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“Living in Legacy”: Celebrating the 50th Annual National Conference of Black Political Scientists

Southern Universities’ Political Science department partook in the 50th annual National Black Conference of Political Scientists (NCOBPS) this past week.

Though the University partakes in the conference every year, this year is special because it was hosted right here in Baton Rouge. The event was held at the Marriott of Baton Rouge, and was themed, “Living the Legacy: Understanding the Future of Black Politics through the history of the NCOBPS.”

The conference featured various speakers and topics such as, African and Diaspora Politics, Politics, Inequality, Social Justice, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Transnational Politics, Afro-Latino Politics, and many other topics surrounding the origin and facets of political science.

Southern University representatives took on the African and Diaspora Politics topic.

NCOBPS president Sekou Franklin mentioned in reverence of the organization, “This is a historic conference as some of you may know, we’re up to about 200 registered conference attendees…”

Baton Rouge is rich in black political history as the location of the first annual meeting of NCOBPS, the first civil rights bus boycott in 1953, and the home of the illustrious Southern University.

Each speaker held their own premise of political science, and what the profession truly entails for black political scientists.

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NCOBPS historian and activist, Sheila Harmon Martin, said this about the contrast between political science and its role in our history, “Political science is just one venue for discussing the history.”

Martin served as National Secretary for 7 years and served as president of the NCOBPS graduate assistantship program, which assists graduate students journey to their masters.

Another speaker the conference featured was President of the American Political Scientist Association (APSA) at the University of Pennsylvania, Roger Smith.

His session elaborated upon the social construct of integration and its overall effect on African Americans. He stresses that even though the concept of pluralism has been associated to integration, instinctively the truths of African Americans and the countries issues of class and social order have not yet been understood.

“It’s no secret that the discipline of political science in America has been a PWI, it has been in fact a predominately white male institution through most of its history, and still today. And, as a result, I think the discipline as a whole has never done as well on the politics of race in America as we need to do. Recently, we have fresh evidence that we’re not doing as well as we should,” Smith said.

Overall, the conference successfully expressed its theme of “Living in Legacy”, through its’ host of informative sessions, speakers, and activities.

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