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Remembering 2001: A Year of Tragedy and Triumph

Remembering 2001: A Year of Tragedy and Triumph

What a year. Many people are already looking back on 2001 with a groan, saying it has been a “bad year.” The ongoing war in Afghanistan and the now-sporadic reports about anthrax-contaminated mail are daily reminders of Sept. 11. Most people remember that Tuesday morning — it was one of shock and disbelief. Regardless of how hard you tried to carry out your usual daily activities, it was impossible to do so.
The events of Sept. 11 have made many of us contemplative about the future of this country, not to mention our own lives. It’s made us reflect on our past and future coverage of particular issues in this magazine. Prior to September, we discussed giving more coverage to international education. And the terrorist attacks proved how small the world is becoming and how important it is for people to be exposed to and understand cultures other than their own. Those in the education field, particularly international education, have always said this to be the case. However, many of them now spend time discussing safety issues and concerns with prospective students and their understandably worried parents.
Yet and still, I’m not quite ready to say it’s been a “bad year.” It certainly hasn’t been all bad. Whenever I speak to people about Black Issues, I remind them that although we may get discouraged about some of the events in higher education, such as the outcomes of affirmative action cases or decisions on Capitol Hill that may affect minority-serving institutions, there are constantly great things happening in higher education that positively affect people of color. Starting on page 34, our annual “Year in Review” profiles some of the highlights in higher education in 2001 — the good and the bad.
And as the holidays are approaching, many of our thoughts turn to family, and so does our cover story. “(Re)Tracing Oral History in Ink,” written by associate editor Robin V. Smiles, profiles a number of English professors who are retelling and retracing their families’ histories. And what they are finding are common themes surrounding the Black community and the role of education (see pg. 22).
As 2001 comes to a close, it is hard to believe you’re holding in your hands issue No. 26 — the last Black Issues for the year. For me, the year started off full of uncertainties, as I became editor of Black Issues in January. Although I had been on staff for six months prior to becoming editor, the idea of overseeing the production of 26 editions, hiring new staff and representing the magazine at various events seemed like a daunting task.
It no doubt has been a very busy year for me as well as other members of the Black
Issues staff. I have traveled to many conferences and meetings, getting to know the issues as well as the Black Issues’ audience, whose dedication and enthusiasm always leaves me convinced that the magazine has some of the best readers around. It has been a pleasure meeting and hearing from many of you, and I know the New Year will present other opportunities to get to know more of you.
Lastly, it takes many people to produce a publication on a biweekly basis. Black Issues is blessed to have a dedicated staff, both in-house and scattered across the country. Their contributions are invaluable. Thanks!
And to everyone, have a safe and happy holiday season. 

Hilary Hurd

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