Is Twitter Any Place for a [Black Academic] Lady?
On the Train
Few historical figures resonate with my students as powerfully as anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Known to only a handful of students before they take my class on African American women’s activism, Wells-Barnett’s life, her public speeches, and her most personal writings make history come alive. In my majority women and people of color classes, Wells-Barnett appears to be speaking to my students individually and specifically. Wells-Barnett’s reflections on the perils of representation, her use of an intersectional frame long before the introduction of intersectionality into feminist thought, and her embodied resistance through her person and with her pen transforms the historical figure into a contemporary hero for many. Each time I teach about Wells-Barnett, I find that two crucial moments in her life speak to me as I navigate being a black woman professor and wrestle with the ways I also exist as a black woman thinker on social media in order to contribute to conversations on race and gender. The two points in her biography I turn to are Wells-Barnett’s expulsion from a ladies’ train car in 1883, while she was en route from Memphis to her teaching position; and the retaliation against her anti-lynching missive in the pages of the Memphis Free Speech in 1892, which led her to flee northward to Chicago.
In both instances—in the designated train car and at her writing desk—Wells-Barnett found herself in places that the larger, Jim Crow culture determined unfit for a black woman. In the eyes of the Chesapeake, Ohio, and Southwestern Railroad, her race disqualified her from the protections and privileges granted to white ladies, and so a conductor was entitled to demand that she vacate her seat and move to a dirty, smoke-filled cabin. Her race and gender together rendered her unsuited to write the truth about the false promises of post-Emancipation America in the pages of the Free Speech, as lynching terrified and signaled to blacks that they were never made for citizenship.
The poignancy of Wells-Barnett’s narrative captures me, and the students, when we are reminded that despite her intellect and influence in her time, she—and scores of black women like her past and present—would never fully realize the possibilities of their place and time. At every turn, she tried to capitalize on the expanding opportunities available for black women in late nineteenth-century America: admission to newly constructed Negro colleges, innovations in transportation that allowed her to travel domestically and internationally, and the explosion in black print media which could launch her ideas into a wider world. These institutions and innovations allowed more black people, as well as their ideas, their creations, and their meditations on becoming a free people to circulate and travel in unprecedented ways.
Wells-Barnett and her cohort of black women activist-intellectuals were constantly reminded that their race and gender would impair the very mobility these technological and social advances promised. As a black woman, she could not safely circulate her body or her corpus of writings and investigations. After enduring the indignities of the train car incident and later threats in the South, Wells-Barnett continued to attract the vitriol of white supremacists and sexist “race men.”
In this essay, I focus on my own experiences of thinking in public as a black academic woman in digital spaces, and the implications for my offline life at my university and in my department, specifically as the curator of the social media campaign #FergusonSyllabus, a response to Officer Darren Wilson killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown in a St. Louis exurb in August of 2014. Brown’s death led to a massive uprising in the town of Ferguson, an international conversation of race and police brutality was ignited, and the Black Lives Matter movement came into greater visibility. After August 9, 2014, Ferguson became shorthand for long-standing racial and economic marginalization and a metonym for heightened consciousness about police violence and excess. #FergusonSyllabus initially started as a request I made to my Twitter followers and friends to dedicate the first day of classes to Michael Brown and the other youth of Ferguson who would not have a normal first day of school because of the unrest in their community. I believed that by talking about some element of the unrest through the lens of a discipline or to create a space in which students could express their questions or confusions about the moment (which captured the attention of cable news reporters, streamed live via Periscope accounts and was narrated by activists via Twitter), educators could amplify the greatest possibilities of online organizing and in-person gathering. Twitter provided an excellent vehicle for me to ask scholars to teach about the crisis, but the ability to search the platform using the #FergusonSyallbus term also allowed for a larger conversation among educators. As #FergusonSyllabus went viral—in part, due to an article I wrote about the idea for the online version of The Atlantic—I received requests from educators about how to translate the crowdsourced suggestions into action. For months, my association with #FergusonSyllabus challenged me to make real the interdisciplinary training I received in an American studies doctorate program, and it introduced me to a digital community of scholars, who made me feel less isolated and alone in my inclinations toward social justice teaching.
