Diversity Magazine Articles




March 19, 2021

Writer:

Corbie Hill

2024 was always going to be distinct for this class.

Antonello Silverini illustration of a butcher and a bull

March 19, 2021

Writer:

Barry Yeoman

The defendant’s name was Mr. Scrub Bull. He entered Magistrate James McElroy Jameson’s makeshift courtroom in Pickens County, South Carolina, walking on four legs and escorted by rural and town policemen. There he stood, surely bewildered, as a court officer read the bill of indictments.

Black male child watching a white girl at an ice cream counter

September 26, 2020

Writer:

Alonzo Felder

I grew up in the house my grandparents built in 1923. It sat on 31st Street and 12th Avenue South in the D7 section of the town of St. Petersburg, Florida, also known as “the Gas Plant,” according to the city’s redline map. I was four months old when they found Emmett Till’s body in Mississippi. A Jet magazine, with the photos of his mangled, tortured body, was always on the living-room coffee table.

Two images by Fati Abubakar

July 22, 2020

Writer:

Fati Abubakar

From the minute I arrived in the United States from Nigeria as an international student, my instinct was to look for an African community—a restaurant, a mosque, an association. And in the African diasporic community, I found happiness, a sense of belonging. However, as a photojournalist, I wondered why so many of us Africans leave home. What was the pull to the United States or to Europe?

Black Duke employees and white Duke employees, segregated at 1946 holiday party

July 22, 2020

I am writing two weeks after the murder of George Floyd, as protests against white supremacy take place across the country. Many Americans are reckoning with the impact of racism, especially as it relates to American history. I, too, am reckoning with the past, especially here at Duke. There are hard truths to accept in a place where many people feel warmly embraced—a place that many of us love.

Mychal Harrison

July 22, 2020

Writer:

Mychal Harrison

This issue, I’m lending this space to the new DAA president, Mychal Harrison ’01, who has a special message for all alumni. —Sterly Wilder ’83, associate vice president, alumni affairs

In 1967, protesters confront federal troops in Newark

July 22, 2020

Protests sparked by police actions. Anxiety over (invented) outside agitators. “Lawand- order” leaders drawn into competing crises. Media accounts—Newsweek, in one case—offering assessments that to be Black in America is to assume “that America is after all a racist society.”

August 8, 2019

I am the little girl at the end of a dirt road seldom traveled on. The curious mind who watched her grandmother weave rugs for eight hours straight, never tiring. The young soul who never understood the land she walked on was crying for help.

A graphic of number as if in computer code

August 7, 2019

My boys have dark brown curls and mischievous smiles. They speak with clarity and confidence. They move with boundless energy but also with unexpected grace. They enjoy playing with their lovies, reading with their daddy, and dancing with me, their mommy. They were born in St. Louis, but their great-grandparents were born in Africa, Asia, and Europe. They are six and eight. They represent the best of America. And I am scared for their future.

September 30, 2014

Writer:

Louise Flynn

When Kentucky attorney general Jack Conway ’91 stepped behind the podium last March to announce he would no longer defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban, he was, in effect, walking onto the national stage. He was not the first attorney general to take such a stance—there had been seven before him, and more since—but his five-minute, heartfelt remarks went viral, and the moment became another turning point in the marriage-equality movement.

September 25, 2014

Writer:

Ryan Hoerger

Last March, in Muhuru Bay, Kenya, twenty-eight young women from the Women’s Institute for Secondary Education and Research (WISER) were honored as part of the school’s first graduating class. It was an emotional event, a long time in the making.

September 25, 2014

Writer:

Bridget Booher

At the opening of the new Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity last year, President richard H. Brodhead acknowledged that the deeply entrenched homophobic prejudice in the U.S. also played out at Duke. “This university regrets every phase of that history,” he said.

September 25, 2014

You’re an outsider who needs to operate as a n insider in a pretty confusing setting, a setting that, for a couple of years, will impose all sorts of expectations on you. Lots of obstacles for you to stumble over. Lots of rituals and routines to sort out.

August 1, 2014

It takes a great deal of strength to leave the security of home. This audio short features a mother sharing immigration stories with her daughter, and what it took for their family to build a life for themselves here in America.

August 1, 2014

Symbols wield immense power over people, but often their meaning is different for each of us. This story reflects on an encounter with a particularly polarizing symbol long-steeped in American southern culture in the voices of diverse students from across the country.

