University offers courses to educate about black culture


Eugene Shelton, associate professor of journalism and mass communication, teaches his African-American Media class. 

Sabrina Scott

With classes such as “Malcolm versus Martin,” taught by Pan-African Studies Professor George Garrison, and “Black Community Organizing,” taught by Instructor Damareo Cooper, Kent State offers numerous courses to educate students about black culture.

Eugene Shelton, associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC), teaches the African-American Media course, open to all students, including graduate students.

Shelton said he created the class himself in 2007 with the help of Timothy Moore, then-associate dean for Advising and Undergraduate Student Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences, between JMC and the Department of Pan-African Studies.

Shelton said his African-American Media courseis specifically targeted to understanding the importance of black involvement in all spectrums of the media and has had a significant contribution to not only African-American culture but mainstream America.

“Media is a part of our everyday lives,” Shelton said. “You see it every day. You use it every day. Regardless if you are African-American, Latino or Asian, it’s important that you know the contributions of the people.”

Shelton said how he felt it is important to teach a class like this because media content is not all created by whites and that there are other nationalities woven into it.

“I feel that it is very important to tell their stories,” Shelton said. “… I think there is a great global value to understand the contributions made by people who are different.”

Maggie Bisesi, a junior communication studies major, said she was influenced to take a black culture class due to the events of police brutality and racism this past year.

“I want to be more knowledgeable about black culture, about what they did with the media,” Bisesi said. “I want to share with other people why it is important.”

Courtney Armstead, a senior communication studies major, said she looked up to Shelton due to his knowledge and experience in the media.

Armstead said how African-American accomplishments and media is important.

“We kind of came a far way, but we still have a long way to go,” Armstead said. “It isn’t always other people bringing us down, but it is us as well.”

Contact Sabrina Scott at [email protected].