Two Black Scholars Elected Members of the National Academy of Sciences

The National Academy of Sciences, a prestigious organization founded on March 3, 1863, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, features this nation’s finest scientists. During the Civil War, Sen. Henry Wilson helped create the bill that would bring the NAS to reality.

The organization strives to elect the most distinguished and most qualified scientists. This year, it added two Black scientists who fit that criteria. Scott V. Edwards and Jennifer A. Richeson are currently the only Black scientists who are part of the organization.


Edwards is currently the Alexander Agassiz professor of organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University. In addition to his work as a professor, he is the curator of birds for the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. “A native of Hawaii, Edwards is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard. He earned a Ph.D. in zoology at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Edwards has been on the faculty at Harvard University since 2003,” according the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.


Richeson is the endowed chair of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in psychology at Northwestern University. At the university, she also teaches African-American studies. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education goes on to say that Richeson has been on the faculty at Northwestern since 2005. Previously, “she taught at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Dr. Richeson is a graduate of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She holds a Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University.”

The two were officially inducted as members of the NAS on May 11.

10 Amazing Afrofuturism Authors Every Blerd Should Know

Samuel R. DelanySamuel R. Delany

Delany is a successful sci-fi author and literary critic. He has taught at the University of Buffalo and at Temple University. Over his long career, he has earned four Nebula Awards and two Hugo Awards — one for “Babel-17” in 1966 and the second for “The Einstein Intersection” in 1967. His novels focus on issues of sexuality, mythology and language. Some of his sci-fi works include: “The Bridge of Lost Desire,” “Distant Stars,” “Driftglass: Ten Tales of Speculative Fiction,” “The Einstein Intersection,” “Empire: A Visual Novel,” “Empire Star,” “Equinox,” “The Fall of the Towers,” “Flight from Neveryon (Return to Neveryon),” “Hogg,” “The Jewels of Aptor,” “Mad Man,” “They Fly at Ciron,” “Times Square Red, Times Square Blue,” “Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia.”

hamilton1Virginia Hamilton

Hamilton is a children’s author who has written 40-plus books in her career. Her most popular work is “M.C Higgins, the Great.” That book earned her the Newbery Award in 1975 and the National Book Award in 1974. Her books include: “The All Jahdu Storybook,” “The Dark Way: Stories from the Spirit World,” “Dustland (Odyssey 2),” “Justice and Her Brothers (Odyssey 1),” “The Gathering (Odyssey 3),” “The House of Dies Drear,” “The Mystery of Drear House: The Conclusion of the Dies Drear Chronicle,” “Sweet Whispers,” “Brother Rush.”

7 Black Women Science Fiction Writers Everyone Should Know

Sci-fi and fantasy are two genres dominated by white, male voices. It can be extremely exhausting to see the same themes written by people with the same or similar perspectives. Here are seven prominent African-American women working in these two genres who have made a name for themselves by telling unique stories.

4442842661_c664401545_zN. K. Jemisin

Jemisin found acclaim after the release of her first novel The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. She has been short-listed for major awards in such a young career and was awarded the Locus Award for Best First Novel.



Nnedi Okorafor

Okorafor writes African-based science fiction stories and children’s books. Her novel Who Fears Death won the World Fantasy Award for best novel. Her works include Akata Witch, Zahrah the Windseeker, The Shadow Speaker and a children’s book Long Juju Man. She is a professor of creative writing and literature at the University of Buffalo.

9 Contemporary Black Academics You Should Know

Ali Mazrui

Ali Mazrui, who passed away this past weekend, was a Kenyan academic, professor and political writer on African and Islamic studies and North-South relations. He was an Albert Schweitzer professor in the humanities and the director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York. Mazrui obtained his bachelor of arts with distinction from Manchester University, his master’s degree from Columbia University and his doctorate of philosophy from Oxford University. He previously taught at the University of Michigan, Binghamton University and the State University of New York.

Mazrui’s research interests included African politics, international political culture, political Islam and North-South relations. He is author or co-author of more than 20 books. Mazrui was widely consulted by heads of states and governments, international media and research institutions for political strategies and alternative thoughts.


Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic and institution builder. He is an Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Gates has authored 17 books and created 14 documentary films. His TV show Finding Your Roots, now in its second season on PBS, has featured several celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Chris Rock, tracing back their ancestral lineage. He is also the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the online daily, The Root.


Dr. Michael Eric Dyson

Michael Eric Dyson is an academic, author and radio host. He is a professor of sociology at Georgetown University. Dyson received his bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Carson–Newman College in 1985. He obtained his master’s and Ph.D. in religion from Princeton University. He hosted The Michael Eric Dyson Show from 2009 to 2011. He’s currently a political analyst for MSNBC and has published 17 books about subjects that run the gamut from hip-hop to Hurricane Katrina.