Black in the Ivory

Guest post by Dr. Shardé M. Davis, editor of an anthology of #BlackintheIvory experiences coming 2022 from UNC Press. Also included below are details regarding an open call for stories to be considered for inclusion in the book; deadline is March 15, 2021.

On June 6, 2020, I created the viral, Twitter hashtag #BlackintheIvory to document the overt and covert racism that Black academics (“Blackademics”) across disciplines experience across their academic tenure.  Black in the Ivory™ has opened the door for thousands of Blackademics around the globe to share their stories of anti-Black racism in the academy, so much so that the hashtag was in the top 20 trending hashtags on Twitter in the US that weekend. The origin and impact of the “hashtag turned movement” has been featured in over 50 news outlets including the New Yorker, the New York Times, Nature, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Since then, I have been invited by institutions of higher education from around the world to discuss the origin of my idea for the hashtag, my experiences with racism as a Black woman faculty person and the anti-Black racism work that I have done at my home institution, my research on resistance and resilience and its place in current discussions of anti-Black racism, and prescriptions about what people can do to enact change. I recently relaunched the Black in the Ivory website at the opening of Black History Month, and at that time announced a host of exciting ventures! They include a new beta community called Blackademic™ Social Network. This idea birthed out of the rise of the #BlackintheIvory hashtag and seeks to address a critical need for Blackademics to have our own, closed space to communicate, exchange resources, and have some fun along the way. Additionally, the new website announced the resurgence of the Bless a Black Graduate Student Project, which is a matching program where anyone (from anywhere) can send money to Black graduate students via an e-payment app. Black graduate students sign up on the website and their information is collated into a publicly accessible spread sheet, making it easy for anyone to find them on the list and send them a monetary blessing.

In addition to these exciting ventures, I announced a new #BlackintheIvory edited book! The idea for this edited volume was conceived almost immediately when the hashtag went viral. Individuals were referencing and quoting the #BlackintheIvory tweets during summer institutes and workshops on social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. And in Fall 2020, faculty were assigning the tweets as course curriculum. The tweets were not necessarily intended for white gaze or white consumption, but were getting used as such. The need for a book on #BlackintheIvory was evident and multiple university presses were interested in making that happen; but, UNC Press became the book’s home.

For this book, I am curating a volume of personal stories from Blackademics to reveal the through line of how anti-Blackness and racism eats its way through the ivory tower and offer prescriptions about how academic institutions—and its individual members—might make lasting change. In this collection, Blackademics will share their stories of anti-Black racism: when conducting undergraduate research, applying to graduate school, working with a faculty advisor, entering the job market, attending academic conferences, publishing journal articles, teaching majority white students in the classroom, applying for promotion, being the only Black person (or even person of color) in a department, and so much more.

Open Call For Stories

Black students, faculty, and administrators (“Blackademics”) have an opportunity to be a part of the book! There’s an open call for stories where individuals can share specific, personal experiences of anti-Black racism and/or anti-Blackness in the American university. Go the website to read the entire “Open Call for Stories” and see the link to submit a story. 

Key Details

  • Submit a 150-word vignette about a specific, personal experience of anti-Black racism and/or anti-Blackness in the American university.
  • Blackademics who are currently attached to the university or were at one point in the past are all welcome to submit.
  • Vignettes must be submitted via the google form to be considered for the book.
  • One submission per person. Submission Deadline: March 15, 2021, 11:59pm Eastern Time.
  • Stories can be anonymized!
  • I (Dr. Davis) will use these vignettes to determine which ones will be in the book, which ones will remain 150-words, and which ones will get expanded.
  • Everyone who contributes to the published volume will receive a complimentary copy of the book; individuals asked to compose longer narratives will receive a book and an honorarium.

Head to the Black in the Ivory website to submit your stories and learn more details about the other exciting opportunities that support Blackademics! 

Dr. Shardé M. Davis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and a faculty affiliate of the Africana Studies Institute and the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP) at the University of Connecticut.