Black Geographers 1900-2000

Celebrating Black Geographers

The First Cohort: 1900-2000

Conceived, compiled, and edited by Dr. Dee Jordan, with special thanks to Dr. Joe T. Darden – Professor of Geography at MSU, Dr. Christopher K. Tucker – Chairman of the American Geographical Society (AGS), Katherine Cann – Manager of Sponsored Projects and Initiatives for AGS, AGS interns: Christina Lin, Nicholas Schmidt, Kelly Young, and Nicole Oveisi, and Dr. John Allensworth (ret.) for their contributions. 

Preferred citation: Demetrice Jordan,, “Celebrating Black Geographers: The First Cohort 1900-2000,” American Geographical Society, last modified February 9, 2022,

Click HERE to submit a profile

  • World War II (September 1, 1939 – September 2, 1945)
  • The US enters the United Nations
  • Jackie Robinson desegregated baseball when he started at first base for Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947
THELMA GLASS (1916 - 2012)

MA, Teachers College Columbia University, 1947

Research Interest: Local and regional economic, cultural, and physical geography

Professor Glass was a tenured faculty of geography at Alabama State University for over 40 years. She was a community activist and Secretary of the Women’s Political Council. She was the Co-organizer of the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott, a pivotal action in the Civil Rights Movement which resulted in the US Supreme Court ruling segregation on buses was unconstitutional. Professor Glass is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and the LINKS Incorporated, and was the subject of a book chapter titled Teachers and Their Times: Thelma Glass and Juanita Gaston was published in the book The Role of the South in the Making of American Geography: Centennial of the AAG, 2004. An auditorium in Trenholm Hall at ASU was dedicated to Professor Glass in 1981 and thirty years later in 2011, she would receive the Black and Gold Standard, the highest honor awarded to alumnus of Alabama State University. Read more.

  • Gwendolyn Brooks becomes the first African American Pulitzer Prize for Poetry winner
  • Althea Gibson becomes the first African American woman to compete at the U.S. Nat’l Championships for tennis
  • Korean War (June 25, 1950 – July 27, 1953)
Ernest Amano "E.A." Boateng (1920 - 1997)

MA, St. Peters College University of Oxford, 1953

Research Interest: Social and political geography

Boateng was the first Ghanaian Professor of Geography, he was appointed lecturer of geography at the University of Ghana in 1950 after receiving his bachelor’s degree. He was promoted to Professor and Chair of the Department in 1961 after the completion of his master’s. In addition to service in the Department of Geography, Boateng was the first Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana and the first Chairman of the Environmental Protection Council of Ghana. He served on many national and international committees including the UNESCO International Advisory Committee on Humid Tropics Research. Boateng was a member of the Ghana delegation at the United Nations Conference on Geographical Names and the United Nations General Assembly. He was a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica for over 20 years and authored a number of books and articles. Dr. Boateng received the Henry Oliver Becket Memorial Prize for Geography. Read more.

  • MLK Jr leads first major Civil Rights event – bus boycott in Montgomery Alabama
  • Emmett Till (14 yr old) lynched in Money, MS
Milton Santos (1926 - 2001)

PhD, University of Strasbourg, 1958

Research Interest: Human geography, critical geography, and urban studies

Dr. Santos was the father of critical geography in Brazil, and is known for his pioneering works in urban development in developing countries.  Santos received the Vautrin Lud Prize, often described as geography’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.  Santos taught high school geography and math to finance his way through law school.  After deciding not to practice law, he taught high school geography, and worked as a journalist before studying in Europe, the Americas, and Africa – completing his PhD under Jean Tricart.  Santos was exiled from Brazil for a 13-year period, during which he wrote more than forty books, all told, in several languages. It was during exile that Santos developed the Urban Development in developing countries from a geographical perspective. In 2018, Dr. Santos’ life and achievements were commemorated with a Google Doodle. Read More.

  • Greensboro sit-ins at Woolworth
  • Vietnam War
  • Ruby Bridges, Leona Tate, Tessie Prevost, and Gail Etienne desegregate public schools in New Orleans
Harold Rose (1930-2016)

PhD, The Ohio State University, 1960

Research Interest: Urban-social geography, the Black ghetto, Black homicides in cities

Dr. Rose was a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Geography and Urban Studies, one of the first tenured African American professors, at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he served as chair of the Department of Urban Affairs (1970-1973 and 1974-1977), Department of Afro-American Studies (1977-1978), and Department of Geography (1990-1994).  Rose began his academic career exploring issues of natural resource management, shifting to become a pioneer in research on race and segregation.  Rose was the first African American President of the AAG, later receiving the AAG’s Lifetime Achievement Honor in 1996, and in 2012 the AAG created an award in his name – Harold M. Rose Award for Anti-Racist Research and Practice in Geography.  Rose received his undergraduate degree in history and geography from Tennessee State before serving in the Army in 1950, completing his masters and PhD at Ohio State University. Read More.

Akin L. Mabogunje

PhD, University of London, 1961

Research Interest: Urbanization, development, regional mobility, contemporary geographic perspectives

Dr. Mabogunje was the Father of Geography in Nigeria, the first African President of the International Geographical, and the 2017 winner of the Union Vautrin Lud Prize. Mabogunje made enormous contributions to the University of Ibadan, where he was Head of Department of Geography (1972-1975); Dean Faculty of the Social Sciences (1968-1970) and Director, Planning Studies Programme (1972-1981), and much more.  He consulted for all levels of government in Nigeria, the Local, State and Federal levels on diverse topics of development. Internationally, he contributed to the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development in Geneva; International Council for Scientific Unions; the International Labour Organization (ILO); the Population Council, New York; the African Studies Association; UNCHS; UNDP and UNESCO, among others.  Dr. Mabogunje has been a Visiting Professor at dozens of universities world-wide and the recipient of many Honorary Doctorates. Throughout his career he has been the Chairman or President of dozens of international organizations. He is the author or co-author of various scholarly contributions including 25 books and over 100 journal articles and book chapters. Dr. Mabogunje was awarded the American Geographical Society’s Livingston Medal in 1975, for his work in urban geography and migration. Read more

Theodore Speigner (1906 - 1983)

PhD, University of Michigan, 1961

Research Interest: Conservation, environmental geography

Dr. Speigner was the first African American to obtain a PhD in Conservation in the United States.  Speigner founded the Department of Geography at North Carolina Central University, an HBCU, in 1960.  By 1988, the AAG assessed that this program was the nation’s leading producer of black geographers. Speigner came to Geography late in life, earning his PhD in his 50s, having already been a trailblazer for racial equality.  He was the first African American elected to the Durham, North Carolina school board and eventually became its Chairman. Speigner was also the second African American to be ordained by the American Lutheran Church. Additionally, he was the first to serve on a policymaking group of the National Lutheran Council when he was minted to the Division of American Missions in 1953. He served as president of Martin Luther Institute in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and President of the Alabama Lutheran Conference in the late 1930s. Read more

Simeon Ominde (1924 - 1995)

PhD, University of London, 1963

Research Interest: Economic geography in developing countries

Dr. Ominde was appointed Professor and Chair of the Geography Department at the University of Nairobi in 1964, becoming the first African professor in East Africa and putting an end to the myth that academic departments in East Africa could not function unless headed by non-Africans. The following year Ominde was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Arts. He was integral to restructuring the Kenyan system of education post- independence and led the efforts for the commission to review the education system which resulted in the Education Commission Report of 1964 which laid the groundwork for education reform in Kenya and the removal of the segregationist colonial legacy as well as the racial system of schools. Professor Ominde was the Founder and Director of the Population Studies and Research Institute at the University of Nairobi – a forum for the multidisciplinary approach to population studies and research –  and he would guide the research of the institute for over a decade. He has authored monographs, articles, and reports and has presented papers in forums in Kenya and abroad. Dr. Ominde was a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Britain. Read more

  • Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed by the US Congress
  • Civil disorders of 1967 in major American cities nationwide
  • Moonwalk of 1969 – Edwin Buzz Aldrin
Milton E. Harvey

PhD, Durham University, 1966

Research Interest: Urban geography and quantitative methods 

Dr. Harvey is Professor Emeritus and Former Chair of Geography, Kent State University (1970-71).  Harvey arrived at Kent State after a PhD in urban geography from Durham University, England, and postdoctoral work at The Ohio State University that helped fine tune and expanded his quantitative methods.  Havey was a key player in Kent State’s evolution as a center of applied geography, which became a key partner in the development of the first Applied Geography Conference.  Dr. Harvey was named after his uncle Sir Milton Margai, Sierra Leone’s first Prime Minister. Read more.