July 22, 2014

Writer:

New page turners on the shelves

Bravery, humility, loyalty, and service are the common threads linking the soldiers profiled in Valor: Unsung Heroes From Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front by Mark Lee Greenblatt ’95.

July 18, 2014

Writer:

Clem Richardson

"It was a rough time for us, when they accused our boys of that heinous crime.”

We were in a midtown Manhattan hotel conference room in 2007, attendees at a Duke University Black Alumni Connection meeting, my first. I thought I had misheard the speaker, an impassioned former Duke athlete who by the end of his speech had pledged $60,000 to either DUBAC or the Reggie Howard Scholarship Fund—I no longer recall which.

But his words I never forgot.

July 18, 2014

Writer:

Safa al-Saeedi

I grew up in a household where my dad has been always supportive. He always praised women for their minds and for their compassion. I never got the sense from my father that women were inferior; I never felt that I was less than my brothers. Whenever he would see an amazing woman on television, like a scholar or a scientist, he would always tell me to come and watch. My dad supported me in my travels and when I decided not to be a doctor in my career choice.

July 18, 2014

Writer:

Sam June

There are four sacred mountains that outline the traditional Navajo homeland, and inside is where all your blessings are, where all life started. You’re only supposed to perform traditional ceremonies within the boundaries. For example, a baby’s umbilical cord is often buried in the ground. Mine is buried in the horse corral at my maternal grandmother’s house. My mom said it’s done so that I will always return to my people and care for the animals and Earth.

July 18, 2014

Writer:

Jacob Tobia

The cashier at the Dollar General gave me a somewhat confused glance as I checked out, looking at me with a combination of perplexity and shyness. He did not quite understand what my purchase would be used for, but he also seemed too shy to ask. And so, without explanation, I paid for my item and left.

November 12, 2013

Intolerance, Mahatma Gandhi once said, is a form of violence and an obstacle to a true democratic spirit. Although those words weren’t repeated at the late-September opening of the new Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, it seemed a sentiment with which attendees would concur.

November 12, 2013

During the second quarter of this year’s football homecoming game against Troy University, Michael Holyfield ’79 finally got the respect he deserved. The first African-American Duke Blue Devil mascot was given a letterman jacket by the athletics department.

“We wanted to honor him and the historical contributions he made,” said Jon Jackson, associate director of athletics for external affairs, in a statement.

© ER Productions/CORBIS.

July 24, 2013

Writer:

Damon Tweedy

One of my first patients as a medical intern was an avowed racist. Chester (a pseudonym) was a lifelong smoker and fan of Southern cuisine whose bad habits finally caught up with him. His body failing, he turned to our hospital for help only to find me, a black man, as one of the doctors entrusted to extend his life. The year was 2003, but for a time, it felt more like 1963.

50th logo

May 15, 2013

As part of the university’s 50th anniversary of black students at Duke, a number of regional events are setting the stage for alumni to explore the past and future of Duke’s commitment to issues of race relations and diversity.

Cowan: a call to level the educational playing field. Credit: Jared Lazarus.

May 14, 2013

During a rousing keynote speech at April’s Reunions Weekend, U.S. Senator William “Mo” Cowan ’91 deftly combined the personal and political as part of the university’s “Celebrating the Past, Charting the Future: Commemorating 50 Years of Black Students at Duke.” His talk in Page Auditorium touched on the legacy of African-American students at Duke, his own campus experiences, and the imperative of providing high-quality education for minority students.

February 13, 2013

What are the most significant years in Duke history? By my count, there are three. The first is 1892, when Trinity College moved from Randolph County to Durham, leaving its rural birthplace to seek a new urban setting and a new connection to the world.

The second is 1924, when James B. Duke’s gift transformed a fine liberal-arts college into a comprehensive university.

Circle of concern: gathering to proclaim "Race Is Not a Party" (Credit: Megan Morr)

February 13, 2013

About 200 people participated in an early-February protest sparked by a fraternity party that they said denigrated Asians. The protest sought to hold Kappa Sigma responsible for its “Asia Prime” party; the invitation to the party included stereotypical representations of Asian people and language.

February 13, 2013

Writer:

Bridget Booher

Fifty years ago this fall, a black third-grader sat in the balcony of a Charlotte movie theater, segregated from the white children seeing the same movie, accepting as normal that his skin color meant he and his friends drank from separate water fountains, used separate bathrooms, rode at the back of the bus.