S4, Episode 2

In This Episode

March 22, 2024: David Walton on the Past, Present, and Future of Black Studies

Image of Professor David Walton

In this episode, we hear from guest David Walton, history professor and founding director of the Global Black Studies program at Western Carolina University. Walton takes the listener back to his childhood, when he developed an interest in reading foundational works by public intellectuals like Malcolm X, Bobby Seale, and Huey Newton. After stints with teaching and military service, Walton returned to those readings and dug deeper into histories both global and local— even discovering connections among his own family—as he completed dual PhD degrees.

Host Augustus Wood and Walton discuss the decades-long development of Black Studies as a discipline, considering the ways in which it remains a political flashpoint. As Walton says, “At this moment, Black Studies is under attack, but it's just part of the same old culture wars that we had in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.”    

Some of the books noted during their conversation include  White Money/Black Power: African American Studies and the Crises of Race in Higher Education by Noliwe M. Rooks, Black Revolution on Campus by Martha Biondi, The Americans Are Coming!: Dreams of African American Liberation in Segregationist South Africa by Robert Trent Vinson, Songs of Zion by James T. Campbell, and Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching by Jarvis R. Givens.


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About the Guest

A native of Romulus, Michigan, David M. Walton earned a dual PhD in History and African American and African Studies from Michigan State University in the summer of 2017. He also earned a MA in World History and a Graduate Certificate in African American Studies from Eastern Michigan University. Dr. Walton is an active member of the National Council of Black Studies, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Walton's current research projects focus on the Black Power Movement of Detroit and Detroit's underground economy of the 1980s-1990s.