In 1969, Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, established its African American Institute. In 1983, students could major in African American studies for the first time. In 2008, the African American Studies Program was founded. In the past, faculty members who taught courses in African American studies were members of established academic departments on campus. Now Wesleyan University has hired the first two core faculty members of its African American studies program that was recently granted departmental status.
Kali Nicole Gross is a new professor of African American studies. Professor Gross is the author of Colored Amazons: Crime, Violence, and Black Women in the City of Brotherly Love, 1880-1910 (Duke University Press, 2006) and Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso: A Tale of Race, Sex , and Violence in America (Oxford University Press, 2016). Professor Gross is a graduate of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Khalil Johnson is a new assistant professor of African American studies. He is teaching courses on freedoms schools and early African American history. Dr. Johnson is working on a book project tentatively entitled Schooled: The Education of Black and Indigenous People in the United States, 1730-1980. Dr. Johnson is a graduate of the University of Georgia and earned a Ph.D. at Yale University.