Protests against racial injustice and anti-Blackness have swept across elite colleges and universities in recent years, exposing systemic racism and raising questions about what it means for Black students to belong at these institutions. In Black Space, Sherry L. Deckman takes us into the lives of the members of the Kuumba Singers, a Black student organization at Harvard with racially diverse members, and a self-proclaimed safe space for anyone but particularly Black students. Uniquely focusing on Black students in an elite space where they are the majority, Deckman provides a case study in how colleges and universities might reimagine safe spaces. Through rich description and sharing moments in students’ everyday lives, Deckman demonstrates the possibilities and challenges Black students face as they navigate campus culture and the refuge they find in this organization. This work illuminates ways administrators, faculty, student affairs staff, and indeed, students themselves, might productively address issues of difference and anti-Blackness for the purpose of fostering critically inclusive campus environments.
About the Author
SHERRY L. DECKMAN is an associate professor of education at Lehman College, City University of New York in the Bronx. She is the coeditor of Humanizing Education: Critical Alternatives to Reform.
“Sherry Deckman has written an important volume about how space, place, and identity are racialized through campus life that is truly a gift. People should read, reflect, and hopefully struggle with the complexity presented in this study because of its implications for how we work towards diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education.” — W. Carson Byrd
"Deckman’s treatment of cultivating safe Black space in an elite, predominately white university context is masterful and instructive. As it turns out, mission, commitment, transparency, respect, care, and most importantly, love comprise the necessary chords to maintain a racially safe space for Black students that centers blackness and where non-Black students may also choose to participate. How much better off our schools and universities would become if only they embodied the lessons that Deckman beautifully conveys." — Keffrelyn D. Brown