Black Futures Matter Certificate Course
This is a course in Black Study, by which we mean the study of the conditions, histories, and possibilities of our shared liberation rooted in the diverse experiences of the Black world.
We lift up the educator-activism of two prominent civic organizations of the US South in the struggle for equity and social progress: Southern Echo in Jackson, Mississippi, and Project South in Atlanta, Georgia.
We herald the legacy and ongoing role of HBCUs in education for social transformation. This course is forging a HBCU network.
We recognize that PWI institutions up north, such as Tufts University, are beneficiaries of the radical Black traditions of the South, since many of their Black students, professors, and administrators over the past 50 years came from the South and studied at HBCUs.
Movement education with a focus on the US South & Global South to develop collective knowledge among organizers, community leaders and community members for individual and collective transformation.
Rigorous community-based education that connects universities and community-based organizations
Knowledge production that combines the teaching of experienced and engaged intellectuals with community organizing and social movements to further the practice of the Black Radical Traditions
Cultivate greater mutuality between community organizers and university teachers for collaborative learning
Background and Overview
We recognize the ongoing concerted attack on public knowledge about the causes and contexts for the social struggles of our time. Black Study is a long-standing community-based commitment to distribute education and critical tools for social analysis. It aims to empower our people by demystifying and clarifying the causes and contexts of the systems of social inequity that we face. This kind of study also cultivates gatherings of solidarity among groups who have been scattered and divided by the systems of racial oppression, and supports creative practices of redress and healing that affect mind and body.
Our elders and guides in the struggle teach us that liberation-based social justice requires us to dismantle systems of oppression, and also sharpen and strengthen the ways we talk about and recognize systems of oppression, and how we mobilize beyond them. Out of this awareness, stakeholders at Southern Echo in Jackson, MS (Rachel Mayes), and Project South in Atlanta, GA (Emery Wright), and Tufts University in Boston, MA (Kris Manjapra), offered a pilot community/university certificate course in Spring 2022 along with seven participating guest lecturers from universities across the country. The core goal was to explode the wall separating the community from the university, creating opportunities to expand our social consciousness and sharpen our capacities for historical and contextual analyses to enhance the shared struggle for liberation across the Black world. Highlighting the importance of redistributing resources too often monopolized by the structures of the educational-industrial-complex, this course offered a certificate from Tufts University to all participants who demonstrated commitment to the 5-month course.
We are now preparing to teach the second iteration of the Black Futures Matter course, and we envision a number of enhancements. We would like to teach this iteration of the course in collaboration with instructors and students at HBCUs, recognizing the historical role these institutions play in promoting education for liberation. We also hope to open the course more broadly for enrollment by young and seasoned adults who identify with the causes of social justice. In short, we hope for enhanced collaboration and for increased scale in the 2022 version of BFM.