Wayne State University to open Detroit Center for Black Studies

President M. Roy Wilson hopes the center will deepen community engagement and collaboration with other universities in southeast Michigan.

a Black man in a suit and tie smiling in front of the American flag and a Wayne State University flag

President M. Roy Wilson

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Last month, Wayne State University announced its plan to create the Detroit Center for Black Studies as part of its efforts to prioritize faculty and research centered on the Black experience. The university will recruit and hire 30 new humanities faculty, made possible by a $6 million grant from the Mellon Foundation.

“The goal is an inclusive center that brings together the breadth of scholars who work in African American, African and African Diaspora Studies, and the interconnections with us and global histories, culture, economic, legal and health systems.” — M. Roy Wilson, Wayne State University


Listen: Why Wayne State University is creating the Detroit Center for Black Studies.

 


Guests

Dr. M. Roy Wilson is the president of Wayne State University. He says one of the goals in opening the Detroit Center for Black Studies is to connect the breadth of scholars who work in African American and African diaspora from all the universities in southeast Michigan.

“The goal is an inclusive center that brings together the breadth of scholars who work in African American, African and African Diaspora Studies, and the interconnections with us and global histories, culture, economic, legal and health systems,” says President Wilson.

Lester Spence is a professor of political science and Africana studies at Johns Hopkins University. He says it is important to also recognize how working class Black Detroiters contributed — and continue to contribute — to Black intellectual thought and scholarship.

“When we talk about Black Lives Matter, when we think about its roots, we tend to locate its roots and black feminist scholars,” says Spence. “But even more important, is the work of black working class organizations created by mothers, often in places like Detroit.”

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