Rutgers Experts Available to Comment on Black History Month

New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 27, 2021) –Rutgers University-New Brunswick scholars are available to discuss Black History Month and to analyze current events and trends that contribute to the ongoing story of Black history across the world.

Derrick Darby, the Henry Rutgers Professor of philosophy at Rutgers-New Brunswick and the co-host of A Pod Called Quest, said, “Sen. Cory Booker introduced the Justice for Black Farmers Act at the end of 2020. The bill aims to redress the legacy of government discrimination against Black farmers by the USDA. If passed during the Biden-Harris administration, it will become an important aspect of Black history. It would be the culmination of a struggle for racial justice initiated by the historic 1999 civil rights settlement in Pigford v. Glickman.”

Tatiana Seijas, an associate professor of history at Rutgers-New Brunswick, said, “Black History Month is an opportunity to think beyond our borders and celebrate the achievements of African-descended women in the Americas, to learn about the long history of Black leaders and seekers of freedom who have fought for the expansion of human rights in the United States, Mexico and from Canada to Argentina.” 

Deborah Gray White, the Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of history at Rutgers-New Brunswick and an editor of Rutgers’ Scarlet and Black book series, said, “Recent events, including the assault on the U.S. Capitol, the murder of unarmed Blacks by police and vigilantes and attacks on peaceful protesters, make obvious the need for the study of African-American history, a history that exposes the mythology that America is a land of freedom and equality. Many Americans would rather debate whether there should be a Black History Month than actually learn Black history because learning Black history would mean divesting themselves of an idealized America. What recent events have taught us is that Black inequality has become so normalized that many, if not most, Americans really don’t think Black lives matter, a feeling at the heart of the resistance to learning Black history. If Black lives don’t matter, then why should Black history? Why? Because Black history tells America ‘who we really are.’” 

Willie Wright, an assistant professor of geography and Africana studies, said, “Black History Month is a time to reflect on the ongoing political, economic and cultural contributions of African descendent peoples to landscapes throughout the Americas and the world.”

For interviews, contact Neal Buccino at neal.buccino@rutgers.edu or 732-668-8439.

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Broadcast interviews: Rutgers University–New Brunswick has broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Neal Buccino neal.buccino@echo.rutgers.edu

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