SSP Seminar Series: The HBCU Black Male Professor and the Insidious Black Inferiority Myth


LaTonia Siler-Holloman (University of Leeds)


The Black male professors should have much to say about the current state of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) of the United States. The struggle for the HBCUs to remain relevant continues despite disparate government funding, lower enrolment rates, and planned mergers with predominately white universities (PWIs), thereby slowly eliminating nearly two centuries of tradition. These conditions, along with the increase of insecure faculty positions and the rise of anti-intellectualism, threaten the existence of the Black professoriate which has always been grossly underrepresented.

Yet, after asking over sixty Black male HBCU faculty members to share their thoughts on these trends and their careers, only one professor participated in my research project that sought to compare the educational and employment patterns of nineteenth century sharecroppers to those of the twenty-first century scholars.  Additional research into their lives revealed external and internal structures in the US university system which may have influenced their decisions. Arguing that the insidious Black Inferiority complex is the basis for the constraints, I present historical and contemporary evidence as possible explanations for the preclusion of the HBCU male professors in my research and suggest ways to solicit their participation in the future.

All welcome! There is no need to book.

Our seminar series runs weekly on Wednesday lunchtimes, from 12 noon until 1.30pm.