A Blacktivist Research Narrative: Researching as a Black Activist

April 14, 2016

Before I conclude my blog posts and Honors research, it is important to mention that this study adopted an action research model. Thus the research blended with my every day, campus activism. For example, I voiced many of my participants’ concerns—anonymously, of course—in campus climate subcommittee meetings as we met to discuss our portion of the final report for the Task Force on Race and Race Relations. Additionally, in the letter I penned to Mizzou on behalf of the Black student community at the College, I drew from participant narratives, as well as conversations I’d had with other student leaders and also personal experience. Penning the letter and keeping abreast of the situation at Mizzou also influenced my research, in that in prompted me to consider student activism as an avenue for research as there is a body of literature that explores the role educational institutions can play in supporting the mental and physical wellbeing of student activists.

Finally, after struggling to get program turnout for the various campus organizations in which I serve as well as a general failure of the Black student community here at WM to collaborate and organize, I began work with some other student leaders to attempt to revamp the Black Caucus, which is an organization intended to serve as a central hub and resource for all of the Black-affiliated organizations. This drive to do so, however, was driven largely by the same faculty who had unintentionally helped to shape my research, as well as by the same impetus that sparked this research project—a drive to improve and protect the psychosocial health of Black American students on this campus in a very personal way. Thus, this research moved beyond simple inquiry and sought to model flexibility and consideration—my study and activism had to change as the needs and concerns of the community changed.