News Archive 2011 - 2012

MercerFAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Christopher C. Mercer, one of the six students who integrated the University of Arkansas School of Law, died Tuesday morning, Nov. 20, in Little Rock.

“Jane and I are saddened by the news of C.C. Mercer’s death,” said U of A Chancellor G. David Gearhart. “We had known him for many, many years and always had the utmost respect for him. He was an outstanding leader and advocate, a great Arkansan and a much loved member of the Razorback community. He will long be remembered and celebrated as one of our most influential alumni. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to his family and salute C.C. for his life of service to others.”

Mercer was the first African American in the South to serve as a deputy state prosecutor and practiced law for more than 58 years, often representing clients of modest means. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the university in May 2011 and received the Silas Hunt Legacy Award in April 2012.

“This is a profound loss for the law school community and the legal profession," said Stacy Leeds, dean of the School of Law. “Mr. Mercer set the perfect example of a lawyer as community leader and public servant. His life is marked by hard work and immeasurable sacrifices, yet he never sought anything in return -- he simply gave.”

Mercer was born in Pine Bluff in 1924 and was one of the law school’s “Six Pioneers,” the first six African American students to enroll at University of Arkansas School of Law. During his time in law school, he supported himself by teaching biology, chemistry and math classes including a business class for veterans at Carver High School in Marked Tree.

“C.C. Mercer’s grace, persistence and good humor set the standard for me,” said Cynthia E. Nance, dean emeritus of the School of Law. “The sacrifices he and the pioneers made paved the way for a more diverse legal profession. I aspire to live up to his example of excellence. I will miss his incredible support and friendship.”

After graduating from the law school in 1955 and passing the bar exam with the highest score in his group, Mercer went on to play an integral part in the legal community and in the civil rights struggle in the state of Arkansas. He was a pivotal figure in the integration of Little Rock Central High School, serving as aide-de-camp for Daisy Bates and transporting the “Little Rock Nine” to and from school each day their first semester. In addition, he was a member of the Arkansas Council on Human Relations and served as the Arkansas field secretary for the NAACP.

“This is a great loss for the university and for the entire state of Arkansas,” said Charles F. Robinson, vice provost for diversity. “C.C. Mercer lived a life filled with achievement and accomplishment. We feel this loss, but we are glad that he is part of U of A and Arkansas history in such a positive way.”

Four University of Arkansas faculty members have been named as Fellows of the Southeastern Conference Academic Leadership Development Program for 2012-2013. The four are: Michael Looper, professor and head of animal science department in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Science; Jeannie Hulen, associate professor of ceramics and chair of the art department in the Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences; Calvin White, Jr., assistant professor of history and director of the African and African American Studies program in the Fulbright College; and Matthew Waller, professor of supply chain management and chair of supply chain management in the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

The program identifies and mentors the next generation of academic leaders SEC schools. Fellows participate in two regional workshops as well as in programs specific to each campus over the course of the academic year.

“The ALDP Fellows represent the strength, talent, and expertise of the faculty at the University of Arkansas,” said Sharon Gaber, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “I could not be more pleased with the group and appreciate their interest in the leadership program. They are excellent representatives of the University and its academic leaders.”

The program is in its fifth year and was an early initiative of the leadership of the SEC academic consortium. When the academic consortium was absorbed into the SEC, the presidents and chancellors chose to continue the leadership development program within the SEC academic initiatives. The four individuals participating for the 2012-13 year are recently appointed to their roles as departmental chairs or academic program directors.

Michael Looper was appointed as head of the animal science department head in September 2011. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Arkansas and his doctorate from Oklahoma State University. Prior to his appointment, Looper was a research animal scientist for the United States Department of Agriculture. He served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith and as an assistant professor and extension research specialist at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

Jeannie Hulen was appointed as department chair of the art department in 2010. She joined department in 2002 and was promoted to associate professor in 2008. She earned a bachelor of fine arts from the Kansas City Art Institute and a master of fine arts in ceramics from Louisiana State University. Her curatorial projects have included organizing major symposia on the contemporary movements in the field of ceramics, serving as an invited art juror for eight exhibitions and art festivals. A member of the University of Arkansas Public Arts Oversight Committee, Hulen has also served as a resident artist at the Graduate Institute of Applied Arts at the Tainan National University in Tainan, Taiwan.

Calvin White, Jr. was appointed director of African and African American Studies in July 2011. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Central Arkansas and his doctorate from the University of Mississippi. He joined the history department as an assistant professor in 2007. White’s scholarship emphasizes Southern and African American religion and his first book, The Rise to Respectability: Race, Religion, and the Church of God in Christ, was published this year by the University of Arkansas Press. He has been nominated for the Imhoff Award for Outstanding Teaching and Student Mentorship and the Omni Center Award for Social Justice and Outreach. White serves on the university-wide Silas B. Hunt Legacy Selection Committee and the Martin Luther King Day Planning Committee. His departmental service includes service on the planning and fiscal committee and the executive committee. He served as a Gilder-Lehrman Fellow at the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York.

Matthew Waller was appointed as the first chair of the newly created supply chain management department in July 2011. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Pennsylvania State University. Waller joined the management and logistics department at the U of A in 1995 after teaching for one year as a visiting assistant professor. He was promoted to full professor in 2007. Waller holds the Garrison Endowed Chair in Supply Chain Management and is co-editor of the Journal of Business Logistics. In 2008, he was the director of the Walton College of Business Executive MBA program in Shanghai, China. He has served as a management consultant to Hewlett-Packard, General Mills, Southwestern Energy, and J.B. Hunt. His opinion pieces have appeared in The Financial Times and in the Wall Street Journal Asia. Waller was the founder and first president of the Northwest Arkansas Roundtable of the Council of Supply Chain Management professionals. Besides serving as a faculty senator, Waller has served on numerous departmental committees.

