Black Perspectives; Dr. Wornie Reed
You need a little. Good evening welcome to black perspectives. A half hour feature focusing on issues information and lifestyles in the communities of Boston and so sure. I'm your host Charles Desmond and tonight I'll be interviewing Dr. Warney Reed who's the chairperson of the black studies department at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and director of the Institute for the study of black culture. Good evening Dr. E.. Good evening. I thought that tonight what we're trying to do is to talk a little bit about the most recent creation here at the University of Massachusetts Boston that is the Institute for the study of black culture and I think I listening audience would be interested in knowing a little bit about what the institute proposes to do and what are some of the things that you have on the agenda for the next year. OK the Institute for the study of black culture came into being last year as a result of several. Kinds of things that were happening. One being the interest in the black faculty
here at the campus and in Hanson the blacks that is our friends and Hansen means of scholarly interaction. Also there was a Black Legislative Caucus that was interested and assist in the black studies department and the black faculty here at UMass Boston in accomplishing these aims. And that was the commitment of the university happening at the same time to enhance the black studies offerings and to enhance scholarly activities around black studies. So as a result the legislature passed a bill to authorize funds for this kind of activity. And so as to for the study of black culture came into being with a mandate in the plan too. First of all the black studies department in their scholarly activities that is to expand what they would be doing
to to be a place that faculty could do research but also to be a place that would do public public policy research for the community and to be a means by which the university would see itself as assisting the community in some of its activities by having an entity that would have the faculty relate to the community in terms of public policy and community issues. Let me let me so plug into that point right there when you say that when you think of a university generally most people think that universities spend most of their time teaching classes and faculty members who are writing books and for the most part there isn't a lot of involvement by the university in the affairs or concerns of the community. When you say that the institute enables that the black studies department in its faculty members to get more involved in the in the affairs of the community is that through specific research projects that are that are community related
or special types of activities where. Faculty members can get involved in pressing issues within the community can you spend a little. Yeah we're discussing that point. Yes both of those. It's a means by which the talents of faculty can be used to research and consider various community issues. OK it's also a means by which the community individuals working in the community and in public agencies can come to the university and debate and discuss various issues and involve scholars in these. So yes the university especially a state university has an obligation to involve itself in some of these issues. And this is the means by which the universe to see that it will be involved in issues relevant to the black community. I see. I see. Talk to me a little bit about. What the institute has been doing up to this point in time. I mean I know that last year there were a number of
people brought onto the campus to speak as well as a number of projects that you founded where people went off and in fact did some research on some matters which I think will be coming out. I mean that will be discussing perhaps perhaps later on in the show. Yes well one of the things that happened last year was a distinguished lecture a series where some well-known scholars and public figures were brought to the campus to discuss current issues and that was something that the institute sees itself as promoting and to keep these issues being discussed. And also last year there was a series of small grants given to individuals on campus and off campus to look at various issues and such issues as the development of self-concept and black children black firms international trade balance in the black
community. And a number of other issues including presumptive sentence and so on these issues that seem to have a high level of relevance and salient now in the community. And so a number of scholars were brought in to receive these grants and they did this this research and have prepared papers on these the institute will be making these papers available to the public in the very near future. In addition to that these scholars are beginning to discuss the results of that work. OK that's a significant kind of event that that happened in the past that is to have these scholars do this work and to present it to the public into means by a written method and by public forums specific crime in which the public I understand this is going to take place and early December is angry and now there's a specific set of
research. Projects that were carried out by the Institute last year and involving some prominent area black scholars dealing with some eight different aspects about the black community in Boston. In fact these eight projects have resulted in eight research papers which constitute a monograph a book a research book whose title is the emergent black community in Boston. This book will be released to the public on December 3rd and an event here at the UMass Boston Harbor campus at 6 p.m. and the faculty club and the public are certainly invited to this and we are hoping that many people will show up. We will release this publication to the public. Provide copies to the individuals who attend and provide a means of having the audience interact with the authors of these
