CIC Names Johnson C. Smith University as Institutional Affiliate of American Slavery Network


By LiZeatra Wilson

February 19, 2021 12:30PM

Charlotte, N.C.– Johnson C. Smith University is one of a dozen colleges and universities named by the Council of Independent Colleges to serve as an Institutional Affiliate for the multiyear project, “Legacies of American Slavery: Reckoning with the Past.” This initiative is designed to help CIC member institutions, their students, and their communities explore the continuing impact of slavery on American life and culture. The project will support campus-based research, teaching, and learning as well as community-based programs about the multiple legacies of slavery.

“I am very proud of the work that Dr. Keri Petersen, assistant professor of History has done to spearhead this project for Johnson C. Smith University,” said Dr. Matthew DeForrest, interim dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “Originally, there was not an Institutional Affiliate category planned for this grant. Keri and others made such compelling presentations that the organizers created a space for more participants. Keri deserves all the credit for this, and I am looking forward to seeing what she and other JCSU faculty can accomplish within this framework.”

In addition, CIC announced the selection of seven colleges and universities to serve as Regional Collaboration Partners. The Partners will serve as the primary hubs of a national network that will expand to embrace many additional CIC member colleges and universities and community organizations across the United States. Each Partner will focus on a specific theme that has both local and national significance, organizing regional activities while contributing to a national conversation about race, equity, freedom, political power, and cultural resilience.

Richard Ekman, president of CIC, said it was difficult to choose just seven Regional Collaboration Partners from a pool of strong institutional applicants. “The selection process highlighted the depth and breadth of scholarship, teaching, and public engagement that many CIC members have already devoted to exploring the pervasive legacies of slavery,” says Ekman. “This augurs well for the success of the national initiative.”

The Partners and Affiliates selected represent a diversity of institutional types and sizes, including two women’s colleges and five HBCUs. Several of the institutions located in Confederate states have historical links to slavery as former sites of plantations; others were founded or influenced by abolitionists.

Programmatic activities will begin this spring and build toward a series of regional conferences hosted by the Regional Collaboration Partners during the 2021–2022 academic year.

About Johnson C. Smith University

Founded in 1867, Johnson C. Smith University is an independent, close-knit urban university located in Charlotte, N.C. It has a growing national reputation for integrating the liberal arts with business, the sciences and technology in ways that empower tomorrow’s diverse entrepreneurial citizens and leaders. Offering 23 fields of study, including a master’s degree in social work, to more than 1,500 students from a variety of ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic backgrounds, the university’s excellent academic programs focus on servant leadership, civic engagement, and global responsibility. For more information about JCSU, visit or follow the university on social media sites Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

About the Council of Independent Colleges

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of 765 nonprofit independent colleges and universities, state-based councils of independent colleges, and other higher education affiliates, that works to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of independent higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on services to leaders of independent colleges and universities and state-based councils. CIC offers conferences, seminars, publications, and other programs and services that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, student outcomes, and institutional visibility. It conducts the largest annual conferences of college and university presidents and of chief academic officers in the United States.

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