Although my experience of using Twitter as a digital platform for racial justice work was a relatively positive one, it was not without anxieties and the complications that come when an untenured woman of color becomes increasingly more visible in a national conversation. I was subject to the type of trolling, harassment, and unsolicited critique that are commonplace when women engage critical issues online. In the three years since Brown’s death and the internationalization of Black Lives Matter, I have reflected on my experience with #FergusonSyllabus and the shifts in my academic career. My professional life transformed from having an academic presence mostly on my campus and within a few professional organizations to becoming an occasional talking head in media, the subject of profiles on education and teaching websites, and a public enough intellectual that I had to learn how to discern how I entered and navigated public conversations. In this essay, I focus on how my experiences with #FergusonSyllabus made me aware of the way that online and digital engagement offers a window into how you spend your time, and the ways colleagues and advisors evaluate your use of this time in the academy. This type of surveillance heightened my career worries and forced me to think about the way the academy evaluates and devalues collective, activist work. Additionally, my sudden entry into the world of digital scholarship regarding teaching about race and social justice, and the lack of clarity on how public engagement fits within the rigid hierarchy of research-service-and-then-teaching, made me think about the ways black women’s voices can be muffled or altogether silenced in the very moments their insights are needed.
Wrinkles in Time
Before delving into how my career was reshaped by #FergusonSyllabus in 2014, I think it is important to reflect about time and the life of the academic. Although the digital landscape has reoriented our expectations on how long it should take to receive information, updates on said information, and then analysis on the information, the academic world has not fundamentally changed its relationship to time. We still understand knowledge production, research, and intellectual cultivation as requiring substantial investments in time in order to ensure that we are approaching our projects with an attention to rigor and demonstrating our commitment to depth. This emphasis on time shapes how we train and manage scholars in an academic bureaucracy. One of the most enduring and consistent elements of graduate education and the early career professorship is the constant questioning of how a person spends or squanders time. Your time becomes the subject of many conversations. Time to completion. Time on the tenure track. Time added to your tenure clock. Time spent worrying about not having enough time to tend to your research. Time spent in meetings. Time off in order to do scholarly work. For academics of color, time advice is easy to come by from well-intentioned mentors, from institutional diversity offices, and sage blog writers who warn: Protect your time! Time is the precious, unrenewable resource that overeager students and potentially ineffective or useless committees seeking a “diverse perspective” will try to steal from you. Scholars of color are routinely told that expectant community members will try to take it from you to participate in local campaigns or share your knowledge with sixth graders and high school juniors. You wonder if you have made good use of your time, while you feel each tick of your tenure clock in your gut. The warnings about the forces that try to spirit away with our valuable time are grounded in the very real experiences of burnout and failure, but time policing can also serve as a form of benevolent control, or even worse, a means of assimilating scholars into thinking that your time should never be used in the service of political struggles or movements, especially if you don’t have tenure.
“How are you spending your time?”
In academia, the question of time is not only a matter of employer expectations or a mentor’s kindly concern. Misunderstandings about the nature of academic work lend themselves to the spectacular narratives of faculty wasting time. The fixation on how faculty spend their time is often at the heart of most of the legislative interventions of late in states like Wisconsin and Iowa, in which politicians are attacking tenure, sabbatical leave, and ill-informed suggestions that if a professor can teach two or three courses a semester, why not four or five. The arguments emerge from the same roots: At public universities, taxpayers purchased your time, so it is necessary for the state to extract as much of it as possible. At private institutions, the time scrutiny remains internal, but the message is the same: Prove that your time is being spent in the right ways, so that you can prove that you belong here.
So, what did it mean for me, as an academic professional, to create a time-stamped body of evidence about how I spent my time on Twitter in the year before I applied for tenure? Should I have spent the hour between 1:03 p.m. and 2:03 p.m. on August 11, 2014, tweeting out recommendations for teaching about St. Louis County and the history of residential redlining, or liking and retweeting article links about the militarization of police, before the official syllabi for my fall semester classes were done? What does it mean when I receive a notification that the account @GUProvostOffice, my university’s provost, was following me on Twitter? Is this a sign of respect or an opening for criticism? When I noticed former students following me on Twitter, I was happy they were seeing #FergusonSyllabus unfold. When I realized that some of their parents were following #FergusonSyllabus, I wondered, are doing this to be supportive, or are they collecting evidence against me? Then, I noticed that I was being trolled and mocked about #FergusonSyllabus. “Why not teach kids to respect police?” “Another person trying to make colleges more liberal.” Do I have the stomach for this?
