NHC Welcomes Educators for New Institute Series on Teaching African American Studies | National Humanities Center

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NHC Welcomes Educators for New Institute Series on Teaching African American Studies

June 30, 2022

Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race and Justice at Prairie View A&M University On July 5th, the National Humanities Center will welcome 24 educators for the first of a series of institutes on teaching African American studies. This weeklong, immersive experience, organized in partnership with Prairie View A&M University, is part of a pilot project designed to promote more effective teaching about the African American experience and elevate the scholarly work of Prairie View faculty and alumni.

This year’s institute, “Understanding the Long View of the African Diaspora,” will be led by Marco Robinson, assistant director of the Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race and Justice at Prairie View A&M, along with Andy Mink, vice president for education programs, and Mike Williams, education projects manager, at the National Humanities Center. The institute will also feature a lineup of special guest scholars who are leading figures in the study of African American history and culture:

  • Brandi C. Brimmer (NHC Fellow, 2020–21), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Brigitte Fielder, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Sarah Guérin, University of Pennsylvania
  • Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham (NHC Fellow, 1993–94; 2013–14), Harvard University
  • Marjoleine Kars, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Jeffrey R. Kerr-Ritchie (NHC Fellow, 2003–04), Howard University
  • Adriane Lentz-Smith (NHC Fellow, 2020–21), Duke University
  • Jarvis McInnis, Duke University
  • Joshua Myers, Howard University

Participating teachers were selected from a national pool of applicants to work together and with these leading scholars to better understand the complexities and key issues in the field of African American studies. The institute will also encourage hands-on learning experiences to help participants think about ways to introduce and handle these issues in the classroom. Each participant will draw on these experiences to create instructional resources to share with other educators through the National Humanities Center’s Humanities in Class Digital Library.

“The webinars and courses we have offered in the past on racial justice and African American studies have always been extremely popular with teachers who are looking for scholarly expertise to support their teaching,” said Andy Mink. “We are extremely excited to be partnering with the Ruth J. Simmons Center to offer this intensive professional development experience and to have participants take what they’ve learned back to their schools and communities.”

Drawn from public and private schools in 16 states and Scotland, this year’s selected teachers are:

  • Valencia Abbott, Rockingham Early College High School, Wentworth, NC
  • Victoria Ade, West Morris Central High School, Chester, NJ
  • Eric Alvarez, Glenn L. Downs Social Sciences Academy, Phoenix, AZ
  • Melissa Braxton, International High School at Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, NY
  • Lauren Collins, North Shore Country Day, Winnetka, IL
  • Travis Edwards, Morrow High School, Morrow, GA
  • Gerald Evans, Louisa County High School, Mineral, VA
  • Jodi Fernandez, Peekskill City Schools, Peekskill, NY
  • Noel Hamrick, Independence High School, Charlotte, NC
  • Kurt Hargis, Destrehan High School, Destrehan, LA
  • Kamasi Hill, Evanston Township High School, Evanston, IL
  • Katie Hunter, St Thomas of Aquin’s R.C. High School, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • M. Allison Jobe, Guilford Technical Community College, Jamestown, NC
  • Reed Lochamy, Hoover High School, Hoover, AL
  • Jovvanta Mason, La Vega Early College High School, Waco, TX
  • Hannah May, Reno High School, Reno, NV
  • Jessica Mohr, Bunn Middle School, Bunn, NC
  • Cassondra Owens Moore, Seneca Middle School, Seneca, SC
  • Denise Purvis, Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the Arts & Technology, Petersburg, VA
  • TiLena Robinson, Duval County Public Schools, Jacksonville, FL
  • Michele Smiley, Canton High School, Canton, MI
  • Joshua Toth, Falls Church High School, Falls Church, VA
  • Russell Tribby, Chandler High School, Chandler, AZ
  • Fara Wolfson, Marblehead Veterans Middle School, Marblehead, MA

About Prairie View A&M University

Designated an institution of “the first class” in the Texas Constitution, Prairie View A&M University is the second-oldest public institution of higher education in the state. With an established reputation for producing engineers, nurses, and educators, PVAMU offers baccalaureate degrees, master’s degrees, and doctoral degree programs through eight colleges and schools. A member of The Texas A&M University System, the university is dedicated to fulfilling its land-grant mission of achieving excellence in teaching, research, and service. For more information regarding PVAMU, visit www.pvamu.edu.
Prairie View A&M University

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