During his first year of college in South Africa, Luthando Akhona Dyasi entered Innovate South Africa, a competition that challenges students to find a creative solution to a local problem. Dyasi and his team focused on preparing South African high school students for success in college. Together they developed GoVarsity, an online platform that allows university students to mentor and share their experiences with high school students, providing essential information and real-world insights about college: the application process, course content, decision making and student life.

Bruce Whitehouse is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Lehigh University, Pennsylvania. His work partly focuses on state problems in the Western Sahel.

April 29 marked the 25th anniversary of the riots in Los Angeles that followed the acquittal of the four LAPD officers accused of beating Rodney King. Host James Peterson and podcast producer Jeanette Woods discuss how five new TV documentaries and a one-man show restaged for Netflix are bringing the event to a new generation.

Police brutality is a preventable cause of death that does not burden all racial groups equally. That is clear. When stories like that of Jordan Edwards make the morning news, we should force ourselves to reckon with the harsh reality that another life has ended. Given past is often prologue, we will soon see reports that justify his murder. Why was he at a party — he was only 15!  Were they backing up or going forward? And we will twist as spectators find ways to justify that another family is ripped apart and that as a nation, we have lost.

In 2015, Bree Newsome, wearing a safety helmet atop her braids, climbed up the flag pole on the grounds of the South Carolina capitol,  unhooked the Confederate flag fluttering at the top, and climbed back down. She was calm as she was arrested by two police officers waiting at the bottom.  Newsome removed the flag ten days after white supremacist Dylan Roof murdered nine black worshipers attending Bible study at the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina. She joins The Remix with host Dr. James Peterson to discuss where she is now with her art and her activism. (21 April)

Architects have always used ornamentation to enliven and inform their work. The Greeks favored caryatids, Gothic designers embraced gargoyles, and the Art Deco era saw the rise of pyramidal motifs. A little more recently, historically speaking, Michael Graves summoned the Seven Dwarves to hold up the pediment of the Team Disney Building. Dutch architect Changiz Tehrani carries this tradition, for better or worse, into the digital age by incorporating emoji into the facade of an apartment building in Vathorst. “In my opinion this is cliché and the building will date itself very quickly,” said Susan Kart, an art historian at Lehigh University. (2 May)

While awaiting the vote to confirm or reject Jeff Sessions as attorney general of the United States, Dr. James Peterson spoke with Drexel University law professor Donald Tibbs about how Sessions could affect cases involving police shootings of unarmed people of color.

On the night in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected the country's first black president, many black Americans wept. Eight years later, they weep again for the end of an era some thought they would never live to see — and for the uncertain future they face without him. Perhaps nowhere was the surreal moment more evident than at the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture, where a sea of black faces gathered to say goodbye and to celebrate a history of struggle and progress. "This year marks the most significant, most poignant and really the most important Martin Luther King Jr. celebration of my lifetime," said James Peterson, professor of English and Africana studies at Lehigh University. "There's never been a clearer case, in terms of presidential politics and the general direction of the country, where King's edicts are more pertinent than they are now."

What did the election of America’s first black president mean for the United States? And how did President Obama’s policies and rhetoric advance issues important to the black community? Rael Nelson James of the Bridgespan Group, James Peterson of Lehigh University and Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund join Judy Woodruff to discuss the impact of the Obama years.

The day after the upcoming inauguration, several thousand people, led by a group of four women, are planning to march in Washington, DC. Organizers note that “women have intersecting identities and are therefore impacted by a multitude of social justice and human rights issues." The idea of “intersecting identities” has been at the core of criticism of the march, both by would-be participants and by conservative critics. Lehigh University's Monica Miller defined intersectionality to Vox: “An intersectional feminist approach understands that categories of identity and difference cannot be separated and doesn't abandon one category of analysis such as gender, or sexuality in favor of (over)analyzing others such as race, and class.”
 

In this episode of The Remix we talk to Margot Lee Shetterly about the real life heroines behind the new film, Hidden Figures.

Sarah Kendzior was writing about, tweeting about, and discussing the potential dangers of a Trump presidency long before the election. On today's episode of The Remix, host James Peterson talks to Kendzior about how Trump's business interests, combined with influences from Russia could pose grave dangers for American democracy. 

