Dartmouth Offers #BlackLivesMatter Course

By Albert Lin

Dartmouth University is offering a Spring semester course inspired by the events following the shooting death of Michael Brown. The unarmed Black teenager was killed by Ferguson, Mo., Police Officer Darren Wilson in August, and a grand jury later declined to indict Wilson on any charges, sparking nationwide protests.

The course, titled “10 Weeks, 10 Professors #BlackLivesMatter,” will discuss race, structural inequality and violence in both a historical and modern context. The interdisciplinary course is sponsored by the school’s Geography and African-American History departments, but will feature contributions from members of the Anthropology, History, Women’s and Gender Studies, Mathematics and English. In all, about 15 professors from more than 10 departments will teach sessions.

The course came about after a faculty workshop during the weekend leading into Martin Luther King Jr. Day encouraged professors to incorporate the events of Ferguson into their lessons. “We just thought that it might be interesting and innovative and exciting to have a course that’s dedicated to this, whereas lots of other people are incorporating it into other courses,” Professor of Geography Abigail Neely told The Dartmouth, the school newspaper.

The course will discuss systemic discrimination, such as redlining, housing discrimination and the prison-industrial complex, and how they impact violence against Blacks. Chelsey Kivland, a Postdoctoral Fellow in Anthroplogy, will teach a session on how the media dehumanizes people from underrepresented groups.

Professor of English Aimee Bahng said that one of the primary goals is to create a discussion on race in America that goes beyond the classroom. “We hope students will be able to understand that Ferguson is not just an event in 2014, but something that’s tethered in time to a long history and still-emerging ideas about race in the U.S. and how policing works in an age of social media and distributed surveillance,” Bahng said.

Students are excited about the course, with some reservations.

“I do wonder who will take the class—whether it’ll be kind of preaching to the choir or if they’ll get different points of view,” senior Adria Brown told USA Today. “But I still think—no matter what—that it’s worth having the class to really interrogate this topic.”

Senior Kevin Gillespie, president of the school’s NAACP chapter, said, “As a Black man, it’s incredibly hard to have this reality. It’s something that all of us wake up with every day, so I’m really happy that this course is happening. This is exactly what this college needs.”

Latest News

We, As Ourselves initiative

Tarana Burke, Founder of #MeToo Movement, Starts New Initiative for Black Survivors

When activist Tarana Burke coined the #MeToo movement, she knew it would start a culture-shifting conversation about sexual violence. But three years after that movement began, she believes that change hasn’t been as far-reaching as she’d hoped, especially for Black women who’ve faced some aspect of sexual abuse or violence. …

Thasunda Brown Duckett

Thasunda Brown Duckett Named CEO of TIAA; Second Black Woman Recently Named to Lead Fortune 500 Company

TIAA — Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America — has announced that Thasunda Brown Duckett will become the company’s new CEO, succeeding Roger W. Ferguson Jr. who announced in November 2020 his plans to retire. With her appointment, Duckett will join newly named Walgreen’s CEO Rosalind Brewer as one…

Black News Channel BNC

Cable News Expands to Include More Black Voices with Black News Channel

As the world of cable TV news becomes increasingly fragmented, BNC (Black News Channel) is promising to deliver an alternative news source that looks at breaking news stories through the eyes of Black Americans when it relaunches in March 2021. In a Wall Street Journal exclusive, reporter Lillian Rizzo writes…