The Fellows all received strong recommendations from their deans and were selected through a nomination process among faculty who are serving in administrative roles in their departments. The Fellows will attend workshops, along with colleagues from across the Southeastern Conference, at the University of Tennessee in October and at the University of Florida in February.

Kathy Van Laningham, vice provost for planning, serves as the liaison to the Academic Leadership Development Program for the University of Arkansas. She was elected to serve a two-year term as chair of the liaison group beginning this year.

Coin of the Realm posterLatin American Studies Lecture: Dr. Kris Lane
Thursday, November 29, 2012, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM, Giffels Auditorium (Old Main)
“Coin of the Realm: Mint Fraud, Slavery, and the Fall of Potosí”

Kris Lane, the France V. Scholes Professor of Colonial Latin American History at Tulane University, will be delivering a lecture on Thursday night, November 29, at 6:00p.m. at Giffels Auditorium. Dr. Lane is a preeminent historian in colonial Latin American history and has published various monographs and articles on mining, slavery, African and native peoples, and piracy. His works include Quito 1599: City and Colony in TransitionPillaging the Empire: Piracy in the Americas, 1500-1750; and Colour of Paradise: The Emerald in the Age of Gunpowder Empires. He is the General Editor of the Colonial Latin American Review and a member of the Board of Editors of the Hispanic American Historical Review. This lecture is sponsored by African & African American Studies, the History Department, Latin American Studies, the Multicultural Center, and Phi Alpha Theta.

 The University of Arkansas now has access to World News Archive: African Newspapers. This database provides access to more than 40 newspapers published between 1800 and 1922 in Africa.  This is an exciting asset to enriching your research on African topics. For more information, please visit this story and the archive.

Congratulations to those of you returning to the stage and to those of you in your star-making roles! The play, "Waiting to Be Invited", will be presented on April 6 & 7, 2013. Crew roles will be available in the Spring. Thank you for your interest in this unique initiative powered by the AAST Program at the University of Arkansas.

Ms. Louise- LaQuita Deans  (Understudy- Dana Newton)
Ms. Odessa- Kanesha Day
Ms. Delores- Meghan Lewis  (Understudy- Alexzandrea Hollinshed)
Ms. Ruth- Jade Novak  (Understudy- Torneshia Rogers)
Palmeroy Bateman- Prince Duren
s. Grayson- Margaret Gender

EcholesNeed an elective for the spring? A new course has been added for the Spring 2013 semester, AAST 499V-002 "Social Work with African American Families." This course is also cross-listed with SCWK 405V, but you must take the AAST 499V section to receive credit towards your AAST combined major/minor.  For more information, please see the attached flyer or contact the course instructor, Derrick Echoles at


Our African and African American Studies 2013 Spring Courses are now posted.  These courses would be a great addition to your spring schedule.  For more information, contact your academic advisor or our offices at 479-575-2872.

Spring 2013 Courses

So You Want to Be a Teacher posterThe African and African American Studies Program invites you to attend "So You Want to be a Teacher? Things to Consider if You're Not an Education Major" on Wednesday, Nov. 7th at 6:30 PM in the Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education in the Arkansas Union.  The event will feature Dr. Charlene Johnson Carter, Assoc. Professor of Middle Level Education at the University of Arkansas.  This program is focused towards students interested in programs like Teach for America and will discuss certification requirements and teaching in diverse and low-income communities.

Waiting to Be Invited Auditions flyerIt's already time to start planning for one of our most anticipated events, the African and African American Studies Annual Spring Play. This year we will be presenting Waiting to Be Invited.  The play will be directed by Prof. Clinnesha Sibley. Auditions are November 1-2, 4:00-6:00 PM in Giffels Auditorium in Old Main.  Please see the attached flyer for details on this wonderful opportunity.  For new students, our annual spring play is a wonderful opportunity to get involved.  Last year's production of The Colored Museum featured a talented cast and crew of students.  The audience was completely full for both shows and received a great response from the campus and community!  We also need help backstage, too! Please contact Prof. Sibley for behind-the-scenes/crew opportunities a

Spring Play 2013 Audition Flyer

The open period for the NWA MLK Scholarship application is October1-October 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm.  Each scholarship is $1000 for the 2013-2014 school year. Please see the attached Procedures and Guidelines, and Applications for Undergraduate and Graduate/Professional Students. All applications must be emailed in a Microsoft Word document.  Applications received after 5pm on October 30 will not be accepted.

Procedures and Guidelines

MLK Undergrad App

MLK Graduate Professional App

For more information, please contact Peggy Boyles, Scholarship Chair at 479-601-1726.

The Rise to Respectability book coverWe are proud to celebrate the recent release of Dr. Calvin White, Jr.'s new book, The Rise to Respectability .  The following events will be on campus and in our community that will provide you an opportunity to hear about his research and purchase a copy of his book and have it signed. Dr. White  is an Assistant Professor of History and Director of the African and African American Studies Program at the University of Arkansas. He teaches African American and Southern history. Nightbird Books (located at 205 W. Dickson St) will be hosting a reading and book signing on Saturday, October 27th at 2PM.

