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University of Akron's 10th Black Male Summit Focuses on Education

photo of Kesha and Zachery Williams

The University of Akron wrapped up its 10th annual summit examining issues facing black men over the weekend, with a focus on education.

The Black Male Summit included panels on topics ranging from healthcare and career goals to community engagement and, most prominently, education.

Zachery Williams, a University of Akron history professor, helped found the summit and says with what’s happening in the United States at the moment, education is the most important decision for black men.

“It’s an urgent call to action to say that education has to be transformative. It has to connect the campus and community. It has to connect one’s lives with one’s family and social issues and economic issues and political issues are all intertwined.”

Black men on white campuses
Jihad Dixon, a grad student at West Virginia University, spoke about the challenges facing black men at predominantly white colleges. His advice for success is to get involved, socialize and figure out what you want to do.

“We have to not only discover who we are as black men, but who we are as scholars, as social students on these campuses that don’t necessarily know how or have all the resources that they can provide to us.”

Many of the participants at the summit were young black men in high school and college, which organizers say is the audience that needs to consider education carefully – and soon -- to shape their futures.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.