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Although question nine falls short of its intended meaning,  the panelists looked beyond a literal interpretation and fo­cused  on issues related to mentoring, training, and inspir­ing fu­ture leaders for the field. As in any culture, nation, organ­ization, or in­stitution, leadership succession in Black Studies is key to its con­tinued value and survival. Succession of leadership requires in­ter­generational contact, communication, and coalition. Un­der­stand­ing between generations is the result of dialogue and knowledge. According to Southern Illinois University’s Continu­ance magazine, the essence of intergenera­tion­al lead­ership is learning—learning about other generations, their needs and issues, and their willingness to be agents of change.[1] This is not a uni­di­rec­tional process, but rather a two-way course of action where dif­fer­ent generations learn about each other. The building blocks of in­ter­gen­erational leadership are exemplified as younger and old­er gen­e­rations combine their talents, goals, creativity, and en­ergy.

In order to achieve the type of pedagogy advocated herein, ed­u­cators must reject the fixity and “hideboundness” of present ped­a­go­gical approaches that transform us into custodians of same­ness. … We must begin to resituate our work, our projects, and our mis­sions at the junction that signifies “change, motion, trans­ience, proc­ess … motion and meaning yet to be deciphered”.[2] The pro­phet­ic practices contained in the rich legacy of the African Ame­rican tra­dition can serve as our guide.

The ninth panel consist of papers from Rhett Jones, Daryl Michael Scott, Austin Jackson, and Manning Marable as panel fa­cil­itator. (The position paper by Rhett Jones is included although he was unable to attend the convening due to illness.) As with most of the other panels, funding was an over­arching theme. Three points mark the central elements of this panel’s discussion: the need for communication and col­lab­o­ra­tion across institutional borders, ack­nowl­edging and documenting the past as a resource for the future, and mentorship that includes the multiple layers of an ac­a­demic career (scholarship/research, teach­ing, and service). Scott em­pha­sized that intergenerational lead­ership development is key in the primary areas significant for all fields—intellectual, teaching, and service. He focused his con­tri­bution to the dis­cus­sion on in­ter­gen­e­ra­tional leadership in service by pinpoint­ing problems in the op­e­ra­tion of depart­ments/programs, pro­fes­sion­al organi­za­tions, and journals and presses. In lieu of the vol­un­teer nature of service, Scott empha­sized that problems ensue when stu­dent and faculty vol­un­teerism blur the lines between staff and vol­un­teer and en­croach on one’s abil­ity to suc­ces­sfully carry out other obligations to the field.

Jackson provided insight into graduate students’ points of view. He suggested there is a need to bridge the gap between the original so­cial responsibility initiative and the contemporary lived experiences of today’s generation. The important aspect of relevancy is the re­con­nection to the “real material circumstances confronting Black people today.” He argued that a contemporary application of rele­van­cy includes both theoretical and programmatic training and men­toring devoted to administering and establishing Black Stud­ies programs and departments, which will in turn provide em­ploy­ment opportunities for new PhDs in the field. He went on to point out that an assumption appears to exist among the early ground­­breakers in the field that social justice is a given, but from his view it is not a value instilled in his generation. The panel ack­nowl­edged that practice is key both inside and outside of the acad­emy for obtaining the goal of intergenerational leadership suc­ces­sion.

Members of the professional organizations emphasized the need for more interaction and communication with graduate stu­dents. They suggested more mentoring is needed in student participation in conferences and annual meetings, understanding the value of sustaining through membership the professional or­ga­nizations, and producing articles for publication. And, in her sum­mary of the discussions of the convening, Irma McClaurin invited the panel to think out of the box of historical phil­an­throp­ic en­dea­vors find ways to continue and even inclusive con­ver­sation beyond the parameters of the Ford convening.


  1. Southern Illinois University, “Intergenerational Leadership: The Sleeping Giant for Education,” Continuance Magazine, Fall 2005/Winter 2006.
  2. Baker, 1984, p. 202, as cited in Peter L. McLaren and Michael Dantley, “Leadership and a Critical Pedagogy of Race: Cornel West, Stuart Hall, and the Prophetic Tradition,” Journal of Negro Education 59, no. 1 (1990).


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