Meet the Director

The Columbia University Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS) proudly announces its first Summer Teachers and Scholars Institute. Convening between Sunday, 09 July and Friday, 14 July, 2017, the one-week Summer Teacher's and Scholar's Institute (STSI), focusing particularly on the history, cultures, and institutions of African-descended peoples in New York City.

July 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Harlem’s historic “Silent Parade,” when over 10,000 Black New Yorkers marched in protest of anti-black lynching and other forms of violence. In commemoration of that event and the larger movement it represented, and in recognition of the historical trajectory from it to the current moment and movement for Black Lives, the theme for the 2017 Summer Teachers and Scholars Institute will be “Black Activist New York."

In the 18th and 19th centuries, New York City figured prominently in antislavery abolitionism. As a destination for tens of thousands of  migrants from the South and immigrants from the Caribbean in the early twentieth century, between 1915 and 1950 Harlem gave birth to new forms of Black political and cultural expression, producing mass protest politics in the causes of antilynching, housing rights, job opportunity, and educational provision. New York similarly had its place in the mid-twentieth century Civil Rights movement -- while the most visible and well known fronts in the struggle for Civil Rights were in the South (Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama; Atlanta and Albany, Georgia; Geensboro, North Carolina) the campaign for “Civil Rights North” transpired in cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, and, of course, New York. And in the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries, New York has been a center of people of color feminist and queer political organization, African-American public health activism (HIV/AIDS and environmental justice organizations), and policing reform, among others.

This year's  STSI will bring to you some of the leading scholars in their fields who will guide us through the many worlds of Black Activist New York. As a group – invited scholars, STSI participants, and our staff of coordinators – we collectively will discuss the relevant issues, create multi-media lesson plans, have meals together, and tour the City’s historic black sites and institutions!

Tuition will be $1,800 USD, and we are proud to announce that we will be able to make available a limited number of partial fellowships to those who apply.  For updates on STSI, please sign up for updates  and visit our Facebook page, which is open to everyone. You also are encouraged to send your questions to our STSI staff at We look forward to having you join us for a fantastic and memorable summer!


Samuel Roberts, PhD
Director, Columbia University Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS)
Associate Professor of History (Columbia Univ. Sch. of Arts & Sciences)
Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences (Columbia Univ. Mailman School of Public Health)


Website designed by Zoraida Lopez-Diago