernest J. Gaines. Gaines, now a professor and writer in residence at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, is a native of Louisiana. He is the author of eight novels including the Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and A Lesson Before Dying. In 1993 he won a genius award from the MacArthur Foundation. He has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the Nobel Prize for literature.

The Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence will be given out next January to an African-American novelist who published a work of fiction in the 2006 calendar year. The foundation will accept nominations for the $10,000 cash prize until April 30, 2007. Application forms are available online by clicking here.

Barack Obama Pays 15-Year-Old Parking Fines From His Days at Harvard Law School

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, U.S. Senator Barack Obama was a student at Harvard Law School. In fact, Obama was the first African American to serve as editor in chief of the Harvard Law Review.

During his time in Cambridge, Obama amassed 15 tickets for parking violations. Apparently all of the tickets were ignored.

Two weeks before announcing his bid for president of the United States last month, all of the parking fines and late fees were paid in full.

Black Medical School to File Suit Against Los Angeles County

The administration of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles has announced that it plans to file a $125 million lawsuit against the county government. The historically black medical school claims the county unfairly severed its connection with the school and its teaching hospital placing its 248 medical residents in “educational limbo.”

The county downsized the hospital after it failed an inspection and was at risk of losing $200 million in federal funding. In order to maintain the funding, the hospital board voted to downsize the facility and end its role as a teaching facility.

The complaint filed by the medical school alleges that public officials “have sought and continue to seek to make Charles Drew University the scapegoat for the county’s betrayal of its obligations to the impoverished and medically underserved in our community.”

After hearing of the plans for the lawsuit, Mike Antonovich, a county supervisor who has been highly critical of the university’s performance, said, “Drew University will fail in court as they failed as a medical school.”

Oxford University Press Introduces 19-Volume Set of the Complete Works of W.E.B Du Bois

Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates Jr. recently said that “W.E.B. Du Bois was the most arrogant Negro on the face of this earth. He slept in a three-piece suit. He thought he was the Negro.” But Professor Gates also views Du Bois as the greatest black intellectual in history and holds him in the highest regard.

Thus, it is no surprise that Professor Gates is the editor in chief of the new 19-volume set of the complete works of W.E.B. Du Bois, published by Oxford University Press. Included in the set are Du Bois’ celebrated works The Philadelphia Negro and The Souls of Black Folk. In addition to scholarly works on history and sociology, the collection includes fiction, biographies, and autobiographical essays.

The complete 19-volume collection, with more than 5,600 printed pages, is priced at $595.

6.8%  Percentage of whites ages 16 to 24 in 2004 who were neither enrolled in school nor had a high school diploma or equivalent.

11.8%  Percentage of African Americans ages 16 to 24 in 2004 who were neither enrolled in school nor had a high school diploma or equivalent.

source: U.S. Census Bureau

Congressional Hearings Planned on Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights

John Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, plans to hold hearings that will investigate whether the Office for Civil Rights for the U.S. Department of Education has shirked its responsibilities in pursuing desegregation efforts in higher education. Leaders at black colleges and universities in several states have voiced concerns that predominantly white universities have been permitted to establish programs similar to those already in place at historically black universities in those states. If these programs are established, it is probable that they will have the effect of drawing white students away from the programs at the predominantly black universities and therefore increase racial segregation in higher education.


Rudolph Hamilton Green was appointed director of the Office of Institutional Compliance at the University of Texas at Austin. He was an attorney for the law firm Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody.

Green is a graduate of Yale University and holds a law degree and an MBA from the University of Texas.

Robbin Chapman was named manager of diversity recruiting at the School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is a graduate student at MIT completing work on her dissertation.

Katwiwa Mule was promoted from assistant professor to associate professor of comparative literature and Afro-American studies with tenure at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Mule, a native of Kenya, is a graduate of the University of Nairobi and holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Pennsylvania State University.

Lea E. Williams was appointed interim director of the Center for Student Success at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. She also serves as interim associate vice chancellor for academic affairs.

A graduate of Kentucky State University, Williams holds master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and Columbia University. She also earned an educational doctorate at Columbia University.



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