I currently study African American and urban history following World War II. My focus is on Black Power organizations in Rustbelt areas; I study how these organizations responded to federal initiatives such as urban renewal that often led to the destruction of minority homes and communities. Following graduation, I envision myself working for a think-tank or a non-profit organization in a policy capacity.
I selected UB for my doctoral research because of the faculty members in the history department and in other departments that have similar research interests as me. I also selected UB because I earned my BA and MA degrees from a small, liberal arts college and wanted to explore a larger and more diverse campus setting.
My favorite experience as a UB student has been meeting my incredible colleagues. UB selects outstanding students for their doctoral programs and I have created strong relationships with many of these students. The campus is also incredibly diverse, which has contributed to my positive experience at UB.
The East Side is an incredible yet underexplored area of Buffalo. Buffalo Central Terminal is located in the East Side; it is a stunning representation of Art Deco architecture yet also a haunting reminder of the destructive aspects of post-World War II modernist planning initiatives (it has been abandoned since the 1970s). City Hall is also a beautiful Art Deco building that offers an incredible aerial view of the City of Buffalo. In Niagara County, Fort Niagara serves as a memorial to Western New York’s role in the War of 1812.
A three-way tie between Jane Jacobs, Saul Alinsky and Robert F. Williams. Williams in particular is too often omitted from Civil Rights and Black Power histories. He truly embodies the Long Civil Rights Movement narrative and his life demonstrates the complexities and nuances of Civil Rights leadership. He followed traditional Civil Rights pathways by serving as an NAACP president, yet was adamant that armed self-defense was imperative to African American equality and established an African American rifle association, the “Black Armed Guard,” to defend his community.