Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

Truths, Triumphs, and Testaments of Hope When Campus and Community Voices Rise (Guest Editorial)

Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

Truths, Triumphs, and Testaments of Hope When Campus and Community Voices Rise (Guest Editorial)

Article excerpt

This special issue was conceptualized as I (Ty-Ron Douglas) reflected on the 2015 uprising on my campus, The University of Missouri. My positionality as a faculty member in the College of Education and my engagement with Mizzou Athletics in 2015-two campus units from which key student activists and leaders of the movement emerged-provided me with a unique purview and opportunity to engage in thoughtful, critically engaged leadership. A number of student leaders of our campus uprising were and remain mentees of mine. I had conducted one-on-one interviews and built meaningful relationships with 52 of our Black male student athletes through an NCAA grant funded study in 2015; and I was serving as a Mizzou Men4Men committee member and a contributor and consultant in the development of the Tiger Leadership Institute within Mizzou Athletics in 2015. As a member of the Men4Men Committee within Mizzou Athletics in fall 2015, I co-organized a forum for all of our male student-athletes on race and racism that led to a powerfully constructive conversation amidst our athletes. My perspective and expertise were sought by top university and system-level administrators as campus tensions simmered to a boil. I engaged and mobilized faculty, and supported and advocated for our students. I saw a lot. The work required that I cross borders into territory that is typically off limits for a then assistant professor. I was and am a border crossing brotha-scholar (Douglas, 2016). In fact, as former university president, Tim Wolfe, was resigning from office, I was literally in an upper-deck suite/conference room of the football stadium teaching and presenting findings of my study to the former athletic director and his cabinet on racism, systems of oppression, and the lenses and leadership needed by administrators and coaches to bring about systemic and systematic change-particularly as it relates to the experiences of Black athletes. Like many leaders and voices of past and present movements, some contributions and contributors do not need to be chronicled in a documentary or compromised for a fleeting tweet or quotable newspaper quote. To do so could undermine the mission, prematurely celebrating a successful battle when there's a larger war against injustice still being fought nationally and globally. And still, there are times when we must reflect, reverse engineer the methods and machinations of past movements, recommit to innovate and inspire the next wave of activism, and let voices rise. This special issue is such a space.

As I (Kmt G. Shockley) work toward completion of the special issue and I reflect on Black people's place on the national and international stage as it relates to activism, I am reminded of John Ogbu's (1993) foundational work that focuses on recognizing the different cultural frames of reference. Ogbu points out that the way that people have come into the United States, in many ways determines their positionality and place within the society. Ogbu's insight into the ways that cultural frames of reference can make a difference can be quite instructive as we think about the ways that activism can mean different things to different people depending on their cultural frame of reference and ultimately their positionality. The 1960s is thought of as a time when Blacks in the U.S. were fighting for civil and human rights. Having been born after that era, it is apparent how the struggle then has created the cultural frame of reference that I have now as an African American who has benefitted from those who came before me. Yet, I am also aware that those who struggled in the 60s were, themselves, within a context that afforded them a cultural frame of reference. Prior to the 1960s, Blacks in the U.S. had been victims of hateful behavior such as chattel slavery, black codes, Jim Crow, lynching, de jure segregation, and rampant police brutality. Considering the conditions that were created by those laws and behaviors, Black people found themselves in a cultural context where what they needed was both civil and human rights. …

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