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K-State Today

March 14, 2014



Sampson-Choma, James present at annual National Council for Black Studies Conference

By Tosha Sampson-Choma

Tosha Sampson-Choma, assistant professor of American ethnic studies, and Kevin James, senior in American ethnic studies, presented research at the 38th annual National Council for Black Studies Conference, March 7, in Miami, Fla.

In recognition of the outcome of the Treyvon Martin case, the conference location and theme were chosen in tandem: "Challenging Racial Terrorism: Black Resistance and Community Building Across the African Diaspora."

Sampson-Choma presented the paper "The Legacy of the Black Campus Movement: An Examination of Campus Movements in the New Millennium." In examining the history of the African-American campus movement, Sampson-Choma identifies modern day parallels in terms of the rhetoric and agency employed by students today. In a highly technological era when young adults are assumed to be passive, apathetic and distracted by the fast-paced societal innovations, there are students who unabashedly stand on their principles and voice their assertions without fear or intimidation.

James’ research presentation was "Solidifying Bonds and Forging New Communities: Black Seminoles — An Omitted Chapter of American History." In his work, James provides an overview of the community that was established through the coalescence of the Muscogee Creek Indian Nation and Gullah African populations. As the indigenous people of Florida provided safe havens for the enslaved runaways, the two would form a new community, which became known as "Black Seminoles" or "Seminoles." The establishment of this population was an example of resistance to racial oppression and terrorism.

James will graduate in May and attend graduate school in the fall to continue his education in ethnic studies. This was his first conference and particularly significant because of the exposure to cutting-edge research, the intellectual exchange of ideas, network opportunities and available access to key scholar-activists in the field. James received positive feedback and affirmation of his scholarship, particularly as an undergraduate student.

Special thanks to the College of Arts and Sciences for the Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Travel Award, which provided the financial support for James to attend.