studies. We have studies that involve. Such things as a look at the 10 year bust and results. Professor Charles Worley we have an article and it's resulting from the study of employment opportunities for black. Professor James Black Well I could list several others but these are some exciting studies that really assess where the black community is in several areas in Boston at this period of time. And these scholars go further and suggest what kinds of things might need to be done to the black community the way it should be. So it should be an exciting evening. I think that I'm looking forward to that obviously and I do encourage people if they're free to be over at the the Healy library on December 3rd that evening because I think that there should be a very informative and pretty exciting presentation. Let me ask you the question about
do you think that this type of research that the and scholarly activity going on in the institute will have any impact on Boston's black community I mean do we know as much as we need to know I mean I guess I should rephrase the question do we know as much as we need to know about Boston's black community and do we know enough at this point to get out and to be making some pr. Smits as to how we can improve the conditions of bi people in a city. I would presume that some. Individuals in some places know some things about what should be done and therefore should be in the business of of advocating certain things but I would also suggest that we don't know enough about a lot of areas. In fact when we start advocating certain things we should have information to back it up. OK and that is the purpose as I see it of a an institute that does Public Policy Research. Sometimes we need something so basic as how many people are in
which category that we are discussing and how many people will be impacted by some program. These are the kinds of things that the institute would hope to help to provide that kind of information. There is a there is I think a vacuum in Boston in the sense that there is a lot of generalities bandied about with regards to the black community but there isn't the type of hard data in one centralized location where one could come and say that there are some experts and researchers who would have some specific concrete information in one location that could address X question y questions a question in a coherent in a timely manner and I think that there's a great benefit that that's being Invision in the in this institute should it be able to continue to strive and prosper and to do the type of work that you've been suggesting. Yes in fact this is the reason I left private industry to go into academia. I felt that we did not have enough data.
To back up our arguments and we have a number of scholars out collecting data. And so the next step after becoming involved in academia is to try to work to do the kinds of things that have happened here to extend this. The Institute for the study of black culture so that we can have data based argument too often in the black community. Officials have asked advocates of certain changes. Where is your data. Well the institute intends to help provide that in some areas obviously we can provide it in all areas but we should we should help quite a bit. Now your own background is that you are a social ologist so there for us data early on as a discipline. You have been looking at these various groups you did your graduate work rate here in the city of Boston so you're no stranger to the area and have been around here for a while. How do you now find it coming back to Boston have to having presently been directing the Institute for
Urban Research at Morgan State University How do you see Boston changing in any ways do you see it sort of moving in a more progressive manner. Obviously you must see something there or she wouldn't come back to join us. And that's kind of an interest in and kind of a difficult question but in the two cities I've lived since I lived in Boston there was a larger black community I lived in St. Louis which had 45 percent black and Baltimore which is 55 percent black. So the there's a different dynamic that relate to that. But coming back to Boston is kind of interesting I think I see a number of things happening and I'm very pleased so far that a number of community people are very interested in the kinds of things that the institute will do. And I'm also very pleased to see that there now is a state institution which has an
interest and Foster in these kinds of activities that is the Public Policy Research and other community forums and so on that we would do at the institute So that's new we don't have anything like that before when I was here. So I'm very excited about that. That's why I came back. Let me say that I am We're obviously very glad to have you back at the University of Massachusetts and back in Boston as well. Let's take a brief break rate here let our listening audience know that you're listening to WM B. Ninety one point nine FM when you're listening to. Please stay tuned. When we turn sharply with black perspectives. This is Cicely Tyson. No child should stop her attention. But in 14. African countries hit by drought. Children are starving at a rate of a thousand a day. UNICEF the United Nations Children's Fund is meeting the immediate and long term needs of Africa's people. The U.S. Committee for UNICEF has a way for you to help. Now. The Africa emergency line run. Eight hundred eighty six. Eleven hundred.
