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Public Affairs


Black Studies Journal tackles two current topics

October 17, 2003

Photo of the front cover of the Black Studies JournalIn planning the latest edition of The Black Studies Journal produced by the Department of Black Studies, student opinion was split between focusing on the war in Iraq or reparations for slavery. Both issues were capturing headlines and provoking strong opinions in the black community. Usually the journal focuses on one theme but students felt so strongly they chose to address both topics.

"We thought that the theme 'struggle and conflict' was broad enough to include coverage of the war in Iraq and reparations for African Americans," said Associate Professor of Black Studies Dorothy Tsuruta, who serves as faculty adviser to the publication. "Our students really did a thorough job of talking through their differences to depict the complexity of views and opinions. And it helped turn out a very special issue."

The result is a 122-page edition dedicated to black activists for peace and to the wounded, fallen and missing in the war. To illustrate the journal's themes, the cover includes a photograph of Congresswoman Barbara Lee at an anti-war march; the Iraqi television image of POW Shoshawna Nyree Johnson; and a drawing by the journal's editor, Lawrence Jones III, of a lynched African American. This most recent edition of the Black Studies Journal -- Spring 2003, Vol. 4 -- was produced by the 15 students in Tsuruta's spring 2003 class on black journalism (Black Studies 665) and includes pieces ranging from coverage and analysis of current events to the literary arts.

Leah Kimble-Price, a senior psychology major who served as a production editor, said she and her classmates were dedicated to producing a thought-provoking issue.

"I was also incredibly inspired to see my peers so aware of the current issues of struggle in the Black Diaspora as well in the everyday lives of black students at S.F. State. Working as a team, the journal staff members, myself included, were reminded that it takes a village to raise a revolution," said Kimble-Price, who is considering pursuing a doctorate in psychology.

This latest edition of the journal features three articles reflecting war and individual responsibility and a first-hand account of a February peace march in San Francisco attended by activist, actor and SFSU alum Danny Glover. Three other articles examine varying positions on reparations for African Americans, and there is an interview with famed poet Nikki Giovanni that took place during SFSU's celebration of Black History Month.

In addition to nonfiction, a creative section features students' fiction, poetry, photography, letters and opinion pieces. An essay by a first-year student thanks his teachers at Balboa High School for helping him attain his dream of attending SFSU. Pictures of five African American servicemen who were either injured or died for their country during the earliest stages of the war in Iraq are featured.

And, true to the journal's mission of bringing students and faculty together in written expression, there is one poem each on the topic of Africa from Tsuruta and Black Studies Professor Wade Nobles. Also from Africa are letters written by students who had been studying in the continent with Black Studies Associate Professor Johnetta Richards.

"The publication lets our students' important intellectual voice be heard," said Tsuruta. "Our students are the next generation of scholars and activists, and they have a lot to say."

In writing about the journal, Kimble-Price said she hopes readers gain fresh perspectives from the contents. "The students of the Black Studies Department invite you to look within these pages for inspiration and insight, and to take every writer's position as a step toward change for the better," she wrote. "No matter how an individual might feel about war and its aftermath or the ongoing fight for and against reparations, we can identify with the common thread of these written works -- responsibility."

For copies of the latest edition of The Black Studies Journal, contact Tsuruta at (415) 338-6174 or request a copy in room 103 of the Psychology building from the Black Studies or main receptionist desk.

-- Ted DeAdwyler


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Last modified October 20, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs