The National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS) is hosting this podcast series called “The Freedom Plow” in recognition of its 50-year anniversary . The poet Langston Hughes said that when times get hard and it seems like dreams have been deferred, we must keep our hands on the Freedom Plow and Hold On! Hold On!
This episode of the Freedom Plow podcast looks at labor organizing on college campuses such as unionization and collective bargaining; struggles for better wages and social benefits; and campaigns against privatization. These battles have been propelled by campus workers (faculty, staff, graduate students) affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, Communication Workers of America, United Autoworkers, Service Employees International Union, Unite HERE, and other unions. Our guests are Dr. Nikol Alexander-Floyd and Patrick Scott. Dr. Alexander-Floyd is an Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and an Associate Member of the Political Science Graduate Faculty at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. A lawyer and political scientist, she is the co-founder of the Association for the Study of Black Women in Politics and author of Gender, Race, and Nationalism in Contemporary Black Politics. She has served on the Executive Council of the American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT) at Rutgers University. Mr. Scott is the Deputy Director of the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute and previously coordinated the Southern Regional Office of the AFL-CIO. He worked closely with the AFL-CIO’s Union Summer Program that was established in the mid-1990s, and has offered basic organizing skills and immersion training in union-based organizing campaigns to hundreds of young activists. He has also worked on labor education, "train up" organizing sessions, and the ATL Solidarity Committee that organized employees at Delta Air Lines.
In this episode of the Freedom Plow, we talk to Dr. Cedric Johnson about a wide range of topics including neoliberalism, reparations, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. Dr. Johnson is Associate Professor of African American Studies and Political Science at the University of Chicago at Illinois. He was the editor of The Neoliberal Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, Late Capitalism and the Remaking of New Orleans (University of Minnesota Press, 2011) and co-editor (with Robert C. Smith and Robert G. Newby) of What Has This Got to Do with the Liberation of Black People? The Impact of Ronald W. Walters on African American Thought and Leadership (SUNY Press, 2014). He also authored Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics (University of Minnesota Press, 2007).
This episode of the Freedom Plow looks at black public opinion and the 2018 and 2020 elections. Dr. Ray Block is Associate Professor at Penn State University and the co-author (with Sekou Franklin) of Losing Power: African Americans and Racial Polarization in Tennessee Politics. He is a research analyst for the African American Research Collaborative and Latino Decisions, and one of the lead investigators of a 9,400-person poll during the 2018 mid-term election. Dr. Juhem Navarro-Rivera is the Political Research director and Managing Partner at Socioanalitica Research and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Humanist Studies. He was one of the lead investigators of the Black Census Project, a survey of 30,000 Black Americans sponsored by the Black Futures Lab in 2018 and 2019.
In this episode of the Freedom Plow, Dr. Kathie Stromile Golden talks about the value of international education and study abroad programs as well as her unlikely path from small-town Louisiana to world-wide traveler. Dr. Golden is the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU). She has spent three decades creating and administering international education and study abroad programs, having traveled to 70 countries on all seven continents. Prior to her appointment as Provost, she was the Director of International Programs and Special Assistant to the President at MVSU. She previously served as Project Director of the Mississippi Consortium for International Development’s Higher Education and Development Project for Iraq. In 2005, she was also a Fulbright Lecturer working for the President of the Azerbaijan Republic. From 1998-2001, she worked on international programs for the United Negro College Fund Special Programs Corporation.
Dr. Robert C. Smith, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at San Francisco State University, is one of the country’s best minds on black politics. Dr. Smith has authored and co-authored a dozen books. His final book, which will be published next year is called, From the Bayou to the Bay. The book documents his life journey from rural Louisiana to the San Francisco Bay Area and acts as a guidebook for understanding the struggle over black studies on college campuses on the West Coast and the evolution of black politics from the 1970s to the 21st century.
Five years ago, 12-year old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by a police officer in Cleveland, Ohio. Rice, who was playing with a toy pellet gun, was shot by the officer within two seconds after he got out of his police car. The incident was the latest in a series of police killings and excessive use of force incidences in the city. A Department of Justice investigation completed a few weeks after Rice's killing found persistent and systemic patterns of misconduct by the Cleveland Police Department. This episode looks back at how local organizers and activists in Cleveland engaged in a daily resistance struggle to make changes in policing culture in the aftermath of Rice’s death. It also looks at the broader terrain of the Black Lives Matter movement and related discourses that position racial justice at the forefront of U.S. politics and policymaking. We have two guests. Joseph "Joe" Worthy is the Ohio Director of Youth Leadership and Organizing at the Children’s Defense Fund. In 2014, he was a member of the New Abolitionist Association and a frontline activist working mainly with young people in response to the police killing of Tamir Rice. Dr. Tehama Lopez Bunyasi is Assistant Professor at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. She is the co-author (with Dr. Candis Watts Smith) of the new book, Stay Woke: A People's Guide to Making All Black Lives Matter.
