Panel to Discuss Perspectives on the African American Family

Friday, October 07, 2011

The Instructor Exchange Program at Fairmont State University will present a panel discussion regarding the African American Family at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11, in Multi-media Room A of the Ruth Ann Musick Library.

The panel of distinguished faculty, staff and members of the Marion County community, possessing unique and varying perspectives, will endeavor to present and discuss important issues and concerns related to a variety of scholarly and personal perspectives and insights about the African American Family.

Admission is free, and the event is open to the public. Students, faculty and staff from Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College are encouraged to attend.

The Director of the Instructor Exchange Program at FSU is Dr. Tad Kato, who will also serve as the facilitator for the panel discussion.

Moderator of the panel will be Dr. Gregory T. Hinton, J.D., who is Senior Professor in the School of Business at Fairmont State University. He is also a practicing attorney in Marion County and graduated from the West Virginia College of Law in 1981. Hinton is a 1978 graduate of Fairmont State College where he majored in History and minored in Sociology.  He was the first coordinator of the Race, Class and Gender Program at Fairmont State. In addition, he was a West Virginia Civil Rights Honoree in 2009; and in 2002, he was honored as a recipient of the national Excellence in Leadership Award. Hinton was named the 1997 West Virginia Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation and by the West Virginia Faculty Merit Foundation. He is the only person in the state of West Virginia to hold such recognition.

Panelists will be the following:

  • Charlotte A. Meade is an author, community activist, columnist, teacher and recipient of prestigious awards in the field of education and a musician at Trinity United Methodist Church. Born in Fairmont, she is a graduate of Dunbar High School, of West Virginia State University in Institute and of the University of Toledo. Now retired, her 45 years of teaching experience include Toledo's Robinson Junior High, Fairmont Business College and Monongah Middle School. She was named Marion County Teacher of the Year (1984) and received the prestigious Milken Family Foundation Educator's Award (1991-92). In addition to enjoyable time spent with family and friends, she is active in many community organizations, a citizen columnist for the Times West Virginian, author of “In My Time...A Collection of Poetry and Other Written Expressions” and a grateful recipient of, not only of a number of honors, but also many opportunities. She hopes to share some of her experiences--in the "friendly" city and in the state--particularly those before Brown vs. Board of Education, and in the early years of integration.
  • Rev. Dr. (honorary) Richard Bowyer served as Campus Minister for the Wesley Foundation at Fairmont State for 43 years and taught a variety of courses as an adjunct faculty member. One of those courses was Black History from the Civil War to the Present. He holds a bachelors degree from Marshall University and Masters of Divinity and Masters of Theology from Duke University, with additional graduate study at WVU and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He serves on several local agency boards of directors. He has been honored by the state Human Rights Commission and the National Campus Ministry Association for his work with ethnic minorities. He is co-author with Meade and former Fairmont State Professor Betty Hart of the book “Prayer in the Black Tradition.” Bowyer will share his counseling and personal experiences with African American families and talk about the structure of the Black Family in America among other relevant issues related to his vast experience in the areas of social justice for minorities and the poor.
  • Dr. Craig C. White, Senior Professor of Sociology at FSU, has been examining, and reflecting on our nation’s major social institutions. He has collected his insights and prophetic imagination in two major contributions. The first book in 1993 was “Toward the Resolution of Poverty in America.”  The second, “Unemployment Ended by Community Restored” (2009) builds on and expands his plan for a “Third Sector” PACE (Program Advancing Community Employment) to reduce unemployment and poverty.  White is the newly appointed president of The PACE Project, Inc. and a charter member of the PACE Coordinating Committee at FSU that is planning to launch pilot projects in southern India and Marion County, to test the concept. He has taught courses in Social Problems; Minority Groups; Race, Class and Gender; Social Stratification (Inequality in America); and Social Movements at Fairmont State since 1967.White will focus his comments on the unique variations among Black Families in America with a special focus on social class, stratification and inequality as well as other relevant sociological concepts and theories that apply.  
  • Dr. Tara Brooks began working at Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College as Director of Multicultural Affairs on Jan. 3.  She is also an Assistant Professor in the FSU School of Education/Health and Human Performance.  The dual appointment allows Brooks to address diversity issues across campus, disciplines, faculty/staff and students.  She serves as faculty advisor to the Black Student Union and has already been active on numerous committees with plans to develop more programming to build an even more inclusive environment. Brooks has started a Diversity Task Force in the School of Education/ Health and Human Performance; involves community members in the quest to increase diversity awareness; co-chairs a project with the Dean of the School of Education, Health and Human Performance that will create an archive of digital stories on diversity and identities; chairs a team that will develop a professional development course for faculty, staff, and community members on building and sustaining a culture of respect for, engagement with, and celebration of diverse identities; and has secured a grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission to support these efforts.  Previously, Brooks worked as a Social Justice Specialist with WVU Extension Service, working very closely with the President’s Office for Social Justice (WVU) and is also a member of the Community Coalition for Social Justice in Morgantown. She serves as a mentor to many WVU and FSU athletes in order to provide that sense of family and structure that some students so desperately need in order to reach success away from home. 
  • Dr. Paul Edwards is Professor and Provost Emeritus at Pierpont Community & Technical College. He presently teaches courses in Leadership and Race, Class and Gender. Edwards, a long-time History professor and college administrator, is the “father” of Pierpont. He is a social justice activist and scholar and is very proud of being arrested at the White House in the largest protest in opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Edwards was the instructor of the first Black Studies Course at Fairmont State College in 1969. He is a charter member of the PACE Project at Fairmont State.Edwards’ presentation will be directed to the issues of justice and inequality. He will discuss Martin Luther King’s four catastrophes of racism, poverty, militarism and materialism. Also included will be a discussion of the class nature of society and health issues of the Black American family. Emphasis will be given to the significance of the economic system and the government.