Georges Anglade (1944-2010)

PhD, University of Strasbourg, 1969

Research Interests: Human geography, social geography, Haitian diaspora

Dr. Anglade is a Professor of Geography and one of the founders of the Université du Québec à Montréal. During his tenure at the university, he founded the Department of Geography and taught social geography courses for over 30 years. Professor Anglade liked to define himself as a “man in three pieces”, he was a geographer by training and profession, a political activist, and a literary writer. Born in Haiti, his activism for democracy and opposition to the Duvalier regime led to his imprisonment and ultimate exile for several years. He was an international expert in planning for the United Nations from 1998-1993. Professor Anglade wrote over 30 books, among his best-known are Les Blancs de Mémoire (1999), Leurs jupons dépassent (2000), Et si Haiti declarait la guerre aux USA? (2004), Rire haïtien / Haitian Laughter (2006). Dr. Anglade and his wife perished in the 2010 Haiti Earthquake. Read more.

Assefa Mehretu

PhD, Johns Hopkins University, 1969

Research Interest: Economic geography, regional development and planning, location theory, and African development

Dr. Mehretu has been Professor of Geography at Michigan State University since 1977.  Originally from Ethiopia, Mehretu has taught and conducted research in Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau and Zimbabwe in collaboration with the World Bank and as a consultant for the U.S. Agency for International Development. His research interests include African development, regional development and theories and patterns of socioeconomic marginalization in the U.S. with particular reference to Michigan. Dr. Mehretu has served as Associate Director of MSU’s African Studies Center and as Director of the Rome Social Science Program in Italy since 1992.  He is the recipient of research fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, and various MSU grants to support fieldwork in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. Dr. Assefa has made many scholastic contributions to the discipline of Geography including books, book chapters, journal articles and segments for various encyclopedias. He is the father of renowned Artist Julie Mehretu. Read more.

  • First Earth Day Celebration
  • Kent State University Shootings
  • First women US Military Generals
  • The Women’s Strike for Equality
  • Environmental Protection Agency begins
Michael Darkoh (1940 - 2016)

PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1971

Research Interest: Economic geography, human environment, rural development and the African environment

Dr. Darkoh, affectionately known as “Mr. Geography” by students at Achimota College in Accra, Ghana became interested in geography after hearing a lecture on geography and development by Professor E.A. Boateng. Darkoh was subsequently offered an unsolicited job as a Tutor in Geography by his secondary school. Dr. Dakoh was part of the first wave of Africans to leave the continent to study abroad post colonialism and during the height of the struggle for civil rights in America. He completed his PhD in a record two years and has served on the faculty of universities all over the world including the University of Nebraska, California State University San Bernardino, University of Dar es Salaam, Kenyatta University, Ohio University, and in the Department of Geography at the University of Papua New Guinea. Dr. Darkoh spent the last twenty years of his career in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Botswana, where he would serve as Chair of the department and the Founding Chairman and Director of the International Tourism Research Centre. Read more.

Donald Deskins, Jr. (1932 - 2013)

PhD, University of Michigan, 1971

Research Interest: Urban-social geography, residential mobility, urban areas, Detroit

Dr. Deskins served in the US Marine Corps, before attending the University of Michigan where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1960. While at U of M, Deskins played tackle for the Wolverines football team. After graduation he played professional football for the Oakland Raiders in their inaugural season (1960) in the American Football League. Dr. Deskins served on the University of Michigan Geography faculty from 1968-2002, including as Chair of the Department from 1974-1979.  When the Department was discontinued in 1982, Deskins joined the Department of Sociology as Professor of Urban Geography and Sociology. Professor Deskins made important scholarly contributions to our understanding of racial dynamics in American society. Dr. Deskins also served as President of the Commission on Geography and Afro Americans (COMGA) – the first such group to address questions of racism and access within the institutional framework of the discipline. Deskins was selected to receive the inaugural Harold M. Rose Award for Anti-Racism Research and Practice, awarded at the 2013 AAG Annual Meeting. Read more.

Joe T. Darden

PhD, University of Pittsburgh, 1972

Research Interest: Urban-social geography, residential segregation, immigration, and socioeconomic neighborhood inequality in multi-racial societies

Dr. Darden is a Professor in the Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University. During his tenure at Michigan State, Darden has served as Acting Chair of Urban and Metropolitan Studies and Dean of the Urban Affairs Programs from 1984 – 1997.  Dr. Darden was a Fulbright Scholar at the Department of Geography, University of Toronto, 1997 to 1998.  He is the author or co-author of 8 books and over 160 journal articles. More than 20 years ago, he led the efforts to advocate for geography departments nationwide to admit and support “just one” student from underrepresented minority groups. Darden’s long-standing course “The Ghetto” attracts geography and non-geography students to the discipline and exposes them to housing discrimination, “red-lining”, race-based residential segregation resulting from the ideology of white supremacy. Such practices have contributed to separate and unequal neighborhood socioeconomic inequality in Metropolitan areas nationwide. He has been the recipient of several honors including Michigan State University’s Distinguished Faculty Award in 1984, the Harold M. Rose award for Anti-racism and Research and Practice in 2016. He was elected as part of the inaugural cohort of AAG Fellows in 2018. He received the American Association of Geographers (AAG) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. Read more.

DeWitt DAVIS, Jr.

PhD, FD Lund University, Sweden, 1972

Research Interest: Population, urban GIS, Africa, United States, minority related issue

Dr. Davis is Professor of Geography Emeritus and Former Dean of Social Sciences, University of the District of Columbia.  He served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Ohio State University 1972-1973. Read more.

Lathardus Goggins (1927-2009)

PhD, St. John’s University, 1972

Research Interest: Africa, recreation, Anglo-America, climatology

Dr. Goggins was a Professor of Geography and Associate Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Akron. In addition to earning a PhD, Dr. Groggins earned a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) in Higher Education Administration from the University of Akron and an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) from Kent State University. He also earned multiple masters degrees from the University of Akron. Before joining The University of Akron in 1969, Groggins taught in East Africa, where he was a member of the first wave of Teachers for East Africa (TEA), one of the first international initiatives of the Kennedy Administration. The program provided teachers for secondary schools and teacher training colleges in East Africa during the 1960s. He is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated and has taught at several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), including Florida A & M University, Grambling State University. At the age of 17, Groggins enlisted in the US Army Air Corps (now the US Air Force) and trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field during the end of World War II. Read more

Woodrow W. Nichols Jr.

PhD, University of California at Los Angeles, 1973

Research Interests: Urban geography, cultural geography, transportation

Dr. Wilson is a Professor of Geography. He joined the faculty at the University of Miami Coral Gables before returning to his undergraduate alma mater, North Carolina Central University (NCCU). In 1975, Dr. Nichols became chair of the Department of Geography at NCCU and served in that capacity until 1995. Under the leadership of Dr. Nichols, the Master of Science in the Earth Sciences program was instituted in 1995, which prompted the department to change its name to Geography and Earth Sciences. During his tenure as Chair, Professor Nichols served as a liaison staff member in the Office of University Research of the United States Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C. Some of his most notable research projects are The Adequacy of Transportation Facilities in Black Communities: The Problem of Residence-Shopping Place Separation. He is also the author of many publications related to the spatial analysis of transportation and other socio-economic problems in black communities. Read more.

Vinston “Dune” Burton, Jr. (1944-2017)

PhD, University of California at Los Angeles, 1974

Research Interests: Physical Geography, geomorphology, geological processes

Dr. Burton was a Professor of Geography at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). He was one of several undergraduate geography majors from NCCU who returned to join the department’s faculty upon completion of their doctoral degree. During his tenure with NCCU, Professor Burton taught courses in earth science, remote sensing, and geomorphology. He was instrumental in developing the earth sciences concentration within the geography major. Dr. Burton was one of the first two Black geomorphologists in the United States. He was an avid motorcyclist. Read more.

