Black Critical Frameworks & Communities at JMU and Beyond, 1968-Present

The students of the African, African American, and Diaspora Studies’ (AAAD) “Black Studies and Black Spaces” Fall 2019 class spent the semester:

  • attending 5 field trips to JMU Special Collections, the Shenandoah Valley Black Heritage Center, the Furious Flower Poetry Center, the Center for Multicultural Student Services, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.;
  • attending 9 faculty-coordinated panels related to students’ individual exhibit topics;
  • doing research in a wide range of primary sources at multiple research sites
  • conducting a total 58 oral history interviews with former and current community members, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and administrators
  • honing 14 individual research projects into the 14 sections of this exhibit.

Their charge was to produce an exhibit to locate Black spaces within James Madison University’s complex history. Although this is only the beginning, the research displayed here explores the structural and symbolic foundations of the current AAAD program, Black student, faculty, and staff organizations, and other campus and community programs throughout the life of the institution. A traveling version of the exhibit has since been installed on the STEM side of campus, and the oral histories recorded by students will soon be transferred for preservation by JMU Special Collections.

Brought to you by:

TaLisha Hairston | Illiana Harris | Zaria Heyward | Norman Jones | Mistire Kifle | Spencer Law | Zenobia Lee-Nelson | Moné Parker | Nico Penaranda | Michelle Pineda-Hernandez | Ashleigh Williams 

Undergraduate research assistance from:

Claire Hietanen | Lillie Jacob | Jenna Conrades

Graduate research assistance from:

Rain Garant | Karen Risch Mott | Marina Shafik 

Faculty directors:

Mollie Godfrey | Besi Muhonja

Student Reflections - 2021

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