A Trio of African American Faculty Members Taking on New Assignments

Cynthia Oliver a professor of dance and associate vice chancellor for research in the humanities, arts, and related fields at the University of Illinois, was appointed to the faculty of the Center for Advanced Study at the university. The appointment is one of the highest forms of campus recognition at the university Dr. Oliver’s work is a mélange of dance theater and spoken word, incorporating textures of Caribbean performance with African and American sensibilities. She joined the dance faculty at the university in August 2000.

Dr. Oliver is the author of Queen of the Virgins: Pageantry and Black Womanhood in the Caribbean (University Press of Mississippi, 2009). She holds a Ph.D. in performance studies from New York University.

Bradford Grant, a professor of architecture at Howard University in Washington, D.C.,  has been named the first Instagram Artist-in-Residence at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. He will be on sabbatical leave for the Fall 2020 semester to dedicate his time to creating works as the artist-in-residence. Professor Grant joined the faculty at Howard University in 2007 after chairing the department of architecture at Hampton University in Virginia.

Professor Grant is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. He holds a master of architecture degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Alexander X. Byrd, associate professor of history at Rice University in Houston, Texas, was given the added duties of serving as the inaugural vice provost for diversity, equity, and inclusion at the university. Dr. Byrd also serves as co-chair of the university’s Task Force on Slavery, Segregation, and Racial Injustice. He is the author of Captives and Voyagers: Black Migrants across the Eighteenth-Century British Atlantic World (Louisiana State University Press, 2008).

Dr. Byrd is a graduate of Rice University. He earned a Ph.D. in history at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.


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