The Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research

Africa-America 2021 Re-Envisioning Liberation for the Global Black Diaspora


Written by scholars and practitioners for a general, non-specialist audience, the Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research (JCPAR) follows the standard of a peer-reviewed, social science publication and serves as a conduit between research and policy. With just over 10 entries, this issue has a special focus on topics including in-depth and innovative approaches to help advance the study of Black identities, ethnicities and diasporas, and in turn, highlights how these perspectives inform representative governance and public policy.

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The Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research is a multidisciplinary journal, released every two years, that publishes original research and analyses on public policy issues related to black politics in the U.S. and abroad. For our inaugural issue, we welcome in-depth and innovative approaches to advance the study of the full spectrum of black identities, ethnicities and diasporas and how these perspectives inform representative governance, with a particular focus on black members of Congress and their active coalitions. Our principal aim is to foster dialogue between the academic and applied fields in order to better inform policy, programs and practice. We seek to establish a productive and intellectually stimulating space where substantive research on legislation and political processes is produced, argued and publicly discussed by a broad range of contributors, from economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, law, media studies, feminist studies, LGBT and sexuality studies, geography, public policy, history and other related disciplines. All journal contributions are reviewed by our editors and follow the standards of rigorous scholarship and sound analysis, with quantitative and qualitative studies on the social impact of policy receiving special preference and consideration. The journal prioritizes writing that is jargon-free and accessible to an audience of non-experts who seek to engage with academic research and methodologies. With this objective in mind, authors should take care to address a readership outside their respective disciplines. Furthermore, the editors are especially committed to cultivating a forum for early-career professionals, with or without advanced degrees, whose studies have direct policy implications for programs and strategies at various levels of government and civil society that affect African American and minority communities.

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Dr. Ivory A. Toldson is the president and CEO of the QEM Network, professor of counseling psychology at Howard University and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Negro Education.  Previously, Dr. Toldson was appointed by President Barack Obama to devise national strategies to sustain and expand federal support to HBCUs as the executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCUs). He also served as senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and contributing education editor for The Root, where he debunked some of the most pervasive myths about African-Americans in his Show Me the Numbers column.

Special Section Editor

Dr. Elsie L. Scott, serves as the founding director of the Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center. She previously served as president and chief executive of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) and as the organization’s vice president for research and programs. Dr. Scott has served as executive director of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) and Deputy Commissioner of Training for the New York City Police Department. She has also held senior and supervisory roles in the police departments of Detroit and the District of Columbia and with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She has taught political science, urban studies and criminal justice at several universities, including Howard University, Rutgers University, the University of Central Florida and North Carolina Central University. She earned degrees in political science from Southern University-Baton Rouge, the University of Iowa and Atlanta University.

Editorial Board

Dr. Niambi Carter is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Howard University. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Duke University (2007) working primarily in the area of American Politics with a specific focus on Race and Ethnic Politics. Her dissertation research on African American public opinion on immigration is the material for her book manuscript currently under development. Prof. Carter is also actively involved in other work that examines lynching, the nature of race in evaluations of Barack Obama, and the political ideology of African American Republicans.

David Johns is the executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC)—a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS. NBJC’s mission is to end racism, homophobia, and LGBTQ bias and stigma. In 2013, Johns was appointed as the first executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans (Initiative) by President Barack H. Obama and served until the last day of the Obama Administration in January, 2017. Prior to his White House appointment, Johns was a senior education policy advisor to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) under the leadership of U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). Before working for the Senate HELP Committee, Johns served under the leadership of the late U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA). Johns also was a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Fellow in the office of Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY). Johns has worked on issues affecting low-income and minority students, neglected youth, early childhood education, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). His research as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow served as a catalyst to identify, disrupt and supplant negative perceptions of black males—both within academia and society. Johns is committed to volunteer services and maintains an active commitment to improve literacy among adolescent minority males. Johns has been featured as an influential politico and advocate by several publications and outlets, including, NBC, EBONY and The Washington Post.  Johns is a prominent strategist who offers commentary for several media outlets including BET, CNN, EducationPost and TV One. David is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in sociology and education policy at Columbia University. Johns obtained a master’s degree in sociology and education policy at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he graduated summa cum laude while simultaneously teaching elementary school in New York City. He graduated with honors from Columbia University in 2004 with a triple major in English, creative writing and African American studies. Johns was named to the Root100 in both 2013 and 2014, selected as a member of the Ebony Power 100 in 2015, and received an early career award from Columbia University, Teachers College in 2016.