The history of Africans in Mexico is largely unknown not only within the country but to the outside world. Their history goes back hundreds of years to Mexico’s colonial past.

NEW YORK — While studying abroad last year, Swarthmore College senior Chinyere Odim met Valerie Smith, the first black president of her largely white liberal arts college. The meeting, as Odim recalls it, reminded her why a racial mix on campus matters.

Since opening last month, the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the mall in Washington, D.C., has been packed with visitors. People from across the country and around the world come to experience the history, significance, and impact of black people in America.

Recently I appeared at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Penn., for a talk entitled “Making America As Good As Its Promise.” So you don’t confuse the theme of my talk with the slogan of a particular presidential campaign, let me delineate the difference.

For America’s minorities – African Americans, Latinos and others – statistics show that there’s been much more integration in the last 50 years. Once the refuge of white flight, but considered unreachable by many inner-city residents, suburbia is no longer an exclusively white domain.

PBS talk-show host, philanthropist, and author Tavis Smiley spoke in Zoellner Art Center’s Baker Hall with every intention of making his audience uncomfortable.

We're dropping a special pre-debate episode of The Remix with host Dr. James Peterson. As the presidential candidates prepare to square off, Senator Bob Casey, Democrat from Pennsylvania, stops by to talk debates, justice reform and the honor of public service.

War crimes judges on Tuesday sentenced a former Islamist rebel who admitted wrecking holy shrines during Mali's 2012 conflict to nine years in prison, in the first such case to focus on destruction of cultural heritage. Human rights groups and international legal experts hope Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi's case in the International Criminal Court may serve as a deterrent to a kind of devastation that continues to be a feature of global conflicts yet has gone largely unpunished. Mali expert and Lehigh University Professor Bruce Whitehouse weighs in.

Tavis Smiley, host of the eponymous PBS talk show and author of 29 books, including the New York Times-bestselling What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America, will give a free public presentation in Baker Hall of the Zoellner Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30.

Last week, James Peterson received a “very emotional” email from his Lehigh colleague, Sirry Alang.

“[Alang’s email] basically reminded me of the experience that I think a lot of us have, week in and week out over the years, when we see sometimes unarmed civilians losing their lives in encounters with law enforcement,” Peterson, associate professor of English and director of Africana Studies, told a crowd of students, faculty and staff in the Roemmele Global Commons of Williams Hall on Wednesday evening.

On this minisode hosts discuss host James Peterson's two new books: "Hip Hop Headphones: A Scholar's Critical Playlist" and "Prison Industrial Complex For Beginners," illustrated by John Jennings and Stacey Robinson of the Black Kirby collaborative. 

Tracy Clayton joins Lehigh University's Dr. James Peterson on 'The Remix' and discusses her interview with Hillary Clinton, feminism and racism.

Professor Saladin Ambar writes in an article for The Critique: "Injustice everywhere may well be a threat to justice everywhere, but injustice everywhere isn’t always felt everywhere. Malcolm’s life and politics were built around making it felt. And that mission is at the heart of the Black Lives Matter movement. Until it is felt everywhere, for all human beings, suffering under all banners of oppression, we may not say we are all truly citizens of the cosmos, citizens of the world. Let it be felt."

Big Daddy Kane had his first big hit in 1987 when he did a rap single with Biz Markie, "Just Rhymin' with Biz".   He was soon headlining on his own music and the rest is history. Kane sat down with host Dr. James Peterson to discuss everything from rappers he admires, to the presidential campaign, to Black Lives Matter.

Lehigh Valley school districts are searching for ways to help the growing Hispanic population succeed. James Braxton Peterson, associate professor of English and director of Africana studies at Lehigh University, looks at the big picture. The Lehigh Valley's leadership should better reflect the diversity of its demographics — something he said has been slow to happen

James Braxton Peterson, associate professor of English and director of Africana Studies at Lehigh University, discusses police-involved shootings in the wake of two fatal police shootings involving black male victims this week. (7 July) Man Fatally Shot by Police in Minnesota; Video Investigated

Sirry Alang, assistant professor in the Health, Medicine and Society Program in Lehigh University’s department of sociology and anthropology, writes in an op-ed for Salon: "Beliefs, perceptions, attitudes and institutional arrangements that discredit and oppress people because of their race are bad for physical and mental health. Community oversight of local police departments is critical for the health of blacks."

