It’s a Wrap
Events in 2004 proved riveting. One of the more highly anticipated events, besides the U.S. presidential election, was the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board. During one of the more glamorous celebrations of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling, entertainer Bill Cosby took the occasion to criticize the behavior and attitudes of poor Black Americans. We received a number of responses from our readers in the form of op-ed pieces responding to Cosby’s controversial remarks and have chosen to publish three of them in “No Laughing Matter.” Cosby’s comments provoked a strong response within the Black community and the media happily ran with the story. When America’s “favorite dad” speaks, it seems like people listen. Reaction to Cosby’s comments ranged from criticism for airing the Black community’s “dirty laundry” to others giving him a simple “Amen.”
And while those of us at Black Issues were also involved in various commemorative events surrounding the Brown anniversary, including the publication of The Unfinished Agenda of Brown v. Board of Education, we were also anticipating and preparing for our 20th anniversary, which we celebrated with about 500 higher education professionals at our “Benchmarks and Barriers” conference in Arlington, Va., in June. At the anniversary gala event, Black Issues honored three recipients with the John Hope Franklin award. One of those people, like the award’s namesake, is a world-renowned historian, Dr. David Levering Lewis. We close out our last edition of the year with an interview with the scholar and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. We are honored that he took the time to speak with senior writer Ronald Roach during which he discusses some of his new scholarly endeavors as well as how his perspective changed while researching Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois for 15 years, which resulted in an award-winning two-volume biography.
Lastly, I must ask what ever happened to a slow news cycle around the holidays? Even though the Black Issues editorial team stays busy this time of year due to end-of-the-year deadlines, it is usually fairly quiet in terms of higher education news, but not so this production cycle. It’s interesting to note that there seems to be a lot of activity going on right now, particularly among Black colleges. Here’s a sampling: Former Morris Brown College president indicted for fraud; Edward Waters College loses its accreditation; Interim president named at Florida A&M University; Tennessee State presidential search committee names six finalists — and this all in just the past two weeks.
I have no doubt there will be many more fascinating stories to report in 2005. As we document in our annual “Year In Review” in this edition, there is never a shortage of news and events to look back on in the world of higher education. But until the New Year, on behalf of the staff at Black Issues, I wish you a happy, healthy and safe ’05, and we hope to see you at our second annual conference in May!
Hilary Hurd Anyaso
© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com