Dr. Errol Anthony Henderson is Associate Professor of Political Science at Pennsylvania State University, where he teaches international relations, US foreign policy, the analysis of war and peace, and African Politics. He earned his PhD in Political Science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1993.  He is the author of more than 40 scholarly publications including three books—the most recent, African Realism (2015); and he has lectured throughout North America, Europe and Africa. He was born and raised in the Brewster Projects on the east side of Detroit.  He was a noted student and community activist and he helped lead two successful student movements; the first, in 1987 in response to racist threats against black women on the campus of University of Michigan led to profound changes on the University of Michigan campus.  Henderson also helped lead an extended protest that included an eleven-day building occupation at Wayne State University in 1989 that led to the creation of a long sought after Department of Africana Studies. Henderson served as the Director of the Peace Program for a community based non-profit organization, Save Our Sons and Daughters (SOSAD), which consisted of the families and friends of children killed in Detroit. Henderson organized, developed, and extended the peace programs under the leadership of SOSAD’s founder, Clementine Barfield, who was the survivor of her teenaged child’s homicide.  He helped establish SOSAD chapters throughout the country; and participated in the National Urban Peace and Justice Summit (the Gang Summit) in 1993 that brought together over 200 gang members from 22 different cities to attempt to implement a national truce. Although he resides in Pennsylvania, he continues to support activist and institution building initiatives in his hometown. For example, he is a founding sponsor of the Liberation Film Series at the Charles Wright Museum of African American History just blocks from his original home in the Brewster Projects. The Series brings historical and contemporary films and activists associated with them to the local community such as the recent program that screened a documentary on the Black Panther Party (BPP) accompanied by a presentation and discussion with Kathleen Cleaver, the first woman member of the Central Committee of the BPP, which Henderson moderated. He is presently completing research on two books; one on the role of religion in world politics, and another on the role of culture in the black liberation struggle of the 1960s and 70s entitled The Revolution Will not be Theorized. He is the faculty advisor to Penn State University’s Black Caucus.

Dr. Keith Jennings is a senior associate and the regional director for Southern and East Africa for the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and currently serves as the Vice Chair of the U.S. Human Rights Network’s Board of Directors. Over the past 15 years, he has represented NDI in 30 countries, working on a range of governance, civil society, political party and elections programs. He is a democratic development and human rights specialist. Dr. Jennings has managed several of NDI’s largest programs having served as the Institute’s country director in Indonesia, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa and Zambia. Throughout those assignments, Dr. Jennings worked closely and collaboratively with a host of development partners, particularly the United States Agency for International Development, the Development Fund for International Development, the United Nations Development Program and the National Endowment for Democracy. Dr. Jennings is also a former director of NDI’s citizens participation program. He served for five years as part of the NDI strategy and evaluation team serving as the Institute’s principal in-house global expert on programs to strengthen the participation of civil society organizations and citizens in the political process. He has also served as a senior advisor for Africa and Latin American and Caribbean programs, focusing on political participation challenges of marginalized groups in Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Lesotho, Suriname and Swaziland. Prior to joining NDI, Dr. Jennings worked with the World Council of Churches, the NAACP and Amnesty International. He has also been a consultant with the United Nations Development Programme and the Children’s Defense Fund. Dr. Jennings has been an adjunct professor at American University, Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse School of Medicine teaching courses on U.S. foreign policy, world politics, comparative politics and health, and human rights. Dr. Jennings is the author of numerous popular and scholarly articles on a range of human rights and democratic development subjects. He has also been a frequent media commentator on foreign affairs. Dr. Jennings is the 2005 co-recipient of the Interfaith Alliance’s prestigious Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award. Selected works by Mr. Jennings: The Role of Electoral Management Bodies in Supporting Voter Education: Lessons Learned and Challenges, speech, May 29, 1999.

