College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Centers & Institutes > Center for Black Diaspora > About > Director's Message

Message from the Director

Welcome to the Center for Black Diaspora!  


On behalf of the Center, its staff, and its advisory board, I’m honored and delighted to welcome you to the Center and its 2017-2018 events.  I also welcome you to the Center’s newly refurbished Reading Room, which contains  a rich collection of books and films related to the African diaspora.  The CBD was established in 1993, initially as the Center for African-American Research.  A key mission of the Center is to promote scholarship and dialogue at DePaul on issues related to the African Diaspora.  The Center’s programs and events provide interdisciplinary and dynamic opportunities for scholars to collaborate on and explore developments related to the African diaspora.  The Center’s office and Reading Room offer a welcoming space in which to study, hold meetings, watch films, or simply relax.  Along with inviting external scholars to share their work with us, the Center is committed to showcasing the work and talents of DePaul’s own faculty.  The Center’s programs and activities typically consist of lectures, film and book discussions, workshops, artistic performances, and artistic exhibits.  The Center for Black Diaspora and its events are open to the DePaul community, to local academic, cultural, and service organizations, and to the broader diasporic community. 

The programming theme for 2017-2018 is “Language, Conflict, and Diaspora”.  Autumn programming features three performance-based events.  The first explores hip-hop as a mode of resistance and black empowerment.  It features Dr. Marcyliena Morgan of Harvard’s HipHop Archives, performances by DePaul rap artists from the group ChiDirects, and is facilitated by Dr. Jalylah Burrell, DePaul’s 2017-2018 Ida B. Wells-Barnett post-doctoral fellow.  This event is followed by a tribute to Illinois Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Brooks on her centennial year, and features dramatic readings of Brooks’ work by DePaul Theatre School Alumni, and reflections by Brooks biographer Angela Jackson.  Dr. Francesca Royster, of DePaul’s English department, will facilitate this event.  The last performance-based event showcases a performance by members of Chicago’s Deeply Rooted Dance Theater.  Executive Director Kevin Iega Jeff will also lead a discussion of the healing and redemptive mission of the ensemble’s African dance tradition, and the importance of this tradition to sustaining a strong and beloved community in Chicago.   

The Center is also co-hosting events on the topics of black feminism and food ethics; parent participants in the Chicago Public School boycotts of ’63; and a symposium on mass incarceration in Chicago.  It will also co-host an annual Autumn open house  with the African and Black Diaspora Studies Program.

All of these events are free and open to the DePaul and Chicago community.  See below for more information on dates, times, and locations. 

We look forward to seeing you there!​