In recognition of Lehigh's commitment to developing partnerships with the surrounding community, the Africana Studies program was awarded a prestigious $500,000 challenge grant in December from the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency that funds high-quality research, education and public programs at colleges and universities, museums and other institutions across the United States.

Depression in African Americans, according to Sirry Alang, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology, is expressed in ways that are inconsistent with symptoms of depression laid out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Berrisford Boothe was previewing his first major art auction when he struck tarnished gold. Boothe couldn’t wait to bid on a portfolio of prints by African-American artists gathered by Romare Bearden (1911-88), an influential artist and philanthropist. But he worried that its value had been diluted by moisture damage and ink-transfer staining.

On Thursday, February 18, the Africana Studies Program, Global Studies, the Humanities Center, and the Sustainable Development Program co-sponsored Lehigh University’s 2nd Annual African Conference. This year’s conference, titled “Establishing Lehigh Valley’s Footprint in Africa: The Role of Students and Faculty,” sought to showcase the work that faculty and students from both Lehigh and other Lehigh Valley universities have conducted. The conference began with students from Lehigh University and Moravian College showcasing their research.

In the totalitarian world of 1984, Winston Smith was assigned the job of changing news accounts of past events so the total rule of the Party could never be challenged by facts that contradicted Big Brother's propaganda. Control of the past isn't quite so total in the United States, but to read about the 50th anniversary of the "War on Poverty" in the American press is to appreciate how significantly history is rewritten in this country, how information that doesn't square with the interests and propaganda of elites has disappeared down the "black hole" of memory.

Two of the most famous 19th-century African-Americans, Frederick Douglass...

Lehigh's Monica Miller and James Peterson participated in a historic event last month as keynote presenters at the first “Black Lives Matter” conference in the United Kingdom. They were joined on stage by Akala, a MOBO (Music of Black Origin) award-winning hip hop artist, poet, writer, educator, and social entrepreneur.

When Kwame Essien looks at a map of the Atlantic Ocean, his eyes are drawn to a point near the equator where the vast ocean begins to narrow like an hourglass and the continents of Africa and South America make their closest approach.

Activist and filmmaker Bree Newsome told a Lehigh audience Thursday night that her decision last summer to climb a 30-foot flagpole outside the South Carolina state capitol and take down the Confederate flag was a “deeply personal” one.

Lehigh’s Africana Studies program has been awarded a prestigious $500,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency that funds high-quality research, education and public programs at colleges and universities, museums and other institutions across the United States.

Loretta Ross, a leading activist in the area of reproductive justice, will speak at Lehigh at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, in Williams Hall, Global Commons. Her talk, which is sponsored by the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies academic program and the Women’s Center, aims to raise awareness on campus about reproductive justice.

“College is a risk factor for rape.” The words lingered on the screen in front of a full house in STEPS 101 as Danielle Dirks, assistant professor of sociology at Occidental College, explained the evolution of the End Rape on Campus movement.

For three days last week, internationally renowned scholars and activists examined the life and legacy of Malcolm X. “Malcolm X’s World 50 Years Later: Reappraising Race, Religion and Revolution Today,” hosted by Lehigh’s College of Arts and Sciences, the Africana Studies program and the political science department, commemorated the 50th anniversary of the human rights activist’s assassination and provided an opportunity for meaningful dialogue. 

Perched on a stool on the stage of Baker Hall in the Zoellner Arts Center, Michael Eric Dyson, professor of sociology at Georgetown University, didn’t mince words. Dyson engaged in a candid conversation with James Peterson, associate professor of English, about the lasting legacy of Malcolm X and its significance today in a keynote titled “Malcolm X’s Influence: 50 Years.” 

Darius Omar Williams’ interest in the arts and theatre began at a very early age. But the lack of quality black theatre in his native Mississippi made Williams’ childhood exploration of the arts, as he says, “a challenging journey.” Fortunately, Williams had some powerful mentors and the opportunity to develop his talents with the New Stage Theatre, the only professional theatre in Mississippi at the time.