SibleyClinnesha D. Sibley, Assistant Professor in the Drama Department, has won the Athena Project's 2012 "Plays in Progress Series" held in June and July.  Professor Sibley's play,  Tell Martha Not to Moan, was selected from 6 new works to be produced in the Athena Project Festival in March of 2013.  The play will have a three-week run in the Aurora Fox Theater of Denver, CO.  Tell Martha Not to Moan commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Detroit riots and is set in an African American's Detroit home during the 2008 presidential election, featuring themes of love and hope integrated with history.  For more information, please click here.

Congratulations, Prof. Sibley! 

Labor's Prophets in New Deal Arkansas and AmericaAfrican and African American Studies and the Department of History invite you to joins us for "Labor Prophet's in New Deal Arkansas and America: A Talk by Erik Gellman and Jarod Roll about their coauthored book, The Gospel of the Working Class" on Monday, October 22nd at Kimpel 314 at 1:30 PM. Erik Gellman is an Associate Professor at Roosevelt University and Jarod Roll is the Director of the Marcus Cunliffe Center for the Study of the American South at the University of Sussex. Their book will be available for purchase and signing at a 40% discount following the lecture. 

African and African American Studies, 479-575-2872.

Equality and Justice Conference posterThe African and African American Studies and the School of Social Work of the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences are sponsoring "Equity & Justice: Through the Eyes of Underserved Populations" conference on Wednesday, October 17th and October 18th. The conference begins with a panel discussion of the experiences and needs of Africans/African Americans in the NWA area at 2PM on the 17th featuring Jesse Bryant and Dr. Charlene Johnson.  The keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Jeanette Davidson, Professor of Social Work from the University of Oklahoma, at 4PM that day in the Multicultural Center Conference Room.  Panel sessions begin at 9AM on Thursday, the 18th in both the School of Social Work Library and Mullins 104.   A full schedule of the invited presentations and topics is attached.  The events are open to the campus and community.

Equity and Justice Conference Poster

Coffee with the ProfessorsPlease join the African and African American Studies program for Coffee with the Professors on October 4th, from 12:30-2:30 PM. Drop by and enjoy coffee, pizza, and other refreshments while chatting with your professors in a casual setting.  We will have  a drawing for door prizes! An informational flyer is attached.  The event will be in our African and African American Studies Office, located at Stonehenge #24.  Stonehenge is directly across from the Duncan Avenue Apartments, at the corner of Duncan and Center. For more information, please call 479-575-2872. 

BillingsCongratulations to Dr. Sabrina Billings, assistant professor in World Languages Department, who is named a Fulbright College Connor Faculty Fellow.  Ten outstanding assistant professors were awarded this honor and given funds to support their career advancement in recognition of the outstanding teaching, research, and service they provide to the college and its students.  The fund is endowed by Robert and Sandra Connor of Little Rock to provide essential faculty development opportunities to rising academic experts in the college.  Annually, a college committee, including the dean, designates up to 10 assistant professors who are worthy of this award by excellent contributions to the college and their department.  The award is used to facilitate travel, expand research initiatives, and support classroom experiences.

The Rise to Respectability book coverThe Rise to Respectability 
Race, Religion, and the Church of God in Christ 
Calvin White Jr.

Comprehensive history of the Church of God in Christ

"In his prudently revisionist account of the early career of Charles H. Mason and the origins of the Church of God in Christ, Calvin White Jr. shows that the church has on several key occasions tentatively engaged worldly concerns, including opposition to World War I, social-uplift missionary efforts in Africa, and cautious cooperation with Dr. King in the Memphis garbage workers strike of 1968. A valuable addition to the historiography of COGIC." 
—John B. Boles, Rice University

“A timely and valuable contribution to the fields of African American history, religious studies, and southern history. White’s work sheds light on the dynamic interplay between religion, class dynamics, race, culture, and evolving notions of uplift and conformity. Will be enjoyed by readers of all levels and interests.” 
—Charles W. McKinney Jr., author of Greater Freedom: The Evolution of the Civil Rights Struggle in Wilson, North Carolina

“A complex, important, and amazing story of religion, race, class, civil rights, and history. Required reading for all serious students of the black church.” 
—Reg Hildebrand, author of The Times Were Strange and Stirring: Methodist Preachers and the Crisis of Emancipation

“Uncovers a great deal of valuable historical data and provides one of the very few full-length examinations of the most important group in black Pentecostalism.” 
—Paul Harvey, author of Through the Storm, Through the Night: A 
History of African American Christianity

The Rise to Respectability documents the history of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) and examines its cultural and religious impact on African Americans and on the history of the South. It explores the ways in which Charles Harrison Mason, the son of slaves and founder of COGIC, embraced a Pentecostal faith that celebrated charismatic forms of religious expression that many blacks had come to view as outdated, unsophisticated, and embarrassing.

While examining the intersection of race, religion, and class, The Rise to Respectability details how the denomination dealt with the stringent standard of bourgeois behavior imposed on churchgoers as they moved from southern rural areas into the urban centers in both the South and North. 
Rooted in the hardships of slavery and coming of age during Jim Crow, COGIC’s story is more than a religious debate. Rather, this book sees the history of the church as interwoven with the Great Migration, the struggle for modernity, class tension, and racial animosity—all representative parts of the African American experience.

Calvin White Jr. is assistant professor of history and director of the African and African American Studies Program at the University of Arkansas. He teaches African American and southern history.

The Church of God in Christ has nearly five million members in the United States. It is the largest Pentecostal church and the fifth largest Christian church in the country.

