News

6/21/2022

By Lauren Parsons

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 20, 2022) — More than 60,000 pages of Fayette County’s historical property records containing information about enslaved people from the late 1700s through 1865 will soon be available to the public online thanks to a partnership between the Fayette County Clerk, University of Kentucky’s Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies (CIBS), the Lexington Black Prosperity Initiative, Blue Grass Community Foundation and its Knight Foundation Donor Advised Charitable Fund.

The Fayette County Clerk began digitizing documents during the 1990s, but the books of historical property records remained on paper, including transactions detailing names of individuals sold and bought as slaves, mortgages naming enslaved people as collateral and

6/17/2022

By Kody Kiser and Ryan Girves

 

Sunday, June 19, 2022, will mark the second year of the federally celebrated holiday, Juneteenth. 

Long celebrated in the Black community, Juneteenth marks the day U.S. Army Gen. Gordon Granger announced to the people of Galveston, Texas, that slavery was over — more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

In recent years, we as a country have pushed for more. More discussion, more acknowledgment, more reform. With that has come more recognition of African American history that has been largely marginalized.

As the country continues to progress, so does the University of Kentucky, who made Juneteenth an academic holiday in 2020. The announcement came after the release of a multi-step action plan to increase the commitment to — and investments in — access and

6/14/2022

by Jenny Wells-Hosley

This week, the University of Kentucky and surrounding communities will celebrate Juneteenth — the federal holiday that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved Black Americans — with a variety of community events.

While the Emancipation Proclamation was issued Jan. 1, 1863, declaring more than three million slaves living in the Confederate states free, it was not until Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, two years later, on June 19, 1865, that the last enslaved U.S. populations were informed of the proclamation. Since then, the date has served as a symbol for freedom and celebration for Black communities. This year marks the second time Juneteenth will be observed as a federal holiday in the U.S., as well as the second year the University of Kentucky will be closed in observance (Monday, June 20).  

Below is a list of events UK

4/22/2022

By Jennifer Haynes

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 22, 2022) — Eleven university faculty and teaching assistants were recognized by the University of Kentucky with the 2022 Outstanding Teaching Awards on Thursday, April 21, in the J. David Rosenberg College of Law Grand Courtroom. 

This annual award program recognizes faculty and graduate teaching assistants who demonstrate special dedication and outstanding performance in the classroom or laboratory. Recipients were selected via nomination and reviewed by a selection committee based in the UK Provost’s Office for Faculty Advancement and the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching.

Each winner received an award certificate, a commemorative engraved gift and a cash award

4/11/2022
By Kate Maddox  

University of Kentucky African American and Africana Studies (AAAS) and The Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies (CIBS) will host the 27th annual Black Women’s Conference from 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Friday, April 15. The conference will be on Zoom.

This theme this year is “Appalachian Mountains, Digital Valleys, and Everything in Between: Black Feminist Subjectivities.” Anastasia C. Curwood, director of AAAS and CIBS, will begin the conference by welcoming audiences and introducing the four topics that will be covered during the event.

“The experiences of Black women and girls

2/22/2022

By Olaoluwapo Onitiri

Many people grew up playing video games throughout their childhood. Gaming has become an important culture in the world today. It has inspired many, including Kishonna Gray, who is using her gaming experiences to create platforms to talk about important topics, such as Black people in the cyber world and intersectional feminism.

Gray is an associate professor in Writing, Rhetoric and Digital studies and African American and Africana studies and an affiliate faculty in Gender and Women studies and International Film studies. In her latest book, Intersectional Tech from Louisiana State University Press, she talks about blackness in gaming at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality and (dis)ability in-depth.

“While my

2/15/2022

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 15, 2021) — “We cannot understand where humanity has been and where we are going without Black Studies.”

This is the mantra of the Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies (CIBS) — a multidisciplinary research institute based in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of African American and Africana Studies.  