Walter C. Farrell, Jr.

PhD, Michigan State University, 1974

Research Interest: Social welfare policy, urban issues, Hispanic, immigration, economic development, employment and discrimination issues, K-12 education, the agenda to privatize public schools, diversity, social and immigration issues, and death penalty mitigation

Dr. Walter C. Farrell, Jr. heads a management, education, and litigation consultant group.  He earned a B.A. degree from North Carolina Central University, a Masters and Ph.D from Michigan State University, and a postdoctoral Masters in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He most recently served as Professor of Community Management & Policy Practice in the School of Social Work, Associate Director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center in the Kenan Institute in the Kenan-Flagler Business School, and as a Fellow in the Center for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He was previously Professor and Chair of the Department of Educational Policy & Community Studies in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an Adjunct Professor in the Departments of Curriculum & Instruction, Urban Studies, and Allied Health.  Dr. Farrell is a Fellow at the National Education Policy Center School of Education, University of Colorado. Read more.

Robert Obudho

PhD, Rutgers University, 1974

Research Interests:  Urbanization, urban and regional planning with particular emphasis on Africa

Dr. Obudho is a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Nairobi. He is the founding Editor of African Urban Quarterly Journal and the African Urban and Regional Science Index. He is an advocate of urban planning and helped develop the department at the university. He is also active in spearheading the development of policies for various sectors in Kenya. Dr. Obudhu has held faculty positions at the State University of New York at Albany, College Saint Rose and Vassar College Poughkeepsie, and Rutgers University. He also served as a Planning Analyst at Johnson and Johnson Worldwide. Dr. Obudho returned to the University of Nairobi after a fifteen year sojourn in the United States. Read more.

Earl P. Scott

PhD, University of Michigan, 1974

Research Interests:  Human landscape geography, economic development and small scale enterprises, Africa, minority settlements in America, African diaspora

Dr. Scott is a Professor in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Society, at the University of Minnesota where he focuses on human landscape geography, economic development, and small scale enterprises in Africa and minority settlements in America with particular interest in the African diaspora. Grounded in foreign area research and social science survey methods, Dr. Scott’s objectives have been to understand the lives of “ordinary” people and how they advance their own well-being, to understand the participation of ordinary citizens in urban and rural-based economies and how their participation can be assured through democratic rights, and to understand how households and small-scale enterprises, as the lowest units of civil society, empower themselves.  Dr. Scott has conducted field research on small-scale enterprises in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Uganda and has traveled to many other sub-Saharan African countries. Read more.

Bobby M. Wilson

PhD, Clark University, 1974

Research Interests:  Urban-social geography, Civil Rights Movement, housing, urban revitalization, economic development, and social justice for Black communities, to sophisticated theoretical appraisals of capitalist processes, social engineering, and neoliberalism, and anti-racist practice in Geography

After completing his PhD at Clark University, Dr. Wilson was appointed to the Department of Geography at the University of Alabama, Birmingham from 1974 to 2002, when he moved to Tuscaloosa.  Dr. Wilson has received both AAG’s Presidential Achievement Award and Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring his career-long dedication to anti-racist scholarship in geography, for his a mentorship to students, and for the example he has set for colleagues throughout his academic career.  In the mid-1980s, he was a member of the AAG’s Commission on Geography and Afro America (COGMA), the first such group to address questions of racism and access within the institutional framework of the discipline. He has played a similar role within the Southeastern Division of the AAG.  Dr. Wilson researches the way geographical space can be used to shape human lives, then applies that information toward promoting social justice and fighting racism and his scholarship. Read more

  • Watergate Scandal
  • Transatlantic Pipeline construction began
  • Thrilla in Manilla – Ali vs Frazier
  • First unabomber bomb 1978
Charles M. Christian

PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1975

Research Interests:  Urban, social policy, minorities, demography

Dr. Christan was a social geographer in the Department of Geography and Institute for Urban Studies at the University of Maryland. Charles Christian is the creator of The Black Saga Competition (circa 1992) – an academic quiz that tests the Black history knowledge of 4th – 8th grade students. His book by the same name — “Black Saga: The African American Experience” was published in 1995. It is the result of a seven-year journey that he began to find the context for stories he heard his mother and grandparents tell while growing up in small towns in Texas and Oklahoma.  Charles Christian taught several 400 level Geography courses including a course on how race and class influenced people’s interaction with space.  In 2008,  Dr. Christian received the National Education Association’s Carter G. Woodson Memorial Award at the Association’s 42nd annual Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner on July 2, 2008, in Washington, D.C. Read more.

Everette N. Bannister (1948-1979)

PhD, University of Pittsburgh, 1976

Research Interests: Physical geography, fluvial geomorphology, landform analysis

Dr. Bannister was an Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Michigan. His focus was physical geography with a specialization in stream morphology. He conducted research in Michigan and internationally at Jos Plateau in Nigeria. Professor Bannister actively participated in community service through educational programs and mentoring with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Pittsburgh programs. Read more.

Juanita Gaston

PhD, Michigan State University, 1976

Research Interests:  Urban, social, historical

Dr. Gaston earned a B.S. in Business Administration in 1970 from Alabama State University and an M.A. and PH.D. degrees in Geography in 1973 and 1977, respectively, from Michigan State University.  For 24 years, Dr. Gaston taught and conducted research at Florida A&M University (FAMU), with a focus on the urban, social and historical geography of the Southeast United States. In the 1980’s Gaston served as a member of the Commission of Geography and Afro America (COGMA) program which sought to address the status of Black Americans in geography. She also served as the Director of the FAMU Census Information Center from 2000-2014.  From 2013 until her retirement, she taught genealogy workshops, where she followed her passion of helping others discover their roots, especially African Americans.  Dr. Gaston is the former President of the Tallahassee African American Genealogical Society, Inc. Dr. Gaston was the subject of a book chapter titled Teachers and Their Times: Thelma Glass and Juanita Gaston was published in the book The Role of the South in the Making of American Geography: Centennial of the AAG, 2004. Read more.

Kenneth Jordan

PhD, University of California at Berkeley, 1976

Research Interests: Social geography, human geography, urban planning

Dr. Jordan is a Professor of Geography in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Vice Chair Faculty Senate at Savannah State University (SSU). Prior to joining the faculty at SSU in 1989, Professor Jordan held faculty appointments at Prairie View A&M, Tennessee State University, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University. During his tenure at SSU, he served as Associate Director of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at Georgia Southern University and the Director of the MPA program at SSU. In addition to geography, Professor Jordan has a background in mathematics and statistics. He has worked as a statistician and data analyst for the U.S. Department of Education in New York City, U.S. Bureau of the Census in New York City and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Savannah, Georgia. While completing his doctoral program he was employed as a financial analysis for Riverside County, California. Dr. Jordan is an Ordained Elder in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (C.M.E). Read more.

Philip John Thiuri

PhD, Syracuse University, 1976

Research Interests: Urban and regional planning, tourism, geography of race relations, history and philosophy of geography, Africa

Dr. Thiuri’s teaching career began at the State of New York University at both the Morrisville and Brockport campuses and Syracuse University, teaching Geography and Economics. Early in his teaching career he returned to Kenya to raise his children in Kenyan culture. At the request of his daughters, Dr. Tiuri and his wife returned to the United States where he began teaching at Vassar College. In 1992, Professor Thiuri was appointed to the faculty of William Paterson University and taught geography courses until his retirement. In 2001, he became a Deacon at Saint John’s Cathedral in Paterson, New Jersey. Dr. Thiuri is the Co-founder of Rural Reading Centers Africa a non-governmental organization to encourage the improvement of literacy in rural communities in Kenya. After his retirement Thuiri returned to his home country of Kenya where he and his wife started the organization in 2005. The Rural Reading Centers of Africa started with two pilot locations and now has seven locations throughout Kenya each center having over 3000—7000 volumes of books ranging anywhere from nursery rhymes to university level books. Read more.