6 x 9 • 239 pages 
$34.95 (s) cloth • 978-1-55728-977-3 
e-book available • 978-1-61075-510-8

FaganFagan to teach English and African and African American courses.

The Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences has hired Benjamin Fagan to serve as assistant professor in the department of English while also teaching courses in African and African American Studies. His teaching interests include African American literature and culture, late 18th century American literature and 19th century American literature, American studies, cultural studies and composition. 

"We’re tremendously pleased to have Dr. Fagan joining our department,” said Dorothy Stephens, professor of English and department chair. “He will help us forge a closer relationship with the program of African and African American studies, since he was far and away the top choice both of that program and of our department. His particular areas of expertise will make it easy for us to cross-list most of his courses with African and African American studies.”

Fagan is currently working to expand his dissertation, “The Black Newspaper and the American Nation, 1827-1862,” into a book. His study examines the role of the black press in shaping an identity and society within, but separate from, the United States in antebellum America.

He is also the author of several articles published in journals such as Comparative American Studies and American Periodicals, as well as a collection of essays titled
Transnational American Studies.

“Professor Fagan designed and taught ‘African American Literature and the Media’ and ‘Race and Racism,’ while at the University of Virginia,” said Calvin White, assistant
professor of history and director of the University of Arkansas African and African American studies program. “We’re excited to have a new colleague with such drive and

Fagan has given invited talks across the United States as well as in Dublin, London and Wurzburg, Germany. His papers and presentations examine a variety of topics covered by African American newspapers in the years leading up to emancipation.

"I am thrilled to be joining the University of Arkansas, and excited about working with my new students and colleagues in English and African & African-American studies," said

Fagan founded and organized a cultural studies group while studying at the University of Virginia and was the co-organizer of a session entitled “Scriptural Politics: Re-Imagining the Bible in 19th Century U.S. Culture” at a Society of Nineteenth Century Americanists Conference at Penn State (2010). Fagan was also active in the Graduate English Student Association, holding such positions as mentor, treasurer, and area representative. He served as a research assistant for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation from 2005-2006 where he researched demographics and race on Jefferson’s estate. While there, he designed and implemented an electronic database for the foundation to facilitate access to such records. He also worked as a research assistant for the Uncle Tom’s Cabin and American Culture digital archive.

Fagan holds a bachelor of arts in English from the University of Iowa (2004) and a doctorate in English Language and Literature from the University of Virginia (2011).

Darinda Sharp, director of communications
Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences

Our study abroad program "Ghana: Discovering the Truth Behind Africa's Past" has been in classes here at U of A campus for the past two weeks. Sunday we will depart to Ghana for 3 weeks.  We are beyond excited for this opportunity.  Our students are looking forward to the experiences they will have throughout the country of Ghana.  We have a great group and will be sharing our experiences and photographs when we return.  If you missed out on this year's program, please look to join in 2014.  We offer substantial study abroad scholarships for our high achieving students so that they are able to participate in this life-changing educational experience. 

The 2012 Arkansas New Play Festival
UPROOTED by Clinnesha Dillon Sibley
Friday, May 18, 7:30pm at Walton Arts Center's Nadine Baum Studios

A richly drawn treatment of a timeless scenario by an award-winning Arkansas playwright. What happens when long-separated siblings reunite after the death of a parent? When successful film actress Venus Kettle returns to Indianola, Mississippi, to her mother's "home going," she is greeted by her sisters with a wide range of emotions, from enthusiastic glee to cold-shoulder resentment. In the meantime the play follows the parallel story of Venus's brother, who is incarcerated in a facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Uprooted is moving tribute to the redemptive power of family.

Clinnesha D. Sibley (Uprooted) is an actor, director, published poet (It’s in My Blood, Dorrance Publishers, 1999) and an award-winning playwright. Her plays have previously been selected for Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s Voices at the River Playwriting Residency, the Great Plains Theatre Conference Play Labs, TheatreSquared’s Arkansas New Play Festival, the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, and Penumbra Theatre’s highly acclaimed Word(s)PLAY! Program. Her previous Arkansas New Play Festival project, Tell Martha Not to Moan, later received the Holland New Voices Award as a Mainstage selection to the Great Plains Theatre Conference in 2011, was a semifinalist for the 2012 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, and will be presented for the Athena Project Voices of Women Artists Series. Her short play Bound by Blood was recently selected by NY Playwrights for their Play of the Month Series, will be performed at the 2012 DC Black Theatre Festival New Reading Series, and will be published by Black Magnolias Literary Journal. She has mentored young playwrights through TheatreSquared’s Young Playwrights Showcase and Arts Live Theatre’s Summer Youth Conservatory. In 2009, she received the Key Woman Educator in Drama Award from the Iota Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society. Her on-going research and dramaturgy focuses on the African American Civil Rights Movement of the sixties and the contemporary manifestation of the struggles and milestones from that time period. She holds an MFA in Playwriting from the University of Arkansas, where she currently serves as assistant professor of drama.