The institute hosts more than 50 nationally and internationally recognized researchers with expertise in fields such as Black futures and 21st century race in digital cultures; slavery and inequality in Central Kentucky; race and sport; global Blackness (from Appalachia to Zimbabwe); and gender and sexuality in Black lives. These affiliated faculty represent 11 colleges across UK, and they are developing initiatives

2/14/2022

By Kody Kiser and Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 14, 2022) — In the fall of 2020, the University of Kentucky announced plans to establish the Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies (CIBS) — a multidisciplinary program designed to highlight UK’s growing research around issues of race and racism.

The interdisciplinary institute establishes research clusters across the campus and promotes the university’s growing research and scholarship on topics of importance in African history and African American history, such as slavery and the quest for freedom, racial discrimination and violence, and the long struggle for civil rights.

This year, the university announced continued annual funding of $200,000 through UK’s Office for

2/11/2022

By Lindsey Piercy

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 11, 2022) — A legacy is passed from one generation to the next and often refers to gifts of money or property. But leaving a lasting impact also is about actions — the ones you take and the way they affect how people remember you.

“When I looked at her, I saw a hero — like she was some type of superstar,” said Taylor Morton.

As children, our heroes were often the classic characters we enviously watched on Saturday morning cartoons. But for as long as they can remember, twins Taylor and Tyler Morton’s version of a hero was far more realistic.

“My grandmother knocked down barriers and overpowered hate with love,” Tyler said. “Many are unaware of her legacy. She was very humble — she wasn’t one to brag or want recognition.”

To those who

2/1/2022

By Ryan Girves

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 1, 2022) — The University of Kentucky is home to decades of rich Black history. To celebrate that history and to reflect on all the contributions Black Americans have made since this country’s conception, the Martin Luther King Center, along with units across campus, will celebrate Black History Month with a series of virtual and in-person events and programs throughout February. 

“This month is an opportunity to commemorate the lives, struggles and achievements of Black Americans,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “We are today’s University of Kentucky because of the remarkable Black alumni who pushed open our doors and paved a path for those who would follow. I am excited to see our community carry on this legacy and come

1/21/2022

By Lindsey Piercy

Crystal Wilkinson

The Kentucky Poet Laureate’s book of poetry, “Perfect Black" (University Press of Kentucky), is nominated in the category of “Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry.”

The NAACP Image Awards program highlights the achievements of people of color across television, music, literature and film, and the promotion of social justice through their creative endeavors.

"Me and my partner Ron Davis (who illustrated ‘Perfect Black’) are extremely honored to be a part of this tradition of celebrating Black advocacy and activism through art,” Wilkinson said. “As descendants of a long line of Kentuckians who have had the

1/10/2022

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 10, 2021) — The University of Kentucky is continuing its support for the new Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies (CIBS), based at UK.

Created with $250,000 of seed funding from the university last fall, the institute will now receive annual funding of $200,000 through UK’s Office for Institutional Diversity — an important step forward in helping the institute achieve its goals.

“Black studies is for everybody, and by funding the institute, UK is supporting all of us,” said Anastasia Curwood, director of CIBS and African American and Africana Studies (AAAS) at UK. “It's hard to find an issue

10/28/2021

By Phil Harling

Please join us in extending a warm Kentucky welcome to Devyn Spence Benson and Hilary Jones! Hilary and Devyn are wonderfully accomplished researchers and instructors who joined our faculty this fall as associate professors with tenure, and joint appointments in the Program in African American and Africana Studies. We are so thrilled to be able to call them our friends and colleagues!

Devyn Spence Benson is a 20th century historian who focuses on antiracist movements across the Americas and the Caribbean. Her research and teaching interests sit at the intersection of Africana Studies and Latin American history, and she has worked throughout her career to merge these two interdisciplinary fields by focusing on Afro-Cuban history, politics, and culture. Before her arrival at UK, Devyn has taught at Williams College, Louisiana State University, and Davidson

10/25/2021

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 25, 2021) — The University of Kentucky will welcome Emily Hudson, community activist and founder of the Southeast Kentucky African American Museum and Cultural Center, to campus next week as part of the Appalachian Forum series.