Dr. Niaz Kasravi is a national expert and advocate on criminal justice, social justice, and racial justice – with more than seventeen years of experience leading projects across the country. She is Founder and Director of the Avalan Institute for Applied Research – a research, advocacy, and training institute. She is the former Director of the Criminal Justice Program for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). At the NAACP, she led several successful initiatives including campaigns to: abolish the death penalty in Maryland; enact stronger anti racial profiling laws in New York City; and help free a wrongfully convicted man from a life sentence in Georgia. She is also author of several reports on racial profiling and police accountability. Her career includes serving as Researcher & Associate for Amnesty International USA, Deputy Director of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, and Policy Associate for Stop Prison Rape. Dr. Kasravi holds a Ph. D. in Criminology, Law & Society from the University of California, Irvine. In 2000, via a National Science Foundation grant, she traveled to Iran to work with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi on women’s rights in Iran. Dr. Kasravi was born in Iran and migrated to the U.S. with her family in 1984. Though her work takes her across the country, she currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.

Dr. Julianne Malveaux has long been recognized for her progressive and insightful observations. She is a labor economist, noted author and colorful commentator. Described by Cornel West as “the most iconoclastic public intellectual in the country”. Her contributions to the public dialogue on issues such as race, culture, gender and their economic impacts are shaping public opinion in 21st Century America. Dr. Malveaux’s popular writing has appeared in USA Today. Black Issues in Higher Education, Ms. Magazine, Essence magazine and many others. Her weekly columns appeared through King Features syndicate for more than a decade (1990 – 2003) in newspapers across the country including the LA Times, Charlotte Observer, the New Orleans Tribune, Detroit Free Press, and San Francisco Examiner. She has hosted television and radio programs – and appeared widely as commentator on networks including CNN, BET, PBS, NBC,ABC, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, TV One, C-SPAN and others. Dr. Julianne Malveaux has been a contributor to academic life since receiving her Ph.D. in economics from MIT in 1980.  She has been on the faculty or visiting faculty of the New School for Social Research, San Francisco State University, the University of California (Berkeley), College of Notre Dame (San Mateo, California), Michigan State University and Howard University. She holds honorary degrees from Sojourner Douglas College (Baltimore, Maryland), Marygrove College (Detroit, Michigan), University of the District of Columbia, and Benedict College (Columbia, South Carolina).  She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics at Boston College. During her time as the15th President of Bennett College for Women, Dr. Julianne Malveaux was the architect of exciting and innovative transformation at America’s oldest historically black college for women. Under her leadership, the administration identified four key focus areas: women’s leadership, entrepreneurship, excellence in communications, and global awareness.  In the five short years of her presidency, Bennett College successfully received a 10-year reaffirmation of its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, markedly improved existing facilities, embarked on a $21 million capital improvements program – which marked the first major campus construction in more than 25 years – and in fall 2009 enjoyed an historic enrollment high. Currently, Dr. Malveaux serves on the boards of the Economic Policy Institute as well as The Black Doctoral Network and she is President of PUSH Excel, the educational branch of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. A native San Franciscan, she is the Founder and President of Economic Education, a 501-c 3 organization focused on personal finance and economic policy education and their connection. Economic Education is headquartered in Washington, D.C. She is also host of “It’s Personal with Dr. J” her podcast aimed to bring you news and views on current events, economics and more. Her latest book is “Are We Better Off? Race, Obama and Public Policy” was published February 2016.

