Week 9 : A Black university

What are some elements necessary to build a Black university?

I think a Black university, which refers to literally a Black American university, can symbolize a new, differentiated university compared to traditional universities by its unique characteristics. In a traditional university, the students just major in their concentrations and study materials given by their departments while Black university students learn not only those but also something related to their modern societies. In this regard, a Black university should be able to provide a society with creative thoughts and solutions to numerous social problems. As Bambara said, Black university students ought to know how to navigate the world in understanding various social phenomena and political powers. Escaping from doing research only about outdated academic inheritances by past scholars, they should be able to learn studies that can reflect on their present time. In addition, a Black university should make various departments dealing with different social areas such as Black studies, Hispanic studies, Asian studies, etc. 

To this end, it is significant to have adequate mentors who are trained and equipped with the abilities to read the world insightfully so that they can lead the next generations in revolutionary ways. Also, the accumulation of resources for making such a university is very important because operating without planning and strategies likely won’t lead to getting attention from students and won’t lead to building up a Black university that we long for.

We need to share the same purpose and goals in order to build the ideal university. If this criteria is met, then we need to effectively promote the agenda to the public. I was able to see how well Bambara utilized her writing, acting and teaching skills to express her claims for the Black people to the public in her era. Arts, documentaries, and social networking services are some of the significant instruments to make our agendas announced well to the public. We need to create various communication channels to deliver our message to the people outside and get feedback from them. Paradoxically, a very effective channel among those communication channels is also a university, and I hope many Black universities described above and in the text will come out in the future.

2 thoughts on “Week 9 : A Black university

  1. Dennis Torres (he/him)

    I view Bambara’s description of inter-generational dialogue as another element necessary in the long-term sustainability of a liberated Black University. We’ve seen previous social movements suffer due to an over reliance on a few charismatic leaders that apply a top-down approach towards decision making versus cultivating additional leaders from within the ranks. Thus the movements vision and goals being stymied by parsimonious leaders unwilling to communicate with the next generation.

    As you mentioned, it’s important to get the attention of the students. Inter-generational dialogue not only allows for direct student engagement , but also allows for the elaboration of previous liberation efforts.

    Empowering those at the community and ground level to make on-campus decisions concerning programming or curriculum may serve as another communication channel too.

  2. Katina Rogers (she/her)

    David, your reflection hints at interesting questions related to time and temporality. I’m thinking about the connections you make—that a Black university as described by Bambara creates deeper and more meaningful connections to the present day and people’s lived experiences, while a more ‘traditional’ university relies on outdated and inherited texts. I wonder if we could push the questions of time a bit further, and think about the connections that a Black university might foster not only to the present, but also to the past and future. Perhaps the larger question is one of how narrow each field of vision is, temporally speaking—that the university envisioned by Bambara takes a more expansive approach. What do you think?

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