The lecture, titled “Yes, You Can Come Home Again,” will take place 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 1, in the William T. Young Library UK Athletics Auditorium, and on Zoom. The presentation is sponsored by the UK Appalachian Center and Appalachian Studies Program, African American and Africana Studies (AAAS), and the Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies (CIBS) at UK.

Hudson will share excerpts from her book, “Soul Miner,” and discuss her journey in search of her identity as an Appalachian and an African American. She will discuss

9/13/2021

By Jesi Jones-Bowman

UK undergraduate researchers Bridget Bolt and Gretchen Ruschman. Students are encouraged to explore undergraduate research opportunities at the Research + Creative Experience Expo.

At the University of Kentucky, undergraduates have access to outstanding research and creative work activities led by world-class faculty and staff that promote self-discovery, experiential learning and lifelong achievement.

Explore exciting undergraduate opportunities at the first annual UK Research + Creative Experience Expo 3-5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13, around the Gatton Student Center’s Social Staircase.

“The goal of the Research + Creative Experience Expo is to introduce undergraduates to the diversity of research and creative work conducted at UK,” said Chad Risko, faculty director of the

8/6/2021

By Lindsey Piercy

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 6, 2021) — Before you know it, summer will be coming to a close. But there’s still time to get lost in a good book.

We asked the University of Kentucky community to recommend books they feel would make good additions to anyone’s summer reading list.

In the descriptions below, faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences share the books they can’t put down. Pulling from the worlds of history and fiction — their picks explore timely themes while providing intriguing insights.

“A Time of Gifts” by Patrick Leigh Fermor

Recommended by Phil Harling, chair of the Department of History in

3/1/2021

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 1, 2021) — The new Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies (CIBS) at the University of Kentucky will host its official launch event this week with an address by American literary critic and scholar Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr.

“An Evening with Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.” will take place 7-8 p.m. Wednesday, March 3, on Zoom. The event is free and open to the UK community and the public, though advanced registration is required.

“Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. is an exceptional scholar, historian and teacher,” said George Wright, interim vice president for institutional diversity at UK. “

2/26/2021

By George Wright

One of the most rewarding parts of my role as chair of the diversity, equity and inclusion implementation plan, is that I continue to meet outstanding individuals from UK who are devoted to their community – Dr. Anastasia Curwood is one of those leaders.

Where are you from and what is your background?

I am from Cambridge, Massachusetts and grew up going to the Cambridge public schools until I went to college, which was at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania – an all-women’s institution. That was where I became devoted to scholarship.

When I went to graduate school at Princeton for history, what was important to me was having a vibrant community of Black scholars. My advisor was Nell Irvin Painter, the great historian, and she had a very talented group of students,

12/8/2020

By Richard LeComte 

Five recently hired faculty members associated with the African American and Africana Studies interdisciplinary program in the College of Arts & Sciences are broadening the range of diverse and inclusive course offerings to University of Kentucky students. The five new hires are JWells, Vieux Touré, Lydia Pelot-Hobbs, Brandon M. Erby and Aria S. Halliday. 

“It is important to hire Black faculty in these areas and all areas, because their individual and collective research expertise is essential to the mission of the University,” said Damaris B. Hill, interim director of the African American and Africana Program.  “This

11/11/2020

Aria S. Halliday, assistant Professor in the department of gender and women’s studies and in African American and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky,  participated recently in "The future of America, according to 7 teachers," a feature on the NBC "Today" show.

"The future of America is a diverse, people-centered and people-led democracy that actively works to end white supremacist capitalist patriarchy and its effects (racism, colorism, fatphobia, xenophobia, etc.) in policies and cultural landscapes," Halliday said on the NBC website. 

You can take a look at more of what she has to say here

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