Dr. Roger Mitchell Jr., is board certified in Anatomic and Forensic Pathology by the American Board of Pathology and a Fellow with the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME). Dr. Mitchell sits on national subcommittees for NAME including Education & Planning, Strategic Planning, and is the Immediate Past Chair for the Deaths in Custody Subcommittee. Dr. Mitchell has recently served as the National Co-Chair for the National Medical Associations (NMA) Working Group on Gun Violence and Police Use of Force. He is a graduate of Howard University, Washington DC, and New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ. Dr. Mitchell is licensed to practice medicine in Washington DC. He has performed over 1300 autopsy examinations in his career and has testified as an expert on numerous cases. As the Chief Medical Examiner of D.C., Dr. Mitchell is uniquely positioned to understand the social determinants that lead to the violence affecting our most vulnerable communities. He has a great interest in Violence as a public health issue and has recently co-authored position papers on The Violence Epidemic in the African American Community for the National Medical Association (NMA) and the Definition, Investigation, Postmortem Examination and Reporting of Deaths in Custody for the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME).

Dr. Shayla Nunnally is an Associate Professor with a joint appointment in Political Science and Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut. She is also the 39th President (2017-2019) of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS). She specializes in public opinion and political behavior, race and politics, African American public opinion and political behavior, and black political development. She was awarded the 2009 Fannie Lou Hamer Award for Outstanding Community Service by the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. Additionally, in 2009, she was awarded the Outstanding Young Professionals Member for the Eastern Region of the National Urban League.

Dr. Ravi K. Perry joined the Department of Political Science at Howard University in August 2019 as Chair and Professor. Previously, Dr. Perry was Chair of the Department of Political Science at Virginia Commonwealth University and was a member of the faculty at Mississippi State University and Clark University (Worcester, MA). Dr. Perry holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Brown University, each in political science.

An expert on Black politics, minority representation, urban politics, American public policy, and LGBT candidates of color, Dr. Perry is the editor of 21st Century Urban Race Politics: Representing Minorities as Universal Interests, a book that discusses the efforts of African American, Latino and Asian mayors to represent the interests of minorities in historically white cities in the United States. His second book, entitled Black Mayors, White Majorities: The Balancing Act of Racial Politics, focuses on the challenges Black mayors face in representing Black interests in majority white, medium‐sized cities in the state of Ohio. His third book, published with his mother, is The Little Rock Crisis: What Desegregation Politics Says About Us. In it, Perry and Perry frame the story of the Little Rock 1957 desegregation crisis through the lens of memory. Over time, those memories – individual and collective – have motivated Little Rockians for social and political action and engagement. Currently, Dr. Perry is finishing a book that introduces the lives and campaigns of Black, and openly lesbian and gay elected officials in the United States.

Perry is Immediate Past President of the Association for Ethnic Studies, and a member of the Executive Council for the Urban Politics Organized Section of the American Political Science Association. Perry is a former member of the Executive Council for the Sexuality and Politics Organized Section of the American Political Science Association and the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. Previously, Perry was also a member of the Board of Directors and Affiliate Equity Officer for the ACLU of Mississippi, and he was also one of the first openly gay branch presidents of color in the history of the NAACP in Worcester, Massachusetts.

In his limited spare time in the District, Dr. Perry, a Ward 7 resident, also enjoys playing tennis, volunteering, and he is a member of Metropolitan AME Church. Dr. Perry is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Dr. Perry is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including being recognized as one of the Andrew Goodman Foundation’s 50 “Hero Citizens;” Out Magazine’s “Hidden 105” and The Advocate’s “193 Reasons to Have Pride,” and “40 under 40.”

Dr. William Spriggs is a professor in, and former chair of, the Department of Economics at Howard University and serves as chief economist to the AFL-CIO. In his capacity with the AFL-CIO he serves as chair of the Economic Policy Working Group of the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the OECD, and on the board of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). He also serves on the Advisory Board to the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute, and is on the editorial board for the Public Administration Review. From 2009 to 2012, Spriggs served as assistant secretary for the Office of Policy at the Department of Labor, having been appointed by President Barack Obama, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. At the time of his appointment, he also served as chairman of the Health Care Trust for UAW Retirees of the Ford Motor Co.; chairman of the UAW Retirees of the Dana Corporation Health and Welfare Trust; vice chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute; on the joint National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Public Administration’s Committee on the Fiscal Future for the United States; senior fellow of the Community Service Society of New York; and served on the boards of the National Employment Law Project and very briefly for the Eastern Economic Association. He is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and the National Academy of Public Administration.