In the years following the launch of #FergusonSyllabus, I became more attentive to checking where my name, and later my image, appeared. Websites like Campus Reform, Campus Fix, and even Breitbart have taken issue with something I have said—or what they think I said—about race and college campuses and the nation more broadly. Black women thinkers attract trolls regularly, and scholars such as Brittney Cooper and Keeanga Yamahata-Taylor have been the most vocal and vigilant about refusing to bow to the assaults on their character and threats to their physical safety. When I received hate mail at my campus office or racially abusive tweets, I immediately sought to delete or hide the insults and the threats. No use of letting this linger, I reasoned. But I later realized I hid these acts of aggression because I did not know if I had the time to realize how frightened and intimidated I was by them. The insults on Twitter were immediately deleted and the offender blocked; yet, I wondered what would it mean if I left those comments alone or even highlighted them so my students, my colleagues, the provost, and the larger public would know what it looked like for one of a handful of black women at Georgetown to work in the public eye.
Did I have time for #FergusonSyllabus?
What would people make of how I spent those valuable, precious minutes, hours, and days?
At the heart of my engagement in social media during the Ferguson crisis, the notion of my time, my mobility, and the circulation of my ideas converged to create a new level of uncertainty about how others perceived my use of time. To take my concern about the devastation in Ferguson, Missouri, to a public space like Twitter was to also reveal my personal sadness about the state that was a second home to me since my undergraduate days at the University of Missouri.
I realized if my ask, to teach and talk about Ferguson, was made through Twitter, I could have a reach and a real-time archive of a community coming together around it. Considering the complexity and totality of the tragedy in Ferguson, I felt it critical to ask faculty who are usually outside the “race and gender” conversations on campus to imagine the ways that the STEM, business, architecture, and medicine classrooms are also responsible for thinking about multidisciplinary readings of the crisis unfolding. I wondered what my colleagues had to say about the fact that tear gas was used by militarized police forces on civilians on the streets of Ferguson. What did science scholars have to say about this? What does it mean to bring the question of policing tactics to bench scientists and medical students? Ferguson’s poverty rate doubled between 2000 and 2010, and more than a quarter of families in the town live below the federal poverty line. So, I implored business school educators to take up the question of economic development in suburbs and the history of redlining to help their students understand their role in the world as future capitalists, innovators, and financial regulators. I asked urban planning faculty to think about the design of the Canfield Green apartments where Brown was killed and the strip of fast-food restaurants that dotted Florissant Avenue, the center of the Ferguson protests, and how race and poverty inform spatial choices.
In providing these ideas and prompts to educators, I wanted to challenge academics on Twitter to think about the digital space as a site to create and sustain a community of scholars committed to pushing the boundaries of how we use our disciplines to respond to pressing social problems. I was frustrated by the number of people who have told me that because they were white, or outside the “social justice” fields, they had nothing to contribute to conversations about race and inequality. I also didn’t want the unprepared and untested to initiate awkward conversation about race that could only expose their lack of preparedness. Rather, I wanted to help reorient scholars to the ways that the problems borne out of racial tension can be answered by our scholarly tools, and when we connect with our colleagues in other fields, we become more creative and equipped to engage in more substantive work in the classroom.
#FergusonSyllabus was intentionally multidisciplinary and even more intentionally public to call scholars out of hiding behind the oft-recited myth of “I have nothing to add.” My initial motivations went beyond challenging my colleagues to use the first day of school to ensure students would have a space in which the Ferguson conversation could be connected to their curricular endeavors. I wanted to highlight the work of scholars of color who have long sounded the alarm about police violence and the criminalization of poverty in the United States. The activists inside Ferguson and other parts of St. Louis County were alerting the nation to the root causes of the multiple factors that contributed to the uprising—the city’s budget’s dependence on traffic and municipal ticketing, the resource-strapped Ferguson-Florissant School district, unemployment outside major cities, and St. Louis’s disastrous public housing history and midcentury population loss. I wanted my colleagues who don’t live in a world in which they sit on university diversity committees and speak on panels about inclusion on campus to understand the scholarly contributions and emotional labor of such a career. The ability to tweet about the work and, in addition, to discover the curiosity and the excitement of the disciplines elsewhere around this issue was inspiring. For the first time, I found myself in dialogue with fashion theorists, urban planners, chemists, and data scientists about how they can talk to their students about race, poverty, and inequality in their classrooms.