The African and African American Studies Program is pleased to announce that our study abroad program, in partnership with the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, will depart for Ghana in less than one month.  This is the second run of this program since it began in 2010.  About 15 students will be participating in the program and consist of a diverse range of majors and studies at the University of Arkansas.  Several of the students participating in this program are funded through the African and African American Studies Study Abroad Scholarship, in recognition for academic achievement and program involvement.  We are very excited for these students to experience African and African American studies beyond the classroom and immerse themselves in Ghanaian culture.  The 2012 program is being led by faculty members Dr. Calvin White, Jr. and Dr. Andrea Arrington.  Students will earn 6 hours of undergraduate credit, with coursework covering Ghana's journey to independence and its involvement in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.  If you missed out on this year's trip, we encourage you to stay tuned for the future installments of this program.   The next program will be offered in the summer of 2014, and we hope you will join us! Be sure to check our website and facebook page for updates from our group's experience and their travels.

What's the 411 logoDr. Calvin White, Jr., the Director of the U of A's African and African American Studies Program, will be featured on WFSK 88.1's "What's the 411 with Sharon Kay." Please click here to listen to the announcement. Dr. White's research focuses on the extent to which class, respectability, and the efforts of racial uplift intersected in the development of African Americans‘ religious traditions and racial identity after emancipation in the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta. He is especially interested in East African religious traditions and the connections between African American and African Pentecostals‘ traditions. Dr. White is currently revising his manuscript They Danced and Shouted into Obscurity: A History of the Black Holiness Movement, 1897-1961. He is the recipient of several national fellowships. Most recently, Dr. White served as a Gilder-Lehrman Fellow at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York.

WilliamsAuthor of Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr

You are invited to Nightbird Books (located on Dickson St.) this Friday, April 27th at 7PM for a discussion with Michael Williams on his new book, Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr.  Dr. Williams is an Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies at Mississippi State University.  He earned his Ph.D. in 2007 from the University of Mississippi. "An important and readable study of this seminal leader and the history of the civil rights movement."--Publishers Weekly

The Colored Museum play posterThe African and African American Studies Program invites you to see The Colored Museum by George Wolfe and directed by Prof. Clinnesha D. Sibley. The Colored Museum is "satirical exhibit of stories that illuminate race relations in America." Performances will be Thursday, April 19th and Friday, April 20th at Giffels Auditorium in Old Main at 7:30 PM.  There will be a talk back session following the Thursday night performance, and a reception following the Friday night performance. Admission is free! Note: this play features adult language.

For more information, please contact Clinnesha Sibley at

DowePlease join the African and African American Studies Program for our April presentation in our Brown Bag Lecture Series on Wednesday, April 18th at 11:30-12:20 PM in Old Main 412.  Dr. Pearl Dowe, Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department, will be presenting "African Americans and Obama’s Domestic Policy Agenda:  A Closer Look at Deracialization, the Federal Stimulus Bill, and the Affordable Care Act."  The forum is designed to be informal, so bring your lunch and enjoy the talk.

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Please join the African and African American Studies for our March presentation in our Brown Bag Lecture Series on March 27th at 12PM in Old Main 412.  Dr. Elliott West, Distinguished Professor in the History Department in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas, will be presenting "Race and the California Gold Rush."  The forum is designed to be informal, so bring your lunch and enjoy the talk.

Kyle Kellams, of KUAF's Ozarks at Large, interviews Al Bell about his experience as a disc jockey and an entrepreneur in the music industry.

For the full video footage of Al Bell's presentation from our February 23, 2012 program, "An Evening with Al Bell," please click the following link:

Our Town painting by Kerry MarshallCalvin White Jr., director of African and African American studies at the University of Arkansas, and Anne Kraybill, school programs manager at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, will give an interpretative talk at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, of the painting Our Town, by Kerry James Marshall. The talk will be held in front of the painting in the Late Twentieth-Century Gallery. For more information, please click here.

An Evening with Al Bell articleThe African and African American Studies Program of the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of Diversity Programs of the Sam M. Walton College of Business invite you to attend "An Evening with Al Bell" on February 23rd, at 6 PM in the Arkansas Union Theatre.  Mr. Bell was the former Chairman of Stax Records, where he worked with musical icons Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, the Staples Singers, and the Emotions.  Mr. Bell also served as the former President of Motown Records, and worked with artists including Prince and Tag Team, producing their 1993 hit, "Whoomp! (There it is)."  The lecture on February 23rd will include a performance of Stax Records and Motown hits performed by the University's Jazz Ensemble directed by Dr. James Greeson.  Mr. Bell will discuss the crossroads of music and the Arkansas/Mississippi Delta and its cultural impact. A reception with refreshments will follow the lecture. 

In an interview with local news station, KNWA, Dr. Pearl Ford Dowe, Assistant Professor in Political Science, finds that we are not yet living in a post-racial society.

The Essence of History Fashion Show posterOn February 9th at 7PM in the Verizon Ballroom in the Union, The Essence of History Fashion Show will take place.  This is an event hosted by the University of Arkansas Black Students Association in partnership with the African and African American Studies Program that will spotlight the achievements of African Americans in the United States and abroad through fashion. The night will be entertaining as well as educational. With dancers, music, and fun, the event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC so please come out and have a great night celebrating the Essence of History!!!!!! 

Remember Daisy BatesPlease join the UofA NAACP chapter and the Lambda Theta chapter of Delta Sigma Theta for a program, "Remembering Daisy Bates," on February 2, 2012 at 5:30PM in the Multicultural Center of the Arkansas Union.

The State of the Black College StudentThe Black History Month Council invites you to attend “The State of the Black College Student,” Wednesday, February 1st, at the Arkansas Union Theatre at 7 PM.  The event includes a screening of the documentary, “The State of the Black College Student,” followed by a discussion with the film’s writer and producer, Dr. Darryl (Doc) Scriven, and reception.  Hosted by the Black Students Association, Sankofa, the Black Graduate Student Association, the UA Multicultural Center, and Connections, this event will begin a dialogue about the state of the African American student in college, including what hurdles must be overcome, as well as what victories have been made. It is a 30-minute documentary that explores college graduation rates, loan debt, and skill acquisition through the lens of African American students.  This event is made possible by student fee money allocated by the Associated Student Government. 