Thank you. We're back from a brief intermission on WM B. Ninety one point nine FM. I'm Charles Desmond your host for black perspectives and this evening we're talking with Dr. Juanita Reed who is chairperson of the black studies department at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and director for the Institute for the study of black culture. Before we went on our break we were talking pretty much exclusively about the institute itself. What I'd like to talk to here a little bit from you is what's the relationship between the Institute and the black studies department itself and the combination of these two forces together having impact on the institution with regards to faculty attitudes and student attitudes about the concerns of black people. Yes I have experience from talking to various classes that the students are very interested and excited and they question you know what's going on as a lot of activity here. And and so I think that the students see that they is a genuine interest and some of the issues that
we not only have extended to the institute but also new faculty have been added to the department. Now the relationship between the institution and apartment is first of all that currently I'm the chairperson of the department and director of the Institute but also the department members are those here before have worked have gotten projects in the institute and to the extent that department members will do research they will be associates in the institute. OK the institute is not one in the same as the black studies department but the department faculty will be associates in the institute as will other faculty black and white that wish to work on the kind of issues that we're doing will be associates and we'll working to start this program by the 1st of the year. And we welcome faculty to discuss to come in discuss it with us so that we can
involve any faculty member who would wish to interact with us on the kind of issues that we deal with. But in terms of another issue that another point that I make like to make is that next semester one of the exciting things that we will have is a nother series of lectures in our distinguished lecture series this time we will be doing these lectures on affirmative action. We'll have a series of some six scholars to come in and present scholarly papers on this issue from their perspective. We'll have people from the law political science sociology civil rights and so on now. These lectures will be a part of a course so they will be held during the course time. Students will be required to attend these lectures as a part of this course
which is looking at issue current issues and affirmative action and they will get the papers from the presenters and we will analyze and debate and discuss the papers in class sessions. So this is one means about which the institute is directly affected in the course offerings in the department and I think just in general this too is will help us to recruit students to the department. Yeah I think that I think that that the suggesting that you're making here is a very good one I think that those of us who have been looking at black studies departments across the country in the United States and the history over the last 15 20 years with regards to these programs have asked the question of well how do these programs get integrated into the mainstream of the university campus. And that this is a profound issue I mean a lot of people feel that. This issue's central to the black community issue is central to what's happening in black intellectual thought.
Part of the mainstream of the universe and it seems as though that what you're doing now which is to build courses and programs and integrating into the mainstream of the university will enable many students black as well as non black students to get a better understanding of what some of the issues are impacting on the black community which indirectly means impacting on the majority community as well. So I'm very pleased to see and hear that that's happening. Tell me a little bit more about what's happening in the future with the Institute beyond the this presentation that you have on the 3rd of December in these courses. I understand that there's also some activity being developed around Black History Month which will again integrate some activities into the classroom maybe and make sure a little bit of discussion with us on that. OK. I mean not the details and they're not finalized yet. Right well first let me complete this semester then on the 4th of September we'll have the last of our form series. We'll have Professor Gresham Barrett of the Economics Department discuss issues of black ferns and international trade.
And we will continue these forum series next semester starting with the first week of school and we have some very interesting presentations there. But as soon as we start that will be end to Black History Month and Black History Month is being planned activities for Black History Month being planned now and the theme Black History Month this this next year revolves around black excellence. And this once again is being sponsored by the Institute and the black studies department along with other units in the university. And what we're planning to do there is to bring in well-established scholars from across the area and from across the country to talk to classes in many disciplines. In other words they will not come in to discuss black studies issues they might be biologists who will discuss
biology but the issue here will be to show the complement of blacks in various fields so these people will come in and lecture to a class and possibly hold a public forum. But in every instance they will lecture to a class so that both black and white students can see black excellence and a number of fields. I think that again is a very good idea and I like the idea of bringing this to the class level to the collegiate level in the sense that it brings these activities into the classroom and sort of makes the relationship between the black scholar and the intellectual enterprise which is what the institution is primarily engaged in doing. Let me talk a little bit now about the future and the relationship of the general Boston population towards the institute. Do you in the future see more community involvement at this point. It's it's been more of an activity that I've looked