#FergusonSyllabus might have remained a small experiment among me and my couple of thousand Twitter followers had I not received a direct message, a private communiqué between Twitter followers, from a digital editor at TheAtlantic.com. Then editor Alexis Madrigal invited me to write about #FergusonSyllabus for the website, and I accepted the offer and thought that I would maybe make a small difference in helping facilitate my hopes that the several first days of class would focus on Ferguson. Within days, National Public Radio called me to give recommendations on people they could talk to about teaching Ferguson, and slowly I was becoming a “go-to” person on this issue. In the span of ten days, I was interviewed by the New York Times and St. Louis Public Radio, and my words were reprinted in Slate, the Daily Kos, and Huffington Post.
As the first day of my own classes approached, I started to receive direct messages from K–12 teachers, many of whom were told they would be disciplined if they talked about Ferguson in their classes. Fourth grade teachers and high school guidance counselors reached out and asked if I had any ideas of what they could do or say to circumvent jittery principals and nervous school boards. In consulting with these teachers, I discovered a meaningful component of my desire to reach a “broad audience,” an audience that included K–12 educators as well. Penning newspaper editorials and longform journalism pieces can bring academics into new intellectual engagements, but rarely do scholars outside of education departments and schools spend time with elementary and high school teachers. I found that K–12 teachers needed support in providing age-appropriate and social climate–sensitive content on race, gender, sexuality, and class. Throughout my career, I have heard my share of colleagues complain about the lack of preparedness among their incoming students, but rarely do I meet scholars who have made substantial investments in supporting pre-college educators. I can’t say I was innocent of this impulse either. Twitter provided a low-cost way to transmit ideas among these teachers, and they could consider the possibilities of teaching Ferguson from each other and sharing what worked and what failed.
By early September, I was the face of #FergusonSyllabus and an authority on teaching the scholarship of others, rather than a scholar promoting my own soon-to-be-released book and my expertise on African American girlhood. Although I had spent years trying to create a more flexible, if not entirely new, approach to the early-career track, by rejecting limiting notions of what it meant to be an academic, I was growing uneasy about the attention #FergusonSyllabus was generating. Being publicly acknowledged as a “teacher” rather than a “scholar” made me nervous, as I heard warnings that good teaching did not lead to tenure. I heard from mentors that women, especially women of color, did not want to be pigeonholed as simply good at teaching, and that excellent teaching would send up a red flag about my ability to be truly challenging and rigorous inside and outside the classroom. Although in television and magazine interviews I would insert my scholarly thoughts about the structural and historical questions that Ferguson brought to the fore, I was becoming known as a teacher, an assembler of ideas and methods for teaching about race. Was this a smart move? Was I shedding precious credibility by talking to fifth grade teachers? Was I setting myself up to be the cautionary tale for another generation—that scholar who was filled with promise until she started talking about kids during a time of crisis?
Some of my fears were put to rest by the tremendous institutional support I received at Georgetown and among my colleagues in the history department. Institutionally, I knew I was privileged to work in an environment in which units across campus were directing and initiating various Ferguson-related programming. My students were becoming regular participants in organizing efforts and protests in D.C. and were happy to use class time to discuss Ferguson and Black Lives Matter. When I submitted my tenure file months after launching #FergusonSyllabus, I was advised to revise my documents to include my efforts and its outcomes in the narrative components on research, teaching, and service in order to emphasize the importance of making scholarly and teaching interventions outside of our academic constructs. This encouragement and support are rare in the academy. I know of colleagues elsewhere who were discouraged from spending their own time on activist efforts on and off campus during the Ferguson crisis, and I was relieved that my institution did not try to silence me.
In a 2015 article in the New Republic, social critic Michael Eric Dyson celebrated what he calls a new generation of black digital intelligentsia. Citing scholars who use the digital landscape to participate in contemporary conversations, as well as engage in social justice struggles on the ground, Dyson applauded the fact that this intelligentsia is not simply the product of or the professors at elite universities. Dyson, and others who have provided more or less critical assessments of the black public intellectual, reminded readers that the genealogies of black intellectuals from the nineteenth century to the present represent a hybrid of educational training and, like Wells-Barnett, the scholars regularly traveled across disciplines and professional statuses. The color line, along with the gender line and class line, has had the most impact on where scholars of color speak from and to which audiences. Twitter has provided that ideological location for this type of boundary-crossing travel.
