New NHC Institute Builds on Efforts to Strengthen Teaching in African American Studies | National Humanities Center

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New NHC Institute Builds on Efforts to Strengthen Teaching in African American Studies

February 3, 2023

Black Lives Matter slogan painted on the street in Washington, DC What are the historical roots of the Black Lives Matter movement? How have efforts to support Black self-worth and self-determination collided with legal, social, and political forces that work to devalue and ignore both the successes and suffering of African Americans?

The National Humanities Center is working to help K–12 teachers with these and other questions through its series of Teaching African American Studies Institutes. The newest of these institutes, “More Than a Slogan: Understanding the Historical Context of Black Lives Matter” (February 6–10), will provide an immersive, hands-on learning experience to help educators better understand the approaches and historical perspectives required to create and teach African American studies.

Presented in partnership with North Carolina Central University and with generous support from Global Endowment Management, “More Than a Slogan” will explore the concept that “Black lives matter” by examining key episodes and moments in US history. The institute will be facilitated by Professor Lydia Lindsey from North Carolina Central University and Mike Williams and Raven Ferguson from the National Humanities Center and will feature a lineup of special guest scholars:

  • Chyuma Elliott, University of California, Berkeley
  • Jim C. Harper, North Carolina Central University
  • Robin D. G. Kelly, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Jarvis McInnis, Duke University
  • J. T. Roane, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • Carolyn Streets, Engineering and Science University Magnet School, New Haven, CT
  • Jakobi Williams (NHC Fellow, 2016–17), Indiana University
  • Yohuru Williams, University of St. Thomas

Participating teachers were selected from a national pool of applicants. The institute will help them think about ways to introduce and handle these issues in the classroom, and they will draw on this understanding to create instructional resources to share with other educators in their communities and across the country.

“The experiences and contributions of African Americans have historically been minimized in our classrooms, but the American story is incomplete and inaccurate without them,” said Robert D. Newman, president and director of the National Humanities Center. “This institute builds on the Center’s ongoing efforts to prepare teachers to more effectively address these subjects in their classrooms. And we are extremely grateful for the support of Global Endowment Management and for the partnership of North Carolina Central University in helping us conduct this important work.”

“More Than a Slogan” is the first African American studies institute being offered by the Center this year. A second institute, “(re)Centering the Narrative: Black Women’s Voices of the 19th and 20th Centuries,” presented in partnership with Prairie View A&M University, will be held July 10–14.

About the National Humanities Center

The National Humanities Center is the world’s only independent institute dedicated exclusively to advanced study in all areas of the humanities. Through its residential fellowship program, the Center provides scholars with the resources necessary to generate new knowledge and to further understanding of all forms of cultural expression, social interaction, and human thought. Through its education programs, the Center strengthens teaching on the collegiate and pre-collegiate levels. Through public engagement intimately linked to its scholarly and educational programs, the Center promotes understanding of the humanities and advocates for their foundational role in a democratic society.


Don Solomon
Director of Communications