RECAP: 2014-15 Welcome Back Celebration

This past Monday, the Black Studies Department was joined by Chancellor Yang, Dean Melvin Oliver and countless other UCSB students & staff, to welcome the inaugural 2014-15 Ella Baker Visiting Professor: Dr. Shana Redmond, Associate Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, and author of Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora (NYU Press, 2014).

This is the first year of the Ella Baker Visiting Professorship in Undergraduate Research in the Department of Black Studies.

Named after Ella Baker, the legendary Black woman activist and teacher, who helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Freedom Schools that taught thousands of African Americans literacy, economic and political skills in the South during the 1960s, this Visiting Professorship was made possible by Chancellor Henry Yang as one of his innovative responses to demands from Black students for more faculty on campus who are committed to engaging Black student interest in an activist and transformational education. UCSB’s Black Student Union played a crucial role in the creation of the new professorship, which was designed to address the interests of undergraduates — particularly black undergraduates — in working closely with faculty members on research and social justice projects. “Student interest and support made the difference,” Stewart concluded. “Which is what Ella Baker believed was true of the Civil Rights Movement.”

Also, this year's "Welcome Back Celebration" ushered in a new wave of Dissertation Year Fellows. Please welcome: Tracy Locke, a doctoral candidate in the Social and Political Thought Program at York University, and Krystal Smalls, a Ph.D. candidate in Africana Studies and Educational Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania.

What a great way to start the 2014-15 Academic Year!