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African Americans

Carl Maxey (Courtesy Gonzaga University)
Winter 2015

Black Spokane

Dwayne Mack was, to say the least, skeptical when his faculty mentor at Washington State University, LeRoy Ashby, suggested he write his doctoral dissertation on Spokane’s black history.

“I thought to myself, ‘Wow, every time we pay a visit to Spokane, we rarely even see black people,’” recalls Mack, who was brought up in Brooklyn and received his master’s degree from a historically black college, North Carolina Central University. “There couldn’t be enough black people to do a study.”

Then he started researching Spokane’s African-American history and realized he had “struck gold.” Spokane’s African-American community was small—historically averaging between 1 and 2 percent of Spokane’s … » More …

After Artest
Winter 2014

New & Noteworthy for Winter 2014

After Artest: The NBA and the Assault on Blackness by David J. Leonard  SUNY Press, 2012 :: After a brawl at a Pistons-Pacers game in 2004, the NBA adopted policies to govern black players and prevent them from embracing styles and personas associated with blackness. This book by Leonard, associate professor of critical culture, gender, and race studies at Washington State University, discloses connections between the NBA’s discourse and the broader discourse of anti-black racism.

Emergence and Collapse of Early Villages Timothy A. Kohler (editor), Mark D. Varien (editor)  University of California Press, 2012 :: This book examines how climate change, population size, interpersonal conflict, … » More …

Alpha Phi Alpha
Winter 2012

Alpha Phi Alpha: A Legacy of Greatness, the Demands of Transcendence

Alpha Phi Alpha

Gregory S. Parks and Stefan M. Bradley (’98 MA History)

University Press of Kentucky

2012

Alpha Phi Alpha is the only black fraternity to be founded at an Ivy League school. Starting at Cornell in 1906, its founders were just a generation away from slavery and intent on creating an organization to foster academic scholarship, build lifelong friendships, and promote social progress. The organization soon opened chapters at Harvard, Howard, and Virginia Union … » More …

William Julius Wilson
Fall 2012

Race, Class, and William Julius Wilson’s World of Opportunity

In the middle of the last century, a Tennessee preacher-turned-sociologist, Tolbert H. Kennedy, found a relatively untapped pool of doctoral students among the nation’s black college graduates. Between 1944 and 1965, when Washington State University barely had a few dozen black students, he and fellow ex-preacher Wallis Beasley helped produce more black doctors of sociology than all but two schools, the University of Chicago and Ohio State.

Among them was a young man who went from the hardscrabble coal country of western Pennsylvania to graduate first in his class at Wilberforce, the oldest black college in the country, and get a master’s degree at Bowling … » More …

Summer 2011

Bill ’69 and Felicia ’73 Gaskins—All in stride

Bill Gaskins says he knows exactly when Felicia Cornwall fell in love with him. On a snowy day in 1963, the two were walking arm-in-arm along WSU’s Hello Walk.

Felicia, a sophomore from Tacoma, was taking mincing steps through the icy slush when Bill, a freshman from Spokane, told her she needed to be more bold.

“Look Felicia, you need to stride like this,” he said, stepping forward with the athletic gait of a running back, which he was. At that exact moment his feet flew out from under him and he landed on his backside.

Bill is laughing, filling the room with his deep … » More …

Fall 2003

WSU Alumni Association honors Seals, Sharratt

Rupert Grant Seals, one of WSU’s first Black Ph.D.s

Rupert Grant Seals was honored twice by Washington State University, where he gained distinction as the fifth African American to earn a doctorate (’60 Animal Science).

He received the Alumni Achievement Award “for exemplary academic leadership in agricultural education, and for his advocacy and action in creating a national awareness of the vital need for increased economic support and opportunities for African Americans at land-grant universities.”

He also was named “Distinguished Graduate: Science, Education and Technology” for 2003 by the Department of Animal Sciences. Both awards were given at the April 12 animal sciences recognition banquet.

» More …

Spring 2005

Anna Grant—A life of firsts

Anna Harvin Grant, the first woman to earn a doctorate in sociology from Washington State University, died November 6, 2004, of heart failure. She was 81.

A nationally recognized expert in Black family life and former chair of the Department of Sociology at Morehouse College, Grant led a life of firsts.

She came to Pullman with a wave of top African American scholars who in the early 1950s were recruited to WSU’s new doctoral program in sociology. At the time the Ph.D. program was starting, several administrators with connections to predominantly Black colleges in the south put out a call to “send us your best … » More …