Thando Gwebu

PhD, Kent State University, 1977

Research Interests:  Human geography, sustainable development, urbanization

Dr. Gwebu is a human geographer whose research specialization is population, development and the environment – with a focus on urbanization and sustainable development. After receiving his PhD in Geography from Kent State University for his research on migration and the dynamics of the space economy in Sierra Leone, Dr. Gwebu became a Fellow at the Oxford Institute on Population and Ageing. Although he has taught in the United States and southern Africa, Dr. Gwebu spent the bulk of his academic career in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Botswana, where he taught Population Geography and Gender, and the Environment, before he retired. His contribution to geographic thought was manifest in more than 60 published articles on the topics of population dynamics and development, and gender and intergenerational issues. Read more.

Austin Amegashie

PhD, University of Florida, 1978

Research Interests:  Agriculture, Africa

Dr. Amegashie was an Associate Professor of geography at Hartford Community College in Bel Air, Maryland until his retirement in 2013.  

Albert Barnett

PhD, Arizona State University, 1979

Research Interests:  Microclimatology, energy, budget analysis, GIS

Dr. Barnett was a Professor of geography at North Carolina Central University (NCCU), where he also served as Department Chair from 1995-2005.  As an undergraduate geography major at NCCU he was mentored by Dr. Theodore Speigner who formed the university’s Department of Geography in 1960 and was its first Chair for 15 years. During his tenure at NCCU, Dr. Barnett served as Chair of the Faculty Senate. He was the Director of the Geospatial Research, Initiative Teaching and Service center. As an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental, Earth and Geospatial Sciences, he has taught courses in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing and computer cartography at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He was the Associate Director and then Director of the Summer Ventures in Science and Mathematics program. His interests included remote sensing and geographic information systems interfacing applications and their future rolls in 3D modeling and animations using virtual environments. Dr. Barnett was an integral part of the development of the Geospatial Research Innovative Teaching and Service (GRITS) Center at NCCU in 2006. He retired in 2009 after thirty-four years of dedicated service. Read more.

Marvel Lang

PhD, Michigan State University, 1979

Research Interests:  Urban growth and urban development theory, rural growth and decline, governance, and municipal management

Dr. Lang is an ordained minister who has been preaching the gospel since 1969.  He is also a Gospel Singer and recording artist.  He grew up in rural southeast Mississippi on a farm outside the town of Bay Springs in Jasper County. His formative years were during the late 1950s and 1960s during the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the South. Dr. Lang was a Professor of Social Science at Michigan State University from 1986 until his retirement in 2011. He is currently the Director of Staffing and Training for NCG, LLC – a minority woman owned professional staffing and training  company. Previously he was a professor at Jackson State University and worked as a professional researcher at the U.S. Census Bureau in Washington, D.C. He is a member and minister at the Tabernacle of David COGIC in Lansing, Michigan. Dr. Lang is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.  Read more.

Brenda Thompson

PhD, University of Pittsburgh, 1979

Research Interests:  Urban, geographic education

Dr. Brenda Kaye Thompson was a Professor of Geography in the Department of History and Psychology at Jackson State University for 34 years. She was the Founding Director of the Center of Student Professional Development in the College of Liberal Arts. She is the Past Founder and Director of the Black History Challenge Bowl and Past Director of the National Honda Campus All-Star Challenge Bowl for several years, which brought the University tens of thousands of dollars for scholarships. She served as a reader for The Researcher. Professor Thompson is a Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NCAAP), and the American Association of Geographers (AAG). Dr. Thompson has published four books and several books on geographic education. She  is a fourth generation  member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Read more.

Harris E. Williams

PhD, Arizona State University, 1979

Research Interest: Climatology, geographic processes, meteorology

Dr. Williams was an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental, Earth, and Geospatial Sciences at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). A bachelors graduate of NCCU, Professor Williams returned to his alma mater as a member of the faculty after completing his doctoral degree. Dr. Williams received postdoctoral training through the Southern Fellowship Fund and the National Center for Atmospheric Research where he worked in the Geosciences Department at Elizabeth City State University. He has participated in science education institutes at the US Geological Survey, National Park Service, National Weather Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Throughout his 40 year career in academia, Dr. Williams has authored many papers on climate change and water resources. Read more.

  • AIDS in the US first noticed in 1981
  • Department of Education begins CERCLA enacted (Superfund Program) major step for environmental justice
  • Mount St. Helens erupts 
  • Attempted assassination of Vernon Jordan 
James H. Johnson, Jr. (Jim)

PhD, Michigan State University, 1980

Research Interests:  Urban, social, population


Dr. Johnson. is the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Strategy & Entrepreneurship and Director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center in the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to joining the UNC-CH faculty, Johnson was a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he spent the first twelve years of his professional career. His research interests include community and economic development, the effects of demographic changes on the U.S. workplace, interethnic minority conflict in advanced industrial societies, urban poverty and public policy in urban America, and workforce diversity issues. Dr. Johnson was selected by Fast Company magazine as one of the “17 … brightest thinkers and doers in the new world of work.” He has published more than 100 scholarly research articles and three research monographs and has co-edited four theme issues of scholarly journals on these and related topics. His latest book is “Prismatic Metropolis: Inequality in Los Angeles.” Read more.

Perry Massey

PhD, Clark University, 1981

Research Interest: Urban Geography, human geography, Black suburbanization, sectoral spillover, migrant suburbanization

Dr. Massey was a Professor of Geography and the Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Fayetteville State University (FSU) until his retirement in 2020. Prior to joining the faculty and administration of FSU, Professor Massey was a member of the faculty at Grambling State University and Virginia State University where he served as the Department Chair of History and International Studies. He was the Academic Affairs Coordinator on the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. During his tenure at FSU, Dr. Massey served as the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Special Assistant to the Chancellor and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Athletic Director. In 2016 he was selected as one of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division II Faculty Athletics Fellows. Read more.

Rickie Sanders

PhD, Ohio State University, 1982

Research Interests:  Urban, social, geographic education, underrepresented groups, environment and development

Dr. Rickie Sanders is Professor of Geography/Urban Studies and former Director of Women’s Studies at Temple University and Director of the Greater Philadelphia Women’s Studies Consortium. She served as Graduate Chair and Chair of the department and was a fellow at the Center for the Humanities at Temple. She has had two exhibits of her work at Temple University. Her recent (2012, 2013) work includes “Making INVISIBLE CITIES Visible” a photo essay. Dr. Sanders is a well published author. In addition to her publications, she has served on numerous committees for the Association of American Geographers (AAG), National Council of Geographic Educators, the American Geographical Society, the Workshop on Geography in the 21st Century, and the National Association of Educational Progress/Educational Testing Service. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Association of American Geographers Enhancing Diversity Award. Read more.

Victor B. Teye (1949-2015)

PhD, University of Manitoba, 1982

Research Interests:  International tourism, economic geography, recreation resource regions, tourism impacts, developing destinations

Dr. Victor B. Teye was an Associate Professor at Arizona State University for nearly 30 years before his retirement in 2011. Teye’s academic interests include international tourism, nautical tourism, tourism planning, transportation systems, Africa and the Caribbean, and developing destinations. Victor utilized his interests, skills, and knowledge to actively serve the tourism industry in the United States, Ghana, and other regions of Africa. He was a well-regarded tourism expert in West Africa who frequently provided expertise to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in helping to understand parks and revenue in The Gambia in the 1990s. Read more.

James W. Harrington (JW)

PhD, University of Washington, 1983

Research Interests: Subnational economic development, industrial location, services

Dr. Harrington was Provost and Professor at the University of Washington-Tacoma. Before being recruited back to the University of Washington, he was on the faculty at SUNY-Buffalo and George Mason University. Harrington’s academic specialization is in economic geography. He was a visiting scholar at West Chester University and the University of Minnesota-Duluth. His career on the faculty at the University of Washington began at the Seattle campus in 1997 where he was a Professor in Geography. He served as Director of the Geography and Spatial Sciences Program at the National Science Foundation, Executive Director of the North American Regional Science Council, and Secretary of the Association of American Geographers. While at UW, Dr. Harrington served on the Advisory Board for Graduate Opportunities and Minority Achievement Program and contributed to the AAG’s Health Departments Initiative: Beyond the Department: Building Effective Relationships with Deans, Provosts, and Presidents. Read more.