This episode of the Freedom Plow podcast explores African Americans and the politics of immigration in the U.S. South. We have two guests. Dr. Niambi Carter is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Howard University. She is the author of American While Black: African Americans, Immigration, and the Limits of Citizenship. Dr. Jennifer Jones is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of The Browning of the New South. This podcast was recorded in August 2019. The guests make reference to two events that occurred in August: the mass shooting of Latino residents by a white nationalist in El Paso, Texas; and the raid at food processing plants in central Mississippi by Federal law enforcement officials that resulted in the mass arrests of 680 people.
This episode of the Freedom Plow podcast looks at state takeover and preemption. In recent years, state lawmakers have undermined local governments across the country, especially black and Latino-governed cities and school districts. The guests for this podcast are: Dr. Domingo Morel, author of Takeover: Race, Education, and American Democracy, and Assistant Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University in Newark; Dr. Meghan Wilson, a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago, whose work focuses on public finance, urban development, race and ethnic politics, and state and local government; and Dr. Harold Love, Jr. a state lawmaker in Tennessee representing Nashville’s 58th District and a second-generation state legislator.
This episode of the Freedom Plow looks at radical self-care and blacks in the academy. Our guest is Dr. Julia Jordan-Zachery. She is the Chair of the Department of Africana Studies at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte. She is the author of numerous publications including Shadow Bodies: Black Women, Ideology, Representation, and Politics and Black Girl Magic Beyond the Hashtag (co-edited with Duchess Harris). Much of her work inside and outside the classroom has focused on radical self-care and work-based trauma impacting African Americans and women. In 2018, she facilitated a webinar on self-care for Ideas on Fire, an academic publishing and consulting agency.
In this episode of the Freedom Plow Podcast, we interview Norris Henderson, one of Louisiana’s prominent criminal justice advocates. Mr. Norris is the founder and executive director of Voice of the Experienced (VOTE). He spent 27 years in prison on a wrongful conviction. While in prison he was at the forefront of incarcerated activism. He and others developed the Angola Special Civics Project—an electoral organizing and civic engagement initiative, in which justice-involved persons inside of the state’s prison system, mobilized their friends, family, and voters to support criminal justice legislation. Since leaving prison in 2003, Mr. Henderson has been at the forefront of initiatives such as Ban-the-Box, democratizing the jury system, and voting rights.
In this episode of the Freedom Plow Podcast, we talk to Dr. Christina Rivers, Associate Professor of Political Science at Depaul University. Several years ago, as part of her broader research interest in mass incarceration, she began teaching courses in the Stateville Correctional Center (SCC), a maximum security state prison in Illinois. The courses are offered through Depaul’s Inside-Out Prison Exchange program. In this episode, Dr. Rivers talks about the value of Inside-Out programs for justice-involved persons, as well as faculty and students.
Dr. Charisse Burden-Stelly is an Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Political Science at Carleton College. She is one of the country’s foremost experts on the black radical tradition. She has an impressive research portfolio examining blacks and the Cold War, imperialism, repression, and the black left. Her new book, authored with Gerald Horne, is titled W.E.B Dubois: A Life in American History.
In this podcast, we look at gentrification and its impact on public health, affordable housing options, and political representation. We have three guests for this episode. Dr. James Jennings is Professor Emeritus at Tufts University and is one of the leading scholars on urban politics. Chanera Pierce has worked on fair housing policy in Detroit and recently worked as the Policy Coordinator at the Fair Housing Center in New York City. Ari Theresa is a civil rights attorney focusing on Zoning and Administrative Law. He is principal partner of Stoop Law, which is located in the Anacostia neighborhood of Southeast Washington DC.
Michelle Boyd, PhD is an award-winning writer and scholar, a writing coach and retreat facilitator, and the founder of InkWell Academic Writing Retreats. She spent the first part of her career studying the political significance of black racial identity. In 2008, her book Jim Crow Nostalgia: Reconstructing Race in Bronzeville won a Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association. In 2015 she founded InkWell, where she specializes in helping stuck, scared scholars free themselves from fear and build a satisfying, sustainable writing practice. Michelle has helped hundreds of scholars - from all ranks and a wide range of institutions and inter/disciplines- move past their anxieties, reconnect with their writing, and develop a calmer, more confident, more productive writing practice.