Tuesday, January 18, 2022
by Editorial Team
ATLANTA—Morehouse College today launched the Black Men’s Research Institute (BMRI), a pioneering initiative to study the economic, social, cultural, and personal outcomes of issues affecting Black men, particularly where disparities exist in the U.S. and internationally. Rooted in the scholarship of the humanities, humanistic social sciences, and the creative arts, the institute is unique in its expansive focus on diverse Black masculinities and the positioning of Black men in society as it relates to the intersectionality of race, class, religion, gender, sexuality, identity, politics and policy, history, art, and other factors. By amplifying collaborative thought leadership, the institute strives to counter conflicting narratives, distrust, and ambiguity with a clear, authoritative voice on the experiences of Black men. The BMRI will also strengthen the intellectual discovery, discourse, and scholarship at Morehouse in areas related to LGBTQ history, culture, and social challenges, as well as sexism, patriarchy, and misogyny.
Funded through a four-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the BMRI is designed to facilitate learning and community engagement as well as research. The institute, in partnership with Morehouse’s Africana studies and history department, will serve as a launchpad for the exploration of the first Black masculinities studies minor at a historically Black college or university, along with an online certificate program. The institute also plans to launch an annual symposium, through which a single topic will be explored in-depth, a public lecture series, and acknowledge public and community projects that foster nuanced understanding of policies affecting Black men and their communities.
“As a college dedicated to advancing knowledge of Black men’s lives, Morehouse is thankful for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s investment that enables us to establish the BMRI,” said Kendrick Brown, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Morehouse College. “The institute will be a positive force for promoting richer, more nuanced understandings of how Black men affect and are influenced by their communities.”
As the only higher education institution with a mission to prepare Black men for careers of leadership and service, Morehouse College is uniquely positioned to generate new scholarship centered on Black men and their communities through the BMRI, as well as to contribute to conversations and inform policy related to social justice. The BMRI will also equip Black men and allies to challenge and navigate through a society constructed in ways that may marginalize Black men’s contributions and humanity. In addition, the institute will serve as an incubator for faculty to create curricula and scholarship that can be adopted by other higher education institutions seeking to provide more inclusive and authentic education about Black masculinities. Moreover, the institute will convene and facilitate interdisciplinary research by faculty, visiting scholars, and students.
“The BMRI will fill a void in research, scholarship, curriculum, and public engagement to reveal a holistic understanding of the experiences of men and boys of African descent in the United States, Africa, and the African Diaspora—from their expressions of gender and identity to the overt and subtle ways that systemic racism and inequalities affect them in myriad socio-political, economic, and cultural contexts,” said Clarissa Myrick-Harris, Ph.D., chair of the division of humanities and professor of Africana studies. “Just as important, the institute will explore and share ways that Black men and boys have—and continue to—overcome barriers and find ways to empower themselves, their families, and communities.”
For more information about Morehouse College and the Black Men’s Research Institute, visit morehouse.edu.