Jasper L. Harris 1948-2009

PhD, University of Michigan, 1983

Research Interests:  Environmental studies, natural resources, GIS

Jasper Louis “Jack” Harris served on the faculty of North Carolina Central University in Durham for 34 years. He authored numerous articles and professional papers in scientific journals and also served on review panels for many federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation. In addition to the AAG, Harris was a member of the American Meteorological Society, the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, and the American Water Resources Association. He held the position of Chair of Environmental, Earth and Geospatial Science at North Carolina Central University, Durham, until his passing. Read more.


PhD, University of California, Los Angeles, 1983

Research Interests: Africa, development, human dimensions of environmental and resource management, globalization

Dr. Logan is Professor of Geography and Director of the African Studies Program at Pennsylvania State University. His research interests are human-environment interactions in Africa, poor and poverty systems in Africa, and globalization and intellectual and material resource control and extraction. Prior to joining the faculty of Penn State, Dr. Logan was on faculty in the Department of Geography at the University of Georgia (UGA) and Old Dominion University. He also served as the Director of African Studies while at UGA and was the Director of the Zimbabwe study abroad program. Dr. Logan is the recipient of several honors and awards including a Fulbright Research and Teaching Award and the Chancellor’s Award for International Faculty Development. Read More.

Margaret Wilder

PhD, University of Michigan, 1983

Research Interests:  Community development policy and organization, economic development policy and planning, housing problems and policy, race, gender and economic mobility


Dr. Wilder became Executive Director of the Urban Affairs Association (UAA) in 2005 after completing two terms as Board Chair. Previously, she served as Professor and Senior Policy Fellow in Urban Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Delaware. Prior to this, she was a faculty member at Indiana University and Cornell (where she received tenure), and chair of the Department of Geography and Planning at the State University of New York-Albany. She has served as an editor for Sage Publications, Cities and Planning Book Series, and as a member of the editorial boards of the University of Minnesota Book Series: Globalization and Community, the Journal of Urban Affairs, the Journal of the American Planning Association, the Journal of Planning Education and Research, Public Administration Review, and the California Politics and Policy Journal. Read more.

  • We are the World was recorded by USA for Africa 
  • Iran-Contra Affair 
  • Philadelphia Mayor Wilson Goode orders police to storm the headquarters of black resistance group MOVE. 
  • Berlin Wall fell 1989
Mohammed Babiker Ibrahim

PhD, University of Alberta, 1985

Research Interest: Environmental studies, resource management, sustainable and international development, water supply, sanitation and hygiene education, Africa, cultural climatology, urban geography

Dr. Ibrahim is a Professor of Geography in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science at Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY). Professor Ibrahim teaches several courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, Geography of Sustainable Development in the Developing Countries, Rural Water Supply, Sanitation, & Hygiene Education, People and Their Environment, African Environment & Development, and Geography of Development. He has been an advocate for the development of Sudanese geography encouraging Sudanese universities to develop policies that nurture and support geography at the collegiate level. Dr. Ibrahim has authored several published manuscripts, the most recent of which is, Winter Malaria, Urban Environmental Mismanagement and Climate Change in Khartoum City, Sudan. Read more.

Abdi Ismail Samatar

PhD, University of California at Berkeley, 1985

Research Interests:  Comparative social and political geography, political economy and agrarian change, development theory and the state, Africa

Dr. Samatar served as Chair of the Department of Geography and a Professor of Geography at the University of Minnesota. He’s a Research Fellow at the University of Pretoria and the author of four books, one of which is An African Miracle, which was a finalist for the Herskovits Award, and is credited in over sixty articles, chapters, and essays. His research focuses on the relationship between democracy and development in the Third World, looking at the link between democratic leadership, public institutions, and development in East and South Africa. Other themes include Islam, social capital and ethnicity in the Horn of Africa, and environment and development. Read more.

Raban Chanda

PhD, Clark University, 1986

Research Interests:  Human geography, natural resource management, human dimensions and drivers of environmental change, cultural ecology

Dr. Chanda is a Professor of Geography at the University of Botswana. His educational pursuits  were supported by the government of Zambia and afforded him the opportunity to attend Clark University in the United States. Upon completion of his master’s and PhD Chanda returned to his home country and worked for the University of Zambia. His career in academia began as a Staff Development Fellow at the university in 1976. He was appointed Chair of the Department of Geography at the University of Zambia in 1989. Dr. Chanda emigrated to Botswana in 1991 and joined the faculty of the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Botswana, where he would become Chair in 2003. The majority of Dr. Chanda’s career in the academy has been at the University of Botswana where he was promoted to Full Professor in 2008. Read more

Ezekiel Kalipeni (1954-2020)

PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1986

Research Interests:  Medical geography, population studies, environmental issues, health care, Africa

Dr. Kalipeni joined the Department of Geography & Geographic Information Science of the University of Illinois in 1994 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to full Professor in 2008. He served as Interim Director of the Center for African Studies in 2001-2002 and as a Director of the National Science Foundation’s Geography and Spatial Sciences Program from 2009-2011. Dr. Kalipeni gained an international reputation for his mapping and spatial analysis of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. In 2014, he was awarded the Kwado-Konadu-Agyemang Distinguished Scholar in African Geography Award from the AAG African Specialty Group. For many years he single-handedly edited the African Geographical Review. Over the years, Dr. Kalipeni maintained strong research and mentoring relations with the University of Malawi where he began his teaching career in 1986-88. Upon retirement, he donated his personal library of nearly 2,000 volumes to the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences  at Chancellor College, University of Malawi. Read more.

Godson C. Obia

PhD, University of Oklahoma, 1986

Research Interests:  Economic, environmental, rural development, agriculture, Africa

Dr. Obia was the Interim Dean of the College of Sciences at Eastern Illinois University from 2011 until his retirement in 2014. Previously he was the Associate Dean of the College and Professor of Geography. Obia started his professional career at EIU and had been a member of the faculty since arriving in 1994. He was a recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award Recognition from the American Association of Geographers (AAG) where he served two terms as the director of the Africa Speciality Group. Dr. Obia was the recipient of a Junior Fellowship Award, presented through the University of Nigeria. He has conducted and presented research on topics such as farm bankruptcy, brain drain and African development, African agricultural development, rural land use and development, environmental resource management and watershed management. He is a member of several professional and civic organizations, including the Association of American Geographers and the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences. Read more

William A. Porter

PhD, University of Maryland College Park, 1986

Research Interest: Urban geography, social geography

Dr. Porter is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geology, Environment, and Marine Sciences at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) in North Carolina, where he taught for over 30 years. His research focused on the study of environmental problems in urban and rural areas, such as acid rain and nuclear waste disposal, as well as the forces that shape the environment such as soil, air, and water. During his tenure at ECSU, Professor Porter helped develop a Minor in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing. He was part of a joint research project with the U.S. Geological Survey and The North Carolina Geological Survey to study heavy mineral deposits in the Cretaceous sediments of North Carolina. He is an active member of his faith community and has taught Sunday school for more than 40 years. Dr. Porter is the author of many peer-reviewed journal articles and several inspirational books both fiction and non-fiction. Read more.

Ibipo Johnston-Anumonwo

PhD, Clark University, 1987

Research Interests:  Urban, gender, economic geography, Africa, United States, applied, geographic education

Dr. Johnston-Anumonwo is Professor in the Department of Geography at the State University of New York at Cortland. She has been a member of the faculty for over 30 years. Through her research and scholarly activities, Johnston-Anumonwo has distinguished herself in the fields of urban geography, African studies, and geographic education. Dr. Johnston-Anumonwo’s accomplishments and contributions to the discipline of Geography encompass gender, race, transportation and urban employment issues; gender and development; and multiculturalism. She was the recipient of SUNY’s Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities in 2011. Johnston-Anumonwo belongs to several professional organizations including the National Council on Geographic Education, the New York African Studies Association, and the AP Human Geography Program. In addition, she has published in numerous textbooks on Africa, urbanization, and feminist geography. Her outstanding career in teaching is evident in her dedication to student success. She was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2016 from the American Association of Geographers. Read more.

