Finding Our Academic Seat At The Table

I am sad that I am just now seeing the Black Enterprise article about how an academic took Michelle Obama’s Becoming and made it into a guided curriculum for young girls.

In working with my mom, Dr. Marta D. Collier, I am very familiar with the process of expanding learning from books by creating planned activities or a curricular approach with children’s books.

We’ve seen various recent versions of creating curriculum with the #LemonadeSyllabus #444syllabus #ASeatAtTheTableSyllabus and others. This is the part of academia that I love. When we can take the methods and strategies that we have learned and turn them to address the grand challenges that threaten our human existence it is a beautiful thing.

There are times that many black academics begin to question why they are plugged into the academy when they are faced with various points of racially infused opposition. The applications academic practice that Dr. Mims, Professor Candice Benbow and others are applying to real world scenarios are fine examples of why we need to occupy these spaces.

The Academy isn’t likely to herald this type of work, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need it. Support for this type of work should naturally find a home in research communities of Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as other Minority Serving Institutions and other educational institutions that value and champion diversity and are willing to persist at the work of inclusivity and equity.

As we close out 2019 and step boldly into 2020, I hope that we will all consider how we might better apply our skills to tackling the challenges before us. I hope and pray that we will all seek alignment to our purpose/calling so that we can lead healthy and accomplished lives. We’ve all got great work to do!

Marta C. Youngblood is a writer, education and social entrepreneur based in Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information on her current projects visit

Quick References:

4:44 Syllabus by Anthony Boynton (

A Seat At The Table Syllabus by Anna Julia Cooper (

Building Literacy Workshops by Dr. Marta D. Collier (

Becoming Curriculum by Dr. Lauren Mims (

Lemonade Syllabus by Candice Benbow (

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