Celebrating Black Geographers
Click below to see each cohort
The Celebrating Black Geographers anthology, developed by Dr. Dee Jordan, was inspired by the report titled Black Geographers in Institutions of Higher Education in the United States: Where They Are and a Selected Bibliography of Their Works, published in 2003 by Joe T. Darden and Lucia Terra. This anthology of Black Geographers is an expansion of the previous report, born out of the necessity to have a publicly available single source database that chronicles the contributions of Black Geographers to the discipline of Geography. This collection includes photographs, biographies, and interesting facts. The anthology places into context the events occurring at the time when these geographers were matriculating.
Black geographers are teachers, lecturers, or professors of African American or Black/African descent, who possess advanced degrees in geography, and who have a demonstrated track record of teaching and research in the discipline of Geography. The early cohort represents those who received their highest degree between 1900 – 2000.
Like the inspirational document noted above, we hope this collection brings awareness to the impacts, contributions, and legacies Black geographers have had on the discipline, their communities, and the world. Another aim of this anthology is to demonstrate the professional opportunities possible with an advanced degree in geography. We also hope this compilation will encourage potential students from underrepresented backgrounds to seek higher education opportunities in geography.
While we seek to celebrate Black geographers, we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge that even among Blacks in geography there exist underrepresentation of American born Black geographers compared to those of international ancestry.
As an African American woman geographer who graduated from the Department of Geography Environment and Spatial Science at Michigan State University in 2020 where we have produced a number of Black geographers, I was only the second African American woman to receive a PhD, the first was Juanita Gaston some 43 years prior.
Programs like the Advancing Geography Through Diversity Program (AGTDP) at Michigan State University seeks to address the underrepresentation of African Americans, Latinx Americans, and Native Americans in geography graduate programs. Increased representation will have profound impacts on the discipline, scholarship, and society as a whole.
Lastly, though exhaustive research was conducted in order to locate all Black geography graduates for the stated time period, we recognize that the current list may still not be all inclusive. Therefore, if you know any Black geographers who should be included in this tribute, please complete the form here.
This project was conceived, compiled, and edited by Dr. Demetrice “Dee” Jordan, a Black geographer whose focus is Health and Medical Geography. She is an alumnus of the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Science at MSU and Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.