Committee on Minority Historians 2008

by Muriel McClendon

In June 2008, Committee on Minority Historians (CMH) chair Muriel McClendon gave a presentation at the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians entitled “Never Enough: Being a Minority in the Academy.” Committee members had discussed a draft of the presentation at the committee’s March 2008 meeting, and offered a number of suggestions for topics to include in the talk. In her paper, McClendon outlined some of the challenges that still face minority women in the academy. These include, but are not limited to, especially high demands in teaching, student advising and college/university and community service, confusing and/or fluctuating standards for advancement, inequities in compensation and departmental climates that do not adequately foster professional development.

The committee had a conference call meeting on October 31, 2008. At this time, the committee approved a motion to take the proposal for the Equity Award before the Council in January 2009, the text of which may be found in the minutes of the meeting. In addition, members discussed the 2009 Annual Meeting, to be held in New York. The committee decided that it will, as usual, sponsor its mentoring breakfast (on Saturday, January 3) and its evening reception (on Sunday, January 4). In addition, the committee was represented at two sessions at the meeting: “Discrimination/Harassment on the Job,” on January 3 and “African Americans, Native Americans and Narratives of Citizenship” on January 5. The committee also discussed ideas for sessions for the 2010 Annual Meeting; this planning will resume next year. Other projects still pending and to be taken up n 2010 include pamphlets on race and Europe, and race and World History.

The CMH also heard a report from the Graduate and Early Career Committee (GECC, formerly the Committee for Graduate Students), represented by Silvia Marsans-Sakly. The GECC is in the process of recruiting new members, sending out e-mails to AHA graduate students and creating a new poster entitled “Charting Your Career.” That poster has been sent to the AHA Department and Organization Services Program. Additionally, the GECC will have a new dissertation-writing pamphlet, “From Concept to Completion,” available at the 2009 Annual Meeting.

Finally, two members of the CMH—Muriel McClendon and Silvia Marsans-Sakly—will be rotating off at the end of the year. Martin Summers of the University of Texas at Austin and Douglas Kiel, of the University of Wisconsin, who will serve as the GECC liaison, will replace them. Tiya Miles will serve as chair of the committee for 2009.