As the academy still searches for a clear definition of the digital humanities and how it relates to the assessment and promotion of scholars, it is critical to make clearer distinctions than the ones Dyson articulates in his piece, which vaguely defines the digital and conflates the use of a computer with engagement of the digital space. Academic leaders and institutions must understand that a digital intelligentsia must use digital tools in ways to make the disciplines more accessible, dynamic, equitable, and relevant. Additionally, the blanket term “social media tools” erases the specific possibilities and pitfalls of the way that each tool curates, mediates, and presents ideas generated by scholars. Although Facebook, Twitter, WordPress blogs, Instagram, Snapchat, Grindr, Tindr, Scruff, and so on exist under the umbrella of social, the ways that academics, and I would emphasize academics of color, have used and leveraged these tools is where the conversation about the digital intelligentsia must linger. As leaders in the digital humanities and digital studies provide more clarity in these areas, more scholars will have the language to parse out the specific tales that each platform can tell about the nature of digital tools. The academy must begin to learn how to appreciate the skills and labor that each of these tools demands of scholars, whether it’s the brevity of 140 characters or the production of digital scholarship, using GIS mapping software, digitization platforms, or online curatorial sites. As the digital humanities is a space in which women of color scholars are shaping and defining, it is also another space in which these same scholars are vulnerable to the kinds of marginalization that has long characterized the academy. As this process unfolds and changes, it is important to remember that all scholars with a computer are not involved in the digital humanities, and all digital projects do not democratize access to knowledge. Truly democratic spaces allow knowledge to be shared without fear of repercussion or backlash.
Sociologist Zandria Robinson’s experiences in the summer of 2015 illustrate how black women academics’ digital expression is met on- and offline. When conservative news outlets reported on some of Robinson’s tweets about racism and social media posts about white supremacy, subsequent rumors circulated that she was fired from her academic post for her ideas. Robinson’s entanglement with the machinery of hypersurveillance of black women evoked Wells-Barnett’s legacy. Her former employer responded to calls for her firing by simply tweeting: “Robinson is no longer employed by the University of Memphis.” The university allowed the public to read between the lines. Her name appeared and reappeared on blog posts written for those desiring a narrative that a liberal, racist professor—a black woman at that—was finally punished for her outrageous views. In my estimation, Robinson’s tweet was simply providing critiques of racism; yet, in the digital world a tweet is never just a tweet. The University of Memphis tweet did not, and could not, tell the full story. Robinson had refused to be ejected from the ladies’ car. As she prepared to enter a new faculty post at Rhodes College of Memphis, it became clear that she was not fired from her previous position, and unlike so many who quiet themselves in the face of controversy, she refused to be silenced. She chose to continue to use her Twitter account and New South Negress blog to tell her truth.
Robinson—who has also been shaped by Wells-Barnett in her navigation of the academy—penned this artful response, which connected her multiple identities as a resistant, black woman academic in the South:
We do this for Ida [B. Wells-Barnett] and all the ones that have come before us who have written the truth and compelled the nation, against some terrible odds, to reckon with itself. We are still doing it, and we must continue to do it. The fact that any of the statements of people of color—even the cherry-picked, decontextualized ones—are seen as controversial is a testament to the fact that we have not, even after all these years, had the conversations that need to be had or read the things that need to be read. Or perhaps the worst of white folks simply haven’t listened. But we’ll get there.
I look to other black feminist scholars to remember that there are many ways to “get there.” The attacks on Robinson—whose tweets and blog posts regularly deliver critiques of the state, as well as the academy’s structural barriers to supporting faculty and graduate students of color—are felt across the black (feminist, academic) Twitterverse. The New South Negress’s reflections simultaneously celebrate vulnerability, humor, and the sardonic sensibility that develops when you search for a place for yourself in the academy. Robinson connects to the commonplace experiences of other scholars of color, and her brief moment of exposure revealed that an attack on one is an attack on all. In response to the outcry against Robinson, one hundred of her colleagues of color signed a statement in her support. Her steadfastness in asserting her opinions and her refusal to be a bystander in her own character assassination resonate deeply with the multiple fears felt by all of those who desire to think and tell the truth in public.
Since August 2014, the #Syllabus movement has grown and expanded; it is now shorthand for the ways that scholars—many of them women of color—use the digital landscape to intervene in moments of crisis and remind the academy of our roles and responsibilities to a broader world. The circulation of the #BlackLivesMatterSyllabus, #BaltimoreSyllabus, #SayHerNameSyllabus, and #TrumpSyllabus2.0 and the publication of the book Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence point to ways that scholars have seen the use of the hashtag as an efficient use of Twitter to support social justice–oriented teaching, as well as interdisciplinary cooperation. As was the case of #FergusonSyllabus, the syllabi hashtags also help media outlets identify scholars who can provide years of research and teaching expertise to radio listeners and news watchers.
