Episode 75: Black Cultural Centers w/ Director Renee Thomas

June 19, 2019

Black cultural centers (BCCs), primarily located at predominantly white colleges and universities, emerged in the 1960s and 1970s during the civil rights movement.  BCCs provide students across the country with meaningful opportunities to grow as scholars and leaders in the African American community. For today’s episode  we learn more about these important institutions by interviewing Ms. Renee A. Thomas, the director of the Purdue University Black Cultural Center. Renee Thomas has over 20 years of experience in higher education administration with expertise in program development, student services, and community engagement. During our conversation, we discuss the history of BCCs and social context for which they emerged (41:27) and the unique history of the Purdue University Black Cultural Center (44:35). We then have a conversation about the continued relevance and potential criticisms of race-specific cultural centers on college campuses (50:26), myths and misconceptions about BCCs (55:06), and BCCs as both safe spaces and educational institutions (1:02:00). We close by discussing the process of establishing new BCCs (1:06:50) and the impact of the Purdue University BCC on the broader community (1:09:15).

 

Other Topics Include:

00:30 - Catch up with Ty and Daphne

4:45 - BhD “Oh Lawd” News

35:05 - Introduction of the Topic

39:05 - Learn More about Renee A. Thomas

57:18 - Purdue University BCC Programming

1:12:30 - Ty and Daphne Reflect on the Interview

 

Resources:

 

 

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