Morehouse College is adding to its legacy of standing in the paint for Black men. The Atlanta-based HBCU announced Tuesday, Jan. 18, its launch of the Black Men’s Research Institute (BMRI) to study social, economic and cultural issues affecting Black men.
According to a press release about the institute, BMRI is “a pioneering initiative to study the economic, social, cultural, and personal outcomes of issues affecting Black men, particularly where disparities exist in the U.S. and internationally.”
The institute is being hailed as a first of its kind as it will provide an “expansive focus on diverse Black masculinities and the positioning of Black men in society as it relates to the intersectionality of race, class, religion, gender, sexuality, identity, politics and policy, history, art, and other factors,” the release states.
The BMRI is funded by a four-year grant Morehouse received from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and will also partner with the college’s Africana studies and history department to launch a minor and online certificate program in the study of Black masculinities.
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“The BMRI will fill a void in research, scholarship, curriculum, and public engagement to reveal a holistic understanding of the experiences of men and boys of African descent in the United States, Africa, and the African Diaspora – from their expressions of gender and identity to the overt and subtle ways that systemic racism and inequalities affect them in myriad socio-political, economic, and cultural contexts,” said Clarissa Myrick-Harris, Ph.D., chair of the division of humanities and professor of Africana studies.
“Just as important, the institute will explore and share ways that Black men and boys have – and continue to – overcome barriers and find ways to empower themselves, their families, and communities,” Myrick-Harris continued.
As the nation’s only college dedicated exclusively to educating Black men, Morehouse is uniquely positioned to host the institute. Users on social media weighed in on the potential impact the BMRI could have.
“I grew up about 8 blocks from Morehouse College. I used to go to parties and step shows there regularly. This initiative sounds good on the surface,” Darrell B. Henderson tweeted. “The impacts of fatherlessness on black men would be a good place to start. I only hope the BMRI doesn’t become mired in politics.”
Another wondered how they’d define the term “Black.” “I wonder if they’ll specifically focus on #Freedmen men. Terms like ‘African American’ are ambiguous now,” @RealNyhiem wrote.
Another had a suggestion as to who the perfect person to lead the BMRI would be. “They need to empty the piggy bank to get @DrTJC home and in charge of this,” @TDHBXG wrote, referring to scholar and author Tommy J. Curry, who chairs the Africana department at the University of Edinburgh.
PHOTO: Audience members look on during a meeting where Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Filmmaker Spike Lee, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and others called for more black men to become teachers at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Monday, Jan. 31, 2011. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)