Samuel Aryeetey-Attoh (1956-2017)

PhD, Boston University, 1988

Research Interests:  Urban geography, planning, regional development, housing, international development

Dr. Attoh began his academic career at the University of Toledo, where he was a Geography Professor from 1987 to 2005. During this time, he also served as Chairman of Geography and Planning department from 1996 to 2003. He served as a Fellow of the American Council on Education and Administrative Placement Intern Mentor at Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania, from 2003-2004. Dr. Attoh has served on the Doctoral Dissertation and Research Improvement Review Panel of the National Science Foundation, the Executive Committee of the Association of American Geographers, and was the former President of the Illinois Association of Graduate Schools. He was also a member of the Council of Graduate Schools Advisory Committee on Minorities in Graduate Education, the World Education Services Graduate Advisory Board, and the Board of the Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois Program. Read more.

Monica K. Nyamwange

PhD, Rutgers University, 1988

Research Interests:  East Africa, arid hazards, physical geography

Dr. Nyamwange has been a Professor of Geography and Urban Studies at William Paterson University since Fall 1998. Previously she was an Assistant Professor at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. Her professional interests include participation in local, regional, and international conferences pertaining to the discipline of Geography in particular and Social Sciences in general. Other interests include helping students understand the importance and applications of Geography in life. Aside from English, Monica speaks Afrikaans and Swahili. Read more.

Calvin O. Masilela

PhD, Virginia Tech, 1989

Research Interests:  African development, land use planning, land reform, rural development, planning education

Dr. Masilela is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Regional Planning and Director of the Regional Planning Program and Director of theTrio Programs at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Masilela has made countless contributions to geographic knowledge and scholarship in the form of articles, books, book chapters, conference presentations, and invited lectures. He is the recipient of multiple awards and honors including Who’s Who in America the 56th and 58th editions, the 2008 Distinguished Faculty Service Award for his work with the Trio Programs, the 2008 Graduate Dean’s Award for Outstanding Commitment to Sponsored Programs, and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences 2018 Outstanding Research award. He is a member of the American Planning Association, Pennsylvania Planning Association, Association of American Geographers, Council for Educational Opportunity, and the Mid-Eastern Association of Educational. Read more.

Aribilola Samuel Omolayo

PhD, New South Wales, Australia, 1989

Research Interests:  Meteorology, climatology, hydrology

Dr. Omolayo was Professor of the Department of Geography and City and Regional Planning at Fresno State, for 25 years, before retiring in 2018. His research interests include urban air pollution, flood studies, and global climate change, and economic impact of nonprofit organizations. Professor Omolayo’s research sought ways to better understand patterns and challenges from greenhouse gases in the San Joaquin Valley to hydrological designs in Australia. He has collected data on the Mono Winds in the Bass Lake area of the Sierra foothills. Dr. Omolayo is the author of Violent Weather: A Study Guide and a number of articles and reports. Read more.

  • Hubble Space Telescope launched 
  • Gulf War begins in 1991
  • The World Wide Web debuts 1991 
  • Los Angeles riots of 1992
  • Hurricane Andrew 1992
Marilyn N. Raphael

PhD, Ohio State University, 1990

Research Interests:  Physical geography, climatology, global climate change, quantitative methods

Dr. Marilyn Raphael is Professor of Geography at UCLA and served as Department Chair from 2010-2013. Her primary research focus is Southern Hemisphere (SH) atmospheric dynamics and climate change and her major scientific goals are to characterize the Antarctic sea ice variability and to define and understand the interaction between Antarctic sea ice and the large-scale Southern Hemisphere circulation, focusing on interaction at the seasonal, interannual and decadal time scales. She is currently Chair of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research’s expert group, Antarctic Sea ice Processes and Climate (ASPeCt) and Co-Chair of the World Climate Research Programme’s (WCRP) Polar Climate Predictability Initiative (PCPI). She has served on the National Research Council’s Committees on Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean and Stabilization Targets for Atmospheric Greenhouse Gas Concentrations. Dr. Raphael was the Co-Founder UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability in the 1990’s and appointed Interim Director in 2020. Read more.

Kwadwo Konadu-Agyemang (1955-2007)

PhD, Monash University, 1991

Research Interests:  Economic development, Africa, urban

Dr. Konadu-Agyemang was a Professor of Geography and Planning at The University of Akron. His research and publications focused principally on African economic development, urban problems, and population migration. He authored or co-authored over 20 journal articles, 12 book chapters, and 4 books including The Political Economy of Housing and Urbanization in Africa (2000). He was a member of the Seven Day Adventist Church. The Kwadwo Konadu-Agyemang Distinguished Africa Scholar Award was created by the Africa Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers in honor of Dr. Konadu-Agyemang. Read more.

Florence M. Margai (1963-2015)

PhD, Kent State University, 1991

Research Interests: Spatial analysis, environmental planning, Africa, environmental health

Dr. Margai was a Professor of Geography and Associate Dean of the Graduate School at Binghamton University. She served as Interim Director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies from 2014-2015. Dr. Margai was a professor at Hunter College in the Department of Geological Sciences prior to becoming a member of the faculty at Binghamton. Her work focused on the geography of health, environmental hazards and environmental justice. She also worked on health promotion and disease prevention campaigns with multiple non-profit organizations. Dr. Margai was a renowned researcher, especially as related to disease, health hazards,  and environmental degradation. Her groundbreaking work entitled “Environmental Health Hazards and Social Justice” is a major resource for scholars and public policy officials. a member of the American Executive Committee Association of Geographers. Read more.

Gebeyehu Mulugeta

PhD, Michigan State University, 1991

Research Interests:  GIS, remote sensing, Africa, cartography

Dr. Mulugeta is a Professor of Geography at Chicago State University. Read more.

Benjamin Ofori-Amoah

PhD, Simon Fraser University, 1991

Research Interests:  Economic and urban geography, GIS, Africa, economic development

Dr. Benjamin Ofori-Amoah is Chair and Professor of Geography at West Michigan University (WMU). He is an economic geographer and regional planner with expertise in locational analysis, urban planning, geographical information systems and economic development. Prior to working at WMU, he served as the chair for the Department of Geology and Geography at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point from 2001-2006. Dr. Ofori-Amoah started his professional career as an elementary school teacher. In addition to being the chair of the WMU Geography Department, Ofori-Amoah is also a founding member of the U.S. International Institute of Human Factor Development, a member of the Association of American Geographers, and a member of American Planning Association. Read more.

Joseph Oppong

PhD, University of Alberta, 1992

Research Interests:  Medical geography, quantitative methods, economic geography

Dr. Oppong is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of North Texas (UNT). He was a visiting instructor at the University of Iowa before joining the faculty at UNT where he has worked for over 30 years. He migrated to Canada for graduate studies because the University of Alberta provided generous graduate support and Canadian immigration was exceptionally student-friendly. Dr. Oppong geographic interests include topics in health and medical geography, economic geography, and quantitative methods. His research focuses on the geography of disease and how location influences where people will contract different illnesses. He has served as the chair of the Medical and Health Geography Specialty Group and the Africa Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers. Dr. Oppong is the Academic Associate Dean for the Toulouse Graduate school at UNT. Read more

Barbara McDade Gordon

PhD, University of Texas, 1993

Research Interests:  Economic development, Africa, African diaspora

Professor McDade Gordon was a faculty member in the Geography Department at the University of Florida Gainesville. Before her retirement in 2016, she was a faculty affiliate of the Center for African Studies and the African American Studies Program. Her academic career began in 1990 at the University of Florida, where she remained for her entire career.  Dr. McDade Gordon’s specialties were economic and cultural geography, with a particular focus on Africa. She studied the development and viability of traditional and modern African businesses.  She is author, editor, or co-editor of several refereed articles, book chapters, and the book, African Entrepreneurship: Theory & Reality. She was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Ghana in the Department of Geography and Resource Development. She maintained an active interest in youth development and served as Director of the Upward Bound Program from 2004-2012. Dr. Mcdade Gordon is a founding member of the African Studies Association of Africa. Read more

J. Henry Owusu

PhD, University of Iowa, 1993

Research Interests:  Industrialization, development, sub-Saharan Africa, political economy, regional economic restructuring, globalization, telecommunications and technology

Dr. Owusu is a Professor of Geography at the University of Northern Iowa. His course instruction spans five subdisciplines of geography including world, human, economic, cultural, and regional. Dr. Owusu has a diverse research background which includes the political economy of regional development, industrialization and development in Sub-Saharan Africa, decentralization, sustainable forest management in Sub-Saharan Africa, and conflict and cooperation among riparian countries. He has served as Chair of the Professional Assessment Committee for the Geography Department and Fulbright Scholarship Coordinator. He is a member of the Department’s Diversity Committee, Curriculum Committee, Graduate Studies Committee, and Associate Graduate Coordinator. Read more