Reginald Tucker-Seeley, MA, ScM, ScD, is the inaugural holder of the Edward L. Schneider chair in gerontology and Assistant Professor in the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California (USC). Dr. Tucker-Seeley completed master and doctoral degrees in public health (social and behavioral sciences) at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) and a postdoctoral fellowship in cancer prevention and control at HSPH and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI). His research has focused primarily on social determinants of health across the life course, such as the association between the neighborhood environment and health behavior; and on individual-level socioeconomic determinants of multimorbidity, mortality, self-rated physical, mental, and oral health, and adult height. Dr. Tucker-Seeley has received funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for research focused on the development of measures of financial well-being for cancer research. The first grant was an R21 titled “Development of a measure of financial well-being: Expanding our notion of SES” (1 R21 CA158248-01A1) and the second grant was a K01 Career Development grant titled “Financial well-being following prostate cancer diagnosis” (1K01CA169041-01). He is also interested in the various ways neighborhood environment is defined and measured; and he is currently working on projects to create measures of neighborhood economic well-being. Dr. Tucker-Seeley has a longstanding interest in the impact of health and social policy on racial/ethnic minorities and across socioeconomic groups. He has experience working on local and state level health disparities policy, and in the measuring and reporting of health disparities at the state level. Dr. Tucker-Seeley was recently selected for the 2017-2018 cohort of the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship Program. The fellowship includes one year residency in Washington, DC working either in a federal congressional or executive office on health policy issues. Before joining the faculty at USC, Dr. Tucker-Seeley was an Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and in the Center for Community Based Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Prior to graduate study at Harvard, he received an undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Tulsa and worked in the accounting/ auditing field for five years, most recently as an internal auditor at Saint Louis University. He also completed an MA degree in Human Development Counseling from Saint Louis University and a clinical counseling internship at the Washington University Student Health and Counseling Service.


  • The Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research will be distributed to the Congressional Black Caucus members, staff and their affiliated networks and will be available in digital form at

2017 Call for contributors for The Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research

Deadline passed.

Special issue: “Defining the Black Agenda in the post-Obama era” Edited by: Dr. Menna Demessie (Vice-President of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research, CBCF) & Dr. Alexandra Antohin (Senior Research and Program Manager, CBCF)

The Black Agenda has reached broader social attention as a result of the two term administration of President Barack Obama. Though representation at the highest office has produced positive impacts for core civil rights issues, there is also a substantial critique that the Black Agenda has yet to gain the momentum needed to affect everyday change in the lives of African Americans. The monumental step of electing the first black president has not ushered in a post-racial society.

While the historic results of 2016 election represent a major sea-change that will significantly challenge how we study and predict mainstream political behavior, the disconnect between representative leadership and social realities on the ground has long been a point of tension for African American communities. A defining statement from William A. Clay Sr., founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, that “Black people have no permanent friends, no permanent enemies…just permanent interests,” bears true today, as interest groups are forced to strengthen coalitions and working relationships to address key concerns over healthcare, environmental justice, education, police reform and local economic development. Politicians, practitioners, activists and other change-makers now have to contend and react to new elements, compositions, and behaviors of political representation.

For this inaugural issue of the Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research, we invite contributions of full length essays (4,000 – 5,000 words) of original writing and approaches to policy analyses, based on quantitative and qualitative research, substantial use of primary and secondary data, and explicit proposals for policy directions. The following are suggested topics for exploring the journal’s special theme, though proposals outside these areas will also be considered:

  • Education and Workforce Development
  • Economic Development, Housing, Jobs and Fairness
  • Criminal Justice, Policing Reform and Gun Safety
  • Healthcare
  • Poverty Reduction and Nutrition
  • Community Empowerment
  • Environmental Justice
  • Foreign Affairs and International Security
  • Voting Rights
  • Gender Inequality