Black History

Our scholar activists use their passion, education, and skills to make a positive difference in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community. Scroll to learn more about many of our A&S scholar activists!

Rising Star

Photo of Littisha Bates posing with her arms crossed with a red background

"Littisha Bates is doing the work that will build the university people want to see and experience." ~Jennifer Malat, associate dean and professor of sociology. A professor of sociology at UC, Bates was this year's keynote speaker at the Martin Luther King, Jr Day in Cincinnati, a Taft Research Center Fellow, a YWCA Rising Star, a recipient of the Dean's Award for Faculty Excellence, and a co-founder of the UC Black Faculty Association.

Learn more about Littisha A. Bates


Photo of Marian Spencer posing her hand upon her cheek

"[Marian Spencer] is such a civil rights legend and a great example to our students." ~ UC President Neville Pinto. Spencer joined the NAACP when she was 13. She earned a bachelor's degree at UC in English in 1942. She chaired a legal action against Cincinnati's Coney Island in the 1950's, leading to open access to all in 1955. She was instrumental in desegregating Cincinnati Public schools. In 1983, she was the first African American woman to be elected to Cincinnati City Council.

Learn more about Marian Spencer

Featured Profiles

Professor Holly McGee

Photo of Holly McGee wearing a lilac suit jacket

“You could be easily led to believe that America is not your country and not a country where you are expected to —or have opportunity to —live that good life and have that American dream,” she said. “But what you can do is have an opportunity to speak back, to fight back, to learn and to change that narrative if not for yourself, then certainly for future generations.”

Learn more about Holly McGee

Alumnus Samuel W. Black

Photo of Samuel W. Black sitting and wearing a suit

An award winning curator, writer, editor, lecturer, and researcher Samuel W. Black has numerous publications in peer review journals, encyclopedias, books, magazines, newspapers, and has published three books, “Soul Soldiers: African Americans and the Vietnam Era” (editor); “Through the Lens of Allen E. Cole: A Photographic History of African Americans in Cleveland, Ohio” (co-author); and “The Civil War in Pennsylvania: The African American Experience” (editor).'

Learn more about Samuel W. Black

Professor Omotayo O. Banjo

Picture of Omotayo looking at camera smiling

In an age where the words fake news, alternative facts and news commentary have become household names, Banjo believe it’s more important to advocate education not censorship. “As an educator we try to get students to think critically, and engage in debate in healthy ways,” she said.

Learn more about Omotayo O. Banjo

Dr. Eric Abercrumbie

Photo of Eric Abercrumbie laughing

In the late 1980s, Abercrumbie was instrumental in helping the university to honor its long-standing promise to open a a black cultural center, even as it faced resistance from some students, faculty and board members. Over the course of his 45-year career here, he’s experienced both inspiring victories and confidence-shaking lows.

Learn more about Dr. Abercrumbie's story

Mario Jovan Shaw

Photo of Mario Jovan Shaw smiling

Mario Jovan Shaw, a champion of diversity in education, graduated with a bachelor's degree in communication and Africana studies from University of Cincinnati's College of Arts and Sciences in 2012. Shaw was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2017 for social entrepreneurship due to the success of the education-focused nonprofit he co-founded, Profound Gentlemen.

Learn more about Mario Jovan Shaw

Christina Brown

Photo of Christina Brown sitting in a chair posing look toward the camera from her shoulder

Brown’s words crackle with a current of electricity ignited by her passion for social justice. She said many of her core beliefs about making change were sparked by classroom discussions as a political science and Africana Studies student. Brown's untiring passion for grassroots activism and social justice caught the attention of WLWT, and they named her as someone on the frontier of a “new generation” of civil rights leaders in the city.

Learn more about Christina Brown

Want to learn more about events and people featured on the timeline, check out the links below.

Learn more about Charles Henry Turner

Learn more about the rally for better facilities at African-American Center

Learn more about the protest against racist act at university

Learn more about the Diversity Outreach Bill fails Student Senate

Learn more about black students pressuring for improvements to the AACRC

Learn more about the BFA