"This Week in Black History, Society, and Culture" is a weekly podcast produced by the Black and African Diaspora Forum United (BADFU) an interracial group of faculty at Monmouth University concerned about issues pertaining to the Black/African American experience. BADFU members will periodically interview scholars, authors, activists, and community leaders on matters related to the history, society, and culture of Black and African American communities in the United States (U.S.) and beyond. These podcast episodes are on a variety of subjects including, but not limited to, higher education, economics, criminal justice, reparations, mental health, history, science, gender, popular culture, women, and politics. A new episode will be released weekly on Monday mornings from September to May during each academic term.
The Criminalization of Black Youth
In this episode, Hettie V. Williams is in discussion with Professor Kristin Henning about the criminalization of Black youth in the U.S. and the juvenile justice system. Williams is Associate Professor of African American history at Monmouth University. Henning is an attorney and nationally recognized trainer and consultant on race, adolescence and policing. She is currently the Blume Professor of Law and Director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic and Initiative at the Georgetown University Law Center and previously the lead attorney of the Juvenile Unit at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. Henning is also the author of The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth (Pantheon Books, 1921).
Race and Medieval Studies
In this episode, Hettie V. Williams is in discussion with Drs. Heide Estes and Mary Rambaran-Olm about race and Medieval Studies. Estes is Professor of English in the Department of English at Monmouth University where she regularly teaches medieval literature, ecocriticism, history of the English language, and linguistics. She is also Chair of the University Qualifications Committee and a member of the Faculty Association and Inclusion working group. Estes is also editor of the journal Medieval Ecocriticisms and the author of Anglo-Saxon Literary Landscapes: Ecotheory and the Environmental Imagination published by Amsterdam University Press in 2017. Rambaran-Olm is a literary historian specializing in the literature and history of early medieval England with a focus on the fifth to eleventh centuries. She has written several articles, essays and book chapters and is currently working on a book project about race in early medieval England. She is currently the Provost’s Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto. Some resources shared by Dr. Rambaran-Olm:
This is an intro into race in Early English studies: https://medium.com/@mrambaranolm/race-101-for-early-medieval-studies-selected-readings-77be815f8d0f
Also if people want a primer on the term "Anglo-Saxon" I wrote that and it's open access here: https://medium.com/@mrambaranolm/history-bites-resources-on-the-problematic-term-anglo-saxon-part-1-9320b6a09eb7
As for people to follow on Twitter who work on the Middle Ages and are doing good things:
Digital Black Christians
In this episode, Dr. Hettie V. Williams is in conversation with Dr. Erika D. Gault about digital Black Christians and Hip Hop. Williams is Associate Professor of African American history in the Department of History and Anthropology at Monmouth University. Gault is Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Arizona. Dr. Gault’s scholarly work focuses on the intersection of religious history, technology, and urban Black life in post-industrial America. She is also the author of Networking the Black Church: Digital Black Christians and Hip Hop (New York University Press, 2022). The focus of this show is on Dr. Gault’s innovative way of rethinking the Black Church and the new generation of Black Christians that she refers to as “digital Christians” and their engagement with religion.
Black Women in U.S. Military History
In this episode, Hettie V. Williams is in discussion with Professor Melissa Ziobro. Williams is Associate Professor of African American History at Monmouth University and Ziobro is a Specialist Professor in Public History at Monmouth. This discussion centers on the history of Black women in the U.S. military as this is a subject that does need to be studied further by scholars and public historians more generally. See below for Professor Ziobro’s recommendations/sources on Black women in the U.S. military.
Resources on Black Women in U.S. Military History:
Glory in Their Spirit: How Four Black Women Took On the Army during World War II, by Sandra Bolzenius, 2018.
Standing Up Against Hate: How Black Women in the Army Helped Change the Course of WWII, by Mary Farrell, 2019.
Excellent Library of Congress bibliography on Black women in the military: https://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech//SciRefGuides/africanamericanwomenwar.html
National Association of Black Military Women
Book Banning and Multicultural Children's Literature
In this episode, Hettie V. Williams is in conversation with Dr. Kerry Rizzuto about book banning and multicultural children’s books that focus on the African American experience. Williams is an Associate Professor of African American history at Monmouth University. Rizzuto is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Monmouth University. She has shared her children’s book recommendations with us below.
The 1619 Project: Born on the Water Nikkole Hannah Jones and Renee Watson
The 1619 Project’s lyrical picture book in verse chronicles the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resistance in the United States,
Homemade Love The world-renowned poet, cultural critic, feminist theorist, intellectual, and award-winning author, bell hooks, brings together with the resplendent artwork of Shane W. Evan, a beautiful board book perfect for little hands.
Hair Love by Matthew CherryZuri's hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it's beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he'll do anything to make her -- and her hair -- happy.
Ain't Burned All the Bright Hardcover – by Jason Reynolds (Author), Jason Gri (Illustrator)
Utterly unique and evocative, Ain’t Burned All the Bright is a masterful mash-up of art and text from Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin. This powerful piece captures what it’s like to be young and Black in America right now. Though the text is sparse, the feeling behind it will linger with readers long after the last page.
Prepare yourself for something unlike anything: A smash-up of art and text for teens that viscerally captures what it is to be Black. In America. Right Now. Written by #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Jason Reynolds.
Jason Reynolds and his best bud, Jason Griffin had a mind-meld. And they decided to tackle it, in one fell swoop, in about ten sentences, and 300 pages of art, this piece, this contemplation-manifesto-fierce-vulnerable-gorgeous-terrifying-WhatIsWrongWithHumans-hope-filled-hopeful-searing-Eye-Poppingly-Illustrated-tender-heartbreaking-how-The-HECK-did-They-Come-UP-with-This project about oxygen. And all of the symbolism attached to that word, especially NOW.
The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family The first day of school includes a new backpack and light-up shoes for Faizah, and a new hijab for her sister Asiya, a sixth grader wearing hijab for the first time. Asiya chose blue “the color of the ocean” for her first hijab. Faizah knows someday she’ll choose the same. But at school, when kids ask what Asiya is wearing, Faizah’s voice comes out in a whisper. “Asiya’s hijab isn’t a whisper. Asiya’s hijab is like the sky on a sunny day.”
All because you matter by Tami Charles
“Long before you took your place in this world. You were dreamed of, like a knapsack full of wishes, carried on the backs of your ancestors as they created empires, pyramids, legacies.” A poetic second-person text addressed to Black children begins by speaking of the universe and ancestors before moving on to the specifics of a contemporary child's life.
Black Women Gamers
In this episode, Dr. Hettie V. Williams discusses with Dr. Grace D. Gipson Black women in gaming. Gipson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of African American Studies at the Virginia Commonwealth University. She received her PhD in African American Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. Her research focus is feminist/pop culture and Black popular culture more specifically. Gipson’s current book project seeks to explore Black female identities as personified in comics and fandom culture. She is also working on a project on how online Black female academic and popular networks produce cultural and technical capital. Gipson has published several essays, book chapters and articles on Black popular culture.
This podcast is very necessary at the moment.