The deadline for our Ghana: Discovering the Truth Behind Africa's Past Study Abroad Summer 2012 program is fast approaching.  The study abroad application deadline is February 1, 2012.  It is FREE to apply.  To clarify, the study abroad application is REQUIRED to participate in the program and is separate from our scholarship application. You do not need to have a passport at the time of application. If you are applying for a passport, simply notify the study abroad office that you are applying for one but have not yet received it.  They will require a copy of your passport as soon as you do receive it though, but it is not necessary to have it by the February 1st deadline.  As a declared minor/combined major in African and African American Studies, you are eligible to receive a scholarship award towards the study abroad program. The study abroad scholarship application is only for those students in our program applying for the Ghana: Discovering the Truth program for summer 2012.  We will be holding an information session for the study abroad program on January 25th at 3:30 PM, in Old Main 203.  Additionally, the AAST program also offers scholarships for the 2012-2013 school year.  These are separate from the study abroad scholarships.  Students are encouraged to apply for both a study abroad scholarship and an academic year 2012-13 scholarship.  Students are allowed to be awarded both scholarships.  Please note that there are two forms. The new student scholarship application is for students who have never received a scholarship from the program before and the returning student scholarship application is for students who have received a scholarship from the program before.  As you apply, please be sure to follow the guidelines stated on the application.  Students applying for the study abroad scholarship must have two letters of recommendation, all other students only need one, preferably from faculty members of the African and African American Studies program.  All applicants are required to submit an official transcript including their Fall 2011 grades.  Additionally, please keep in mind that our scholarships are selected upon academics and program involvement.  The scholarship deadline is January 27, 2012.  We look forward to your applications. If you have any further questions, please e-mail Dr. Gigantino at

Study Abroad Scholarship Application 2012

AAST New Student Scholarship Application 2012

AAST Returning Students Scholarship Application 2012

We are preparing for our annual spring play and proudly congratulate he cast of The Colored Museum, which will be run April 19-20th, and be directed by Professor Clinnesha Sibley!                  

Corderro Baxter, Courtney Bradford, Keeling Carter, Raven Cook, LaQuita Deans, Prince Duren, J.P. Green, Earl Hill, Myrlinda Huff, Mary Margaret Hui, Sherrelle Lewis, Cherelle Miller, and Torneshia Rogers 

University of Arkansas Libraries will host a prescreening of the PBS documentary Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock, on Thursday, January 19th at 2PM in the Donald W. Reynolds Center as part of the MLK Day Celebration.  The film's producer and director, Sharon La Cruise, will be present to discuss the film's issues and historical context.  For more information, please click here.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day poster

Coffee with the Professors posterOur final Coffee with the Professors for this semester will be Thursday, December 8th, from 12-2PM in Old Main 516.  We invite you to come and enjoy coffee and snacks while meeting with your professors in an informal setting.  This is a great time to ask advising and/or study questions, as well as getting to know our faculty better.

Morgan book signing posterDr. Gordon Morgan, University of Arkansas Professor in the Sociology Department, will be featured at a book signing on Thursday, November 17th from 4-6PM in the Multicultural Center located in the student union.  Dr. Morgan will be celebrating his newest book, Sixty Years a Que. The book will be available for purchase by cash or check on sight and with a 10% discount to faculty and staff members. For more information, please see the attached flyer. 

As you plan your Spring 2012 semester, please consider enrolling in one of the African and African American Studies courses offered next semester.

Spring 2012 Courses

The Colored Museum Auditions flyerAfrican and African American Studies will be presenting the play The Colored Museum in Spring 2012.  Auditions are open to the campus and will be held November 3rd and 4th in Kimpel 402 from 5:30-8:30PM.  Please see the attached flyer for more information. STUDENTS MUST SIGN UP ON THE BULLETIN BOARD OUTSIDE OF KIMPEL HALL 217. Auditions are campus-wide. Each student has (5) minutes to present (2) contrasting monologues [i.e. a selection from a drama & a comedy will suffice]. If your monologue is not fully memorized, please be very familiar with the content and arrive 5 minutes before your audition time. Dress comfortably. No prior acting experience is required.

Dr. Brett Shadle, Associate Professor of African History at Virginia Tech, visited us a couple of weeks ago for his lecture "Humiliation and the Colonial Condition in Kenya."  During his visit, Kyle Kellams of local NPR radio station, KUAF, interviewed him.

Nikki Giovanni Visit posterThe U of A welcomes poet, Nikki Giovanni, on campus October 20th at 7PM in the Union Ballroom.  This event is free and open to the public.

Coffee with the Professors posterAfrican and African American Studies invites you to join us for Coffee with the Professors, October 26th from 1:00PM-2:15PM in Old Main 516.  We will provide coffee and refreshments so that you can discuss study issues, advising questions, or other queries about our program with faculty members in a casual setting.  We look forward to seeing you there!

African and African American Studies welcomes guest lecturer, Dr. Brett Shadle of Virginia Tech, Department History as he presents "Humiliation and the Colonial Condition" on Thursday, September 22 at 4 PM in Giffels Auditorium of Old Main.  Please join us for this exciting talk!