The life and legacy of Malcolm X will take center stage next week as the College of Arts and Sciences, with Lehigh's Africana Studies program and Political Science department, hosts a three-day conference to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the human rights activist’s assassination.

More than 600 people packed Baker Hall Wednesday night to hear award-winning activist Michelle Alexander deliver the keynote address for Lehigh’s year-long celebration of the life of the late civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

A panel of Lehigh experts discuss Michelle Alexander’s bestselling book in preparation for the author’s Jan. 28 visit to campus.

Michelle Alexander, the New York Times best-selling author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, will deliver the keynote address for the university’s yearlong celebration of the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the slain civil rights leader. Her free public lecture will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, in Baker Hall of the Zoellner Arts Center. Alexander, a highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate and legal scholar, holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University. Prior to joining the Kirwan Institute, Alexander was an associate professor of law at Stanford Law School, where she directed the Civil Rights Clinics.

In this interview, MRB Editor-in-Chief Timothy Michael Law talks with Prof. Anthony B. Pinn and Dr. Monica R. Miller about religion and hip hop.  This conversation moves from basic questions — what is “religion” and how do we make sense of rappers’ expressions of it when they look nothing like white Christianity? — to the analysis of recent music from Jay-Z, Kanye West, Outkast, and others.

The hard truth is that neither Negro nor white has yet done enough to expect the dawn of a new day... With these words taken from Dr. Martin Luther King’s final book Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?, King prophetically and woefully suggests that for the dawn of a day without racism, more black blood and suffering will come hand in hand with white denial, ignorance, and indifference.

I remember well a day in middle school, during gym class. We’d just arrived to gym and were swiftly told that in lieu of P.E., we’d be attending the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day assembly. Some students were happy, others were sad to miss the glorified recess that is junior high phys.ed. One white student, I’ll never forget, spoke up and said “Martin Luther King, Jr. Day … more like James Earl Ray day.” Amid awkward laughter from students and an even more awkward silence from the gym teacher, we walked to the auditorium. As our class sat down, my childhood emotion met with intellectual curiosity and I wondered, “Were we there to celebrate King’s life or to have our minds galvanized as to exactly what happens to those who profess to climb insurmountable mountains?

A panel discussion about the influence of Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. on hip hop culture drew a large crowd to the Menil Collection on Tuesday night thanks to the participation of rappers Bun B (of UGK fame) and Talib Kweli.

About 30 minutes before the Tuesday-night Conversation at the Menil Collection was scheduled to begin, all of the best seats stuffed inside Renzo Piano's low-slung masterwork were already taken.

The human relations I valued most were held cheap by the world I lived in.   Read more...

Monica Miller and Christopher Driscoll engage in impolite conversation with John L. Jackson, Jr. about his new book Impolite Conversations: On Race, Politics, Sex, Money and Religion. Read more click here

Lehigh University holds its 1st Annual African Conference focusing on "Africa in the 21st Century: Heritage, Health and Sustainability"

The Africana studies program at Lehigh continues to expand its influence on campus by hosting speakers and creating new avenues for interested students.

During the past academic year, the planners of Lehigh’s MLK celebration expanded programming that was concentrated during one week in January to a series of events that spanned the entire academic year. The success of that effort, coupled with a greater institutional focus on diversity, has led to the second year of robust programming related to social justice issues, particularly focusing on the prison industrial complex as part of the larger theme of "Incarcerated Justice."

In the totalitarian world of 1984, Winston Smith was assigned the job of changing news accounts of past events so the total rule of the Party could never be challenged by facts that contradicted Big Brother's propaganda. Control of the past isn't quite so total in the United States, but to read about the 50th anniversary of the "War on Poverty" in the American press is to appreciate how significantly history is rewritten in this country, how information that doesn't square with the interests and propaganda of elites has disappeared down the "black hole" of memory.

Our major post-9/11 wars are goners and the imagery of American war-making is heading downhill. The Iraq War was long ago left in the trash heap of history, while in Afghanistan the talk is now about “the zero option”