- African American Men in College
Over the last two years, there appears to be an emergence of interest in the topic of African American males in education. Surprisingly, this interest has not only come from empirical research (e.g., Jackson & Moore, 2006), but also from media coverage (e.g., Washington Post series on African American males) and national conferences. These additional venues have brought added attention to the general condition of African American males in the United States. Of particular concern to those who have empirical and practical interest focused on African American males, the significant questions are: (a) will this additional attention be sustained over time; and (b) will this attention result in an improved condition for African American males in the United States?
In African American Men in College, Michael J. Cuyjet and Associates build upon previous research with the intent of improving the general condition for African American males in higher education. In this book, Cuyjet assembled a group of contributors who provide various perspectives on a constellation of variables that affect the experiences of African American men in college. The expressed intent of the book is to: (a) contribute information [End Page 358] on the status of African American male students in higher education institutions, particularly at predominately White institutions; and (b) to provide information about specific programs that have had some success with working with African American men in college. Therefore, the book is organized into two parts to achieve the stated goals.
In chapter 1, Michael J. Cuyjet provides an excellent overview of important matters related to the experiences of African American male as students in higher education. Among the matters discussed are the disproportionate representation of African American males, the impact of the male-female imbalance, and relationships between African American men and women in college. Fred A. Bonner II and Kevin W. Bailey, in chapter 2, discuss ways in which institutions of higher education could enhance the academic achievement for African American males. They provide insights related to the influence of African American males' relationships with peer groups, family, and faculty. Additionally, they discuss African American male identity development and self-esteem. In the next chapter, Charles Brown provides a data driven chapter on the emergent topic of the involvement and impact of campus activities for African American males. In doing so, he explains how these out-of-class activities can assist African American males' persistence toward graduation.
Shaun R. Harper examines a sub-topic of student activities by focusing specifically on leadership involvement. In chapter 4 he provides an understanding of the outcomes and gains of such participation for African American males. Chapter 5, by E. Michael Sutton, focuses on one of the most critical topics for African American males – mentoring. He discusses the role of mentoring programs in the development of African American males and varied approaches to their design and administration. Recently, there has been a growth in published research focused on spirituality within higher education. Based on original data, chapter 6 by Lemuel W. Watson explores the role of spirituality and religion for African American males in college. He finds that ignoring the spiritual component of students' development is not good practice. Chapter 7, by Shaun R. Harper and Frank Harris III, outlines a longstanding set of organizations (i.e., historically Black Greek-lettered fraternities) that have united and prepared African American males for leadership roles for decades. In their chapter they not only highlight the benefits, but also the drawbacks of these organizations today.
It is quite difficult to have a dialogue about African American males in college without an agenda item focused on athletics. In chapter 8, Kenya Lenoir Messer extrapolates the positive and negative aspects for the participation of African American males in competitive collegiate sports. She focuses on topics such as academic support, family and community support, and academic and social integration. Jamie Washington and Vernon A. Wall, in chapter 9, address an often absent discussion focused on African American men in college – gay and bisexual men...