Brett Shadle Lecture flyer

MorganSixty Years a Que book coverDr. Gordon Morgan of the Sociology Department has published a new book on the Black Greek experience. "Sixty Years a Que: Greek Letter Societies and the African American Community" is Dr. Morgan's memoir dedicated to the many young people who are curious about what black "Greekdom" was about over 50 years ago.  For the full article, please follow the link here.

Congratulations, Dr. Morgan! 

The Gospel Feast posterDr. Eddie Jones and The Gospel Feast Chorale present "The Gospel Feast©" October 15, 2011 at 6:30 pm at Springdale First Assembly of God. Individual tickets are $30; table sponsorships are $275 which include reserved seating for eight and program recognition.  The Gospel Feast is a production which incorporates music, drama, and multi-media in telling the story of the development of black gospel music from Africa to present-day.  Guests are treated to a four-course meal, typical of what was available to slaves, including: soup, salad, 1/2 baked chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, roll, dessert, & tea/water/coffee.  The Gospel Feast, Inc is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization.   For more information, call Maxine Jones at 479-200-6530.

ABCC Call for Papers posterThe Association for Black Culture Centers (ABCC) is now accepting abstracts for their 21st annual ABCC National Conference "Going Back to Our Future: The Importance of Black Culture."  This conference will be co-hosted with Wright State University's Bolinga Black Cultural Resources Center in Dayton, Ohio, October 27-30.  Paper submissions should be sent to Fred L. Hord, Ph.D., ABCC Executive Director, Founder Chair, Black Studies, Knox College, c/o, 2 E. South St., K-173 Galesburg IL 61041-4199, PH: 309-341-7224  FAX: 309-341-7079.  For more information, please see the attached picture file.

Welcome back, students! We're excited for a great year with African and African American Studies.  This year we are looking forward to our fall 2011 New Orleans trip, Ghana study abroad (summer 2012), and several other exciting events for you. We hope to see you at our booth at Razorbash, the university's information fair on August 25th, 11AM-2PM at the Union Mall, between Mullins Library and the Union.  Also, please check out our fall classes if you are looking to enroll.

AAST Summer and Fall 2011

Juneteenth posterThe Northwest Arkansas' Commemoration of African American Emancipation invites you to join in the 2011 Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday June 11th, 11AM-3PM.  Austyn King will perform as the headliner concert with opening act by Kenyon the Dawn.  The event will be held at the Jones Center (922 E. Emma Avenue in Springdale).  All Activities are free, and any proceeds from this event will go towards the Martin Luther King Book Scholarship.  There will also be a special runway show by East Meets West Spa and Salon.  

Little Rock Film Festival Screenings:

  • June 3rd at 5:30pm at the Clinton School of Public Service
  • June 4th at 1:00pm at Riverdale Cinemas

Victims and perpetrators of Sierra Leone's brutal civil war come together for the first time in an unprecedented program of tradition-based truth-telling and forgiveness ceremonies. Through reviving their ancient practice of fambul tok (family talk), Sierra Leoneans are building sustainable peace at the grassroots level -- succeeding where the international community's post-conflict efforts failed. Filled with lessons for the West, this film explores the depths of a culture that believes that true justice lies in redemption and healing for individuals -- and that forgiveness is the surest path to restoring dignity and building strong communities.

Fambul Tok on Twitter
Fambul Tok on Facebook

African American Drama, taught by Clinnesha Dillon Sibley, will be performing their final play AIDS on the Rampage, Thursday, May 12th at 7PM.  The performance will take place in Kimpel Hall 402 and admission is free. This play discusses the effects and causes of AIDS in everyday life.  Click here for the flyer. 

Clinnesha Dillon Sibley

 African and African American Studies would like to congratulate our 2011-2012 scholarship winners.  Our annual scholarship is awarded each year to students who are seeking either a combined major or minor in our study.  The competitive scholarship is based upon academic merit and program involvement.  Congratulations to all award recipients, and please stay in touch next fall for the next application round.

Our 2011-2012 African and African American Studies Scholarship recipients are: Corsalyn Allen, Courtney Bradford, Lauren Burkhalter, Jerrica Burns, Amy Carson, Raven Cook, Trase Cunningham, Iesha Green, Seth Hayes, Alexandria Jackson, Tomario King, Phillip Lewis, Jaleesa Limbrick, Melanie Monts, Mirelle Pierini, Imani Smith, Rachel Ryan, Lauren Weems, Anitra Wilson, and Khaleel White.

ArringtonDr. Arrington has been awarded a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend.  This award will allow Dr. Arrington to put the final touches on her manuscript Turning Water into Gold: The Commercialization of Victoria Falls, 1880-2008.  Her work focuses on the tourist trade in Victoria Falls, Zambia, and the borderlands between Zambia and Zimbabwe.  Included in this manuscript are key topics of imperialism, colonialism, and gender.  To read the full article, click here.

FletcherTina Fletcher, University of Arkansas Alum and African and African American Studies Major, is enjoying an impressive amount of success following her studies at the U of A.  Achievements include an master's degree in education from Harvard University, an internship in the First Lady's office, and teaching high school at Anacostia High School in Washington D.C.  

Dr. Charles Robinson, Vice Provost for Diversity,  will be discussing his latest book, Forsaking All Others: A True Story of Interracial Sex and Revenge in the 1880s South at the Fayetteville Public Library, May 1st at 2 PM in the library's Walker Room.  Dr. Robinson's book explores the court case of an interracial couple who attempted to formalize their relationship in post-Reconstruction South, in defiance of society's laws and conventions.  