For black women in the public sphere, access to technology has long been a mixed blessing. Wells-Barnett’s activist life was compelled, transformed, and imperiled by rail travel and newspaper circulation. For me and other black women in public and academic life, our careers have been reshaped by Skype accounts that allow us to give lectures without leaving our offices, Twitter feeds that provide an entryway into heated debates, and budget airlines that help us connect with each other at symposia and conferences. Before many of us have been awarded tenure, or even advanced degrees, we have received invitations to offer our analysis on television news programs, while using our social media accounts to link to our scholarship and share our peers’ work, and digital platforms have allowed us to bring a black feminist voice to policymakers and the public at large. As support for digital organizing projects and the digital humanities expands, I’m hopeful that academic women of color can sit securely in our seats as we travel across intellectual boundaries.
I am still uncertain if Twitter is a place for a [black academic] lady when I see attacks like those hurled at Robinson and others. Yet, I do know that we are not on the train car alone.
1. Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s writings are available in Southern Horrors, available on Project Gutenberg, accessed June 25, 2018; DeCosta-Willis, Memphis Diary; and Royster, Southern Horrors. For biographies of Wells-Barnett, see Duster, Crusade for Justice; and Giddings, Ida.
2. Deborah Gray White’s Too Heavy a Load traces the historical struggle of black women’s organizing in the name of race and gender together. White highlights the ways that Wells-Barnett and others critiqued white men’s sexually predatory behaviors and black men’s failures to stand up and be in unity with black women.
3. “Iowa Bill.” Also “Walker Erodes.”
4. Taylor, “‘Free Speech’ Hypocrisy.” In this article, Taylor discusses her horrifying experience of being threatened after delivering a commencement address about the racism and misogyny of the president of the United States. In “How Free Speech Works for White Academics,” Brittney Cooper mentions not only her own experiences of being targeted but also the ways that the “free speech” conversation is at best disingenuous, and at worst a means of silencing scholars of color who challenge white supremacy.
5. Kneebone, “Ferguson, MO.”
6. Dyson, “New Black Digital Intelligentsia.”
7. Zandria, “Zeezus Does the Firing.”
8. Jaschik, “Professor.” Also McClain, “Why 100.”
9. Blain, Williams, and Williams, Charleston Syllabus.
Blain, Keisha, Chad Williams, and Kidada Williams, eds. Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2016.
Cooper, Brittney. “How Free Speech Works for White Academics.” Chronicle of Higher Education, November 16, 2017. https://www.chronicle.com/article/How-Free-Speech-Works-for/241781.
DeCosta-Willis, Miriam, ed. The Memphis Diary of Ida. B. Wells. New York: Beacon, 1995.
Duster, Alfreda, ed. Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.
Dyson, Michael Eric. “The New Black Digital Intelligentsia.” The New Republic, September 10, 2015.
Giddings, Paula. Ida, Sword among Lions: B. Wells and the Campaign against Lynching. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.
“Iowa Bill Sparks Faculty Ire.” Inside Higher Ed, April 23, 2015. https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2015/04/23/iowa-bill-sparks-faculty-ire.
Jaschik, Scott. “The Professor Who Wasn’t Fired.” Inside Higher Ed, July 1, 2015, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/07/01/twitter-explodes-false-reports-u-memphis-fired-professor-why.
Kneebone, Elizabeth. “Ferguson, Mo. Emblematic of Growing Suburban Poverty.” The Avenue (blog). Brookings Institution, August 15, 2014. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2014/08/15/ferguson-mo-emblematic-of-growing-suburban-poverty/.
McClain, Dani. “Why 100 Black Intellectuals Rallied behind This Professor.” The Nation, July 14, 2015. http://www.thenation.com/article/why-100-black-intellectuals-rallied-behind-this-professor/.
Royster, Jacqueline Jones, ed. Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892–1900. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1996.
Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. “‘The Free Speech’ Hypocrisy of Right-Wing Media.” New York Times, August 14, 2017.
“Walker Erodes College Professor Tenure.” Politico, July 12, 2015. https://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/scott-walker-college-professor-tenure-120009.
Wells-Barnett, Ida B. Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases. 1892. Available on Project Gutenberg, http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/14975.
White, Deborah Gray. Too Heavy a Load: Black Women in Defense of Themselves, 1894–1994. New York: W. W. Norton, 1994.
Zandria. “Zeezus Does the Firing ’Round Hurr.” New South Negress (blog), 2015. https://newsouthnegress.com/zeezusyear.