A collage of famous historical black leaders.

The Black Studies Center Responds to Racist Attacks

The University of Wyoming's Black Studies Center (UWBCS) remains dedicated to culturally responsive teaching, rural community-focused engagement, and evidence-based research to add to the University of Wyoming’s tapestry. America's current social atmosphere of political populism and blatant racism has emboldened a critical mass of individuals and organizations to engage in racist, assaultive, divisive, and sometimes violent acts under the guise of “Making America Great Again” and misguided patriotism. The ZOOM bombing that disrupted the Black History Month event on February 15, 2021, serves as a reminder and epitomizes the attitudes originating from America's long-standing and entrenched racial history and the white privilege, white supremacy, and systemic discrimination that continue to be its legacy. It serves as a reminder that although we like to think otherwise, we are not immune from this legacy and its current and very real harmful consequences and effects even in Wyoming. This cyber terrorist act provides an avenue to critique the long-standing tradition of defending America's white supremacy values, then and now. As a community, we have a responsibility to condemn these racist actions and those that perform them in vain of our mission and to ensure that they act in vain, as we stand firm in our commitment to expand the range of knowledge available to the community. As a research center singularly devoted to liberation, we have an indispensable responsibility to continue with our efforts in contributing and correcting mainstream narratives that revolve around Black History.


Outward manifestations of white privilege permeate the daily rhythms at the University of Wyoming, highlighted by those who contend Black Lives Matter, yet do not act as though they do. In the initial responses from UW administrators, there was no mention of the words race, racist, or racism, which helped minimize this event's profound effect on the UW populace. We stand no hope in progressing as a community if we are incapable of, or unwilling to, label racism and bigotry of any form with accurate and specific descriptions. As a collective, the UWBSC anticipated direct retaliation for challenging the fundamental pillars of white power. This experience reassured that what the UWBSC offers is necessary, timely, and timeless. As we must, we will move forward with our programmatic endeavors to continue our fight against racism and ignorance with fervor. This futile attempt is not a threat to the efficacy and purpose of the UWBSC but a clear reflection of the culture of which we are all victims. The need for the UWBSC and the work it does has been exemplified by this horrific racist attack. This cowardly act will not interrupt our allegiance to the majestic call to raise the whole of humanity to higher excellence. Onward and upward.

The Black Studies Center  

Black Studies Center

  • Mission

    The Black Studies Center spotlights the truth that advancing the precise histories of black people contribute to the University of Wyoming's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives. 

    The University of Wyoming’s Black Studies Center (UWBSC) uses culturally responsive teaching, rural community-focused engagement, and evidence-based research to attract high-quality students to the University of Wyoming, who will actively contribute to the development of Black Studies. By engendering a more robust understanding of Black Studies, the UWBSC seeks to enhance the visibility and relevance of Black Studies and its capacity to directly impact contemporary social issues that plague America and the greater global community.

    The UWBSC employs multidisciplinary approaches to facilitate increased student collaboration with administrators, faculty, and staff in order to support research and related learning opportunities dedicated to creating innovative scholarship, pedagogy, service, and outreach opportunities that widen and challenge the mainstream historical narrative and provide the opportunity for students to not only learn but actively participate in ongoing social justice discourse. Importantly, the UW Black Studies Center strives to become a model that places Black Studies in rural areas at the forefront of the conceptualizations of race.  

  • Goals

    The goals of the University of Wyoming Black Studies Center include, but are not limited to:

    • Create an institutional platform that will dedicate efforts and resources to support culturally responsive teaching, rural community-focused engagement, and evidence-based research as it relates to Black Studies.
    • Inspire and provide opportunities for students to understand and appreciate the importance and interrelations of the complex concepts and theories that constitute Black Studies.
    • Assist students in securing the necessary skills to think critically about, convey, and articulate the conditions of the black experience by developing a sense of cultural insight to identify and understand patterns of historical development.
    • Introduce students to the fundamental rigors of graduate research to comprehend the importance of theoretical underpinnings of historical interpretations.
  • Initiatives

    On October 13, 2020, the University of Wyoming’s Black Studies Center (UWBSC) hosted a live virtual welcome and webinar event that introduced UWBSC's mission statement, goals, and Utility of the Black Studies Center to the University of Wyoming and the greater global community. Members of the UWBSC's advisory board, faculty council, and external steering committee provided thoughts on the opening of the UWBSC.

    To rewatch this and all of our other past events, check out our digital archive.

    Our Initiatives:

    • Community of Scholars Initiative 
    • Dr. Nathan Hare Leadership Institute
    • Silas Purnell Black Studies Recruitment Initiative 
    • Dr. Carter G. Woodson Graduate Bridge Program  
    • Ida B. Wells Annual Capstone Essay Research Contest 
    • Community Engagement Outreach Program
    • Community Engagement Project
    • Liz Byrd Speaker Series
    • Black Studies Center Workshops
    • Black History Month Celebration 

    Please see our Black Studies Center Initiatives for more details!