I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. I have held positions at the University of Kentucky, UCLA, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. My research interests are centered on questions of resistance and social justice. My most recent book, From the Bullet to the Ballot: The Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party and Racial Coalition Politics in Chicago was published in 2013 by the University of North Carolina Press under its prestigious John Hope Franklin Series. (The book and e-book can also be purchased on Amazon.com.) Fred Hampton was the young, idealistic, charismatic leader of the Black Panther Party (BPP) in Chicago brutally murdered by police officers while he slept. His vision and activism helped to create, and unite, pockets of resistance found throughout local communities regardless of color and ethnicity. An examination of the Illinois BPP’s Rainbow Coalition demonstrates, in 1969, a direct link involving racial coalition politics in Chicago that stretches from Fred Hampton to President Barack Obama.
Prior to my research on Fred Hampton and the Illinois BPP, in 2003 I completed my first edited book, Revolutions of the Mind: Cultural Studies in the African Diaspora Project, 1996-2002. The work provides an eclectic sample of the essays, reviews, conference proceedings, and programs that defined the UCLA Cultural Studies in the African Diaspora Project (CSADP), funded by the Ford Foundation. I also contributed two articles to Revolutions of the Mind, one of which is entitled, “‘A Panic in All this Country’: Nat Turner’s Complex and Dynamic Religious Background,” which is an exploration of Turner’s life, personal philosophy, revolutionary thought and actions. It looks particularly at the impact of Turner’s African, Afro-Christian, and European Christian religious backgrounds on his actions in Southampton County, Virginia.