Gerald Thomas

PhD, University of Kentucky, 1993

Research Interests:  Urban and regional planning, tourism, geography of race relations, history and philosophy of geography, Africa

Dr. Thomas was an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology and Geosciences at Clarion University, Pennsylvania.  He has been a member of the faculty at Clarion University since 1994. Read more

Dawn Wright

PhD, University of California at Santa Barbara, 1994

Research Interests:  GIS and spatial analysis, coastal and marine geography, oceanography

Dr. Wright is the Chief Scientist for the Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri), a world-leading geographic information system (GIS) software, research, and development company. She also maintains an affiliated faculty appointment as Professor of Geography and Oceanography in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. She has been the recipient of many awards and honors including being named Oregon Professor of the Year, the 2019 Geosciences Innovator Award from Texas A&M University College of Geosciences, a 2018 Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, and many others. Dr. Wright is the first African American woman deep sea explorer and played a key role in creating the first GIS data model for the oceans. Read more

Ian Yeboah

PhD, University of Calgary, 1994

Research Interests:  Geography and black world studies, sub-Saharan Africa, urban, economic development and planning

Dr. Yeboah has served as editor of African Geographical Review(AGR) and is on the editorial board of both the AGR and the Ghana Geographical Bulletin. He taught at both the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, and the University of Calgary before becoming a member of the faculty at Miami University. His research and teaching are on globalization and Sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on urbanization, migration, development, and poverty. Dr. Yeboah is currently writing a book titled “The Emergence of the Accra-Tema City-Region: A Geographical Perspective”. His earlier book titled Black African Neo-Diaspora: Ghanaian Immigrant Experiences in the Greater Cincinnati, Ohio, Area (2008) is published by Lexington Books. Dr. Yeboah has published numerous journal articles and book chapters. Read more

  • Oklahoma City bombing 
  • Mississippi ratifies the 13th amendment becoming the last state to approve the abolition of slavery 
  • Million Man March held in DC
  • Columbine High School mass shooting 1999
Siaw Akwawua

PhD, University of Saskatchewan, 1995

Research Interests:  Africa, population, GIS, quantitative methods

Dr. Akwawua is currently a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Consultant. He was an Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Saskatchewan. Previously, he taught at the University of Regina. Dr. Akwawua’s main research focus is in human economic geography as he is particularly interested in population migration, spatial interaction modeling, transportation, quantitative modeling, spatial analysis, and culture. Read more.

James C. Saku

PhD, University Saskatchewan, 1995

Research Interests: Economic development, North America, human geography, quantitative analysis, location analysis

Dr. Saku is a Professor of Geography at Frostburg State University. A native of Ghana, Dr. Saku returned to his home country for sabbatical in 2017 through the Carnegie Diasporan Scholar Fellowship program from the University of Ghana. The program is designed for African-born professors who live in Europe or North America to return to Africa and teach. Dr. Saku taught a transportation development course, attended lectures and collaborated on research projects. He has authored review papers, articles, books and book chapters. Dr. Saku was a past recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Pennsylvania Geographical Society. Read more

Edward Addo

PhD, University of Sheffield, 1996

Research Interests:  Travel, tourism, planning

Dr. Addo is a faculty member in the Tourism Department at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College (SWGC). He joined MUN-SWGC in 2006 from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. He was the first chair of the Tourism Studies department (2007-2009) and he continues to teach a range of tourism courses, from introductory-level to seminar level courses. A Ghanaian-native, Addo was invited by the Ghana Tourist Board and Ministry of Tourism to deliver a keynote speech at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) World Tourism Day. Dr. Addo has made addresses and presentations and several international conferences and seminars. Read more

Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux

PhD, McGill University, 1996

Research Interests:  Physical geography, GIS, remote sensing, Caribbean, Brazil

Dr. Dupigny-Giroux is the Vermont State Climatologist, President of the American Association of State Climatologists, Inc. and a Professor of Geography at the University of Vermont. A native of Trinidad, Dr. Dupigny-Giroux developed an appreciation for geography while exploring the island. An applied climatologist by training, her research interests intersect a number of interdisciplinary fields including hydroclimatic natural hazards and climate literacy as well as the use of remote sensing and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) in the fields of spatial climate and land-surface processes. Dr. Dupigny-Giroux teaches a suite of courses from introductory to advanced in physical geography and geotechniques. She has authored more than 40 peer-reviewed publications and reports on hydrology, remote sensing, climate change and variability, extreme weather, and climate literacy. Dr. Dupigny-Giroux is the co-founder of the Diversity Climate Network (D-ClimNet) which was funded by a National Science Foundation to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of climatology. Read more

Arlene Gloretta Laing

PhD, Penn State University, 1996

Research Interests:  Meteorology, climatology

Dr. Laing is the Coordinating Director of the Caribbean Meteorological Organization (CMO) and the Permanent Representative of the British Caribbean Territories with WMO. She is well-known in several areas of meteorological research, such as tropical meteorology, thunderstorm systems, flash floods and mitigation, and satellite meteorology. She authored several publications and has worked as a forecaster in Jamaica and as a scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research. She is a native of Barbados and pursued her graduate studies in meteorology in the US. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere. Laing has also held various academic positions such as the Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida and Adjunct Professor of North Carolina State University. Dr. Laing was the creator of the first Jamaican website on the internet. Read more.

Beverly A. Mullings

PhD, McGill University, 1996

Research Interests:  International political economy, service industry development, gender and economic globalization in the Caribbean

Dr. Mullings is a Professor in the Geography department at Queen’s University at Kingston. She authored several publications and is currently working on three major projects with a research focus on the field of feminist political economy, social transformation, neoliberalism, and the politics of gender, race, and class in the Caribbean. More specifically, she’s interested in the long-term effects of neoliberalization in the Caribbean on the ways that citizenship and belonging is imagined, and on the ways that social justice is articulated, particularly within work regimes. Dr. Mullings has served on multiple editorial boards and has authored a number of peer-reviewed texts. She has presented in scholarship in Canada and abroad. Dr. Mullings is a past recipient of the AAG Susan Hardwick Excellence in Mentoring Award and co-recipient of the Ban Righ Foundation 2020 Mentorship Award. Read more.

Christopher Shisanya

PhD, Universitat Trier, 1996

Research Interests: Agro-climatology and integrated watershed management

Dr. Shisanya is a Professor of Agro-Climatology in the Department of Geography at Kenyatta University. He has served as both the Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor of academics and the administration. Dr. Shisanya is a member of the International panel for recruitment of staff for the Pan African University, Institute of Water and Energy Sciences (including Climate Change). He was awarded a Fellowship at Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study in 2016. Dr. Shisanya is currently the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Read more

Thomas Yaw Owusu

PhD, University of Toronto, 1996

Research Interests: Urban geography

Dr. Thomas Owusu is a Professor of Geography in the Department of Political Science, Legal, and Urban Studies at William Paterson University. His research interests include the changing social geography of North American cities, immigrants and North America cities, dynamics of urban economic, demographic change, and comparative urban development policy. Dr. Owusu has published papers on the social and economic experiences  and conditions of immigrants in Canada and the United States in several international journals. Read more

Eugene L. Tettey-Fio

PhD, Kent State University, 1996

Research Interests: GIS and advanced cartography, location and allocation modelling, retail geography

Dr. Tetty-Fio is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography at Binghamton University. He authored several books on ethnicity and race in America, and his research interests include analyzing race and ethnicities in urban geographies and retail site location analysis. Dr. Tettey-Fio served as a consultant to Geo-Health Services and taught at Kent State University before joining SUNY, Binghamton. Read more

Abigail Amissah-Arthur

PhD, University of Ibadan, Nigeria 1997

Research Interests:  Climatology, GIS, Africa

Dr. Amissah-Arthur is the Director of the Office of Research Programs in the College of Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In her role, Dr. Amissah-Arthur provides high-level support and advice on matters related to research infrastructure, research compliance, and funded & unfunded research in the College of Health Sciences. Additionally, her office plays a fundamental role in annual planning and management of operations and services including the cultivation of research culture. Dr. Amissah-Arthur started her career as an environmental scientist with a focus on the impact of climatic variability, climate change on food production, and the application of climate prediction in decision making in agriculture. Over the years, she moved from a faculty and research scientist role into a full administrative role. Dr. Amissah-Arthur was featured as a Sigma Xi 2020 Women in STEM. Read more.

