The Strange Career of the Jim Crow North: A Dickinson Story?

Komozi Woodard speaks at an event at Dickinson in 2011.

Komozi Woodard. Photo by Carl Socolow '77.

Laying the foundations for Africana studies at Dickinson

by Aleksandra Syniec ’18

Komozi Woodard ’71, a founding member of the Congress for African Students at Dickinson College, returns to campus to discuss the study of racial segregation and the beginnings of the Africana studies major at Dickinson in his lecture, “The Strange Career of the Jim Crow North: A Dickinson Story?,” on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. in the Anita Tuvin Schlechter (ATS) Auditorium.

Woodard was among a small group of African-American students struggling to integrate into college life at Dickinson at the time. Woodard was key in forming Dickinson’s Black Student Union and the Congress of African Students. As a part of these initiatives, students created a study of the effects of Jim Crow laws (designed to enforce racial segregation) in the north by developing new ways of conceptualizing racial inequality outside of the American south. In doing this, the students laid the foundations for Africana studies at the college.

Woodard is a professor of history, public policy and Africana studies at Sarah Lawrence College. His research interests include African-American history, politics and culture focusing on the Black Freedom Movement, women in black revolt and U.S. urban and ethnic history. His works include A Nation within a Nation: Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) and Black Power Politics, The Making of the New Ark and The Black Power Movement: Amiri Baraka from Black Arts to Black Radicalism. Woodard and Jeanne Theoharis curate “Conversations in Black Freedom Studies” at the Schomburg Center for Culture and Research in Harlem, New York.

The event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Waidner-Spahr Library, the Division of Student Life, the departments of history, Africana studies, American studies and sociology and the Churchill Fund. It is also a part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Read more about Woodard in "The Origins of Organizing."

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Published February 5, 2018