Black Minds Matter: A Focus on Black Boys and Men in Education

According to the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC), “Black Minds Matter addresses the experiences and realities of Black males in education, drawing parallels between the Black Lives Matter movement and the ways that Black minds are engaged in the classroom.”

In large part due to the efforts of Dr. Justin Harrison, Ashford was selected as a streaming site for the “Black Minds Matter” course taught by San Diego State University Professor Luke J. Woods. “Essentially, we met every Monday night during the same time period that they were meeting on San Diego State’s campus,” shares Dr. Justin Harrison, Dean of the Division of General Education at Ashford. “We would view the lecture component, the interviews, and then we had an hour-long discussion time period. We invited people to join online, as well.”

As we honor Black History Month this February, we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to interview Dr. Harrison about the course, takeaways from the Ashford attendees, and what’s ahead!

“Initially it was kind of provocative and it got some negative feedback because of the focus,” shares Dr. Harrison. “They were interviewing multiple leaders in the field of black male education… and other people affiliated with promoting the interests of African-American and black culture and people.”

Considering takeaways about some of the challenges faced by Black male students and our role as an institution of higher education, Dr. Harrison addresses inherent bias, “The key is understanding your own bias and actively trying to combat your bias, so you can be objective and provide the most respect and justice in all of your actions with students and with other people in general.”

To close, Dr. Harrison points us toward the learning materials and a cliff hanger, “The course itself has its own website. If you get on YouTube, and you just look for ‘Black Minds Matter,’ there are all the interviews. And the introductory lecture components are also there.” He also mentioned that when San Diego State offers the next course, focusing on black girls and women, his hope is for Ashford to be a streaming site once again.

However you choose to celebrate Black History Month, we challenge you to use this opportunity to raise awareness within your community.

Written by Ashford Staff

Black Minds Matter: An Online Course | Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color. (2018). Retrieved 30 January 2018, from