Seth Appiah-Opoku

PhD, University of Waterloo, 1997

Research Interests:  Environmental planning and management, regional planning, GIS, international development

Dr. Appiah-Opoku is an Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Alabama where he teaches environmental management, planning, and land use regulation at both the undergraduate and graduate level. His research interests include urban and regional planning, environmental planning, and Africa. In 2005, he published his first book, The Need for Indigenous Knowledge in Environment Impact Assessment: The Case of Ghana. He recently edited a book titled Environmental Land Use Planning. Appiah-Opoku has served on the international editorial board of the journal Environmental Impact Assessment Review since 2003. He has also received numerous awards, including the Young Canadian Researcher’s award from the International Development Research Center (Ottawa, Ontario); a Rural Research Development Award from the University of Guelph; and academic merit awards from both the University of Waterloo and Ryerson Polytechnic University. In addition to his current duties as teacher and researcher, Appiah-Opoku serves on the mediation committee at the University of Alabama, where he advises university officials on how to resolve high-level internal conflicts. Read more.

Peter Kyem

PhD, Clark University, 1997

Research Interests:  GIS, information communication, technology, international development, environment and development

Dr. Peter Kyem is a Professor of Geography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology in the Department of Geography at Central Connecticut State University. A family tragedy forced Dr. Kyem to skip secondary school but he persevered and studied privately to gain admission into a 4-year teacher’s training college. He was trained as an elementary school teacher and taught for three years before entering the university to pursue his bachelor’s degree. Dr. Kyem’s research focuses on Geoinformatics and GIS. His current project is GIS and Natural Resource Conflicts. Read more.

Perry Carter*

PhD, Ohio State University, 1998

Research Interests: Social geography, urban geography, racial identity, geographic methods

Dr. Carter is an Associate Professor at Texas Tech University in the Department of Geosciences. He is a member of the National Science Foundation’s Geography and Spatial Sciences Senior Advisory Panel and the International Editorial Advisory Board of Tourism Geographies. Dr. Carter is a Race, Ethnicity, and Social Equity in Tourism (RESET) Research Fellow – a multi-university and interdisciplinary research and outreach initiative that seeks to identify, study, and challenge patterns of social inequity in the tourism industry. In 2021, Dr. Carter gave an Academy of Medicine lecture titled “Art Works: Presencing the Absent through Bearing Witness to the Annihilated at The National Memorial for Peace and Justice” Read more.

Ruth Wilson Gilmore

PhD, Rutgers University, 1998

Research Interests:  Social theory, race, gender, power, economic geography, labor, social movements

Dr. Gilmore is a Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences, and American Studies, and the Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean. Gilmore has lectured in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. In April 2019, Rachel Kushner profiled her in The New York Times Magazine. She is the co-founder of many grassroots organizations including the  California Prison Moratorium Project, Critical Resistance, and the Central California Environmental Justice Network. Dr. Gilmore is author of the prize-winning Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (UC Press). She received the Association of American Geographers Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020 and most recently (along with Angela Y. Davis and Mike Davis), Dr. Gilmore was named winner of the 2020 Lannan Foundation Lifetime Cultural Freedom Prize. Read more

John K. Maingi

PhD, University of Arizona, 1998

Research Interests:  Remote sensing, GIS, forest ecology and management, water resources, conservation of natural resources

Dr. Maingi is an Associate Professor of Geography at Miami University of Ohio. Maingi’s research interests include remote sensing, GIS, ecology of wooded ecosystems, and surface hydrology. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate level courses across a number of geography subdisciplines. Dr. Maingi has published a number of single authored and collaborative scholarship on geographic topics.  Read more.

M. Martin Bosman

PhD, University of Kentucky, 1999

Research Interests:  Urban, economic, social theory, Africa

Dr. Bosman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science and Policy at the University of South Florida. His research focuses on global city formations, the political economy and ecology of urbanization, and the politics of place-competition. He is particularly interested in geographies of urbanization and globalization; gated communities, the politics of anti-urban economic development, and the rift in the metabolic relations between cities and nature. His most recent publications are “Take ‘Em Down Hillsborough!”: Race, Space, and the 2017 Struggle Over Confederate Iconography in Neoliberal Tampa and Constituting Agricultural and Food Security Policy in Malawi: Exploring the Factors that Have Driven Policy Processes in the Farm Inputs Subsidy Programme. Read more

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John Jarvis Aluge

PhD, University of Iowa, 2000

Research Interests:  Local government finance, development, Africa

No information is available.

Opha Pauline Dube

PhD, University of Queensland, 2000

Research Interest: Global environmental change, environmental sustainability, applications of remote sensing for land use and land cover change

Dr. Dube is an environmental geographer specializing in global environmental change and applications of remote sensing. She serves as a contributing author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and one of fifteen scientists appointed by the United Nations Secretary General to create the 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report for the United Nations. She currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Climate Research for Development in Africa (CR4D). Additionally, she is the Co-Editor in Chief of the Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability Journal. Dube has held research fellowships at Australian National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility at Griffith University and the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford. Dr. Dube was the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize certificate in 2007. Read more

Karen Johnson-Webb

PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2000

Research Interest: Health and Medical Geography, Population Geography and the intersectionality of structural racism

Dr. Johnson-Webb is a human geographer specializing in health and medical geography.  Her research focuses on black infant mortality in Ohio, as well as how stress and structural racism are related to black infant mortality. Dr. Johnson-Webb is the author of a book entitled Recruiting Hispanic Labor: Immigrants in Non-Traditional Areas, published in 2003, and of several scholarly articles and book chapters. Dr. Johnson-Webb has utilized qualitative methods extensively in her research program. Recent achievements include the Black Excellence for Faculty Award, election to the Executive Committee of the American Association of Geographers, and an invitation to ELSI workshop at National Institutes of Health. Read more.


PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2000

Research interests: Historical Health and Medical Geography, GIS, Health Effects of Racial Discrimination in African Americans

Prior to her retirement, Dr. Moorhead was an instructor in geography at California State University, Northridge in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies from 2003 – 2007. She taught courses and seminars in medical geography, GIS, and the geography of California. Her research centered on tuberculosis in African Americans in Los Angeles in the decades surrounding World War II. The bulk of her professional life was devoted to a career in information technology as a project and program manager in lines of business including manufacturing, warehousing, retail sales, medical insurance, and telecommunications. Read more.

Kefa M. Otiso

PhD, University of Minnesota, 2000

Research Interests:  Urban economic, international development, GIS

Dr. Otiso is a Professor and Urban Geographer in the School of Earth, Environment, and Society at Bowling Green State University. He does geographic research on urban and economic geography, development, globalization, immigration, and Remote Sensing and Geoinformatics (GIS) applications. Much of his research is in the context of Africa and North America. His recent publications include, Lessons from Cities that Plan for Their Rivers and Evictions in Nairobi: why the city has a problem and what can be done to fix it. Dr. Otiso received the Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear, Kenya’s highest civilian service award, bestowed by the Kenyan President. In 2017, Dr. Otis was awarded the title of Professor of Service Excellence from Bowling Green State University. The title of Professor of Service Excellence is conferred upon members of the faculty who have established national and international recognition through professional service, public service and/or external engagement through their work at the University. Read more.

Francis Yaw Owusu

PhD, University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, 2000

Research Interests: Environmental planning, community economic development, GIS, smart growth

Dr. Owusu is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Community and Regional Planning at Iowa State University. He is also an affiliated faculty of the African and African American Studies program and the Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture. His research focuses on globalization and development policy, institutional capacity building, natural resources management, and urban and economic development issues. Originally from Ghana, he has conducted research on these topics in several African countries and has authored several journal articles, book chapters, book reviews, and reports. He has won several teaching awards, including the College of Design’s 2006 Polster Teaching Award and a 2007 Memorable Teacher Award from the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. Read more.

*Added February 2022