at as the the university bringing things to the Legislative Caucus bringing things to the community inviting the community to participate I think that the the the research grants which is allowed community people to identify specific issues and bring them to the institute do you say this is something in the future that the institute will be doing more of a do you see the institute taking more of a research oriented activity and disseminating information directly to the community. Well I guess I see the institute doing more research and disseminated to the community but not as a one way street. We would need to make sure that what research we did it specially the public policy research if we wanted to be immediately interested in usable by the community would be something that the community is interested in and so therefore we would involve the community in discussions about it which kind of research we should be doing. So we will continue to hold community
panels to discuss various issues. And one of the things we know that will occur out of that once the community see that we have the capability here to look at some of these issues we'll have just a lot of requests to to look at various areas and we'll have to prioritize those and began to look at them and to work with the community on those. But always we will have our own campus and off campus paddles discussions forums where we will sit down and debate and discuss various issues. So I see the community being involved not only as the recipients of this information but also generate in the issues and sometimes the way we might need to approach these issues because I think the community knows that better than we do. We just might have these skills for looking at them in a in a scientific manner and presenting this data so we will have to work very closely with the commute. They're sort of getting winding down towards the end of this presentation What would someone who wanted to know some
more information about the institute. Are the black studies department here UMass Boston do how would they get in touch with you if they had a question. Well they could call and the number of the department is 9 2 9 7 4 2 0 0 0 and the number of the institute is named 2 9 8 6 3 0. But also they could write to either of these entities here at the UMass campus. The Harvard campus. But we will be distributed to the public descriptions of the kinds of things that we have just discussed in the next few weeks. But in the interim individuals can contact us. Let me I'm going to ask I was like that always done one ringer into into the mix and I wanted to ask one final question. We have now preparing for the 300 50th anniversary of the black presence in Boston. Representative Byron Russian has is spearheading a task force that's looking
at what types of things Himly do to in fact celebrate this significant achievement the 350 year of the presence of blacks in the city of Boston. Do you think believe that the institute could play a role in shaping events around that occasion in 1988 slashing. I'm sure we can. I've been involved in something somewhat related to that before. One of the persons working at the institute that I previously headed in Baltimore did a semester long series of events. Looking at the Caribbean presence in Maryland over three hundred and fifty years so we could use you as example. That sounds great. Let me say that I think that as we look to the future for the Institute for the study of black culture at UMass Boston that it appears as though that things are moving along at a very fast pace in a very progressive way. I'm very encouraged that we have you on board directing the institute in that so many things
appear to be going on at this time with regards to the overall university administration and its response to the institute it seems as though to me that most of the things that I've heard have been very positive and that there's been an awful lot of interest in where the institute is heading and what it's doing at this point in time. So again I think that things look good there. Do you have any final information that you'd like to pass on to our listening audience before we bring this show to a close. Well in order for the institute to be successful in some of its areas we're going to need the support of individuals who support what we do and we need that present at some of the events on December 3rd here at the UMass Haba campus will be have in any event that we would like very much to do have all interested individuals to attend this event will be as I mentioned previously the release of the book of studies on what adds up to be the state of black Boston the title of this book is
The American black community in Boston and it deals with a number of significant issues involving black Boston and these event will take place on the third at 6 o'clock and the faculty club in the Hilo library which is on the 11th floor for information. Individuals can call 9 2 9 8 6 3 0. We need support for these programs so we just like the individual to attend and offer their suggestions and criticisms and so on. We welcome that. Well let me say thank you very much that you have been listening this evening to black perspectives I'm Charles Desmond your host. I'd like to again thank our guest this evening Dr. horney Reed who is to chairperson of the black studies department at UMass Boston and director of the Institute for the study of black culture. Our show this evening was produced by Gary Pierre Louis and technical assistance was provided by Tonya Warren. Thank you very much and good night.
- Black Perspectives
- Dr. Wornie Reed
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- Host Charles Desmond interviews Dr. Wornie Reed, chair of UMass/Boston's Black Studies Department and director of the university's new Institute for the Study of Black Culture. Reed discusses the institute's founding, history, purpose and functions, including current grant-funded research projects and its forthcoming scholarly research publication "The Emerging Black Community in Boston." He also discusses the need for continued research on the black community in order to better inform public policy debates, the relationship of the institute to the Black Studies Department, the future of the institute in relation to the larger black community in Boston, and the potential for the institute's involvement in the upcoming 350th anniversary celebration of black presence in Boston.
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- Black Perspectives is a public affairs talk show featuring in depth conversations about issues of interest to the African American community.
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Copyright Holder: WUMB-FM
Guest: Reed, Wornie L.
Host: Desmond, Charles
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- Chicago: “Black Perspectives; Dr. Wornie Reed,” 1985-11-27, WUMB, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 9, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-345-33dz0cv0.
- MLA: “Black Perspectives; Dr. Wornie Reed.” 1985-11-27. WUMB, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 9, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-345-33dz0cv0>.
- APA: Black Perspectives; Dr. Wornie Reed. Boston, MA: WUMB, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-345-33dz0cv0