At the Crossroad: African American Studies and Me!
I came to do research and write about Haitian Studies and the African Diaspora through African American Studies. Let me briefly explain this interesting anecdote. When I was working on my M.A. degree at the University of Louisville (KY), I took two courses from the Department of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville that would change my entire intellectual career. The first course was on the “African Diaspora” and the second one on how to teach in the Inner City; it was a seminar designed for future teachers who are interested in working with marginalized and underperforming students. Two those courses were a life-transforming event. Behold, I became an enlightened man! I wanted to do more study and engage in more research on African American history and the Black Experience in the United States.
When I applied for doctoral studies at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), I was admitted to the PhD program in History. I spent a year as a doctoral student in History; then, I switched to major in Literary Studies, which would allow me to do research both in Black Literature and Black History. Hence, my fields of concentration and comprehensive (doctoral) examinations were in African American Intellectual History, African American Literature, and Caribbean Literature and Culture. I authored a literary-historical dissertation on three coeval literary and historical movements in the African Diaspora: the Harlem Renaissance (Harlem, New York), the Negritude Movement (Paris, France), and Haitian indigenism (Port-au-Prince, Haiti).
African American Studies was my crossroad, my intellectual Papa Legba, that opened the way for me to engage in research about Haiti and the African Diaspora. For many of us who specialize in Black Studies and other academic areas, African American Studies was our first love and continues to be our sustaining crossroad to explore further research in other disciplines of study. This is my little story about celebrating “Black History Month.”
Happy Black History Month, Good and Wonderful Friends!
*** I still have to write the book on the religious philosophy of James Baldwin and Richard Wright, and a book on Du Bois and the Caribbean 🙂