Tobin Miller Shearer, an associate history professor and director of the African American studies program at the University of Montana, is about to embark on a 500-mile bicycle trip through the mountains of Montana in an effort to raise awareness of issues important to African Americans. The trip will also celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Black studies program at the university. According to the University of Montana, its Black studies program was the third one established in the United States.
Professor Shearer explains why he is taking on this awareness campaign by stating: “This has been a year in which I’ve watched my African-American students deal with increasing racial harassment, seen Black Lives Matter posters repeatedly torn down by my office door, watched White supremacists ramp up their rhetoric in the state I now call home, and been put on a national watchlist for speaking out against racism and White privilege. It seems like the time to do something positive, something that offers some movement forward. Something hopeful.”