For more information, call 479-856-7250

Shakespeare in Harlem by Langston Hughes is a garland of verses about the "dream deferred" to which Lorraine Hansberry refers to in her acclaimed play, A Raisin in the Sun.  This experimental play was written in 1942, but speaks loudly to current generations.  It is a compilation of poetry, music, and dance that explores black theatricality including themes of race, identity, relationship, and spirituality. Direction and choreography by African and African American Studies faculty member, Clinnesha Dillon Sibley, who will also be featured in the ensemble.  Other cast members include university drama majors Dalaura Patton and Krys Garrett, and MFA playwriting candidate, Prince Duren.  Your presence will be a huge encouragement to them! Sibley finds this is a "feel-good show of the year" type of play, so please join us! Shakespeare in Harlem will be performed Saturday, April 9, 7:30PM in the Union Theatre.   Admission is free and open to the public. Run time approx. 45 min.

Special thanks to the UofA's African American Resource Group.  

Clinnesha Dillon Sibley,, 479-575-7614.

Students, the deadline for applications for the Freedom Riders 50th Anniversary Reunion trip May 21-27 has been extended to April 7th. The cost of the trip is $50.  For more information please see the event flyer  and the the official website for the Freedom Riders Reunion here.

Dr. Veronikha Salazar, , 479-575-8405.

Sankofa, the African and African American Studies Registered Student Organization, will be hosting the Ghana Study Abroad Reflection event on Tuesday, March 29 in the Union room 508, from 5-6:30 PM.  We will be exploring the experience of the African and African American Studies' study abroad program, which debuted in June 2010.  There will be several students who attended the study abroad there, as well as pictures and souvenirs to look at.  All are welcome to come and learn about Ghana, and the experience of studying abroad. We will have a variety of refreshments as well.  Please see our flyer for more information or e-mail Mary Margaret at

Sankofa 3-29 Event Flyer

AAST Summer and Fall 2011

In Winter 2009, the town of Coccaglio, Italy implemented a “White Christmas” campaign designed to rid the town of African workers; further south, in the Calabria region, migrant workers were driven from several small towns at gun point. Brittany Rodgers, a history major in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and Honors College student, is exploring why Italy is experiencing these racial tensions when traditionally it has enjoyed a lively exchange of goods – and people – with the African continent. She recently returned from five months in Italy, where she studied modern Italian politics and collected people’s stories.

“There’s a lot of tension there,” she said, adding that for her honors thesis, “I need to provide historical context, from post-World War II forward.” Rodgers emphasized that the trip to Italy, her first time abroad, was invaluable to her research: “Going to Italy helped me understand things from a different perspective. In history, you have to be able to distance yourself a bit.”

Rodgers discussed her trip, her work with faculty mentor Andrea Arrington, and why history matters in an interview with Kyle Kellams, news director for KUAF 91.3. The interview, one of a series on student/faculty research collaborations in the Honors College, aired on “Ozarks at Large” on Wednesday, March 16.

Charles Robinson, left, Bill Schwab and Calvin White discuss details of an exchange program before signing a memorandum of understanding with Cape Coast University in Ghana.FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas students and faculty will now be able to study at the University of Cape Coast on the West coast of Africa, and students from Cape Coast will take courses at the Fayetteville campus, thanks to a memorandum of understanding recently signed by representatives from both universities.

A delegation consisting of Calvin White, assistant professor of history; Charles Robinson, vice provost for diversity; and William Schwab, dean of the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, traveled to Ghana in February to meet with leaders at the University of Cape Coast, which is situated within 10- and 15-minute drives of two major slave castles, dungeons used to house slaves before they were auctioned off and shipped to plantations.

The location, said White, is important for Arkansas students and faculty who want to understand the impact of the slave trade that flourished along the West African coast from the early 1600s to the 1800s. Many of the more than 10 million people who left Africa as slaves landed in colonial America.

“The whole liberal arts department at Cape Coast focuses on the slave trade. It is important for students to dispel myths about Africa as ‘the dark continent.’ By studying in Ghana, they can walk away with a much better understanding of the culture and what in history has created widespread poverty in the country,” said White.

Conversely, students at Cape Cod have many assumptions about America and African Americans. In general, said White, they see America as the land of milk and honey and many know little, if anything, about the American civil rights movement.

The memorandum calls for faculty and student exchanges, for both a semester and the summer. The University of Arkansas is the first school in the Southeast Conference to have a formal agreement with Cape Coast, which as 16,000 students led by the first female chancellor in the country.

The relationship with Cape Coast began during the summer of 2010, when White and Andrea Arrington, assistant professor of history, led a group of students to Ghana in a unique program that immersed students in the culture and often brutal history of Ghana, once the center of the British slave trade.

“This is our first study abroad program to West Africa, a region that has had a profound impact on the history of America,” said Charles Adams, associate dean for international programs in Fulbright College. “It’s certainly true to the vision of Fulbright, an internationalist who understood better than most the effort we must make to be inclusive in how we see the world.”

This year’s lectures included:

  • Dr. Jim Gigantino “Thomas Jefferson and the African American Fight for Freedom: Abolition in New Jersey, 1790-1804”
  • Dr. Terrence Tucker “Blackness Unbound: Post-Raciality in Toni Morrison's A Mercy and August Wilson'sRadio Golf
  • Dr. Calvin White “Race, Religion, and Economic Uplift in the New South City of Memphis"